Saturday, September 19, 2015

Schleicher ASW-19B, N27XX: Accident occurred September 19, 2015 at Saratoga County Airport (5B2), New York

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA367
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Saratoga Springs, NY
Aircraft: SCHLEICHER ASW 19B, registration: N27XX
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 19, 2015, about 1410 eastern daylight time, a Schleicher ASW 19B glider, N27XX, was destroyed when it collided with terrain while attempting to land at the Saratoga County Airport (5B2), Saratoga, New York. The private pilot was seriously injured. The glider was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated at 5B2 at an unknown time.

A designated pilot examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was at the airport and witnessed the accident. He stated that he first observed the glider when it was on final approach for runway 32. The glider was "high and fast," and the landing gear and spoilers were retracted. He said the glider flew about halfway down the runway, climbed, and made a steep right turn and attempted to land on the runway in the opposite direction. The witness never saw the spoilers extend, but the landing gear did extend and retract at least once during the turn. The glider made a second low pass (below 100 ft) over the runway at an "excessive" speed, but did not land. The witness said the glider entered another climb and made a very steep left turn and nearly missed a building. The glider descended while in the turn and the left wing struck the ground followed by the nose.

Initial examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that glider cartwheeled and came to rest on the right side of the final approach path of runway 32, which resulted in extensive impact damage to the glider's wings and fuselage. The landing gear and spoilers were retracted.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Albany FSDO-01

MILTON - A pilot came up short of the runway and slammed into the ground Saturday afternoon at the Saratoga County Airport.

He lost a foot in the crash, but is expected to survive.

The gliders don't have an engine. However, the ground is just as hard if you if you don't hit the runway.

A crumpled glider sits in the tall grass at the Saratoga County Airport. The engine-less aircraft cartwheeled after a bad landing just short of the runway around 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The pilot, Ryszard Szymanowski, 66, of East Greenbush was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with a smashed up face and a severed foot. He's expected to survive.

Sheriff’s deputies say Szymanowski was a well-known member of a glider club at the airport. It's a popular hobby here, more than a dozen of the aircraft sit outside a hangar.

Gliders, are towed by planes off the runway and into the sky. Then at a certain altitude, the cable is cut between the two and the pilot of the glider glides to the ground.

A lot of people come to the airport just to watch the engine-less aircraft.

Deputies say Szymanowski was coming in too fast. He tried landing twice, and on the third try, came up short.

The glider will sit in the grass until the National Traffic Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration can investigate.

The airport is uncontrolled airspace. That means pilots determine themselves if they can land or not. That means there were very few interruptions – if any – because of this crash.

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Clark 1000, N9018R: Accident occurred September 19, 2015 at Skylark Airpark (7B6), Warehouse Point, Connecticut 

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA365
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Warehouse Point, CT
Aircraft: CLARK 1000, registration: N9018R
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 19, 2015, about 1150 eastern daylight time, a Clark 1000 biplane, N9018R, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from Skylark Airport (7B6), Warehouse Point, Connecticut. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot said the airplane was serviced with 40 gallons of fuel before he completed his preflight inspection. The engine was hand-propped for start, and idled for about 5 minutes before he taxied to a run-up area and completed a "normal" engine run-up. Following the run-up, the airplane idled for several minutes, waiting for other traffic to clear the runway. Prior to takeoff, the pilot performed a second engine run-up, but only checked the magnetos.

The airplane accelerated down the runway, and at liftoff "started to turn to the left." The pilot said he corrected for the turn while maintaining the climb, and at 100 feet, the engine began losing power. The pilot said the airplane did not respond when he attempted to lower the nose to avoid an aerodynamic stall, and the engine continued to lose power. The airplane landed in tall weeds off the departure end of the runway, nosed over, and came to rest inverted.

In a telephone interview, the owner said he watched the airplane through its entire run-up, taxi, takeoff, and forced landing. He said that he was upset that another airplane had "cut in front of" his for run-up and takeoff, which resulted in long periods of his airplane idling on the ground prior to takeoff. The owner said the airplane was "notorious" for carburetor icing.

The owner stated that takeoff and initial climb both sounded and appeared "normal," until a distinct loss of engine power was heard. He said that the engine never stopped running, but slowly, and smoothly, decreased in engine rpm. The owner watched as the airplane "mushed" towards the ground, touched down, then nosed over.

According to the airport manager, he was standing by the runway to witness "the maiden flight," as the airplane had not flown in the nearly 30 years it had been kept at the airport. He stated that after the airplane lifted off, it appeared that the pilot was attempting to clear trees in its path, off the side of the runway, as the airplane's pitch attitude was "much too severe." The airplane then appeared to "run out of energy," and the wings rocked "back and forth" as it settled back onto the ground. The airplane continued beyond the departure end of the grass runway and into a thicket of tall brush south of the paved runway overrun. When asked about the sound of the engine, he said it "sounded fine," but by the time the airplane was descending and touching down, it was 2,000 feet away and it couldn't be heard clearly from that distance.

A video of the accident flight provided to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, depicted a flight profile consistent with that described by the airport manager.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land, and a tailwheel endorsement. His most recent second-class FAA medical certificate was issued on August 3, 2015, at which time he reported 684 total hours of flight experience. The pilot stated he had no flight experience in the accident airplane.

The single-seat, single-engine, fixed landing gear biplane was manufactured in 1959 and was powered by a Lycoming 9-cylinder radial engine. According to the airplane's maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was completed on November 7, 2014, at 3,672 total aircraft hours. According to the FAA inspector, the owner reported the airplane had not flown during the year that he had owned it, or for the 27 years prior to that.

Examination of photographs revealed that the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings, the vertical fin, and the engine firewall.


EAST WINDSOR — No injuries were reported after an airplane crashed Saturday at Skylark Airport, off of Wells Road.

Shortly before noon, the plane, a 1959 Clark, lost power while taking off and crashed at the end of the runway, police said.

The pilot walked away with no injuries, police said.


Cessna 150M, N714CW: Accident occurred September 19, 2015 in Mount Airy, Maryland

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA368 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Mount Airy, MD
Aircraft: CESSNA 150M, registration: N714CW
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 19, 2015 about 1230 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150M, N714CW, experienced significant engine vibrations and a partial loss of power approximately 10 minutes into the flight from Clearview Airpark (2W2), Westminster, Maryland. The pilot elected to make a precautionary landing in a corn field near Mt. Airy, Maryland. The private pilot was not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual flight rule conditions were reported near the site about the time of the accident, and a VFR flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO), Leesburg, Virginia. 

The pilot reported that 10 minutes after takeoff at an altitude of 2,500 feet, the engine was not making full power. The pilot monitored the situation and adjusted his path to put him over Davis Airport (W50), Laytonsville, Maryland, in the event he needed to land. 

The pilot continued to monitor the situation and stated the engine "was a little sluggish" and became progressively worse. He declared an emergency and found a suitable field to land on. As he circled to land, he saw electrical wires on the approach end, so he flew downwind for a landing in the opposite direction. During the turn to final, there was not enough altitude to make the original landing site so he landed on an unplowed corn field. As the plane settled into the corn, it pitched forward and flipped upside down. 

Federal Aviation Administration inspectors examined the wreckage and confirmed substantial damage. The engine has been retained for continued examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baltimore FSDO-07

The pilot of a Cessna 150M was not injured after making an emergency landing in a corn field on Bill Moxley Road Saturday afternoon. 

Maryland State Police received a call at about 12:45 p.m. of a plane down in the 4000 block of Bill Moxley Road in Mount Airy, according to Cpl. Dave Most.

When first responders arrived, the pilot, identified as Paul Borghese, 47, of Ashburn, Virginia, was already out of the plane, which was on its roof, Most said. The pilot was not injured and refused treatment at the scene. Nobody else was on board.

The pilot told troopers on the scene that he began experiencing engine trouble and was told by Potomac approach to try to make it to the airport in Gaithersburg – about 8 miles away, according to a news release. When the pilot realized he wouldn't make it, he said he decided to make a forced landing in the corn field, according to Most. Most said the corn stalks where the plane landed are between 10 and 12 feet high.

The pilot said he was flying from Clearview Airpark in Westminster to Leesburg, Virginia.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have both been notified and an FAA investigator is en route, Most said.

He said the plane sustained minor damage.


Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, United States Navy: Accident occurred September 19, 2015 near Las Cruces, New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, N.M. –  A military aircraft crashed in the New Mexico desert northwest of Las Cruces International Airport during a training flight Saturday, injuring at least one person aboard, according to local officials.

Las Cruces Fire Department spokesman Lt. Mike Martinez said the flight was a training aircraft and a student and instructor were aboard the aircraft and ejected before the crash.

Martinez said at least one of the two people aboard sustained minor injuries and had to be taken to a hospital but didn't have further details.

Martinez directed further questions to the New Mexico State Police.

New Mexico State Police Sgt. Chad Pierce said his agency has been tasked with keeping the crash site secured while the military and Federal Aviation Administration investigated.

Pierce said he could not confirm any other details about the crash and directed questions to the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station.

A message seeking details about the crash was left for the base's public information officer Saturday evening. The air station, along South Texas' Gulf coast, serves as a training hub for pilots for the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, along with foreign student pilots, according to its website.

Messages left Saturday with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were not immediately returned.

Cessna 172E Skyhawk, N3647S: Fatal accident occurred September 19, 2015 near Marsh Creek Airport (8PN9), Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA363
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Gettysburg, PA
Aircraft: CESSNA 172E, registration: N3647S
Injuries: 2 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 19, 2015, at 1043 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172E, N3647S, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a soybean field after a total loss of engine power near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight that departed from Waltz Field (34PA), Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at an unknown time. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot-rated passenger stated that prior to departure, during the engine run-up, the engine ran "a little rough" when operated on one of the two magnetos. The pilot continued the run up until the engine operated smoothly on the left, right, and both magnetos. He recalled that the engine operated "remarkably smooth" for takeoff, climb and while performing various maneuvers. After descending from 3,000 feet to about 1,500 feet above mean sea level, the engine started to "shake, rumble, spit, and sputter and then just quit." The pilot attempted to land in a nearby field and on touchdown the airplane bounced, veered left, and collided with the tree line at the edge of the field.

According to a mechanic, an annual inspection of the airplane was completed in July 2013, after which the airplane had accrued about 1 hour of flight prior to the next annual inspection which was completed on September 11, 2015. During the interval between the two inspections, automotive fuel remained in the fuel tanks. Maintenance records of the most recent annual inspection revealed that the carburetor and seals in both the fuel selector valve and the gascolator were replaced, fuel was drained from the fuel tanks, and the fuel tanks were refueled with 15 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The engine was then operated satisfactorily during ground tests.

The airplane came to rest upright in a tree line at the edge of a soybean field. The left wing was partially separated from the fuselage, rotated about 45 degrees aft, and exhibited leading edge crush damage. The right wing remained attached, exhibited leading edge crush damage, and the right aileron was separated from the wing. The empennage was partially separated from the fuselage near the aft bulkhead of the cargo compartment. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit controls to the respective control surfaces. The aileron cables exhibited fractures in each wing consistent with overload.

The left fuel tank was breached, and about 2 gallons of fuel were drained from it during recovery operations. An unknown amount of fuel had leaked from the right wing after the accident. The gascolator and carburetor were full of a yellowish-amber fluid similar in color and odor as automotive fuel. The fuel inlet screen was unobstructed, and no water was present. Air pressure was applied to the gascolator outlet and fluid was observed flowing through the fractured fuel lines at the door pillars near the wing attach points. The carburetor needle valve and seat were clean with no debris found. When manually operated, fluid was observed exiting out of the carburetor accelerator pump. The fluid observed throughout the fuel system was yellowish-amber in color with an odor consistent with automotive fuel.

The propeller was rotated by hand and thumb suction and compression was observed on all cylinders. Continuity of the crankshaft was confirmed from the propeller to the rear accessory pad. The top spark plugs were removed and appeared grey to slightly black in color with normal wear when checked against the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. Both magnetos produced spark on all towers when rotated by hand. The air inlet box was clean and free of obstructions. The throttle, mixture, and carburetor heat controls were securely attached to the engine and moved freely. The oil quantity dipstick indicated 6 quarts.

The engine was retained for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Harrisburg FSDO-13

An 85-year-old man died October 27th from injuries sustained in a September plane crash in Cumberland Township, the York County Coroner's Office confirmed. 

Walter M. Trostle, of the 1000 block of Barlow Two Taverns Road, was the operator of a Cessna 172E Skyhawk plane when its engine lost power and it crashed in a field on Sept. 19 by Black Horse Tavern Road outside of Gettysburg.

A passenger in the plane survived the crash, the coroner confirmed.

Trostle's cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. There will be no autopsy.

The Cumberland Township Police Department is investigating.

Two people were transported from the scene of a single-engine Cessna plane crash Saturday in Cumberland Township, outside Gettysburg, officials said. 

York Hospital spokesman Barry Sparks said that Walter Trostle, 85, was in serious condition at the hospital at 4 p.m. Saturday. Robert Beveridge, who runs Trostle's Antiques outside Gettysburg, said Walter Trostle is the store's landlord.

Federal Aviation Administration records indicate that the Cessna 172 plane that crashed is registered to Trostle.

The hospital did not provide any additional information about Trostle's condition. Members of Trostle's family who visited the scene of the crash Saturday afternoon declined to comment

Emergency units responded to the scene of the crash in a field by Black Horse Tavern Road just west of Gettysburg at 10:43 a.m.

Lynn Skopic lives in the 500 block of Black Horse Tavern Road, directly across the street from the soybean field where the plane crashed. She can see the plane from the front of the house.

"I heard the noise when it hit," she said. "It was just a funny bang. I was inside the house, but I knew something had happened. I went outside and saw two cars parked along the road but they didn't look like they had crashed. I went down to ask if everything was okay and that's when I saw the plane had hit the fence."

She said the woman who called 911 saw the crash, and told her that the plane appeared as if it was going to hit Skopic's house, but swerved to avoid it.

The FAA is investigating. Gary Martin of the FAA said it's not clear what caused the crash. He said the plane will be taken from the site and that the FAA will work with the National Transportation Safety Board to figure out what happened.

Emergency responders and investigating officials have not released information on the second person in the plane.Martin said his agency responded to the call for the plane crash, but said they don't know where the flight came from or who was on it.


Cessna 525 Citation, N866ST: Incident occurred September 19, 2015 at Capital City Airport (KCXY), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Nobody was injured when a pilot was forced to make an emergency landing at the Capital City Airport on Saturday morning.

The twin-engine Citation with two people aboard took off from airport in Fairview Township, York County at about 9:30 a.m., according to Scott Miller, a spokesman for Harrisburg International Airport.

HIA also owns the Capital City Airport.

One of the Citation's engines failed while the plane was near Chambersburg and the pilot turned around and headed back to Capital City, Miller said.

The pilot was able to land the plane safely at about 10:40 a.m.


CARLISLE TRAVEL MGMT INC: http://registry.faa.govN866ST

Incident occurred September 19, 2015 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (KJFK), New York

A Virgin airplane's wing slammed into a fence at JFK Airport in Queens early Saturday, according to the Port Authority.

Authorities say the incident happened at 8:30 a.m. Saturday as Virgin Atlantic Flight 26 was being pushed back from the gate by a tug. 

A photo taken by a passenger shows a group of airport workers standing underneath the towering wing, which is pushed up against the fence.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says there were no injuries. 

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman says the 276 people on board are being bused back to the terminal.

Flight 26 was scheduled to depart for London at 8:15 a.m.

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Drone that crashed in Colorado Springs found to have broke Army, Federal Aviation Administration rules

Fort Carson soldiers who crash-landed a drone in a Colorado Springs neighborhood in May will get remedial training after an investigation found they didn't have proper clearance to fly the small RQ-11 Raven aircraft and failed to tell key leaders at the post that the drone had been lost.

The Army's 64-page investigation into the May 12 incident was released to The Gazette under a Freedom of Information Act request. The report shows that the post's military police were flying the 4-pound drone outside authorized airspace amid rising tension over Islamic State group threats that led to heightened security at military bases nationwide.

"Negligence in two areas contributed to the ultimate outcome," Army investigators wrote. "Neither item appears to have contributed to the loss of control but impacted the mission management and public affairs office response to the loss of control."

Exactly why the drone crashed 12 miles north of Fort Carson in the yard of a home off Uintah Street in downtown Colorado Springs is unknown - the Raven has a stated range of 6 miles. Investigators speculated that a battery or computer problem could have sent the plane awry.

Investigators found, contrary to Fort Carson statements in May, the drone was flown in violation of Army regulations and Federal Aviation Administration rules that govern use of unmanned planes over American soil.

Fort Carson spokeswoman Dani Johnson said Friday that leaders thought they were in compliance with regulations but later discovered the violations.

The investigators also noted that Fort Carson hadn't put stickers on its unmanned planes identifying them as Army property and asked those who find wayward aircraft to return them to the nearest military installation.

Fort Carson boss Maj. Gen Ryan Gonsalves ordered his subordinates to give him a report on improved plans for drone flights. The general also ordered the unit of the lost drone, the 759th Military Police Battalion, to complete remedial training within a month.

The battalion flew "multiple Raven aircraft" over housing areas and military facilities on the post's north side from May 8 to May 12. The goal was to keep an eye on the northern perimeter of the post as part of a plan to increase security. The area is miles north of Fort Carson's restricted airspace where drone flights are authorized.

Drones, with few exceptions, are kept in restricted airspace to avoid putting manned planes and unmanned craft in the same section of sky. Flying drones in places where manned flights take place, including over Colorado Springs, requires clearance from air traffic controllers and the FAA.

The drone began to malfunction about 2 p.m. May 12. Controllers said the aircraft gave faulty airspeed and compass readings - a sign that its computerized brain was scrambled. Controllers recalled the plane for a landing, but instead it flew north.

The investigation found that Fort Carson's air traffic controllers didn't know the drone had been missing until they learned about it on television the next day. A Colorado Springs resident found the plane in a tree in his yard. Since the man who found the craft didn't know who owned it, he called police. Police put the plane in a plastic bag and stored it in an evidence locker until soldiers picked it up.

Similar flights had been grounded at the post pending the outcome of the investigation.

Johnson said the post wasn't flying drones as of Friday but noted that could change depending on the need for enhanced security.

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Aviation fuel tax to increase • Money will help improve Oregon airports, increase rural service

Members of Oregon’s aviation industry are working to figure out what comes next after Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill 2075 in July, which allows for a 2-cent tax increase on fuel for aircraft.

The bill will go into effect Jan. 1 and is projected by the state to generate more than $20 million from 2016 through 2021, when the bill expires.

While the text of the bill provides an outline of how the funds will be used, the exact implementation is still being determined.

Gale “Jake” Jacobs, executive director of Oregon Aviation Industries, an industry group consisting of more than 400 aviation-related companies, said the group’s annual summit focused primarily on informing members about how the bill would be implemented. While that process did not end at the meeting, held Tuesday at the Columbia Aviation Association in Aurora, Jacobs said he believed the details would be completed by the end of October.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunities provided by the bill,” Jacobs said.

He added that 5 percent of the budget would go toward program administration for the Oregon Department of Aviation.

Subsequently, half the program’s funds will be directed toward the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program, which provides grants for the development of public-use airports. For small airports, the existing FAA grants can cover more than 90 percent of costs, but Jacobs said the remaining amount may still be too steep for rural communities in Eastern Oregon.

“Some communities just don’t have that 10 percent,” Jacobs said.

In addition, 25 percent of the funds will go directly to rural air service assistance. Jacobs said the vast majority of the 97 public-use airports in Oregon don’t offer commercial flights, leaving remote areas of Oregon without easy access to regional hubs.

“Particularly in Eastern Oregon, the residents are totally underserved for booking flights,” Jacobs said.

The funding would go toward a couple of airports in the region that could support small commercial flights to hubs such as Portland International Airport.

While the presence of Redmond Airport makes this less of a concern for Central Oregon, Jacobs said, some of the smaller airports in the region could benefit from these funds.

“Prineville is a classic example,” Jacobs said. “Places like Prineville are going to love this.”

While unmanned aerial vehicles — the industry term for drones — are not specifically referred to within the text of the bill, Jacobs said the systems will have the same access to funding for projects as manned aircraft.

“UAV is all part of aviation as far as we’re concerned,” Jacobs said.

Additionally, Chuck Allen, executive director of SOAR Oregon, a nonprofit designed to strengthen the state’s drone industry, said any improvements an airport may make could include elements, such as potential hanger space, that would benefit drones at that airport. 


Brooklands air displays cancelled over safety fears

Two aircraft displays at a Surrey museum have been cancelled following the Shoreham Airshow crash last month.

Brooklands Museum said the displays on Sunday and 27 September had been cancelled as a result of "enhanced risk assessments" carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The CAA had concerns the displays were to he held over a "particularly congested area", Brooklands said.

The museum said people's safety was "paramount".

A Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27 at Shoreham on 22 August, killing 11 people.

Following the crash the CAA brought in new controls over air displays.

Allan Winn, director of the aviation and motor museum, said: "The CAA has identified Brooklands as being situated in a particularly congested area, and we will be discussing options for future flying displays here with them as soon as possible."

"The safety of both people - whether they be our neighbors, display pilots or our own visitors, staff and volunteers - and property must be paramount in considering such issues."

The air displays were to have included a Spitfire, Tiger Moth and a biplane with a wing walker, the museum said.

Brooklands, near Weybridge, houses old aircraft including Wellington bombers, Sopwiths and Hurricanes.

A spokesman for the museum said other activities at the Brooklands Aviation Day and Great War 100 events over the next two weekends would go ahead as planned.

"We fully understand the increased caution being shown by the CAA," Mr Winn said. 


Poplar Grove Airport (C77) top privately owned, open to the public airport in Illinois

A 1940's WACO Biplane parked in the “Cottage” where Tina and Steve Thomas and their guests visit while grounded at the Poplar Grove Airport. 

POPLAR GROVE — In the 1960s, the world was changing steadily. In the countryside of Boone County, things weren’t much different.

Side-by-side, dairy farmer Dick Thomas and his son, Steve, tended to cows and worked the land that had been in their family since the 1800s.

A fellow farmer came by to purchase an outbuilding from Dick in 1967. Rather than come up the lane in a pickup truck, he arrived in a small craft airplane, landing alongside the pasture.

“He took me up for a ride. I was 15. I said, ‘Ooh! This is it! This is a whole new world.’ And it seemed more exciting and more fun than milking cows, baling hay and shoveling manure,” Steve said.

From that moment forward, flying would become an instrumental part of his life.

His father also was bit by the bug. Their mutual and instant attraction to flight got the wheels rolling and in 1972, using a portion of the farmland, Dick opened the first airport in Boone County.

Both received their pilot’s license and learned the ins and outs of running a successful small airport.

The lay of the land has changed dramatically. The two cattle sheds became hangars, the fields became runways, and the fresh dairy air has given way to flight patterns with contrails.

Dick sold the property to Steve, and over time, it was annexed and Belvidere Airport got more than a new name.

Poplar Grove Airport has since grown into a complete aeronautics community.

Adjoining the airport, Aircraft Maintenance Poplar Grove Airmotive isn’t just a maintenance shop, Steve said They inspect, provide maintenance and complete large tasks, including overhauling piston aircraft engines.

“We have customers we ship to as far away as Guam, Indonesia and Korea,” he said.

Bordering the outskirts as well is Bel Air Estates, a subdivision where residents have access to runways adjacent to their driveways. They have hangars next to their garages, all of which was another one of Steve’s visions that came to fruition.

Neighboring Poplar Grove Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum land was donated by the Thomas family. It offers outreach programs, flight camps and scholarships.

There is also a flight school at the airport where students as young as 14 can learn to fly.

“We have lots of past students who became instructors and are now captains for major airlines,” Steve said. “One of our instructors now looks to be headed in that direction, too.”

His wife, Tina, who he met in college, was studying to be a nurse. He took her up for her first flight in 1975. She ended up falling head-over-heels in love, and not just with Steve. By 1976, she had her pilot’s license.

“She had another instructor," Steve said. "Like teaching your wife to drive a car, it’s not a good idea,” he joked.

The former RN who worked at OSF St. Anthony's Medical Center underwent a career change and became an instructor.

“We had kids, and she took some time off,” Steve said. “She has since more than made up for it. She flies much more than I do.”

“I love it. Everyone here is very passionate," said Tina. "We have a great student base, great people from all walks of life coming through.”

As the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, a fly-in convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, that attracts more than 500,000 people and 10,000 airplanes each July, approached hundreds of pilots landed on their doorstep.

"We are a part of the traditional pilgrimage to Oshkosh and we are very honored to have them," Tina said.

“It’s the largest airshow in the world. Lots of people come from all over the United States," Steve said. "They fly all day and end up here to rest, fuel up, take a break or visit. Some stay the night, pitch a tent or stop for a meal. They love to come here and have fun, and we love having them.”

Myrna Siegrist, 57, of Kirkland, recently began taking lessons. Her husband, Gary, is a pilot and she wanted to be prepared in case something ever went wrong when he's at the helm.

A few short months ago, Myrna said she was so tense her body would ache during those first classes.

“It’s intimidating, but fun. It was scary, but also gives you confidence, so you grow as a person,” she said.

Although the Thomas’ love what they do, it isn’t all fun and games. It is big business. Three years ago, the Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study revealed that aviation contributes $41 billion annually to the Illinois economy.

On May 14, at the Illinois Aviation Conference held in Rockford, Poplar Grove Airport was one of seven Illinois airports to be recognized by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“They awarded us the best privately owned, open to the public airport in the state. We are really proud of it,” Steve said.

About Poplar Grove Airport  
Address: 11619 Route 76, Poplar Grove 
Information: 815-544-3471;  

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Myrna Siegrist cleans her Cessna 150, after returning from a lesson at the Poplar Grove Airport. 

Police accused of illegal search of hangar, retaliation: San Marcos Municipal Airport (KHYI), Texas

 Charles Soechting rushed to the San Marcos Airport after he says police called in April saying the back door of his airplane hangar was open.

In a federal suit — filed in Austin in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas — Soechting, a defense attorney and former state trooper, and his friend Edward F. Romano are claiming San Marcos police lied in a report saying Soechting granted them permission to enter their hangar and conduct an illegal search of the building.

The documents names the city of San Marcos, Police Chief Chase Stapp, assistant chief Bob Klett, and officers Wade Parham, Don Lee and Lee Harris.

Soechting and Romano say police searched their hangar without permission as retaliation because they have criticized San Marcos police’s behavior for over 10 years. Days before the search, the lawsuit explains, Soechting had told Stapp that actions against one of his clients were illegal.

In the suit, the men also claim a retired police officer had accused Romano of being a drug dealer.

Police had been at the hangar since about 4 p.m. and allegedly had asked the airport’s personnel for an access key to enter, the suit says. Officers waited until all employees left the building, broke into the hangar and called Soechting about 9:20 p.m. telling him about the hangar’s door, the lawsuit says.

According to the suit, Officer Harris asked for permission to search the hangar but Soechting declined. But police still searched the building, the lawsuit says.

Soechting and Romano explain in the lawsuit they did not grant police consent because the privacy of tax, business records and confidental client files they store at the hangar would have been compromised.

“It’s a very safe location, or at least it was before the police got there,” Soechting said. “There’s never been a moment of time where we didn’t feel our papers were safe out there. We’ve re-keyed the locks so they (police) can’t pick them.”

The men allege a K-9 unit incident report proves police illegally conducted the search.

The police report states that “detective Harris remained on the telephone with Mr. Soecthing and described our movements inside the hangar — to allow Mr. Soechting the ability to withdraw consent at any given moment,” according to the lawsuit.

But phone records prove it’s false, the lawsuit says.

In addition to the search, the men are claiming that police stopped the cars Romano and his private pilot were driving without a reason after they left the airport that same afternoon.

Soechting and Romano seek a permanent injuction to stop future police searches without a warrant or consent, damages and attorney fees.

The city of San Marcos did not respond to a request of comment Friday.

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