Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hazmat team investigates fuel spill at private company on St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (KPIE) site

CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) –  The Pinellas County Hazmat team was called out Sunday afternoon to investigate a fuel tank spill at a private business at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

The fuel tank spill, which was caused by a leak, was reported about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.

The business where the spill occurred was Sheltair Aviation, 15851 Fairchild Drive, Clearwater, said Michelle Routh, spokeswoman at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

No injuries have been reported, and the spill has been contained.

Emergency crews remain on the scene more than four hours after the incident was reported.

Environmental safety officials have been notified about the incident, Routh said.

- Original article can be found here:

Central Kentucky airports prepare for busy Breeders' Cup week of travelers — human and equine

The four-day period starting Thursday will be a busy — but festive — time to fly into the Bluegrass.

Guests arriving for the Breeders' Cup Classic and the University of Kentucky-University of Tennessee football game, both being held that weekend, will be greeted at Blue Grass Airport with an oversize floral horseshoe at the entrance. The front of the terminal will be lighted in purple bourbon balls, courtesy of Maker's Mark, and Call to the Post will be played at baggage claim.

And a jazz band will play on several days.

If you're coming in by private aircraft — and many people will be — you'll be stepping off onto a purple Breeders' Cup carpet.

Commercial flights — Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines serve Blue Grass Airport — are bumping up capacity for the Breeders' Cup, according to Amy Caudill, a spokesman for the airport. For example, 50-seat regional jets will be upgraded to 150- or 180-seat planes, such as a Boeing 757, a midsize twin engine jet, or Airbus A320, which Caudill said probably will be 90 percent to 100 percent full.

Additional airport workers are being brought in — from security screening agents to restaurant staff — to help with the expected rush. Airport terminal staff will wear purple, a Breeders' Cup color, and the flower beds outside will be adorned in purple and gold, also Breeders' Cup colors. A temporary food court in the terminal will be filled with Alltech bourbon barrel tables.

Air traffic appears to be busiest on the Thursday before the Breeders' Cup — which takes place Friday and Saturday — and is expected to pick up again Sunday, as visitors leave town.

The airport is expected to see a level of traffic it hasn't seen since the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington in 2010, an event that was spread out over two weeks. In a 2011 report commissioned by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Alltech World Equestrian Games Foundation reported it sold or provided complimentary tickets to 419,853 visitors. They came from 63 countries and all 50 states.

Breeders' Cup officials are expecting about 40,000 people to attend this weekend's races.

Airports in Georgetown, Frankfort and Richmond will serve as backups for private air traffic, Caudill said.

Dave Gauss, manager of the Frankfort airport, expects traffic there to be smaller aircraft, although his airport can handle business and private jets as big as a Bombardier Global Express or a Gulfstream IV or V, he said.

Jason Bonham, manager of the Richmond airport, said that he had received a few calls from pilots seeking a landing berth for Saturday night's Kentucky-Tennessee football game. The airport also can handle private jets because of a runway expansion four years ago, Bonham said.

It also will provide a place to park the aircraft and help with rental cars.

"If Lexington maxes out, we'll take the overflow," Gauss said.

Lexington's airport will be closing its crosswind, or shorter, runway for aircraft parking, Caudill said.

Although Blue Grass Airport will be trying to process passengers as quickly as possible, Caudill suggested that departing passengers try to arrive two hours before their flight's departure.

The airport is not just gearing up for commercial and private passengers. Horses also will be flying in via the H.E. "Tex" Sutton air transportation company.

Operations manager Mike Payne said that because the Breeders' Cup is being held in Kentucky this year, fewer horses will fly in than during Breeders' Cups elsewhere because many of the horses are nearby already.

The passengers aboard "Air Horse One," Payne said, "are like people. They have personalities. They're all a little different."

Some are more skittish, requiring more space and attention. Others are born jet-setters.

On the Sutton Facebook feed, for example, browsers can see several clips of American Pharoah getting off and onto an aircraft looking as if he's having a wonderful time.

"He's just a big ham," Payne said.

Story and photo gallery:

Civil Air Patrol members aid in searches, gain training

Williamsport, Pennsylvania --  Samantha Thompson, of Hughesville, smiles while her high school classmates discuss their trips to the mall or the movies over the weekend, knowing she had the experience of flying a plane over their everyday lives.

As a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol, the 15-year-old, who is not old enough for a driver's license, has gone flying twice as part of her training with the auxiliary of the Air Force, and will have more opportunities to do so.

Though not often spoken of, the Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer service made up of 60,000 U.S. citizens. It strives to maintain the country's superiority in aerospace and cyberspace technology, cultivates the development of strong values and character in its cadets and aids in search-and-rescue missions, disaster relief and counterdrug missions.

You might have seen the CAP color guard walking in a local parade between floats, or glanced over the words Civil Air Patrol in a list of responders to the scene of a disaster without thinking twice about who its members are.

But the Civil Air Patrol saves an average of 70 lives a year and offsets over $155 million in Air Force costs while aiding in finding missing people and aircraft, assessing damage and bringing aid after natural disasters, as well as playing a role in military training and preparedness, according to CAP's website.

In recent north central Pennsylvania history, the CAP has popped up quite a few times, whether in search and rescues or after plane crashes.

According to a Sun-Gazette report from 2009, members of the Williamsport Civil Air Patrol division aided in looking for a missing helicopter that was found crashed in New York near the Pennsylvania border, the pilot deceased.

When 92-year-old hiker Fred Atwood went missing last year in Tioga State Forest, CAP joined the search with emergency responders and volunteers, utilizing drone technology. The search came to a tragic end when Atwood was found dead, according to a Sun-Gazette report from October 2014.

More recently, several members of the Williamsport Composite Squadron 401 participated in searching for a lost dementia patient in August.

They conducted a grid search in conjunction with local law enforcement K-9 and SCUBA units, as well as state forestry personnel.

Alfred Turshman, 81, was found alive in the woods eight days after going missing about a mile from his residence.

Thompson was one of the search-and-rescue volunteers combing the area in New York where Turshman lived.

"I was one of the many people out searching, walking the woods in a line search to look for signs," she said, using emergency service training she has acquired through the Civil Air Patrol.

Thompson aspires to someday attend the Air Force Academy and go on to be a lawyer. She said CAP was the perfect place to start her ambitious future.

"It teaches you such useful skills like leadership, public speaking, how to handle yourself. There are so many amazing opportunities I'll get through the program," she said.

Cadets qualify for scholarships, and after attending the Air Force Academy as a pre-law student, Thompson said the military will pay for her to attend law school.

"An education in aerodynamics, as well as flying experience, gives our cadets a great pace of what to expect if they go into the military," said Matt Hutchinson, public affairs and cadet activities officer. "There are also a lot of chances for advancement. If you're in Civil Air Patrol and make it to a certain rank, you can go into the Air Force with an increase in pay and rank."

CAP is not just for young adults who plan to join the military. Those who want to build leadership skills, learn how to work in a team to accomplish tasks and gain an education in aerospace and cyberspace technology for their future career, can accomplish these things through the Air Force volunteer auxiliary.

Those wishing to serve their community, comfort survivors and victims of disasters or grow personally and professionally can accomplish it as a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol.

For now, members of Squadron 401, a small CAP unit, are trying to get the word out, and show people that they not only exist, but also can benefit the community in many ways.

"We're out here and open for kids 12 to 18, so please join. It's such a great opportunity," Thompson said.

"You have all these doors opened that most kids our age don't have. Take advantage and enjoy it because you'll never get a chance like it again."

Orignal article can be found here:

Coming to fruition: Enid Woodring Regional Airport (KWDG), Enid, Garfield County, Oklahoma

Dan Ohnesorge, the airport manager at Enid Woodring Regional Airport discusses the runway extension project Tuesday, October 13, 2015

About three and a half years ago, a looming need on the part of the Air Force sparked a request for assistance from the city of Enid that has turned into a project that will benefit both entities.

Friday morning a ceremony officially will open that project, the lengthening of the main runway at Enid Woodring Regional Airport to 8,000 feet.

That will give Woodring the longest civilian runway in northwest Oklahoma, and a runway longer than the longest one at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

In 2011, then-Vance wing commander Col. Russ Mack met with Mike Cooper, city of Enid military liaison, and then-city manager Eric Benson, about the possibility of the city extending the runway before the outside runway at Vance Air Force Base was to be shut down for replacement.

The outside runway is the one primarily used by T-38s, the swept-wing jets used to train fighter and bomber pilots. With the length of Woodring’s runway at the time, T-38s were unable to safely take off from and land there, and instead would have to divert to Tinker Air Force Base, or the airports in Wichita, Kan., Tulsa or Oklahoma City, in case of bad weather or emergency.

The longer runway would allow T-38s to fly into or out of Woodring. It also would enable private jets to take on a full load of fuel before taking off from Enid’s airport. That wasn’t an option with the shorter runway. In addition, said Dan Ohnesorge, manager of Enid Woodring Regional Airport, T-1s, the military’s version of a corporate jet that is used to train tanker and airlift pilots, required a waiver to operate on Woodring’s shorter runway.

“You ask any pilot, and especially a jet pilot, longer is always better,” said Ohnesorge. “You have more options when you have more concrete in front of you.”

So Cooper met with Terry Yonkers, then-assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics, and Kathleen Ferguson, his deputy at the time, and asked them whether they wanted the city to pursue the project.

“I told him we wanted to help, but we didn’t want to do this just for a temporary deal,” said Cooper. “But if it would help them increase their mission and reduce costs, fine. He said it would give them a lot of options to do a lot of things.”

“We kind of knew the answer already, but I think we needed to hear it officially from them,” said Ohnesorge, “and the answer was absolutely yes.”

From there, Cooper met with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and convinced her to make the project the state’s No. 1 military project. That opened the door for the city receiving money from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission.

Funding for the project, which is expected to total more than $10 million when the final costs are tallied, also came from the Federal Aviation Administration. In the end the city’s investment in the runway will be around $3 million, said Enid Mayor Bill Shewey.

“There are about five different areas that the money has come from,” Shewey said. “In the long run it is a definite asset for the city of Enid.”

Col. Clark Quinn, who is now 71st Flying Training Wing Commander at Vance, was enthusiastic about the project from the outset of his tenure here.

“From a wing commander here with an airport five miles away that two of the three airplanes can land at, having an ability to land all three airplanes there is phenomenal,” said Quinn. “Not so much for normal operations, which we do use it for, but it’s also for emergency situations. It really is a huge help to our operations.”

The date for closing Vance’s outside runway has not been set, Quinn said, but replacement work is expected to begin sometime in 2016.

“When that does happen we’ll go down to one runway here that the T-38 can use,” said Quinn. “That’s when it really becomes convenient to have an 8,000-foot runway across town.”

It isn’t likely that the T-38s will routinely use Woodring, as the Talons’ final approach speed is much different than other aircraft using the airport — three times faster than a Cessna and nearly twice as fast as a T-6.

“The operations wouldn’t mesh together with a single runway,” Quinn said.

Col. John Cinnamon, commander of Vance’s 71st Operations Group, called the project “A great partnership between us and the city of Enid, and especially Woodring. It creates a very safe runway for us to land at, right next door if we have an emergency.”

Woodring employees will be trained on receiving, refueling and launching T-38s.

“I think that’s an indication of the partnership,” said Quinn.

The project was initially designed to push the runway’s length to 7,600 feet, the maximum length possible without re-routing Southgate Road south of the airport. But the plan was changed to extend the runway to 8,000 feet and re-route a section of Southgate. Moving the road also required the city to purchase about 100 acres of land south of the airport. Some $500,000 to pay for moving the road came from the Oklahoma Transportation Commission.

The primary contractor on the runway project was TTK Co. of Edmond. Moving of the navigation aids was done by Rural Electric Inc. of Mesa, Ariz. CEC Infrastructure Solutions of Oklahoma City was the project’s consulting engineering firm.

The longer runway is expected to increase the amount of fuel sold at Woodring, which could attract corporate jets flying cross-country because fuel costs are cheaper here than at the airports in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. It also is expected to be an economic development tool for the city, helping attract companies to relocate here.

“It is a good economic measure for us,” said Shewey. “It’s going to be a good long-term asset for the city.”

The project has been a long journey, Ohnesorge said, requiring the city and the airport to jump through “about a million,” hoops, which he refers to as “science projects.”

 “It’s been a little frustrating at times, but I think it will be quite gratifying when we cut that ribbon and see two T-38s fly overhead and land,” Ohnesorge said.

“This has been a great project,” said Cooper. “It has been Ohno’s and my life for the last three and a half years. It’s like building your house, you can’t get away from it, it’s just there. But it will be one of the most gratifying things to see.”

“I never really got frustrated that it took so long,” said Shewey. “The end result is what I was really looking forward to.”

Story and photo gallery:

Monson, Hampden County, Massachusetts: Police searching for fallen helicopter parts

MONSON – Police are asking residents and motorists to keep an eye out for a large helicopter part that fell off an aircraft on Friday night.

At about 9 p.m., the Monson Police Department received a call reporting that a helicopter flying over Monson lost a large section of its windshield in the vicinity of Lower Hampden Road and Ely Road.

"The helicopter continued onto its destination without further incident," police officials said in writing.

Officers searched the area for any damage and to try to locate the windshield piece but did not find anything, police officials said.

If anyone does spot the windshield, police are asking them to leave the part in place and contact them at 413-267-4128.

Massachusetts State Police said they have not received any reports about problems with the helicopter.

Police did not say where the helicopter landed or release information about who was flying it. 

Original article can be found here:

National Transportation Safety Board shares best practices to enhance aviation safety

Guyana -- At the recently concluded Aviation Conference, the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shared various best practices to enhance safety in the sector.

The conference was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre during which NTSB representative, Beverley Drake, spoke on the role of aircraft accident and incident investigations in enhancing aviation safety.

Drake is an accomplished pilot and native of Guyana who emigrated to the US. She has served the NTSB for 24 years and has investigated over 300 small-, large-scale and high-profile aircraft accidents.

She is currently Program Manager in the Office of Industry and Government Affairs at the NTSB in Washington, DC.

During the recent conference in Guyana, Drake presented lessons learned from some of the accidents the NTSB has investigated, including those in the US with mechanical issues and incidents that have taken place in hostile environments.

The presentation brought awareness to some of the safety concerns addressed by NTSB. This includes the Mountain Safety Alert that NTSB issued to help pilots, engineers, mechanics, and ground crews become more aware of mechanical accidents that sometimes occur after aircraft come out of maintenance.

Drake shared information from investigations in Alaska, and in other locations, with the goal of helping Guyanese officials improve flying safety and to help Guyanese aviation officials lower aviation accident rates.

Story and photo:

'Most intense turbulence' as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flies through Hurricane Patricia

If you're someone whose heart rate jumps a bit when your 737 hits a few bumps while soaring over the Cascades, then this job is not for you… 

An extremely brave crew of 13 "hurricane hunters" spent much of their Thursday and Friday intentionally flying a NOAA P3 aircraft right into the heart of Hurricane Patricia -- what turned out to be the strongest storm on record in the Western Hemisphere. As you might imagine, flying around in 200+ mph winds amid towering thunderstorms and swirling updrafts, the "Fasten Seatbelt" sign was on for a vast majority of the flight (not that it really has one.)

P3 Mechanic Lonnie Kregelka decided to brave the cockpit and bring us along on one of their historic flights into the teeth of the monster.

"We were thumped really hard today making our first penetration in Patricia. +3G and -1.5G," Joseph Klipper, who was at the helm, wrote on Facebook. "3G" means they felt forces pulling them that was three times that of standard gravity, and -1.5 G meant it was an opposite push 1.5 times the force of standard gravity. Usually the only way you experience those numbers is if you're on a crazy roller coaster or warming up as a passenger with the Blue Angels. 

"The last ten seconds of this video we hit a up draft followed immediately by a down draft. A very sporting day!" Klipper continued. "Airspeed swings from 240 to 170 knots while attempting unsuccessfully to maintain 210 knots… We were thumped so hard that our flight directors keyboard flew off his station and all of his data was dumped. We circled for a hour afterwards as he reconstructed the penetration, made more difficult by the fact the we encountered record setting pressures and airspeeds." 

It probably wasn't just the keyboard that was knocked off. I imagine the cabin was quite a mess. (If you've ever seen Disneyland's "Twilight Tower of Terror" elevator ride, it was probably something like this, only without the souvenir stand at the end.) 

One of the other pilots on the mission, NOAA Lt. Cdr Patrick Didier, told ABC News that out of all the 3,800 hours of flight time he's clocked so far, his last flight into Hurricane Patricia on Friday "was the most intense turbulence I'd ever encountered." 

"Some of the most experienced among our group said Patricia definitely approached their top five of most turbulent flights they'd ever done," Didier said. "We experienced a few big jolts before punching out of the wall of the eye into the other side. Some of the keyboards flipped and papers got loose in the cabin." 

But their efforts were important -- their data showed the central pressure of the storm was 879 millibars (25.96" on your home barometer) -- a Western Hemisphere record for lowest pressure ever recorded, and not too far from the world record of 870 mb from Typhoon Tip on Oct. 12, 1979.

Hurricane hunters are essential to giving forecasters critical real-time data on developing storms that we just can't get from satellites. Obviously aside from a few sporadic buoys we don't have much for surface data and any ships in the area are likely high-tailing somewhere else. 

The NOAA crew uses specially equipped planes to criss-cross the storm, dropping weather instruments at strategic points in the storm and sending the data back to NOAA. In addition, they make a number of passes through the eye wall -- the strongest part of the storm -- to measure peak winds, and storm structure, and then fly into the storm's eye to measure its central pressure, its distance across, and how the storm is behaving.  The data is also crucial to feed into real-time hurricane forecasting models to improve their accuracy.

It was these flights with Patricia that sounded the alarm to forecasters at how rapidly the storm was intensifying -- we would have never known 879 mb or 200 mph winds. But also showed the eye wasn't very wide - about 7-12 miles across. Usually you think of the eye of a hurricane and winds are calm with sunny skies, but Patricia's eye was so narrow, the "calm" winds were only about 50 mph at the center ("There's not a lot of space to go from 190 mph winds to calm," one forecaster wrote about Patricia) with not enough space for clear skies, just lighter clouds. 

We were fortunate in this particular storm that it had such a narrow eye wall and managed to make landfall in a very sparesly populated spot of Mexico. But imagine had it hit closer to a city, and with how fast it intensified (85 mph to 200 mph in a day! Another record...) we might not have known just how strong the storm was without the hurricane hunter data.

So next time you're getting jostled a bit on that flight over the mountains, take some solace that it could be much worse -- and NOAA still has a perfect record of safety even after flying through countless hurricanes.

- Story, video and photos:

The crew of ‪#‎NOAA43‬ (‪#‎NOAA‬ P3) from the historic flight into East Pacific hurricane ‪#‎Patricia‬ (Photo Joseph Klippel, AOC Flight Engineer) 10/23/2015. Back row: Joe Sapp, Mike Holmes, Joseph Klippel, Lonnie Kregelka, Jim Warnecke, Tim Gallagher, Chris Lalonde, Bill Olney, Dana Naeher, Bobby Peek. Kneeling- Pat Didier, Scott Price and Adam Abitbol.

Bird strikes helicopter headed to St. Louis Children's Hospital

A helicopter struck a bird, cracking the windshield, as the aircraft was landing early Sunday at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

The helicopter, which originated at Cox Medical Center South in Springfield, Missouri, landed safely at about 12:30 a.m. and the patient and crew were not injured, according to Amy Connelly, a marketing manager at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

The damaged helicopter remained on the hospital's helipad Sunday morning where repairs were made.  

Any flights to St. Louis Children's Hospital were to be diverted to nearby Barnes-Jewish Hospital in the meantime.

- Original article can be found here:

Cold warriors at 50,000 feet and 600 mph

Courtesy ERAU 
The B-52.

PRESCOTT - Big subsonic bombers of the Cold War were the topic of two presentations by their former pilots, Dr. S. Harry Robertson and Dr. Frank Ayers, Wednesday evening, Oct. 14, at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Davis Learning Center.

The B-47, built by Boeing, was flown by Robertson, who noted that it had been a while since those days.

"The last time I was with a B-47 was 55 years ago," he said, "so, with my memory, I'm entitled to a little slack."

The B-47 Stratojet was a six-engine jet bomber designed to fly at high altitude that entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1951.

It was designed to supplant the massive, turboprop-powered bombers of World War II, and the Air Force "wanted to get some new kind of a bomber, one that was primarily jet powered, could fly at high altitudes, could really haul out and get places, and could carry a nuclear bomb."

The B-47 never saw combat, but is directly tied to the development of the later B-52 which is currently in service and has been since 1955.

Robertson talked about the work done by German aerospace scientists, who made significant contributions to the B-47.

"I had the opportunity, as a young man, to do work with some of those guys," he said, "and I never ceased to be amazed at what I could see and learn."

Turns out, the B-47, a swept-wing marvel of an aircraft, wasn't very popular among Boeing's engineers.

"Many of the Boeing employees didn't think this thing was worth a tinker's dam," Robertson said, and the usual rollout of the first one came with an atypical lack of enthusiasm.

One of the launch tactics of the time, the Minimum Interval Take Off, required the planes to follow each other down the runway just seconds apart; given the volume of thick black jet exhaust they left in their wake, Robertson said the experience could be "spooky."

He remembered the fighter-aircraft style bubble cockpit of the B-47 as one that could be "claustrophobic" on long flights.

Ayers, Chancellor of ERAU, picked up the story of the bomber's lineage with his aircraft, the B-52.

He pointed out that the B-52 wasn't the first bomber planned to take over for the B-47, with various "flying wing" designs being the early front-runners, "until the XP-49 crashed, killing" the crew.

Ayers said one of the major pluses, from the point of view of crewmembers, was the B-52's pressurized cockpit, which meant the pilots would not need to wear bulky pressure suits.

Ejection seats were not so popular: while the pilots' rocket-powered seats ejected them upwards, the crew members whose stations were "downstairs" were ejected downward, so the plane had to be at least 250 feet, preferably 500 feet, above the ground before they could escape.

"That was probably not the best design," he said.

Ayers cracked several jokes about the "advanced" technology aboard the B-52, noting that the only "glass" in the cockpit was the windows.

"But it was a good-flying airplane," Ayers said. 

Story and photos:

Courtesy ERAU 
The B-47.

SeaPort Airlines' call sign, apparel reflect humor

PORT ANGELES — What's not to like about a passenger airline that says its call sign is an abbreviation of Sasquatch?

SeaPort Airlines last week announced it will restore scheduled passenger service between Port Angeles' William R. Fairchild International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on March 1.

The SeaPort Airlines call sign is SQH, or Sasquatch, the firm says in the history section of its website at

The airline, which is based in Portland, Ore., plans to make five round trips each weekday, three on Saturdays and Sundays. Each one-way flight will take 40 minutes.

Security screening

In the works is the Port of Port Angeles' request for the Transportation Security Agency to screen passengers in Port Angeles.

Without TSA service here, passengers would have to disembark their aircraft to be bused to the front of the Sea-Tac terminal to undergo screening, according to Jerry Ludke, the port's airport manager.

Jennifer States, the port's business director, was in Washington, D.C., on Friday to meet with U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer — a Democrat from Gig Harbor who represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes the North Olympic Peninsula — and aides to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Seattle, to push for a TSA facility.

“If we had TSA here,” Ludke said, “passengers could get right into the system, and it would be much better.”

Restaurant return?

Also, according to Ludke, a restaurateur has make a serious inquiry to the port about reopening the eatery at the terminal, 1402 Fairchild Airport Road, although whether it would be a full restaurant or a coffee shop is too early to tell.

SeaPort flies nine-passenger, two-pilot Cessna Caravan single-engine turboprops similar to those flown by Kenmore Air until it pulled out of Port Angeles on Nov. 14.

That was about the same time that SeaPort added three new Caravans to its existing fleet of 14 aircraft in the Lower 48 states. The planes cruise at 197 mph with a range of 1,080 miles.

The Port of Port Angeles had sought a replacement for Kenmore Air for nearly a year before SeaPort's announcement Tuesday, with little in the way of progress reports following an air-service market study that port commissioners received in May.

Port commission President Jim Hallett acknowledged public impatience over progress but said the achievement was the result of a persistent port staff that followed commissioners' directions.

“That sometimes takes time,” he said Friday.

“It also was up to the airline to make sure they could staff up and deliver on the commitment.”

SeaPort stopped serving Tupelo, Miss., last August after encountering a pilot shortage. 

At that time, Tim Sieber, the airline's executive vice president, acknowledged the problem it had faced maintaining its schedule with pilots based in the South.

Loyal NW pilots

However, he told the Peninsula Daily News that SeaPort's pilots in the Northwest are happier to stay with the airline and less likely to leave to join larger carriers.

“They are more rooted,” Sieber said last summer.

“They have kids and stuff. They own homes. It tends to be a different pilot demographic than in the South.”

SeaPort on Tuesday also announced it would add three daily flights between Sea-Tac and Moses Lake and one flight linking Moses Lake with Portland, Ore., the airline's headquarters.

“With our focus on serving smaller communities, we believe SeaPort is a great match for Moses Lake and Port Angeles,” airline CEO Rob McKinney said in announcing the service.

Terminal improvements

Fairchild's passenger terminal, Hallett said, will get a “sprucing up” from its year of being vacant, but some amenities like a new ticket counter remained undecided.

That possibility depends on the TSA's willingness to screen passengers in Port Angeles.

Other improvements at Fairchild, Ludke said, will include “a lot of painting and refurbishing, updating signs and some improvements to the restrooms.”

The terminal also likely will get Wi-Fi and a big-screen television, Ludke said.

SeaPort will offer introductory reduced fares between Fairchild and Sea-Tac for $49 one way. Customers can buy them Nov. 15 through Feb. 15, and they will be valid for flights March 1 to April 14.

Where full fares will fall remains to be seen, but SeaPort's fare between Portland and North Bend/Coos Bay, Ore., costs $97.50 through Nov. 8. That trip is about 100 miles longer than the flight from Port Angeles to Sea-Tac.

Travelers who can't wait until March can purchase SeaPort clothing through its website, including boxer shorts.

Besides the airline's logo, they're emblazoned with the slogan “It's About Time.”

The website is silent about whether sizes fit Sasquatch.

Who, what can fly SeaPort

HERE ARE SOME details regarding SeaPort Airlines' service:

■ Baggage: Travelers who purchase premium fares can carry two bags weighing up to 50 pounds apiece.

Otherwise, one bag up to 50 pounds and no longer than 62 inches — plus carry-on items such as purses, small backpacks, briefcases or diaper bags — is permitted.

Umbrellas, outerwear, mobility aids, child seats and collapsible strollers also can be brought aboard.

If passengers' connections are via Alaska Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines, which are SeaPort ticketing partners, their luggage can be checked through, although they may have to go through security separately.

■ Children: Infants younger than 14 days cannot fly. 

Those 14 days to 2 years old who occupy the same seat as a fare-paying adult fly free. 

Children younger than 5 must be accompanied by a fare-paying adult.

Unaccompanied children 5 to 7 years old are accepted only on nonstop flights (as are all trips between William R. Fairchild International Airport and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). 

Unaccompanied children 7 to 11 years old are subject to a $50 service charge.

■ Pets: Domestic cats, dogs and household birds weighing less than 40 pounds apiece can fly for $50 in approved carriers in the cargo area inside the cabin. 

Service animals fly for free.

■ Boarding: Passengers are encouraged to arrive at the terminal 90 minutes before takeoff.

■ Details: Visit

Original article can be found here:

Lincoln Park trees not an issue for SeaPort Airlines • William R. Fairchild International Airport (KCLM), Port Angeles, Clallam County, Washington

PORT ANGELES — One problem SeaPort Airlines needn't face is what to do about trees in Lincoln Park that obstruct a flight path to William R. Fairchild International Airport.

“That's a tangential issue that has no direct impact on our relationship with SeaPort,” Jim Hallett, Port of Port Angeles commission president, said Friday.

Trees at the city-owned park have grown so tall, they have cut the safe approach to the 6,350-foot main runway to 5,000 feet.

The option of cutting the trees has encountered stiff opposition from some city residents.

Hallett said the city, the port — which owns Fairchild — and the Federal Aviation Administration are working together to solve the problem.

The port is waiting for the FAA to tell it how much money it will contribute to removing obstructions and what strings the agency would attach to the project.

Meanwhile, the port is updating its airport master plan to include options for removing flight path hazards. 

In July, port commissioners accepted a $596,913 FAA grant to update the five-year airport master plan as part of a $663,237 project.

The overall amount includes the port's 10 percent match of $66,324, half of which will be covered by state Department of Transportation funds.

Reid Middleton Inc. of Everett will update the plan, which will include aviation demand forecasts and alternatives to address the trees.

Action involving Lincoln Park must be approved by the City Council.

Hallett said he had been working on the trees issue since he was mayor of Port Angeles in the 1980s.

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Drone gridlock over New Jersey, as Federal Aviation Administration seeks registration for unmanned aircraft

NEWARK—The Embraer ERJ-170 jet was descending through 1,100 feet on final approach to Runway 22L at Newark Liberty International when pilots suddenly spotted a small, unmanned drone that passed overhead by just 15 feet.

Although no evasive action was taken by the Shuttle America flight, the August 10 incident was reported to the New Jersey State Police. The owner of the drone was never identified.

An analysis of Federal Aviation Administration data found New Jersey is among the top 10 states nationwide reporting improperly flown drones, some dangerously close to other aircraft. The examination of FAA reports by NJ Advance Media found more than two dozen incidents in the state involving drones in the wrong place at the wrong time, including one above a nuclear power plant.

Most of the pilot sightings were within a few miles of airports that included Newark Liberty, Teterboro and Atlantic City International Airport. Other drones were unexpectedly high off the ground, thousands of feet in the air, at altitudes that could have threatened manned aircraft. One was spotted flying near the Hope Creek nuclear generating station in Lower Alloways Creek Township, crossing the coastline from south to north. The pilot of a Piper PA-28R near Atlantic City International Airport reported in August encountering a black drone that passed in front of him from right to left at 1,000 feet, forcing him to pull up and make an immediate right turn to avoid it.

The data analysis showed New Jersey, with its crowded airspace, had the sixth most incidents in the country—with 28 reports of close calls between November 2014 and August 15. California had the most, at 171. Florida was second at 93. Nationwide, more than 650 drone sightings have been reported by pilots to the FAA in the past year, sometimes two or three times a day—nearly triple the previous year.

The FAA's current rules call for operators of most drones to remain under 500 feet, keep within visual line of sight, stay clear of manned aircraft, and not fly within 5 miles of an airport without contacting the airport and control tower.

Last week, federal officials announced it would impose new rules requiring the registration of all unmanned aircraft. "We intend to move very quickly," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in Washington.

The government launched a task force to come up with new regulations, with expectations that even those who already own drones will be required to register them.

"Our challenge has not been identifying the drone itself," said Fox. "It's connecting it back to the person who is using it."

The mounting numbers of close calls and sightings by pilots nationwide come as drones have become increasingly sophisticated while dropping sharply in price, flown by people with no special training. Much of that drone traffic has been driven by hobbyists and personal use, but there has also been a huge increase in commercial applications, including commercial photography.

Princeton University, for example, hired SkyCamUsa, a New York-based company that specializes in manned and unmanned aerial photography, to shoot a campus video showing never-before-seen vantage points of the university, and includes top-down views of Nassau Hall.

Police have also embraced the technology.  Earlier this month, law enforcement personnel looking for a suspect in Midland Park were assisted by the Bergen County Rapid Deployment Force, which used a drone with a video camera to expand the search for the man.

Even crooks have also gotten into the act, cops say. Last year, police in Upper Saucon Township, Pa., arrested Chaviv Dykes, 20, of Newark, and Duane Holmes, 44, of North Bergen, who they said were suspected of using a drone to monitor police while they carried out burglaries in Pennsylvania and other states. The two were found carrying more than $50,000 in cell phones taken from a Verizon Wireless store and other electronics outlets during a string of smash-and-grab burglaries, according to police. Officials said Holmes was carrying a drone equipped with a remote control camera, which another detective had observed hovering over the township police station a day earlier.

While current rules do not require personal drones to be registered, those seeking to operate unmanned aircraft for business—such as commercial photography or farming—need authorization from the FAA. According to the agency, it has granted permission to 1,937 companies nationwide to date, ranging from insurance companies looking to do roof inspections, to firms that specialize in mapping and aerial photography.

 The FAA said it has denied 399 petitions, "almost all of those for failure to supply information necessary to make a safety decision."

Two weeks ago, the FAA proposed a $1.9 million penalty against SkyPan International of Chicago for conducting what the agency called "reckless" drone operations over heavily populated cities, even after they were told they were violating federal regulations, an FAA official said. The company was accused of 65 unauthorized commercial drone flights over various locations from New York to Chicago between 2012 and 2014. The flights all involved aerial photography. The company, which has 30 days to respond, said it is reviewing the case.

For government agencies, the FAA issues a certificate of waiver or authorization permitting public entities and organizations to operate a particular aircraft, for a particular purpose, in a particular area.

State Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) last week introduced a package of bills in New Jersey that would require retailers to provide notice of FAA safety guidelines for flying model aircraft, and also require what is known as geo-fencing technology, which uses GPS or radio frequency identification to define geographical barriers, in drones sold or operated by a private individual or business in New Jersey. The technology would prevent them from operating above 500 feet or within two miles of an airport or protected airspace.

"It's getting worse and worse," he said of the drone invasion, pointing to last month's incident at the University of Kentucky game, where a drone piloted by a student in the parking lot during the pre-game celebration flew over the sold-out crowd at Commonwealth Stadium and crashed just before the Wildcats' home football opener.

"Obviously there are more and more of them and it's creating a problem," said Codey.

Foxx said with nearly 1 million drones in the skies, more regulation is necessary.

"This isn't riding your ATV on your own property," he said. "This is entering space where other users are occupying that space."

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Eagle Flight Center names new chief flight instructor: Eastern Michigan University

Ed St. Antoine is Eastern Michigan University’s Eagle Flight Centre’s new chief flight instructor.

Tom Trumbull, president of the center, said the FAA Gold Seal instructor has qualities a good flight instructor should possess, such as passion for aviation and teaching.

“Ed has shown a true desire to make a difference at our organization and with our students,” Trumbull said in a statement. “He has a way of infusing confidence in our students, which is something that all good pilots need.”

St. Antoine had worked as the assistant chief flight instructor for the past three of his six years with the Eagle Flight Centre.

He said learning about the Aviation Flight Technology Program inspired him to become a pilot. He earned a bachelors of science in aviation flight technology at EMU in 2011.

St. Antoine is now in the masters of aeronautical science program with a specialization in unmanned aerospace systems. He plans to complete the degree in April, 2016.

“I think achieving something big, like becoming a pilot, helps students build a level of confidence in themselves that will flow into all areas of their lives,” St. Antoine said in a statement. “I am very excited to take on this new challenge and help our students achieve their dream of becoming a pilot.”

St. Antoine is replacing Chris Sorenson, manager of training standards and safety for the company.

As the chief flight instructor, St. Antoine is responsible for maintaining a high standard of safety and training for students in the aviation program. He is now the student and instructor advisor. He will also perform stage checks, practice rides, with students before they perform their check ride, the final ride in the flight training program.

The Eagle Flight Centre has been a partner with EMU and has conducted all ground and flight operations for EMU and Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Mich., since 2006.

EMU’s aviation program offers a bachelors of science in aviation flight technology, a bachelors of science in aviation management and a dispatch certification.

For more information on the program, visit the Aviation Flight Technology website.

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Piper PA-28-235 Pathfinder, N3979X: Accident occurred October 24, 2015 at Courtney Plummer Airport (9WN1) Winneconne, Winnebago County, Wisconsin

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA021
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 24, 2015 in Winneconne, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/01/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-235, registration: N3979X
Injuries: 2 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 private pilot was conducting a cross-country flight. He reported that he could tell something was wrong as he started the descent for landing. He added that the engine was running “rough” and that it “quit” as the airplane touched down. He then observed black smoke and fire exiting out of the cowling. 
An examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane sustained discoloration, deformation, and extensive thermal damage to the right side of the fuselage forward of the empennage, the cockpit, and the engine cowling. The fuel line going to the carburetor was separated. A detailed examination of the fuel line revealed that it had separated due to bending overstress with evidence of exposure to high temperature. However, the on-scene and detailed examinations could not determine the source of the ignition.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
An engine compartment fire during landing, which resulted in extensive fire damage, for reasons that could not be determined during examinations of the remaining wreckage.

On October 24, 2015, about 1515 central daylight time, a Piper PA 28-235 airplane, N3979X, emitted smoke from under its cowling during touch down on runway 36 at the Courtney Plummer Airport (9WN1), near Winneconne, Wisconsin. The airplane landed and subsequently sustained substantial damage when it caught on fire. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed along the route of flight about the time of the accident and the flight did not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Aurora Municipal Airport, near Aurora, Illinois, about 1330 and was destined for 9WN1.

According to pilot's accident report, he reported that he could tell something was wrong as he started the descent. The engine was running "rough." The engine "quit" as he touched down. Black smoke and fire exited out of the cowling. He and his passenger opened the door and exited the airplane.

The pilot, age 62, held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a FAA third-class airman medical certificate, with a limitation for corrective lenses. The pilot reported on his accident report that he had accumulated 2,800 hours of total flight time in single engine airplanes, of which 10.3 hours were flown in the last 90 days. According to information he provided to the FAA, the pilot indicated he had accumulated 2,900 hours of total flight time, of which 2,000 hours were flown in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

N3979X, was a 1975 model Piper PA 28-235 single-engine, low wing, four-place, fixed tricycle landing gear airplane with serial number 28-7610002. The airplane was powered by a 235-horsepower Lycoming O-540, six-cylinder, normally aspirated, reciprocating engine. According to the airplane's type certificate data sheet, the airplane had a fuel capacity 84 gallons, of which 50 gallons were contained within 2 wing tanks and 34 gallons were contained within 2 tip tanks. The airplane's last annual inspection was completed on January 7, 2015. According to copies of airplane airworthiness records and logbook endorsements supplied by a repair station, on April 1, 2015, the airplane had some of its airframe skin repaired, the airplane was repainted, and its tip tanks were leak checked and reinstalled.

FAA inspectors examined the wreckage and documented the damage. According to the inspectors and review of images of the wreckage, the airplane sustained discoloration, deformation, and thermal damage that consumed a section of the right side of the fuselage forward of the empennage, the cockpit, and the engine cowling. There was an observed separation in the fuel line going to the carburetor. The fuel line and its fittings were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Material Laboratory for examination.

An NTSB chemist conducted a detailed examination of the fuel line. The examination revealed the separation of the fuel line was consistent with bending overstress with evidence of exposure to high temperature. The chemist's examination did not identify a source of ignition in reference to the fuel line and the investigation did not identify a source of ignition in the remaining wreckage.

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA021
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 24, 2015 in Winneconne, WI
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-235, registration: N3979X
Injuries: 2 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 October 24, 2015, about 1515 central daylight time, a Piper PA 28-235 airplane, N3979X, emitted smoke from under its cowling during final approach to the Courtney Plummer Airport (9WN1), near Winneconne, Wisconsin. The airplane landed and subsequently sustained substantial damage when it caught on fire. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed along the route of flight about the time of the accident and the flight did not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Aurora Municipal Airport, near Aurora, Illinois, at time unknown and was destined for 9WN1.

According to preliminary information given to the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot reported the smoke started on final approach. He landed the airplane and a ground fire started. The pilot reported that the fire caused extensive damage to the nose of the airplane.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13

A pilot and passenger escaped injury after their single-engine airplane caught fire on a town of Winneconne airstrip on Saturday.

According to a news release, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a fire at 3:15 p.m. at 5691 Courtney Plummer Road, which is a private airstrip in the town of Winneconne.

A Piper PA-28-235 Pathfinder landed on the airstrip after experiencing engine trouble.

The pilot, a 62-year-old male from Aurora, Illinois, and his 50-year-old female passenger exited the plane without injury before the engine caught on fire because of a mechanical issue, according to the news release.

Courtney Plummer Road was closed for about one hour while members of the Town of Winneconne/Poygan Fire Department extinguished the fire.

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