Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Denny Kitfox 2-3, N93TG: Accident occurred November 03, 2015 at Delta County Airport (KESC), Escanaba, Michigan

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

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

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

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration; GRR Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan 

Rotech Flight Safety; Vernon B.C.


NTSB Identification: CEN16LA035
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 03, 2015 in Escanaba, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: GLIMN Kitfox 2-3, registration: N93TG
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern for landing, the private pilot of the experimental amateur-built airplane heard a "clunk" sound from the front of the airplane; however, the propeller continued to rotate and the engine appeared to be operating normally. The pilot continued to the base and final legs of the traffic pattern and attempted to add engine power, but the engine "overreved." The airplane lost altitude as it neared the runway and touched down on the parking apron, then continued into a ditch, where it nosed over and came to rest inverted. A postaccident examination revealed that the propeller gearbox had failed in flight. All of the drive gear and propeller drive teeth were either worn or destroyed, and the gearbox drive gear displayed discoloration and heat signatures consistent with oil starvation. Additionally, there was no usable oil present in the gearbox, and no evidence of an oil leak. Although the airplane owner stated that he had added oil to the gearbox before the flight, it is likely that the flight departed with an insufficient oil supply in the propeller gearbox, which resulted in subsequent oil starvation. When the gearbox failed, the engine continued to operate; however, it ceased to drive the propeller, which resulted in a loss of thrust.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The airplane owner's inadequate maintenance and servicing of the propeller gearbox, which resulted in oil starvation, failure of the gearbox in flight, and a subsequent loss of propeller thrust. Contributing to the outcome was the airplane's low altitude at the time of failure, which precluded the airplane from reaching the runway.

On November 3, 2015 at 1100 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Glimn Kitfox 2-3 airplane, N93TG, impacted terrain and nosed-over during a forced landing at Delta County Airport (ESC), Escanaba, Michigan. The airplane lost propulsive power after the propeller ceased to rotate, but the engine continued to operate while the airplane was in the traffic pattern of ESC. The private pilot received minor injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage to a wing strut. The airplane was registered to and operated by the airplane owner under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed from ESC at 1050 and was to remain in the airport traffic pattern.

The airplane was flown as part of an aircraft sale. The pilot was an interested buyer. 

The registered aircraft owner stated that he had added oil to the engine gearbox prior to the accident flight because the oil level was "down." 

The pilot stated that he saw paperwork that recorded oil being added to the gearbox "on a couple of different pages." He did not recall the oil quantity that was recorded on the paperwork. He did not see any oil added after he arrived to fly the airplane.

The pilot stated that while the airplane was established on downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern, he reduced engine power and then heard a "faint klunk" from the front of the airplane. The propeller continued to rotate and the engine sounded "normal." While attempting to add engine power, the engine "raced/overreved." He attempted to add engine power a second time, but the result was the same. He turned the airplane for a left base to runway 36 and made a 180 degree turn with the intent to land on runway 27. He stated that he "ran out of altitude short of the runway." The airplane touched down on the parking apron, rolled out across a grassy strip, the runway 9/27 taxiway, and into a ditch that preceded and paralleled runway 9/27, where the airplane nosed over.

The pilot stated that if he had turned earlier toward runway 36, then the airplane would have been able to be landed on runway 36. The pilot said the he did not make the earlier turn because he did not realize he had a problem with the airplane since the engine was still operating and the propeller was still turning. He realized the airplane had a problem when he turned the airplane onto a base leg for runway 36 and needed power, but none was available to maintain flight.

The airplane was powered by a Rotex 582LC, serial number 3916418, engine that equipped with a B- model gearbox. The airplane was maintained by the registered owner, who was also an airframe and powerplant mechanic, since he purchased the airplane kit.

The engine was examined by a representative from Rotech Flight Safety under the supervision of a National Transportation Safety Board Air Safety Investigator. The examination revealed that no oil drained from the sealed gearbox, which should have contained a level of oil, when the magnetic oil drain plug was removed. The drain plug displayed heavy metal debris deposits consistent with propeller shaft drive gear teeth. There was no gearbox oil residue oil/oil staining present on the engine or gearbox section, consistent with leakage/drainage outside of the gearbox. The gearbox was then disassembled and the reduction section of gearbox was removed. 

Figure 1: The gearbox drive gear displayed discoloration and heat signatures consistent with no lubrication. All drive gear teeth were worn/destroyed from drive gear. 

Figure 2: The propeller large gear in the gear set displayed discoloration and heat signatures consistent with no lubrication. All of the propeller large gear teeth were worn/destroyed.

The pilot walked away uninjured after a Kitfox experimental aircraft had to make an emergency landing at the Delta County Airport.

Airport Manager Kelly Smith, in a written press release, said the incident happened today at approximately 11:00 a.m. when a gearbox failure caused the propeller to stop moving. 

Smith said the pilot brought the aircraft down, landing on the north side of the ramp, traveled across the taxiway and into the grass between the taxiway and the runway.  The aircraft then traveled into a ditch, causing the aircraft to flip and invert.  

The airport closed the runway and taxiway for approximately one hour, reopening after approval from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The commercial afternoon flight by Delta Airlines, was only delayed approximately 15 minutes.

In addition to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and local emergency services were notified of the event.  

The National Transportation Safety Board is still gathering information as part of the investigation into the incident. 

West Des Moines aviation company awarded tax credits

Global Aviation Resources Inc. was recently awarded state and local tax credits to assist in a $4.2 million expansion of its West Des Moines headquarters.

The West Des Moines City Council on Monday approved a $23,000 no-interest loan and a five-year property tax rebate, equal to about $221,130, as a match to the Iowa Economic Development Authority's $115,000 loan and $363,500 in tax credits awarded in August.

GAR-MRO, which sells and repairs aircraft parts, is located at 5058 Grand Ridge Drive, but has outgrown the space and plans to build a 27,000-square-foot facility at 7760 Cascade Ave., just south of Wells Fargo and Athene USA. The company will add 23 high-wage jobs over the next three years.

Carolyn Shojaat, vice president, said the company will have no comment on the expansion.

The new facility will house its maintenance, repair and overhaul operations. It will feature 10,000 square feet of repair space, 9,000 square feet of warehouse space and 8,000 square feet of office space, according to the company's application to the IEDA.

According to its website, GAR-MRO specializes in both military and commercial aircraft components, including various Boeing and Airbus models. Some of its customers are FedEx, UPS, Southwest Airlines, South African Airways and Kuwait Airways.

- Source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com

Chester Township, Morris County, New Jersey: Search for possible downed plane cancelled

CHESTER TWP.  - An air and ground search was undertaken Tuesday evening in the area of Pleasant Hill Road after two witnesses reported a small plane was flying unusually low in the sky and then disappeared, police said.

Mayor William Cogger said at 6 p.m. that he was advised by Police Chief Thomas Williver that two witnesses saw a low-flying plane, lost sight of it and called police, fearing the plane was down or had possibly crashed.

The witnesses described it as a small biplane that appeared to be flying very low in the area of the Black River and did not appear to have any engine trouble or signs of distress; however it disappeared from view.

State police, equipped with thermal-imaging equipment, flew over the area in a helicopter without finding anything, and multiple other entities and agencies were contacted, including Morristown Airport, Somerset Airport, Morris County Office of Emergency Management, Morris County Prosecutor's Office, and Morris County Park Police, which have special vehicles for navigating marshy land, an official said.

The Black River Wildlife Management Area is in the vicinity and it was searched. The Black River itself is more of a brook than a deep body of water in that area.

All local airports reported that all planes in the area were accounted for and the search was eventually cancelled.

Agencies that assisted at the scene included: Chester Volunteer Fire Company, Chester Volunteer First Aid Squad, Morris County Park Police, NJ State Forest Fire, and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management.

- Source:  http://www.dailyrecord.com

Plane makes emergency landing in Sweden after unruly passenger tries to kick down cockpit door

STOCKHOLM – Police say a commercial flight from Romania to Norway made an emergency landing in Swedish city of Malmo after a passenger tried to kick down the door to the cockpit.
Police said the man was arrested Tuesday upon landing in Malmo on suspicion of violating aviation laws by endangering passengers during a flight.

The Expressen newspaper said the passenger was subdued by other passengers aboard the Wizz Air flight from Bucharest to the Norwegian city of Torp. Police could not confirm those details.

Police spokesman Stephan Soderholm said there were no indications that the incident was terror-related. He said a second passenger was taken into custody in Malmo for drunkenness.

The plane landed safely and no injuries were reported.

- Source:  http://www.foxnews.com

Ett plan har tvingats nödlanda efter bråk

Ett plan har tvingats nödlanda på Sturup efter att en passagerare försökt att sparka in dörren till cockpit på 10 000 meters höjd, uppger polisen.

Han försökte även öppna dörrar ombord och fick brottas ned i luften.

På marken greps personen för brott mot luftfarten och framkallande av fara för annan.

Händelsen inträffade vid 19-tiden på tisdagskvällen, enligt polisens hemsida.

Flygledartornet på Sturup anropade 112 efter att kaptenen på Wizz Air-planet från Bukarest i Rumänien till Torp i Norge larmade om att man hade problem med två stökiga passagerare ombord.

En passagerare på planet berättar för norska VG att mannen stod och skrek i kabinen.

– Därefter springer han genom mittgången fram till cockpit där han får in två sparkar innan han blir övermannad av flera manliga medpassagerare. Det hela var över på fem minuter och det var relativt lugn stämning under landningen, säger passageraren till tidningen.

– När något sådant sker högt upp i luften tycker jag inte att det är kul alls, säger en annan passagerare till norska Östlandsposten.

När planet landat i Malmö greps mannen. Han misstänks för brott mot luftfarten och framkallande av fara för annan efter att ha försökt att sparka in dörren till cockpit på 10 000 meters höjd.

Fick binda fast passageraren i stolen

På Luftfartsverket kan man bekräfta vittnesuppgifterna.

– De fick gå ned på Sturup på grund av en stökig passagerare, säger Margareta Otterström på Luftfartsverket.

– Han försökte ta sig in i cockpit och försökte öppna dörrar i luften och då fick de ta hand om honom och binda fast honom i stolen och gå ned till Sturup, säger Otterström.

Polisen informerade under kvällen om en nödlandning, men på Sjö- och flygräddningscentralen i Göteborg definierar man det annorlunda,

– Jag vet inte om jag vill kalla det en nödlandning, men planet fick gå ned eftersom en man var bråkig ombord. De har brottat ned honom i planet och överlämnat honom till laga myndighet, säger flygräddningsledare Christer Ekeroth på Sjö- och flygräddningscentralen i Göteborg.

Polisen Skåne skriver i natt på sin hemsida att den misstänkte är en 43-årig rumänsk medborgare som är bosatt i Norge. Händelsen är rubricerad som luftfartssabotage. Förutom att sparka in dörren till cockpit försökte han öppna två nödutgångar.

Ytterligare en person har omhändertagits misstänkt för fylleri i samband med landningen. Den person som greps och den som omhändertogs för fylleri har inget samröre.


Alaska Airlines to start new flights between Santa Rosa and Orange County

Alaska Airlines announced plans Tuesday to start daily flights between Sonoma County and Orange County, adding its fifth destination from the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

Daily service between the Santa Rosa airport and John Wayne Airport in Orange County begins March 16. Flights depart Orange County at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in Santa Rosa at 1:46 p.m. From Santa Rosa, flights depart at 12:40 p.m. and arrive in Orange County at 2:11 p.m.

“These new routes will bring low fares and an elevated flight experience to our valued Los Angeles area customers,” John Kirby, Alaska Airlines vice president of capacity planning, said in a statement.

Alaska Airlines is also launching daily service between Orange County and Reno, Nev., its sixth destination from the Santa Ana airport.

The new Santa Rosa route will be served by Horizon Air’s 76-seat Q400 aircraft, which it currently uses on flights from Sonoma County to Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland and Seattle. To launch service to Orange County, it is offering a special introductory one-way fare starting at $79, though customers must purchase tickets by Nov. 9 and travel by June 8, 2016.

Read more here:  http://www.pressdemocrat.com

Small Airlines Push for More Access at New York Airports • Virgin America, others ask federal regulators for easier access to takeoff and landing slots at JFK, La Guardia and Newark

The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 3, 2015 6:51 p.m. ET

Virgin America Inc. and four other small carriers are pressing federal regulators to change “slot management” practices at New York’s three big airports to boost competition in the largest U.S. air market, said Virgin America Chief Executive David Cush.

His San Francisco-based discount carrier and the other four filed a letter on Tuesday urging the chiefs of the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Transportation Department to move ahead with proposals to make it easier for small carriers to obtain slots—takeoff and landing appointments—at the three congested airports.

The push highlights the growth ambitions and challenges for the eight-year-old carrier at a time when years of consolidation has left the U.S. market dominated by a quartet of giants: American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., and Southwest Airlines Co.

The FAA in January began soliciting feedback on plans to amend current rules governing slots at John F. Kennedy International Airport, La Guardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport. Those rules are slated to expire next October.

Mr. Cush said only new service and competition at the New York airports will create lower fare options. Most of the slots there are controlled by American, United and Delta, which received many of them years ago at no cost.

Tuesday’s letter was also signed by executives of Frontier Airlines Inc., Allegiant Travel Co.’s Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines Inc., and Alaska Air Group Inc.’s Alaska Airlines. Representatives of Frontier, Allegiant, and Spirit confirmed their participation. Alaska Airlines couldn’t immediately be reached.

Virgin America’s “biggest concern is expanding,” Mr. Cush said. “We have no mechanism to expand in the New York airports because the slots are controlled by the Big Three” and JetBlue Airways Corp., a budget airline based at Kennedy Airport. “There is no mechanism for us to get slots.”

American said it makes “good and appropriate use of our slots, which benefits the airline, consumers and the communities we serve.” Delta said its annual slot utilization rate at La Guardia is 94% and at JFK it is 90%, and that it would like to obtain more slots to increase service for its customers. United wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Budget carriers such as Virgin America have gained some access. Regulators required Delta and US Airways to sell some slots at each airport as part of a 2011 swap that gave Delta more rights at La Guardia in return for letting US Airways increase flights at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C.

And when the government let American and US Airways merge in late 2013, the new American had to divest slots at La Guardia and Reagan National. Virgin American got to buy or lease limited number of slots at both airports, although the going rate for a pair of slots was about $5 million.

Mr. Cush said he favors proposed rules that would require airlines to use their slots 80% of the time, or those rights would revert to the government. He said he prefers the FAA’s idea of establishing a transparent secondary market where smaller carriers could acquire slots. And he would like the government to allocate additional to new entrants to promote competition.

It is unclear when the FAA and the DOT will make their decisions. A spokeswoman said the FAA is continuing to review comments and doesn’t have a timeline for a final rule.

Mr. Cush, a longtime executive at American before moving to Virgin America in 2007, said small airlines also struggle with an inability to get gate space at busy airports. He said his airline has just one gate at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and can’t get any more, making expansion impossible.

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

Take a look inside a Virgin Atlantic clubhouse, where first-class passengers are spoiled rotten before they even leave the ground

Flying can be a real pain. For most, the first-class flying experience is a storied and coveted fantasy far from the cramped seats of coach.

But for the envied few who get the chance to stretch out their legs and cradle a flute of champagne 35,000 feet in the air, the experience begins even before boarding.

Virgin Atlantic, the airline brand owned by British billionaire and bon vivant Richard Branson, is known for its flair and flash, and the first-class clubhouses it maintains in various airports across the globe are no different.

Need a haircut before your flight? A gourmet meal to tide you over? Or perhaps a quick cocktail to take the edge off?

Several of Virgin Atlantic's lounges house full spas, as well as extensive breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus to fully pamper their guests. The experience is reserved exclusively for passengers who have bought "Upper Class" tickets on Virgin Atlantic flights.

Business Insider got a look inside Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Here's what it's like to relax in the lap of luxury.

Story and photo gallery:  http://www.businessinsider.com

Study: Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (KBTR) loses huge chunk of passengers to other airports, mainly New Orleans

Nearly two-thirds of travelers who live near enough to use the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport shun it to fly out of other airports instead — usually the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport —according to a new airport economic impact study.

The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport on Tuesday released the study, which reveals new insights about the airport’s reach and its estimated $1.1 billion total economic output in Baton Rouge. But in order for the airport to be successful in the future, convincing the 63 percent of people each day who choose other airports before Baton Rouge will be an important hurdle to overcome.

Airport officials said they see the statistic as both welcome news and a challenge.

The glass-half-full look at it is that the Baton Rouge Airport now has identified a hefty base of some 2,615 potential customers daily to try to lure away from New Orleans. That figure includes not only local people traveling to New Orleans — fliers who live within 50 to 100 miles of Baton Rouge — but also travelers from more far-flung locations who drive past the Capital City to fly out of Louis Armstrong.

That means airport officials will need to convince these people now making long commutes, in many cases for cheaper deals, that there are reasons to begin their flights closer to home. Persuading people to choose Baton Rouge also would be a key component to enticing airlines to add more flights.

“The community has to know and understand, if they were staying here, that service would be here,” said Assistant Director of Aviation Ralph Hennessy.

The perception of cheaper, more available flights and more direct flights out of New Orleans is one of the biggest reasons travelers stray, the study from consulting group Emergent Method found. Travelers enjoy the presence of Southwest Airlines in New Orleans, along with the added leisure options at that airport.

The study shows it can be between $42 and $160 cheaper for a traveler to hop on a New Orleans flight rather than a Baton Rouge one when traveling to Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Houston and Charlotte.

Though the perceived cost gap is often real, the analysis says it usually does not account for the business traveler’s loss of time or productivity when he or she spends more than an hour driving to the Crescent City.

The consultants calculated that additional out-of-pocket costs for traveling to New Orleans — including gasoline, parking, vehicle wear-and-tear and more — range from $26 for someone driving from Ascension to $98 for someone driving from Zachary.

“We need New Orleans in our region,” said Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Director Anthony Marino. “It’s just we’ve got to recapture that leakage.” The study showed that Baton Rouge loses 1,147 fliers daily who live within 50 miles of the airport to New Orleans.

Airports nationwide are struggling to hang on to flights as airlines slash services they once provided. Baton Rouge has seen 13.64 percent fewer flights in a snapshot-of-time comparison from this summer versus 2011.

Baton Rouge has not been squeezed as hard as some other markets, and larger planes have meant that the seat capacity loss is only down by about 4 percent. But such challenges have caused airport officials to re-examine what they do well and what they need to improve as they enter a new master planning phase.

The economic impact study says the airport has an undeniable contribution to the city and state’s economies. It projects that the airport creates 4,748 in direct and indirect jobs, $386.8 million in economic value added to the economy and $19.5 million in state tax revenue. Emergent Method calculated a that the airport has $1.1 billion in total economic output, which combines direct and indirect economic impact from the airport and its business park.

Marino said he was surprised and encouraged by the economic impact, particularly because the airport doesn’t rely on any local tax dollars for its operations.

But in order to continue improving upon it, Emergent Method suggested that the airport carve out a niche of premium service for business travelers.

One challenge in doing so is overcoming is a new trend of incentives and revenue guarantees, which give airlines a safety net when they move into a new market. Wooing airlines to bring more flights to Baton Rouge means that the airport needs to put up money and incentives to make the flights a reality.

The Baton Rouge airport already does some of this, by waiving fees and putting up some economic incentives for airlines. But the strategies have become commonplace across the industry, according to Marino.

“Airports are like everyone else,” he said. “You’ve got to show them that you can equal or better the yield. The airline is saying, ‘show me some incentive from your community.’”

Other cities are upping the ante by tapping into their business communities to put up third-party incentives for airports. The Baton Rouge Airport is hoping to walk down that same path by partnering with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Louisiana Economic Development.

If BRAC and LED are successful in creating revenue guarantees and incentives for airlines, Baton Rouge airport officials figure that local companies might modify their travel policies or be more willing to move to Baton Rouge. The partnerships have been successful at airports in other cities, including the Richmond International Airport, the Memphis International Airport and the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

LED and BRAC both worked to strengthen Baton Rouge’s air travel market this past summer, in hopes of keeping chemical maker Albemarle Corp. headquartered in Baton Rouge. Albemarle announced in August that it was relocating its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina, and partially cited Charlotte’s airport and direct flights to Frankfurt, Germany as one of its reasons for moving.

Other changes the study recommends are more minor.

For example, some travelers who were interviewed during the economic impact study complained about the slow WiFi, even though it’s free. The airport is speeding it up, and the WiFi should become faster in the next few weeks.

The airport is also starting an ambassador program in early 2016 where airport employees are available around the airport to help travelers, especially when flight irregularities and delays occur. Though those problems usually fall under the responsibility of the airlines, airport leaders expect that the ambassadors will be able to help alleviate problems and even reach out to those complaining on social media.

Story, comments and photo gallery:  http://theadvocate.com

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N9029Y: Accident occurred November 03, 2015 near Meyers-Diver's Airport (3TE), Tecumseh, Lenawee County, Michigan


NTSB Identification: CEN16LA029

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 03, 2015 in Tecumseh, MI
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18-150, registration: N9029Y
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 November 3, 2015, about 1430 eastern standard time, a Piper model PA-18-150 single-engine airplane, N9029Y, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees during an aborted landing at Meyers-Diver's Airport (3TE), Tecumseh, Michigan. The airline transport pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that had departed 3TE about 1315.

The pilot reported that the accident occurred as he was landing on runway 27 (1,820 feet by 100 feet, grass/turf). He reported that he made a wheel (two-point) landing and that the airplane bounced back into the air as it traversed over the crossing concrete runway located near midfield. He increased engine power after the bounce and subsequently made a full-stall (three-point) landing on the remaining runway. The pilot reported that the airplane immediately veered to the left after the tailwheel made contact with the runway. The airplane subsequently departed the left side of the runway into a grass field. The pilot reported that he was able to regain directional control and maneuvered the airplane back onto the runway before attempting an aborted landing. The pilot stated that although he was able to get the airplane airborne, and the engine was operating normally, he was unable to clear the trees situated along an airport perimeter road. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage during the collision with the trees.

At 1453, the automated surface observing system at the Lenawee County Airport (ADG), located about 11 miles south-southwest of the accident site, reported: wind 180 degrees at 7 knots, surface visibility 10 statute miles, clear sky, temperature 23 degrees Celsius, dew point 7 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

TECUMSEH, Mich. -- A plane crashed in the backyard of a home in Tecumseh Tuesday afternoon.

According to Tecumseh Police, fire and police crews responded to the scene on N. Evans Street around 2:45 p.m.

Crews found a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub aircraft crashed in a field behind a home and just south of a runway at the Meyers Airport. The plane struck something on the runway as it attempted to land.

When the pilot attempted to regain control of the aircraft, it titled on its side, striking nearby trees and causing it to crash.

The pilot and one passenger reported only minor injuries.

No one on the ground was injured.

The incident remains under investigation.






US factory orders fell again in September


Orders to U.S. factories fell in September for a second straight month, with a key category that tracks business spending plans also losing ground.

Factory orders dropped 1 percent in September following a 2.1 percent decline in August, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. A category that serves as a proxy for business investment spending slipped 0.1 percent.

The September result was led by a big 36 percent fall in the volatile category of commercial aircraft. But the weakness was widespread across other categories including primary metals, machinery and computers.

U.S. manufacturers have been squeezed this year as a strong dollar makes American products less competitive overseas. Weak economies in China and other key foreign markets have also cut into exports.

Orders for motor vehicles and parts edged up a modest 0.4 percent, but demand in transportation overall was off 3.1 percent. Outside the volatile transportation sectors, orders were down 1.4 percent, the fifth drop in the past six months.

Demand for all durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, fell 1.2 percent. Demand for nondurable goods such as paper, chemicals and food fell 0.8 percent.

Economic growth as measured by the gross domestic product slowed to a moderate 1.5 percent rate in the July-September quarter following a 3.9 percent advance in the second quarter. Many economists are projecting GDP to accelerate to around 2.5 percent in the current October-December period, as strength in consumer spending offsets continued weakness in manufacturing.

The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that factory activity slowed in October to its slowest pace since May 2013.

A slowdown in China, the world's second-largest economy, has delivered a direct hit on construction equipment makers such as Caterpillar. Yet there are signs that China's economy might be stabilizing: A survey of its manufacturers over the weekend found that its factory activity is still contracting but at a slower pace.

Through September, orders to U.S. factories are down 7.2 percent compared to the same period in 2014.

Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com

Diamond DA-40, C-FOND: Incident occurred November 02, 2015 at Courtenay Air Park, British Columbia, Canada

Two Victoria area men escaped unhurt after the single engine Diamond DA-40 they were in crashed into the Courtenay River today.

Pilot Ian Barnes says he came in for landing too fast and tried to take off again.

“Just came in a little too fast on the approach for the runway there and looks like I made the decision to pick up and go around a little too, a little bit too late and ended in the water,” Barnes told CHEK News.

The Courtenay Airpark is a small public aerodrome with an 1800 foot runway. Witnesses say he came in too fast and landed more than halfway down the runway.

“I just noticed the newer plane come in super fast and I made a mental note, like whoa, he’s coming in way faster than say 90-percent of the planes come in,” said Kevin Hodgson.

“And I just happened to look out and the next thing I knew it sounded like he revved, lifted and the next thing I saw was a spray of water,” added Keith McPerson.

The plane went off the runway, through a chainlink fence and some bushes before landing in the river, fortunately right side up.

“We were probably doing 60-70 knots and it happened and didn’t have a whole lot of time to think about it but hit the water, jumped out of the canopy turned the fuel off, turned all the electrics off like you’re supposed to and walked off the wing,” said Barnes.

A large crane was later used to lift the plane out of the river.

No word yet if the Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.




Monday, November 2, 2015

Icelandair eyes capacity growth of 18 percent in 2016

Icelandair plans to increase capacity by 18 percent next year by luring customers to a network of niche North American cities and tempting them with onboard wifi services, helping it compete on trans-Atlantic routes.

Icelandair flies between European and U.S. cities via its Iceland hub, which means it can use smaller, cheaper planes than other airlines on trans-Atlantic routes. It estimates it has a 2 percent share of the North Atlantic market.

"We are planning next year to grow 18 percent in terms of available seat kilometres," said Helgi Mar Bjorgvinsson, senior vice president of marketing & sales, referring to a standard measure of an airline's passenger carrying capacity.

That compares with an average annual growth rate of 15 percent over the last five years.

The airline is facing competition on Europe to North America routes from budget airlines such as Wow Air, a rival Iceland-based airline that also uses the Reykjavik stop-off model, and Norwegian, which offers low-cost direct flights.

Wow Air said on Monday it would add new routes between Reykjavík and Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2016.

Also from next year, Canada's WestJet will start flying direct routes from London Gatwick to Toronto and other cities at budget prices.

In an interview on Monday, Bjorgvinsson said flying to destinations like Edmonton, Denver, Seattle, Portland and Anchorage gave the airline access to niche markets that have fairly few direct flights to Europe.

Icelandair, which has a market capitalization of 171 billion Icelandic crowns ($1.3 billion), also competes through its hybrid low-cost but-full service offering, said Bjorgvinsson.

Unlike on some budget airlines, passengers do not have to pay to check in their bag, and from the end of this year, the whole fleet will be wifi-enabled, he added.

 - Source: http://www.reuters.com

Liberal opposition to jets at Billy Bishop airport a blow to Bombardier

The incoming Trudeau government, already facing a tough decision on whether to offer a $1-billion (U.S.) bailout to Bombardier, says it’s standing by a different political pledge that will end up hurting the Montreal aircraft maker and its troubled C Series plane.

The Liberals, who take office in Ottawa on Wednesday, confirmed Monday that they remain opposed to allowing jets at Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport – which would kill an order worth more than $2-billion to Bombardier.

Porter Airlines Inc. is prepared to buy as many as 30 of Bombardier’s C Series planes, but only if the runway at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is extended. The federal government is one of three parties that will rule on whether that extension can go ahead.

Authorization for runway extensions necessary to accommodate jets would require renegotiating a tripartite agreement between Ottawa, Ports Toronto and the City of Toronto.

Asked to clarify the Liberal position Monday, Trudeau spokesman Daniel Lauzon provided a copy of a June 4, 2015, letter sent to Toronto Mayor John Tory and city council, signed by Toronto-area Liberal MPs and the chair of the Ontario Liberal caucus, that pledged never to do that.

“We have … pledged not to reopen the Tripartite Agreement,” the letter said. “The Liberal Party’s policies on the waterfront are as clear as they are forward looking,” the MPs wrote.

This Toronto pledge leaves the Liberals in an awkward position. Quebec’s Economy Minister Jacques Daoust on Friday said he will ask Ottawa to match a $1-billion lifeline for Bombardier when the Liberals take office Nov. 4.

A request to join a bailout package and the expansion of Toronto’s downtown airport are theoretically separate discussions, but a government that kicks in $1-billion to support an airplane program that has struggled to land orders will find it challenging to kill the Billy Bishop expansion plan at the same time and cause the cancellation of a major order.

The Liberal pledge Monday backs up a promise made by Adam Vaughan, who, while a Toronto councillor, MP in the previous parliament and during a successful re-election campaign, opposed the Porter proposal. Mr. Vaughan was re-elected in the central Toronto riding that includes the airport.

“The jet issue. We’ve made a promise. We will keep that promise. No jets on the waterfront,” he said during his victory speech on Oct. 19.

That pledge was made before the Quebec government agreed last week to inject $1-billion into Bombardier and take a 49.5-per-cent ownership in the C Series program.

It was also made before Mr. Daoust said he would be on the phone to the new federal industry minister half an hour after that person is appointed.

“If the federal government comes in, the notion of risk completely changes,” Mr. Daoust told Bloomberg last week.

Porter wants the three entities – the federal government, the City of Toronto and Ports Toronto – that control the island airport to agree to 168-metre extensions of both ends of the runway to allow the C Series to take off and land. Porter would offer flights from Toronto to Western Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Porter’s order for 12 planes and options on 18 more is worth $2.3-billion at 2013 list prices, but is conditional on approval of the expansion.

The Liberal position on the Billy Bishop expansion and helping Bombardier financially is being closely watched in Quebec, where the party gained major ground in the federal election last month.

“It starts with Justin Trudeau,” said aviation consultant Robert Kokonis, president of AirTrav Inc. “Does he want to invest $1-billion? They went from extinction in [Quebec] to 40 seats. He’s talking about infrastructure, talking about job creation,” Mr. Kokonis said.

Bombardier has 243 firm orders for the C Series, which is two years behind the scheduled date of delivery to its first customer and more than $2-billion (Canadian) over the initial budget of $3.4-billion.

Porter spokesman Brad Cicero said Toronto City Council voted 44-0 to undertake a review of the airline’s proposal, including participation by all three members of the tripartite agreement that governs the airport.

“If after the full review is complete, and city council determines that it would like to proceed with the proposal, we believe that the federal government should consider the wishes of the people of Toronto when evaluating the proposal,” Mr. Cicero said.

- Story and comments: http://www.theglobeandmail.com

Pilot Michael Alger: 25 missions with Angel Flight

Michael Alger, 45, has racked up 25 missions for Angel Flight Southeast and is looking forward to more.

UMATILLA — Pilot Michael Alger flies with a purpose.

Alger, 45, has been flying missions through Angel Flight Southeast, a Leesburg nonprofit that helps patients get to medical care when it's not available in their area. He has flown 25 missions since December 2012.

"It's the best thing I've done with my pilot's license," he said. "I get a lot out of it. It's pretty significant to fly with a purpose, not just as a hobby for myself."

Alger, born in Eustis and raised in Umatilla, earned his pilot's license in 2001 in the midst of his career as a paramedic. His late mother supported his quest to fly and was his first passenger. In 2011, he bought a single-engine Rockwell Commander 112TC with a partner.

"That's when I decided I could do Angel Flight," he said.

Alger recalled his first mission. It was cancelled two days before the flight, but another mission still needed a pilot: A woman needed a lift from Leesburg to Okeechobee. Alger volunteered for the flight.

"I met the lady. Her name was Joan — it's my mother's first name," he said. "That was a very special moment for me."

Alger said Angel Flight does a lot for him on many levels.

"When you see someone who is dealing with something, it makes you grateful for your own life and not having to struggle with things that others have to," he said. "It helps you to count your blessings."

Alger said he always has wanted to help others.

After he graduated from Umatilla High School, he earned a degree in paramedic technology at Tallahassee Community College. In 1990, he returned to Lake, landed a job with Lake EMS and worked there for 12 years.

While a paramedic, he earned a degree in firefighting from Lake Technical Center. He switched careers to become a firefighter-paramedic with the Mount Dora Fire Department in 2003 and is still there today.

"I guess it's in my blood," he said of his service-orientated career. "It's very rewarding, very challenging at times."

Alger said his grandfather was a West Point graduate and had at least a 40-year military career. His brother served in the Air Force, and his late father was a navigator on a B-17 bomber in World War II.

"Lots of military in my family, a lot of military influence," he said. "I was going to join the military but decided to go the civilian route."

Alger said his father shared stories of his flights in the Army Air Corps and took flying lessons after the war. Father and son went to fly-ins and airshows often. A family friend, State Sen. Alan Hays, and Alger got a ride in it several times around the age of 13.

"I was hooked at that point," he said of flying. "I always kind of had it in my head that it would be something I'd like to do."

Alger spends his free time watching and going to Florida State football games. He's also working on the old family home in Umatilla. He has lived there with his five-year-old English bulldog Hannah, since 2010.

"It's an old house," he said. "There's a lot of stuff to be done with that. I'm chipping away at whatever I can."

At the moment, Alger is waiting to hear of his next mission with Angel Flight Southeast.

"At the end of the day when I do a flight, I think 'I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I just flew my airplane and helped someone in the process.' There's nothing better than that."

Angel Flight Southeast fundraiser

What: The 19th Annual Golf Tournament

When: Nov. 11

Where: Arlington Ridge Golf Club, 4463 Arlington Ridge Blvd., Leesburg

Time: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Call 352-326-0761 to support the event by purchasing a foursome or providing a sponsorship.

- Source:  http://www.orlandosentinel.com

Changes Coming to Security Checkpoints at Minneapolis-St. Paul International (KMSP), Minnesota

You may notice some changes the next time you board a flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The most noticeable ones are planned for security checkpoints in early 2016. Other less noticeable changes have already happened, partially due to a report—first published by ABC News in June—which found that Transportation Security Administration screeners missed 95 percent of the fake bombs and weapons that a testing team tried to sneak through the system.

"TSA in the past, recent past, likely was a little too focused on moving passengers through the line," TSA Federal Security Director for Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven told a Metropolitan Airports Commission committee at a Monday meeting.

Van Leuven detailed changes already implemented by the TSA, including an additional eight hours of training for every TSA agent and making sure no one goes through the PreCheck line without being pre-approved.

"We've got to detect the threat first and foremost," Van Leuven told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS after the meeting.

He said the changes could cause the airport's security lines to move a little more slowly, at least until some other planned changes go into effect.

Starting early next year, there will be two main security checkpoints in Terminal 1. The first is an already-existing six-lane checkpoint at the South end of the terminal. The second will be a brand-new, 10-lane checkpoint at the north end of the terminal, where restaurant Hot Dish was once located.

"I think it's going to take away some of that confusion as people come into the lobby on busy mornings or busy evenings and they can't figure out exactly where to go," Van Leuven said.

In the meantime, if that wait at security is a little longer than you'd like, now you know why. The TSA has both safety and speed in mind, but they say safety has to come first.

Story and video:  http://kstp.com

Transportation Security Administration finds record number of guns in carry-on bags

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Guns and airplanes don't mix, but every day at airports in Chicago and across the country, travelers try to bring guns through security.

Transportation Security Administration officers found a record 2,200 guns in carry-on baggage last year. Now, the number of confiscated carry-on guns made this past week a record week; Sixty-eight guns were found as travelers bags moved through airport X-ray scanners. They are among firearms, explosives, knives and other weapons that pose an increasing risk to air travelers.

"'I forgot' or 'didn't know it was in my bag' - that's the most two common excuses," said Kevin McCarthy, TSA.

Regardless of the reason, it is illegal to try to carry a gun onto a commercial aircraft. Nevertheless, this is the weekly haul for TSA. Pistols and revolvers - the majority of them loaded - and some with a bullet in the chamber ready to be fired.

The record 68 firearms seized by TSA last week has put the agency on a course to far exceed last year's record. The data steadily climbing year-to-year, even as more attention is focused on the fact that you can't bring guns on planes - and it isn't just guns.

Explosives - real and real-looking - are also found by federal security officers inside the carry-on bags of common travelers, along with knives and concealed weapons of all kinds. A stun gun cane was found on a traveler at O'Hare in mid-October.

These potential threats at 35,000 feet come as the aviation industry wrestles with questions about what actually happened to a Russian jetliner on Saturday. Investigators are picking through the wreckage of the plane that crashed from cruising altitude over Egypt, without a mayday call.

ISIS has claimed responsibility and U.S. counterterror officials seem to be leaning toward some intentional act. But so far, it isn't clear whether the Russian plane was doomed by an on-board bomb, or something else.

"We could say perhaps it was a bomb that made the airplane come apart. Or perhaps it was some unknown structural failure where the airplane just came apart. But right now we don't have any evidence that leads us one way or another," said Col. Stephen Ganyard, ABC News aviation consultant.

Metrojet Airline officials say technical faults or human errors couldn't have caused their Flight 9268 to crash. Russian officials say it's too soon to tell what caused the jet to plunge, killing all 224 people on board. But if it ends up intentional, authorities will be looking at the airport process in Egypt for baggage and passengers.

Story and video:  http://abc7chicago.com

No news on Lansing-to-DC route as deadline nears

DEWITT TWP. - It's been a month since daily flights to Washington D.C. from Capital Region International Airport ceased. It could be two more months before one of two competing airlines gets federal approval to take over the defunct route, far beyond the Nov. 5 decision the airport had originally hoped for.

American Airlines announced its bid for the D.C. route in August. Delta Air Lines threw its cap in the bidding pool in September, delaying federal approval.

In the meantime, the airport is suffering.

“We’re seeing drops in revenue,” said Chris Holman, a member of the Capital Region Airport Authority board. “In our business, we make our money by moving people in and out of the airport.”

It doesn’t help that the route opened up a month earlier than expected, after Sun Country Airlines terminated its lease with the airport in October. Combined with the loss of Allegiant Airlines in January, airport officials are anticipating a $1.2 million budget shortfall for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The airport expects the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration to approve the D.C. route by the end of the year.

Three airlines remain at the airport: Delta, United Airlines and Apple Vacations. Delta offers daily non-stop flights to Detroit and Minneapolis, while United provides daily non-stop flights to Chicago. Apple Vacations offers seasonal flights to Cancun, Mexico from December to April.

To make up for the loss in revenue, the airport has hiked user fees for the remaining airlines to generate an additional roughly $400,000 while taking roughly $750,000 from its reserves to break even, said Robert Selig, airport president and CEO.

Each day the airport goes without the D.C. route, it loses roughly $1,000 in landing fees, which cover operating costs.

That doesn’t include the $4.50 passenger facility charge the airport collects from each ticket sold, which goes toward capital improvements. When airplanes carry between 50 and 70 passengers in a flight each day, those missed flights add up quickly, especially for an airport that has seen declines in the number of passengers over the years.

The airport reached its peak traffic in 1997 with 720,365 total passengers. By 2009, the first full year of the recession, those numbers had plummeted to 265,967 but steadily crept back up to 418,850 in 2013. In 2014, the number dipped again to 376,912 passengers.

As of September, the airport’s number of passengers totaled 257,440.

“If a customer leaves, the longer they are gone, the less apt they to come back,” Holman said.

When American Airlines announced its bid in August, it received an outpouring of support that included 1,200 letters and emails from government officials, business owners, special interest groups and residents in the region.

Now that the original deadline to fill the route won’t be met, government officials are writing more letters to pressure USDOT and the FAA to approve the bid quickly. Republican Congressmen Mike Bishop, Tim Walberg and John Moolenaar sent one last week.

“With Sun Country no longer servicing this route, a quick decision is crucial to ensure a lapse in service is as short as possible,” they wrote in an Oct. 28 letter addressed to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.

The D.C. route would generate $16 million in economic impact annually for the region, according to a study by Trillion Aviation Inc., an airport consulting firm.

Delta’s bid for the route made for a longer USDOT and FAA approval process, requiring the agencies to hear lengthy testimonies from both companies.

“Delta would be the superior public interest choice,” Delta officials wrote in letter dated Sept. 15 to the FAA. “Unfortunately, due to its limited slot holdings, Delta is already sub-optimized at DCA (the D.C. airport) and cannot commence Lansing services without unacceptable harm to its current DCA network … Delta is in much greater need of exemption authority than American if it is to provide Lansing with nonstop service.”

American challenged Delta, claiming the company does not have Lansing’s best interests in mind.

“Only after American applied to preserve LAN-DCA service did Delta feign interest in protecting service to the nation’s capital for Mid-Michigan travelers, by filing a copy-cat application that proposed nearly identical slot times and equipment as American,” wrote Howard Kass, vice president of Regulatory Affairs for American Airlines in a response letter to the FAA dated Sept. 24. “The FAA should not permit Delta to effectively re-start this proceeding and prolong the evaluation of American’s exemption request for its own commercial benefit.”

JetBlue Airways also filed an objection to both the airlines’ bids, mainly to Delta’s.

”Delta, like American, has a large portfolio of historic DCA slots with which it could start DCA-Lansing service at any time,” JetBlue officials wrote in a letter dated Oct. 19 to the FAA. “In fact, Northwest Airlines operated DCA-Lansing shortly before its merger with Delta in 2008. After its merger with Northwest, Delta abandoned many DCA slots that were previously used for service to communities such as Lansing, but nonetheless Delta remains the second largest slot holder at DCA after American with around 50 daily departures.”

The airport has openly backed American Airlines because it is promising to offer more than Delta. American Airlines would offer a 7 a.m. flight from Lansing to Washington, D.C. and a 5:30 p.m. return flight daily, which would make it easier for lobbyists and business leaders to set up meetings and return home at a reasonable time, Holman said.

American Airlines would also offer three daily flights from Lansing to Chicago's O’Hare International Airport starting in early 2016. It would offer 33 connecting flights to states along the East Coast from Washington, D.C., and 115 connections worldwide from Chicago.

Delta also would offer one daily round-trip flight to D.C., but isn't proposing other connecting flights.

“We think American Airlines coming in will fit us best,” Holman said. “But now we’re losing passengers, losing fees, this hurts.”

Story and comments:  http://www.lansingstatejournal.com

Movassaghi, four others, appointed to new terminal committee: Lafayette Regional Airport (KLFT), Louisiana


A five-person committee has been appointed by the Lafayette Airport Commission to evaluate Statements of Qualifications for architecture and engineering firms interested in projects at the airport, including the building of the new terminal.  A request for qualifications will be issued in the near future and the committee will convene to review the RFQ before the airport commission approves it, according to a statement sent by the commission on Monday.

The committee consists of Lafayette Airport Commissioners Paul A. Guilbeau and Paul Segura, airport executive director Steven Picou, airport airfield manager Anthony Hebert and Kam Movassaghi of Lafayette-based Engineering and Management Consulting.

The committee's appointment comes weeks before the close of a 1 cent sales tax approved by voters last year. The tax began in April and ends on November 30.  An estimated $30 million is expected to be collected from the tax toward the new terminal.

“Lafayette Airport Commission policy requires one hired independent person who must be an engineer, airport planner or professional knowledgeable of the services required,” says Lafayette Airport Commission Chairman Matt Cruse in a statement. “Mr. Movassaghi certainly fits that description and the commission is pleased he has accepted the position. He has a keen interest in the airport and the things the commission is trying to accomplish.  His knowledge and years of experience will be invaluable as we move forward with the new terminal and other upcoming projects.”

Movassaghi recently retired as president of C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates and has served as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, head of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Louisiana Lafayette.  He has held several engineering positions both in the United States and overseas and he has received 14 awards and honors related to engineering since 1992.

“I am very interested in being part of the process of evaluating Architecture and Engineering firms for Lafayette Regional Airport. I consider the opportunity a privilege and am happy to do all I can to make these projects successful,” says Movassaghi.

- Source:  http://www.theadvertiser.com

General aviation terminal nearing completion at Blackwell Field Airport (71J) Ozark, Dale County, Alabama

Blackwell Field Airport Director Stephanie Blankenship and Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell pose for a photo with plans for the airport's new terminal. 


OZARK—First impressions haven’t always been the best ones at Blackwell Field Airport in Ozark.

But 15 years after the initial plans to improve the airport grounds and make it visible from U.S. 231, the airport’s facelift is finally underway.

Gencon Associates of Dothan has begun work on a general aviation terminal for business use at the airport that is expected to be completed by this coming summer. Stephanie Blankenship, the airport’s director of Aviation Services, said the terminal is expected to have a reception area, lobby and large and small conference room equipped with video conferencing and smart board capabilities. A kitchen and break area, pilot’s lounge for flight planning, as well as storage and the airport director’s office are also within the plans.

The outside of the terminal is intentionally similar to the exterior of the Alabama Aviation Center nearby.

Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell said the terminal will be available for meetings and community events.

Blankenship said the total project cost will be $3,615,843, most of which is funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. The City of Ozark matched the funds with $822,767, and the Alabama Department of Transportation contributed $337,013.

Blankenship said the recent improvements took place after analyzing what the airport’s strengths were and where there are areas for improvement.

“Overwhelmingly our areas of improvements related to the services we offered to our pilots and the flying public,” she said.

Blankenship said a taxiway with lighting, as well as site work for the aircraft parking apron and vehicle parking lot, has already been completed at the airport.

The paving of the entranceway to the terminal from U.S. 231 and the paving of the aircraft parking apron and vehicle parking lot is expected to be completed by the summer.

Blackwell was city clerk when Ozark leaders laid out plans for a terminal 15 years ago.

“This is something to be proud of, to see something you planned 15 years ago come to a completion phase,” he said.

“This is as much for the community as it is for aviation.”

Blankenship said there are no intentions to build a commercial terminal.

“The airport is a part of economic development that we use to attract large corporations because many times your airport is the first thing they see,” she said.

“If they can’t see that you’re caring for your airport, how can you convince them that you’re taking care of your city?

- Source:  http://www.dothaneagle.com

Quebec Inc’s red ink: Taxpayers likely to lose big in backing Bombardier’s CSeries program

Alain Bellemare, president and Chief Executive Officer Bombardier Inc., right, and Quebec Economy Minister Jacques Daoust shake hands after a news conference Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Montreal.

Taxpayers are likely to lose big by backing Bombardier’s CSeries program, as they usually do when government takes a flyer in business

The Quebec government has just announced that it is going to invest $1.315 billion in a limited partnership with Bombardier in order to acquire a 49 percent stake in the new CSeries aircraft program.

Quebec taxpayers would be well advised to return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts, because this a very high risk investment. Experts are in general agreement that airlines have ordered far too many planes in recent years, and that these investments could be threatened in case of an economic downturn.

Although it’s too soon to pass judgment on this particular bailout plan, Quebec’s past experience with “state capitalism” is hardly encouraging. Becoming part-owner of an aircraft manufacturing program for a plane which has yet to see the light of day, if it ever does, and which seems to interest no other manufacturer, is in fact perfectly emblematic of the province of Quebec’s public investment in private companies.

Among the many failures of this kind of interventionism, some will recall the General Motors plant in Boisbriand. In 1987, the provincial government of Robert Bourassa and the federal government of Brian Mulroney jointly signed off on a $220-million interest-free loan, reimbursable starting in 2017. Alas, the factory closed its doors on Aug. 29, 2002. If this money had simply been invested in the market, it would have earned around 10 per cent annually.

Others will remember the Gaspésia fiasco, which saw the government sink $145 million in the Chandler pulp and paper company in the early 2000s. Another example is the Electrolux plant in l’Assomption, which closed despite a financial contribution of nearly $5 million from the Quebec government, less than half of which was ever recovered.

Already back in 1993, former Caisse de Dépôt et Placement manager Pierre Arbour estimated the total cost of the failed attempts to save Steinberg and Brascade-Noranda, as well as the difficulties of Domtar around that time, at $1.7 billion. Through its investments in private companies, the Quebec government has a long history of financial fiascoes. Whereas politicians do not hesitate to highlight the number of jobs concerned every time they advance funds, all of these botched projects have been costly for taxpayers, without actually saving any jobs in the end.

Of course, in certain cases, the assistance seems to have worked. There is the case of Paccar, for instance, in Ste-Thérèse, which benefited from a $23.5-million loan from Quebec and Ottawa. In other cases, the government recovered the sums invested, like when Hyundai had to close its plant in Bromont and reimbursed the $50 million of public assistance it had received.

Quebec isn’t the only Canadian province that has made shoddy investments. In 1987, Newfoundland and Labrador invested in the Sprung Greenhouse, with high-tech hydroponics, a debacle which cost taxpayers $22 million. British Columbia’s $450-million fast ferries scandal also deserves a mention.

The federal government, which Bombardier hopes will also invest in its CSeries program, already has a bad history with airplane investments. The world’s first photographic survey plane was ordered in 1926 by the Department in National Defense. The Canadian Vickers Velos was a float plane that couldn’t fly… or float, for that matter. The project was abandoned after the prototype sank twice. Royal Canadian Airforce Flight Lieutenant R.S. Granby wrote that “it is considered that this aircraft is most unsuitable for any operation.” It has been nominated as the ugliest plane in the world, and was apparently known as “The Dead Loss” by its factory workers.

Bombardier searched for private partners within the industry, but was unable to conclude an arrangement with Airbus, Boeing, or other manufacturers. This doesn’t seem to be due to a lack of liquidity, either; Airbus launched a one-billion-euro share buyback program last week. This should have sent a strong signal regarding the actual commercial potential of the CSeries planes. The government is investing in a product on which the private sector has already rendered its verdict, and for which there is heated competition. Besides the already much more popular Boeing and Airbus models in the same category, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China unveiled Monday morning a jet plane that will compete directly with the CSeries. If taxpayers had had the choice, it is very likely they would have chosen a less risky investment.

Bombardier would also have made less risky choices, if not for its longstanding relationship with the political authorities. Since its management knows very well that the Quebec government will never let the company go bankrupt, it can allow itself the luxury of gambling on much riskier operations and products than it otherwise would. Why be prudent when it’s clear that taxpayers will be the ones picking up the tab should things go wrong?

If the Quebec government wants to turn the page on financial fiascoes, it will sooner or later have to put an end to its subsidies of big business. Which means that someday, Bombardier will have to learn how to fly with its own wings.

Original article can be found here:  http://business.financialpost.com