Friday, November 13, 2015

Repairs start to homes damaged by copter

Members of the Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force, Regiment Engineers begin repairs to houses in Carenage damaged by downdraft from a military helicopter a last week.

CARENAGE --  Almost a week after two homes in Carenage were damaged by the rotor-wash of a Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard helicopter, the military stepped in yesterday and began repairing the damaged houses.

Last week Friday, the residents of the houses told the Express that the evening before they heard the helicopter hovering over their homes and items began blowing around.

One woman said she was conducting renovations to her home and around 6 p.m. on Thursday evening she felt the small house shaking.

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Cayman Airways Adds New Plane

Cayman Airways has officially christened its newest plane, a Saab 340B+ aircraft.

The plane made its debut at Cayman Brac’s Charles Kirkconnell International Airport.

The 34-seat plane will be phased into service between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, replacing the existing 30-seat Embraer E120 plane.

That plane had been operating under a temporary wet-lease arrangement with InterCaribbean Airlines.

“After a thorough evaluation, the Saab 340B+ aircraft was selected as an ideal aircraft to provide the necessary capacity and frequency for service between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac,” said Cayman Airways President and CEO Fabian Whorms. “This pristine aircraft which was selected, with its low operating costs and fuel efficient engines, are expected to allow Cayman Airways to enhance our service to Cayman Brac. Despite some logistical challenges along the way, we are excited to celebrate the entry of the Saab aircraft into service and look forward to delivering that Caymankind service as only Cayman Airways can.”

Cayman Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said the temporary lease of the Embraer had led to a 20 percent growth in Cayman Brac passengers, something he called a “testament to the potential that right-sized air service can provide.”

The newest addition to the Cayman Airways fleet is officially in service. The Saab 340 turboprop made a successful first run from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac Friday afternoon.

Cayman Airways new Saab 340 B+ received a customary salute salute upon completing its inaugural flight, taxiing under a shower of water cannons supplied by the Cayman Islands Fire Service.

“Unlike the Embreaer 120 aircraft for we have been most grateful and which the Saab is replacing, this one is ours to keep,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin, who called the acquisition of the plane a proud moment for the country.

He told Cayman 27 the 34-seater automatically doubles airlift to Cayman Brac.

“Part of this puzzle is the airport; part of the puzzle is the lift itself with the airplane, it’s driving business here, it’s a driver to the economy,” said Tourism Minister and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell.

He told Cayman 27 the plane and the recent improvements at Charles Kirkconnell International Airport have already created 21 good paying jobs for Cayman Brac.

“Most of the people that you saw today that have taken the 21 new jobs are between the ages of 19 and 27, so it’s the group that we wanted, extremely well educated, and very good good employees,” said Mr. Kirkconnell.

Cayman Airways told Cayman 27 red tape with training and regulatory requirements pushed the inaugural flight back by six weeks, but says jumping through those hoops is a one-time deal.

“One good thing though is, once all of this is done, introducing the second Saab 340 will be nowhere as much of a challenge,” said Cayman airways CEO Fabian Whorms, alluding to plans to add a second Saab 340 to the fleet.

Mr. Whorms told Cayman 27 this Saab 340 B+ is the ideal size aircraft to run the route from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac. He said anything bigger, and they would have had to cut frequency. He told Cayman 27 the Saab 340 truly hits the sweet spot for the route.

In coming weeks, Cayman Airways will be launching their newest route, flying directly from the Brac to Holguin, Cuba.

That starts later this month.

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WestJet Boeing 737-800, C-GWSX, Flight WS-1402: Incident occurred November 13, 2015 at Salt Lake City International Airport (KSLC), Utah

Date: 13-NOV-15 
Time:  18:52:00Z
Regis#:  WJA1402
Aircraft Make:  BOEING
Aircraft Model:  737
Event Type:  Incident
Highest Injury:  Unknown
Damage:  None
Activity:  Commercial
Flight Phase:  UNKNOWN (UNK)
Aircraft Operator:  WEST JET
Flight Number:  WJA1402
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Salt Lake City FSDO-07
State:  Utah


CALGARY – WestJet flight 1402 made an emergency landing in Salt Lake City Friday on route from Calgary to Phoenix, Arizona.

The flight left Calgary International Airport just before 1:00 p.m. It was scheduled to arrive in Phoenix at 2:24 p.m.

A company spokesperson confirmed the flight, “encountered a pocket of severe turbulence”.

WestJet said as many as three people suffered minor injuries but none required hospitalization.

Another aircraft was being sent to Salt Lake City Friday night to pick up the guests and take them the rest of the way to Phoenix. The new flight was expected to land in Phoenix around 7:40 p.m.

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Hot air balloon makes emergency landing on I-4 median in Davenport, Polk County, Florida

DAVENPORT, Fla. (AP) - A hot air balloon with several passengers on board made an emergency landing along an Interstate 4 median in Polk County.

Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Steve Gaskins posted on his Twitter account that balloon landed Friday morning in the grassy median due to low fuel and heavy fog.

Gaskins said no one in the balloon was hurt.

Officials tweeted photos of the balloon on the ground. Traffic wasn't affected. And Gaskins said the balloon was picked up shortly after the landing.

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Historic flight off Old Point Comfort paved the way for the aircraft carrier

Taking off from an inclined wooden ramp installed on the bow of the cruiser USS Birmingham, a daring civilian pilot named Eugene Ely narrowly escapes the waves of Hampton Roads and makes the Navy's first shipboard launch on Nov. 14, 1910. -- Mark St. John Erickson 

When the pioneering plane that made the first shipboard launch lifted off near Old Point Comfort just after 3:16 p.m. on Nov. 14, 1910, the future of naval aviation looked a little doubtful.

Civilian test pilot Eugene Ely barely survived his hair-raising 37-foot plunge into the tops of the waves, which damaged his propeller and drenched his struggling Curtiss pusher biplane with spray.

But after a few gut-wrenching seconds, the aircraft began to climb, signaling the momentous first step toward the creation of the aircraft carrier and the revolution that changed the face of naval warfare.

"Daring man-bird makes first flight," an Associated Press writer reported in the Daily Press, describing the historic test that took place 105 years ago today just a quarter mile from the verandas of the Hotel Chamberlin at Old Point Comfort.

"The aeroplane must be taken seriously in the naval warfare of the future."

Touch and go

The roots of Ely's feat reach back to October 1910, when the flying skills the former chauffeur and automobile racer demonstrated for pioneering aircraft manufacturer Glenn Curtiss at the International Air Meet in New York caught the eye of Navy Capt. Washington Irving Chambers.

A couple of weeks later they met again at an air show in Baltimore, at which time Ely — hearing that Chambers had been charged with exploring the concept of taking off from a ship — volunteered to pilot an attempt.

Fitted out with an 83-foot-long wooden ramp, the USS Birmingham left the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth on a blustery Monday morning, encountering fog, intermittent rain and even occasional small hail as it steamed across Hampton Roads in the company of two destroyers, two torpedo boats and a flotilla of other smaller vessels, the Daily Press reported.

Nearly 4 hours passed as Ely readied his 50 horsepower plane — which had been rigged with light pontoons — and waited for a break in the weather.

Then, at 3:16 p.m., the daring pilot seized a momentary opportunity between the rain showers, getting into his plane and gunning his engine without waiting for the cruiser to get underway and provide his craft with the extra lift most onlookers thought it needed.

Releasing his brakes, Ely roared down the wooden incline and went into a dive in order to gain speed, plunging to the surface of the water before he wrestled his vibrating aircraft into a climb at the last second.

Observers watching from a dozen boats gave out "an involuntary sigh" as the plane's wheels and propeller thrashed through the waves, the AP writer reported.

So punishing was the impact that another reporter later described the propeller as looking like "a heavy coarse saw had gone along its edge."

Flying spray drenched Ely's goggles, too, making it impossible for him to see as he wrenched his laboring airplane from the grip of the waves and into a tortuously long and slow climb over the mouth of Hampton Roads.

Later, Ely would tell an excited crowd that "he was not fond of the water," when, in truth, he could not swim.

"But he conquered his fears long enough to remain over it in the fog and accomplished his purpose," the AP reported.

Pioneering feats

Dogged by his chewed-up propeller, Ely changed his original flight plan immediately, circling back over the Chesapeake Bay at an altitude of about 500 feet and landing at Willoughby Spit after only 5 minutes in the air.

But every observer knew that — as with the first battle of the ironclads nearly 50 years earlier — the waters of Hampton Roads had provided the setting for a landmark moment.

"When Mr. Ely flew with such ease from a standing ship, it showed beyond doubt that his task would have been much simpler if the Birmingham had been moving," Chambers said.

In fact, the flight was much more successful than anticipated, the Navy officer added.

Just over two months later, Ely boosted his resume of aerial landmarks still further by making the first shipboard landing, touching down on a specially outfitted Navy cruiser anchored in San Francisco Bay.

"It was easy enough," he said after his plane came to a stop in the grip of the Navy's first tailhook arresting system.

"I think the trick could be successfully turned nine times out of 10."

Still, the courageous 24-year-old who took two of the most important first steps in naval aviation failed to live out the year.

Crashing into the ground during an October 1911 air show in Macon, Ga., he managed to step out of his wrecked plane.

But he died a few minutes later of a broken neck.

Nearly 25 years later, Congress recognized his achievements with a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross.

The citation singled him out for both his "extraordinary achievement as a pioneer civilian aviator and his significant contribution to the development of aviation in the United States Navy."

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Blytheville Gosnell Regional Airport Authority discusses runway improvements

The Blytheville Gosnell Regional Airport Authority (BGRAA) had a busy schedule Thursday evening as they discussed numerous pressing issues in their bi-monthly board meeting. Topics included plans for improvements to the runway lights, opening up another set of four previously un-refurbished apartments, changing the way they pay "comp time" and complaints about mold.

Blake Robinson, Professional Engineer/Project Manager/Aviation Team Leader for Garver Engineering in Little Rock, spoke to the board regarding the recently completed pavement project as well as meetings held with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seeking funding for runway light improvements at the airport.

Robinson said that the pavement project was finished in September and that a lot of work was done on the middle hundred feet of the runway or "the main wheel path when planes come and land." He added that they fixed patches and some of the deteriorated concrete, particularly on the taxiway and apron. He also said that a large check for $350,000 from the state should be coming within the next week or so.

"Barrett [Harrison, BGRAA director] and I went down and met with the FAA Southwest Region...a little over a month ago. We've done a couple of projects, the last six to eight years on the lighting. We put in a new electrical vault...moved everything close to the airfield...set the conduit and a round, concrete encased can for the light fixtures along the runway where the lights would go," Robinson said.

The original plan was to leave the runway lights where they are, but to replace them. The runway lights have been set at a width of 300-feet since before the Air Force base closed. The runway, however, is marked for 150-feet width. The desire was to leave things as they have been and ask the FAA to replace the runway lights where they are.

"Well, we applied for that and they turned us down about a year ago...what they wanted us to do is bring the lights in to the 150-foot width where the runway is we went down and met with the FAA and we started talking about moving the lights in and the FAA started asking us 'do you really need nearly 12,000 feet of runway'," Robinson added.

The FAA wanted a justification for the length of the runway if they were going to pay for the lighting. The FAA was going to require a study to be done to determine what length was actually needed. There was also talk about having to remove all the un-needed concrete.

Robinson said that he and Harrison changed their pitch.

"[We told them] If you guys pay for the cable and the infrastructure back to the electrical vault then we'll look to the state to pay for the fixtures and leave them out there and save everybody a lot of money and we get the full 12,000-foot runway to use," Robinson said.

"To move the lights in...[to] the standard 150 [feet], was an additional $1 million in cost. And we've asked several times for a modification for the standard to leave them out there and our argument has always been that we want to save the government a million dollars," Harrison added.

"So we talked to them and what Barrett and I decided was is to... lets look to the state to possibly fund 90 percent of the cost of these lights, just to leave them out there, and the FAA agreed to pay for the cable to power them. So it will be partially funded by the FAA and partly funded by the state...another thing that we're looking at doing...a couple years down the road we had some additional items we were going to look to the FAA to help us fund (new windsocks, some new pappies and distance remaining signs). Those things we had programmed a couple years down the road and since we don't have to spend the FAA money, we an slide those up and get those installed sooner rather than later with FAA money," Robinson said.

Robinson explained that with projects such as these, the FAA gives $150,000 a year which can be "banked" for up to four years before the FAA begins taking the funds back or a capital improvement project must be started. The BGRAA has been doing this since their last FAA project in 2012. Robinson's estimated financial breakdown was a grant from the FAA for $526,500 and a grant from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics for a little over $200,000.

"Now that's two grants. The FAA funds your projects at 90 percent and then once you complete that project and close it out, you can apply to the state for the marching 10 percent. So at the end of the day, on an FAA project, you are essentially not out any money," Robinson explained.

"Are those two grants pretty much guaranteed," Judge Randy Carney asked.

"The matching portion is, from the we're looking at, from the state, about $160,000-$170,000 just to put the fixtures in out at the 300-foot mark....where they are at [now]," Blake said.

"It seems like it would cost more to demo that runway than it would to keep it sounds like we ought to do it while the money is there because its probably not always going to be there," committee chair Don Houseworth said.

The board unanimously agreed to move forward with the plans and to seek funding from the FAA and the State.

Angelia Cooper told the board that out of their 76 apartments, there are two currently unoccupied while having carpets replaced. She also said that they have seven people on the waiting list to rent an apartment.

Harrison explained that with "a pretty healthy waiting list this year" and since there are 24 apartments that have not been "brought back up" since the Air Force left 25 year ago, they decided to open up one of the unused groups of apartments and see what shape they are in. They chose the group of four apartments closest to the occupied section.

"We've been working hard for the last six to seven weeks to get estimates on everything that it will take to bring them back up (painting, flooring, new heat and air, water heaters, countertops) and its about $12,000 per unit. The last time you all took any action on the apartment rental, you gave Dawn the authority to raise the rent I think to $555. Since Angelia has been here she has been renting those same apartments for $600...we'd like to go ahead and bring those next four units up. We'd like to start immediately, but most of the work would be done next year and I will include that cost and expense in the proposed budget that I'm going to give you. But it appears to be something that would pay for itself within just a couple years," Harrison said.

"It would probably be good to see how the waiting list goes and to make sure that we don't' have vacancies, but balancing supply and demand," Houseworth said.

The board also discussed rental rates for current renters.

"Are we making any adjustments on the people that are renting from us now," board member Donald Prevallet asked, "Are we going to be raising their month also?"

"Well we have been, as their leases come up," Harrison answered.

"I don't see a downside on it. It will be additional revenue that will pay for itself in two years. And if we don't, we'll eventually have the expense of tearing them down," Carney said.

The board unanimously approved repairing the four apartments.

Harrison told the board that the Air Force has been discussing "ramping up" their use of the facility and that they are looking at doing more during the day rather than the night, unlike the past. He also said that various airplane manufacturers and automotive companies have been showing interest in using the facilities.

Harrison also said that the Labor Board contacted the BGRAA regarding how the organization was compensating its employees for "comp time."

The board unanimously voted to amend the employee handbook by removing all previous language regarding compensatory time compensation and to "make reference to the department of labor publication" outlining current law.

"Once Mr. Johnson got on the phone and contacted the government, he also decided that he should call the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and tell them that he'd been working in an environment out here that was dangerous because of mold. And as you all know the buildings out here that have been vacant for 25 years with no windows and vacant, or with no windows at all, are in terrible shape. But our employees will tell you that they are not supposed to be going in them. [They are] not allowed to go in them and no one is made to go in those to work because they just aren't buildings that we use, lease or that anyone occupies," Harrison added.

Harrison then told the board what they have done at OSHA's request.

"OSHA had us take pictures of the building that we refer to as the 'shop' (the former simulator building) and of the area that we store our stuff...that part of the building does not have mold in it...[they asked us to] write up what our rules and regs are about where people are supposed to be...and we posted a notice that someone had complained about mold... they are reviewing it and they are going to let us know if they feel the need to send somebody down here to see if what I told them was the truth or not. And based upon what I've herd from everybody else that I've talked to...there will be somebody coming to inspect," Harrison said.

Harrison also said that OSHA has made it very clear that buildings that are unoccupied, that people don't work in and that employees don't have to go in, then there is no problem.

Board member Oscar Ford, Jr. also gave the October 31 financial report to the board and it was unanimously approved.

The report gave year-to-date balances on the Aeroplex, airport and general funds. Revenues for the Aeroplex fund were $599,232.66, expenses were $506,488.37 and the balance is $92,744.29. Airport fund revenues have been $889,326.53, expenses were $1,227,61.05 and leaves a balance of -$338,286.52. The general fund received $481.93 with no expenses and a balance of $481.93. The combined All Funds total therefore is revenues of $1,489,041.12, expenses of $1,734,101.42 and a balance of -$245,060.30.

Harrison reminded the board about the check that Robinson said was coming within the week or so from the State for $350,000.

"[It] will go straight to that bottom line," Harrison added.

"Yeah, that will go straight back in. That was for expenses on the runway concrete repair," Houseworth explained.

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Boeing may increase 777X jet production, jobs in Everett, Washington

A state Department of Ecology report prepared for air-quality permitting shows that Boeing wants the capability to sharply increase production of its new 777X plane from 2021 and could potentially employ several thousand more workers in Everett.

A report prepared by a state permitting agency shows Boeing sees the potential for a significant increase in jobs and airplane production in Everett once its new 777X widebody jet comes online beginning in 2021.

A “draft technical support” document, released earlier this month by the state Department of Ecology, shows Boeing wants the option to sharply increase production from 100 of the current model 777 jets built per year today up to as many as 125 of the new 777X jets per year from 2021 onward.

The report also provides the company’s projection that “employment at Boeing Everett is expected to increase by no more than 3,000 employees as a result of the 777X project.”

That’s almost 10 times the expected employment boost discussed in the past.

However, the production rate and employment figures in the ecology-department report represent the upper bounds of the growth Boeing sees as possible rather than what is expected, said Boeing spokesman Scott Lefeber.

“As part of our normal business planning, the 777X program needs to anticipate any and all future possible requirements. Part of this evaluation requires Boeing to take action years in advance to ensure environmental permits, tools and parts are complete and ready to support our potential requirements,” Lefeber said.

“No future rate decisions beyond the current 777 rate have been made,” he added.

Production of the 777X will begin in 2017 and will initially proceed at a low rate to ensure a smooth production start. The first 777X jet is scheduled to be delivered in 2020.

Between now and then, Boeing executives have said they could decrease production of the current 777 model, from 100 per year to around 80 jets per year.

Some analysts have predicted that a drop-off in demand for the current model could force Boeing to cut production even more steeply, to as low as 60 jets per year.

Yet in preparation for a subsequent ramp-up once the 777X comes online, Boeing has to get its environmental permitting lined up.

To comply with relevant air-quality regulations, as soon as Boeing picked Everett to build its new 777X wing fabrication plant in 2014, it asked the state to provide air-pollution permits for its manufacturing plans at the highest possible production rates.

The 777X’s new composite-plastic wing is infused with epoxy resin that can generate harmful vapors during manufacturing. Likewise, large-scale painting and sealing of aircraft parts requires careful air-quality controls.

The ecology department released the technical document this month after Boeing asked for some amendments to the 2014 filing.

The agency approved additional equipment requested by Boeing on condition that overall emissions not increase beyond the levels approved in the 2014 plan.

The draft technical document amending the air-quality filing was first reported Friday by The (Everett) Herald.

The original filing was reported in June by aviation-trade magazine Flight Global.

As summarized in various documents, Boeing outlines two phases to its 777X manufacturing project.

Phase one is the introduction of the 777X model on a new assembly line and a slow increase in rate, combined with a corresponding, parallel reduction in rate of the current 777.

Phase two, “tentatively scheduled to begin in 2021,” envisages “further changes to the Boeing Everett facility with the intent of increasing the overall 777X production capacity.”

The document states that the intent of this phase is “to increase overall 777X production capacity to up to about 10.4 airplanes per month.”

For such a ramp-up in production, Boeing said additional composite tape layup machines for fabricating wing panels, supplied by local firm Electroimpact of Mukilteo, might be installed in the new wing- fabrication building and additional spray booths for coating or painting aircraft parts could be needed.

About 38,000 people work at the Everett widebody jet plant building the 747, 767, 777 and 787 jets.

A Washington state study commissioned in 2013 estimated that almost 20,000 people at Boeing work directly or indirectly on the 777 program, including at other sites besides Everett.

The same study estimated that more than 9,000 further jobs at suppliers and vendors to Boeing in the state are generated by the 777.

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Opinion: It’s the city of Redlands’ duty to keep residences away from Redlands Municipal Airport (KREI), San Bernardino County, California


By Eric Fraser, commercial pilot, former Airport Advisory Board member and third-generation Redlands resident.

The Redlands City Council is encouraged to exercise its discretionary powers and deny the zone change and land use proposal for the construction of single-family residences near the Redlands Municipal Airport. This and any future project that proposes residential development near the airport is the most incompatible land use that could be considered.

City staff has unfortunately misinterpreted the provisions and polices associated with land-use planning in the vicinity of the airport. Their recommendations to approve such projects fail to consider the impacts to the airport and conformity with city policy and urban planning best practices.

City Council and staff have an obligation to follow the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP) in making land use planning decisions, and to comply with the adopted policy document to ensure that land use planning in the vicinity of the airport does not create safety hazards to flight operations, property/people on the ground, noise impacts from aircraft, and continued viability of the airport.

The ALUCP directs the city to adopt zoning that is compatible with the plan, even if it results in a non-conforming use. This is to ensure the long-term viability of the airport and not allow uses that could result in unnecessary costs to the city, impacts to airport operations due to noise complaints, or create liability exposure from allowing hazards to aerial navigation.

The city just paid out a claim due to litigation from a motorist hitting a weir box in the right-of-way on San Timoteo Canyon Road, consider the exposure to allowing homes in the flight path or vicinity of the airport should an emergency landing be necessary. That is exactly why the plan dictates the type of uses in the vicinity of the airport be such that space is provided for emergency landings and population densities are reduced to minimize risks to those onboard the aircraft in addition to those on the ground. This also allows for a minimal number of people to be impacted by the noise associated with airport operations.

The staff report and subsequent recommendations for the development project are in direct conflict with several provisions of city policy as outlined in the ALUCP, CEQA and Measure U.

Staff fails to recognize the economic impacts to the airport if flight restrictions are implemented due to noise complaints from non-compatible residential development near the airport. Those impacts include loss of revenue to flight instruction businesses, loss of jobs to commercial pilots and flight instructors, reduced revenue to fuel vendors, maintenance personnel, and businesses including airport leaseholders.

The noise study prepared by Kunzman Associates, Inc. on behalf of the applicant, appropriately dated April 1, is completely inadequate.

“The nearest airport to the project site is Redlands Municipal Airport, which is located approximately 0.25 miles north of the site. This is a small airport normally used by single-engine, fixed-wing, aircraft and helicopters. During the ambient noise measurement, one of these single-engine aircraft departed; and did not register as the Lmax during the measurement period. Therefore, aircraft noise associated with the Redlands Municipal Airport is also not considered to be a source that contributes substantially to the ambient noise levels on the project site. The proposed project would not expose persons residing or working within the area to excessive noise levels from aircraft. No mitigation is necessary.”

A valid noise study would collect a substantial amount of data points from several overflying aircraft. No zone change, conformity with Measure U, or CEQA determination should be adopted without this data.

The city has been the recipient of federal funds to construct airport improvements. As a condition of receiving those funds, the city is obligated to comply with several grant assurances. Included in those assurances are obligations to take appropriate action to restrict the use of land adjacent to or in the immediate vicinity of the airport to activities and purposes compatible with normal airport operations, including the landing and takeoff of aircraft. Single-family residential development is not a compatible land use near an airport.

The action to approve the proposed zone change from agricultural to single family residential for property in the vicinity of the airport is a discretionary action and should be denied by council due to incompatible land use. The council should follow the ACULP and work to acquire property adjacent to the airport for open space using proceeds from the sale of the Palmetto Grove, Measure O and other airport funding opportunities and/or encourage compatible uses that do not include residential development. Council should also make the necessary changes to the General Plan to conform with the ALUCP even if such action creates a non-conforming use.

If an airport was proposed to be constructed at the Redlands Country Club, would Council approve such a project? There is no difference in locating residential development near an airport or building an airport near residential development.

Eric Fraser, commercial pilot, former Airport Advisory Board member and third-generation Redlands resident.

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JetBlue flight returns to gate at McCarran International Airport (KLAS) after smoke alarm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) -- A JetBlue flight from McCarran International Airport to San Francisco has been delayed while officials check out a report of smoke in the landing gear.

Flight 2589 with 135 passengers and crew on board an Airbus 320 was about to take off at 3:22 p.m. Friday when an alarm indicated smoke from the landing gear.

The flight returned to the gate on its own power and Clark County Fire Department firefighters said they did not detect any smoke, according to McCarran spokesman Chris Jones.

It will be up to JetBlue to determine if it flies the passengers on the plane at a later time or books them on other flights, Jones said.

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Federal Aviation Administration: FedEx Flight Hit By Laser Near Jamestown Airport (KJHW), Chautauqua County, New York

BUFFALO, NY - 2 On Your Side is learning more about a reported laser strike on an airplane that was flying over the Jamestown Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration says on Wednesday around 10:45 p.m., the pilot of a FedEx plane noticed a beam of light from the ground directed at the plane.

The FAA reports that a pilot flying a FedEx Boeing 757 says he noticed a green beam of light coming from a laser on the ground lighting up the aircraft. 

Police say the plane was 23,000 feet in the air.

"If people are just thinking it's funny to shoot lasers at airplanes or a passing motor vehicle it's very dangerous," said Brad Knight, a detective with the Ellicott Police Department.

The FAA says once the pilot reported seeing the laser beam, Ellicott Police, stationed nearby were notified. Officers responded to a rural field off airport grounds.

"They checked that area and there were no indications they could find a subject there," Knight said.

The Jamestown incident is just one of more than 20 planes or helicopters the FAA says were struck by lasers Wednesday night, flying over U.S. cities. 

Three laser strikes were reported in the New York City/New Jersey area, including a laser strike on a news helicopter belonging to WNBC in New York. 

The chopper was 1,500 feet in the air.

Two suspects were taken into custody by police for this incident.

Luckily no injuries were reported in any of the laser incidents.

The problem has been growing as well, the FAA says there were nearly 3,000 laser strikes reported in 2010.

This year, already, the FAA says more than 5,000 reports of laser strikes have been made. 

Police say the best prevention against this behavior is education, shining lasers at aircraft can temporarily blind the pilot and is extremely dangerous. It's also a federal crime.

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Lemoore Navy base pilot seriously injured when man fleeing cops crashes into two cars, killing two

William “Buddy” Marshall, right, with girlfriend Carolyn Work. Both are Navy pilots; he is assigned to Lemoore Naval Air Station. Marshall was seriously injured in early November when a driver in a stolen truck crashed into Marshall’s car as he drove to the base.

A Navy pilot from Lemoore remains in critical condition in a Fresno hospital after his car was hit by a man driving a stolen pickup truck and fleeing law enforcement.

The collision at 22nd Avenue and Grangeville Boulevard in rural Kings County involved three vehicles and killed two people. The incident happened about 8:50 a.m. on Nov. 3.

Pilot William “Buddy” Marshall, 29, was driving to work at Lemoore Naval Air Station, according a Facebook post by Phil Work, his girlfriend’s father.

“He is paralyzed from the neck down, in a coma, on a ventilator, and with massive head/brain trauma,” the Nov. 5 Facebook post said.

He has since awakened, recognized his girlfriend on Facetime and mouthed words, according to a newer post.

As of Friday, he was listed in critical condition at Community Regional Medical Center.

His girlfriend, identified in Facebook posts as Carolyn Work, is also a Navy jet pilot, assigned to Fallon Naval Air Station. Both are graduates of the Navy’s Top Gun pilot training program, according to the Facebook posting.

Attempts to reach her were unsuccessful.

The driver of the stolen pickup, Mitchell Kauffman, 19, of Fresno, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, three counts of evading law enforcement, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury, possession of a stolen vehicle and being an unlicensed driver, the Kings County District Attorney’s Office said.

He was injured in the collision and has not yet been arraigned.

Killed were Joshua Duncan, 20, a passenger in the stolen 2001 Silverado, and Juan Villegas, 51, of Corcoran, who was driving a 2015 GMC Sierra.

The pilot was driving a 2011 BMW 135i.

The California Highway Patrol said officers had started a pursuit of the stolen vehicle in Fresno County, but called it off north of Riverdale several minutes before before the collision.

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Clemson tops in state plane use

Clemson spent more money on air travel than the governor and the Department of Commerce combined during the first half of 2015, according to state Aeronautics Commission records.

Of the 130 trips the plane logged for Clemson between January and July, it had no passengers on 65 of them as it traveled from one location to another, often from Columbia to Clemson, to pick up passengers, the records show.

Frequent flyers for Clemson include athletics director Dan Radakovich, who made trips to Charleston and to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with his wife, Marcia, President Jim Clements, football coach Dabo Swinney and other athletics department employees and academic administrators.

Most of the flights were in-state, but the log includes trips to destinations such as Cincinnati, Tuscaloosa, Tampa and Louisville.

Clemson spokeswoman Cathy Sams said use of the university plane was deemed to be the most cost effective mode of travel for busy university officials.

“Air travel allows us to minimize travel time and maximize productivity of administrators who have very demanding schedules,” she said. “Because of our location, a meeting in Columbia can consume an entire day with car travel.”

There were no trips logged by the University of South Carolina or any other institution of higher education during the period.

According to Greenville News analysis of the flight logs, Clemson spent $133,140 on use of the state plane between Jan. 1 and the end of October this year.

During the same time period, Gov. Nikki Haley’s office spent $75,070, and the Department of Commerce spent $49,635, records show.

The only other users that hit five figures were the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, the state Ports Authority, the Aeronautics Commission and state Rep. John King.

Unlike the governor, legislators and most state agencies who list details for the purpose of their trips on flight manifests, Clemson officials give the reason for all their flights only as “Official Clemson University business.”

Sams said that’s how the Aeronautics Commission requested the logs be filled out.

Clemson hasn’t always been a big user of the state plane.

In a search of Aeronautics Commission records going back to 2006, Clemson’s first logged trips were in October 2011, with trips by assistant football coaches Jeff Scott and Marion Hobby to Jacksonville and Tampa, Florida and then-President Jim Barker making a trip to Charleston with then-vice president John Kelly.

Prior to February 2011, Clemson owned two airplanes, one purchased with private funds by the athletic department and an older model generally used for other university official travel, Sams said.

“In 2011, after a thorough cost analysis, a decision was made to sell the older plane rather than incur substantial costs for refurbishing or replacing it,” she said. “Instead, the university would charter planes when the athletic plane was not available or was down for maintenance.”

Clemson and other state agencies have been encouraged to use state airplanes to help the state recover the cost of its fleet, Sams said. The state charges agencies such as Clemson a set rate for usage of the state plane. Clemson pays this charge to the state each time it uses the state plane, she said.

The flight logs indicate “user reimbursed.”

The cost for trips by academic officials are reimbursed by the academic departments, which may include use of public funds for official university business, Sams said.

“No state appropriated funds are used for travel, as they are all allocated for faculty salaries,” she said. “Fundraising trips are paid for with private funds, and all athletics trips are funded through revenues generated by the department.”

Between 2006 and 2011, few state agencies used the plane, according to the records. Most of the flights were logged by the governor, the Department of Commerce and various legislators.

The Medical University of South Carolina made use of the plane during that period but has not in the past few years.

Wives of high profile university employees such as Clements and Swinney sometimes fly in the state plane for university functions, Sams said.

“Mrs. Clements is frequently asked to help host official out-of-town events and fundraising activities,” she said. “Because of family responsibilities such as having a teenage child living at home, and scheduling, she occasionally must travel separately. These flights are handled according to board-approved policies.

“Mrs. Swinney also is asked to participate in alumni and fundraising activities as well as official athletics events," Sams said. "At times spouse participation is requested by donors, the ACC or post-season game event managers.”

Clemson logged no trips on the state plane in October, after the athletics department bought a new plane, Sams said.

“Now that the athletic department has purchased a second plane, we expect our usage of state planes to decline,” she said.

Much of the travel logged by Clements has been related to the university’s $1 billion capital campaign, The Will to Lead, Sams said.

“President and Mrs. Clements are heavily involved in fundraising activities, and we have had back-to-back record years for private giving since his arrival,” she said. Clements became president at the end of 2013.

Clements also has responsibilities nationally in several higher education organizations, including as chairman of the board for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Sams said.

He is also a member of the executive board of the American Council on Education, co-chair of the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is a member of the Business Higher Education Forum and the Council on Competitiveness, she said.

“These appointments have helped raise Clemson’s national profile and opened doors for external funding,” she said.

The university has policies intended to assure that flights are made for business purposes only, Sams said.

The policy says university or state aircraft is justified “when the business of the University cannot be conducted as well as, or more economically, through the use of regularly scheduled commercial aircraft. Economic justification includes not only the cost of the air travel but also opportunity costs and lost productivity costs.”

Sams said representatives from the state Aeronautics Commission approached Clemson officials in the spring of 2011 about using their planes when the university needed to outsource flights, “as that would help them recoup the cost of the planes.”

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Cobalt Transforms Private Aircraft with the Innovative Co50 Valkyrie and Valkyrie-X

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Cobalt, the premier manufacturer of design-centric private aircraft, today launched its first two models – the Co50 Valkyrie and the Valkyrie-X, available for U.S. pre-order starting today at The Cobalt Valkyrie-X is an experiential version while the Co50 Valkyrie is the fully certified model.

The Valkyrie models are stunningly sleek, modern aircraft that are super fast, safe and easy to fly.

"10 years ago, I had a vision to disrupt the aviation industry with an innovative private aircraft, that is not only technologically sound and safe, but also design-centric and luxurious," said David Loury, founder and chief executive officer of Cobalt. "Today, Cobalt is no longer just a prototype. It's a world class aircraft, complete with advanced safety, technology, and modern design features for travel-loving consumers and aviation enthusiasts."

The Top 5 Features:  Introducing the Co50 Valkyrie and Valkyrie-X
  1. Built for speed. The Valkyrie is the fastest private aircraft in its class with the ability to travel up to 260 knots. In contrast, other single engine piston aircraft usually tap out at 242 knots. Cobalt's Valkyrie is the fastest single engine piston plane in its category.
  2. Super safe. The Valkyrie is a canard aircraft, equipped with a forewing to prevent the plane from stalling in the air. This provides a tremendous peace of mind to pilots and ensures the industry's safest landings and takeoffs. Cobalt promotes the highest standards of safety in the industry. An onboard parachute is also provided for an additional sense of security.
  3. Modern, elegant design and craftsmanship. Inspired by classic fighter jets with clean lines and premium finishes, the Valkyrie impresses with understated elegance. The exterior comes in a range of custom finishes including dark colors, typically harder on composites. The interior features premium leather seats, hand stitched by former Hermes craftsmen. The dashboard design is equally impressive with only one on/off switch and a tasteful place for your iPad. Cobalt will exclusively manufacture the Valkyrie in California to ensure quality standards and fast delivery to early buyers.
  4. Amazing visibility. Pilots flying Cobalt's Valkyrie will appreciate the beautiful, expansive visibility above and below. Valkyrie has the largest one-piece canopy in the world and unrivaled visibility with a 320-degree view.
  5. Luxurious comfort. The Valkyrie comfortably seats five people, including the pilot, with ample storage for golf clubs, skis and suitcases. The Valkyrie's propulsion engine is located in the rear of the plane, allowing for a quiet, comfortable cabin.
Additional Specifications:
  • Category: 5-seat Single Engine Piston
  • Turbocharged 350HP, retractable, IFR-capable
  • Oxygenized, non-pressurized
  • Cruise range: 1050 nautical miles (nmi) with NBAA IFR reserves
  • Customization: Interior and exterior are fully customizable upon request
  • Exact dimensions: 30 feet long x 30 feet wide x 10 feet high
Pricing and Availability

The Cobalt Co50 Valkyrie is the certified version, now available for U.S. pre-order. Reserve your spot in the limited pre-order at All pre-orders can be secured with a $15,000 deposit. The Co50 Valkyrie costs $699,000 in full and is targeted to be available in Summer 2017.

Pricing for the Valkyrie-X will start at $595,000 with an estimated production period of six months. There is no deposit required.

About Cobalt

Cobalt's mission is to transform the private aircraft experience with a new category of planes that are design-centric, stunningly sleek, modern, as well as super fast, safe and easy to fly. Cobalt's founder and CEO, David Loury, an aerospace engineer, French entrepreneur and designer, had the vision to improve the flying experience 10 years ago when he founded Cobalt. Cobalt's first plane, the Co50 Valkyrie, debuted in San Francisco and is now available for U.S. pre-orders.

For more information, please visit



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Military focuses on propeller malfunction in aircraft's aborted takeoff: Lockheed CP-140 Aurora, Royal Canadian Air Force

HALIFAX -- The agency looking into an aborted takeoff that damaged a patrol aircraft at the Greenwood base in Nova Scotia is focusing on the plane's propellers and why they failed to go into reverse as the pilot tried to end the mission.

Lt.-Col. Martin Leblanc of the military's Directorate of Flight Safety says the Aurora aircraft went off the runway on Aug. 27 when the aircraft commander ordered the pilot to end the takeoff because a flock of birds was heading towards the runway.

He says that investigators have found in an interim report that when the pilot selected reverse on all four propellers, the two on the right side of the aircraft continued to produce some forward thrust.

"We would expect all propellers would respond in the same fashion and this is not the case here," Leblanc said in a telephone interview from Ottawa on Friday.

Leblanc says the investigators still aren't certain why that occurred, but the safety agency decided against requesting the Aurora fleet be grounded.

He says a review showed no evidence of similar issues with propellers in other aborted Aurora takeoffs in recent years.

"We looked back into the history of the fleet and the types of accidents we've had, looking at specific engine and propeller configuration, and we couldn't see a trend developing here that would cause us to have concern about the flying status of the aircraft," said the officer.

Leblanc also says at this point it's premature to call for a fleetwide inspection.

"If you call a special investigation you need to be clear what you need to look for, and at this point we don't have any information on what to look for," he said.

The Aurora was carrying 17 people at the time, but nobody was injured when the patrol plane went off the runway.

The lieutenant colonel said the Greenwood base has methods to control birds and other wildlife and at this time the safety agency isn't recommending any immediate changes in that area.

He says the inquiry will continue to look at what, if any, role human error and the takeoff abort procedure played in the incident.

The officer says the next step in the inquiry is to finish a first draft and circulate it to interested parties. The goal is to finish the investigation within a year of incident, he said.

He said the aircraft is currently being assessed to determine if it can be repaired.

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Ocean City Municipal Airport (26N), drones on collision course

Pilot Craig Johnston flies above Ocean City, New Jersey. 

Pilot Craig Johnston, 62, of Ocean City, owner of Way To Go Aero, supports a proposed ban of drones within five miles of Ocean City Municipal Airport. He says planes and drones are a dangerous mix with potentially catastrophic results for planes if the two collide.

Pilot Craig Johnston discusses drone use near his plane at the Ocean City Airport, New Jersey.

Like the city below it, Ocean City’s airspace is getting crowded.

And before the competition for territory turns deadly, the mayor wants to outlaw drones flying over the land.

Citing concerns for safety and privacy, Mayor Jay Gillian last month proposed an ordinance that would ban drones within a 5-mile radius of the municipal airport.

While the rule is no more restrictive than the one implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration, it effectively puts the entire 8-mile island off limits to the unmanned aerial devices.

Should the ordinance pass on second reading at tonight’s City Council meeting, it will make the city the first in the state to take such a measure, according to the New Jersey League of Municipalities. Cape May and Long Beach Township are discussing regulations for drones.

“We have an airport,” Gillian said. “We’re not Sea Isle. We’re not Avalon. We use that airport for medical evacuations. Ocean City is a very big town, and we have a lot going on. I think it’s my responsibility as mayor to put something in place until the laws can catch up to it. I’m just trying to protect Ocean City.”

The law would punish violators with a fine up to $500 for the first offense and a fine of up to $1,000 or 30 days in jail for following offenses.

There have been no conflicts locally between drones and planes, but other airports have had incidents. A commercial airliner reported a drone at about 400 feet while landing in July at Newark Liberty International Airport. Los Angeles has reported more than 40 incidents since April 2014.

“As a pilot, the biggest concern we have is safety,” said Craig Johnston, 62, of Ocean City. “What that means in this situation is separation. It’s a big sky, but we need separation.”

The owner of Way To Go Aero charter flights, Johnston has been flying to the island’s airport for 35 years. He said planes fly too fast for pilots to see drones until it is too late, and a collision with one of the devices could stop an engine, shatter a windshield or tear an airplane’s aluminum skin, all with potentially devastating consequences.

“A drone is a piece of equipment,” Johnston said. “At our airport, we’re talking about pilots and passengers versus a piece of equipment that is unmanned.”

Bob Duffy, 64, and Milt “Skip” Reisen, 78, both of Ocean City, said they endorse a registration system for drones. They believe that would result in greater accountability for the owners of the machines. The federal government is rushing to put a national registry in place by December, anticipating that drones will be this year’s hottest holiday gift with as many as 1 million units sold.

“You don’t know the motives of the person flying the drone,” Duffy said. “They can be equipped with anything you want: phones, guns, cameras. Why are they doing it, if not to take photos or video?”

The men, who meet regularly at the airport diner for breakfast, said they support restrictions on drones for the same reasons the mayor does: safety and privacy. In addition to the many decks on houses, there are outdoor showers to consider, they said.

“I don’t disagree with a national registry,” Johnston said. “But if I’m on final approach, it doesn’t matter if it’s registered or not, if I hit it.”

Fans of drones say the maneuverable devices can be used for beneficial reasons, such as marketing and going where people cannot. The machines also afford a different viewpoint than the one on the ground. Avalon, for example, used a drone in the spring to take aerial views as its one-eighth-mile track was under construction.

Gloria Votta, president of the Ocean City Board of Realtors and its 550 members, said the local organization is following the lead of the National Association of Realtors, which “advises members that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for real estate marketing is currently prohibited by the FAA.”

Cody Allen, 21, of Port Republic, Atlantic County, used his drone over the summer to take pictures of friends surfing in the ocean and of the beach replenishment project that took place in the south end of Ocean City.

A drone owner for a year, Allen said he keeps his machine within eyesight for safety reasons and favors both a registration system and the ability to obtain a permit for unmanned flights in special circumstances. He also endorses insurance for drones, like that for vehicles, for damage and liability.

In addition to being a tool for marketing and inexpensive film production, Allen said other drone applications include checking farm crops and dangerous conditions on mountains, and patrolling for sharks along shorelines.

A hobbyist photographer, Allen said drone ownership provides a way to capture images he otherwise would not be able to. “I’m fascinated by the ability to have a way to take spectacular shots,” he said.

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Pilot Craig Johnston flies above Ocean City, New Jersey.

Drone ban doesn't fly freely in Ocean City, New Jersey

OCEAN CITY – Calling the mayor’s proposed ban on drones “half baked” and “too broad” to earn its full support, City Council on Thursday night unanimously adopted an amended ordinance with a September sunset clause.

Unless council adopts a revised law before its first meeting in September 2016, the complete ban on drone use on the island, which will be in effect for nine months, will expire. The action makes the resort community the first in the state to outright ban the use of the devices from its airspace.

“It’s not thought-out,” Councilman Michael DeVlieger said. He criticized the law, which bans drones at any height within five miles of the municipal airport, for excluding “100 positive uses” in an effort to punish a small number of abusers. “I highly suggest we table it.”

But Mayor Jay Gillian, who proposed the ban to unanimous council support on Oct. 22, defended the ordinance, citing several run-ins with the unmanned flying machines. He said his wife had been followed by a drone and that one had crashed over the summer at his amusement park on the Boardwalk.

“To make it personal, I think I have to a little bit because I’ve dealt with it,” Gillian said, adding he also took exception to the drone that had taken pictures at Wonderland, despite the virtues of those photos being extolled by Council President Keith Hartzell.

“Why would I ban somebody who got 103,000 hits that showed Ocean City in a pristine condition?’ Hartzell asked. “I’m going to ban something that showed our town in a really good way?”

“It was offensive to me,” Gillian said, mentioning the $800,000 cost of the Ferris wheel around which the drone had flown. He said the risk of an unmanned device crashing into a power grid and cutting off electricity to businesses packed with visitors or to people who depend on medical equipment was too great for him to ignore.

Council Vice President Pete Madden suggested the sunset clause as a compromise and, after protracted discussion on what length of time that should extend, council voted 5-2 to accept the amendment and 7-0 to adopt the ordinance as amended.

Councilman Pete Guinosso endorsed the ban without reservation, a stark counterpoint to DeVlieger’s insistence the ordinance as written was incomplete and irresponsible. The other five council members were easily amendable to Madden’s suggestion the law be temporarily adopted with the understanding it could be revised at any time.

Most of the objections to the ordinance focused on how prohibitive it is. While the majority of public comment came from those who supported the ban, including some who reported unpleasant Big Brotherlike experiences with the devices, several speakers pointed out the law was too draconian and that enforcement would be challenging. One even questioned what a drone is.

Other communities have successfully passed less-restrictive drone rules. For example, in the ordinance it adopted in May regulating drones below 400 feet within the community, Long Beach Township listed the specific uses that were exempt from enforcement, including public safety, educational and business reasons.

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Pilot's view Ocean City Airport, New Jersey. 

Drone photo of Ocean City Boardwalk by Cody Allen.