Sunday, November 15, 2015

Crossville Memorial Airport (KCSV) management, security questioned by city leaders

(WBIR-CROSSVILLE) There are small airports all across the country like Crossville Memorial Airport, but city leaders are questioning whether this one is managed as safely and efficiently as it could be.

Crossville City Council member Pete Souza tried getting his peers to agree to an audit specifically to examine airport operations in October. He said security is one of his biggest concerns.

"Our airport after dusk is wide open. Anybody can stop and anybody can leave," Souza said. "I have had numerous phone calls, a lot of phone calls, about activity at night at the airport and over the fact that our airport is open at night and unsupervised."

Chris Bennett is the airport manager and owner of Crossville Aero, the company that operates it. He said about 10 to 15 flights use his base per day, so it's a lot different than how major airports or regional ones like Knoxville are managed.

"Generally, a general aviation airport like this is uncontrolled," Bennett said. "It's not a controlled field, and it's up to the pilots to maintain safety of the passengers and aircraft."

He said fences around the grounds, key pads for each gate and surveillance cameras all serve as security measures.

"The only time no one's here is after dark," Bennett said. "Me and none of my staff man it after hours, and we're always on call 24 hours a day."

Crossville police also keep an eye on things.

"We have an officer patrolling this zone 24 hours every day," Crossville Police Chief Rodney Shoap said.

But Councilman Souza isn't just raising concerns about safety. He's worried about the oversight and management of the airport's $100,000-plus annual budget.

"The city enters agreement with Crossville Aero, paying it $79,000 per year to assign an airport manager that in fact oversees themselves," Souza said. "I have an issue with that."

The root of the controversy dates back eight years. Audits from 2007 show the city terminated a contract with its last airport manager. It hired Bennett's company, Crossville Aero, 16 days later.

Souza said the deal was a quick fix with little oversight or financial accountability.

"I thought it was fiscally irresponsible to have a provision of a contract that dates back seven years where revenue was received on an honor system, whereby the contractor stated how much fuel you use and paid so much money," Souza said.

He continued: "That's not to imply that the contractor was fraudulent. I thought that was irresponsible of the city to have a plan that received revenue without any authentication of the numbers."

A 2008 audit shows the city council addressed previous issues and approved a new contract with Crossville Aero. Some of those issues included not establishing fuel flowage fees, not issuing requests for bids for the management position, and having some "terms of the contract appear to be much more favorable than were previously given to the former operator."

But other council members said there's nothing to question at the airport.

"Pete's just chasing an issue that doesn't exist," Crossville City Council member Jesse Kerley said.

He said Bennett has made a lot of progress at the airport, especially when it comes to bringing business into the area.

"Chris was named as our interim airport manager and then was the only individual to put a bid in the city of Crossville," Kerley said.

"It's a business tool and we try to get people in here. There's a lot of people coming in here, a lot of corporate traffic," Bennett said.

Souza still wants council members to take a closer look at how taxpayer dollars are being spent through a new independent audit.

"We're going to have to start planning and managing for our future," Souza said.

The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury said Crossville Memorial Airport is included in annual city audits, so it is not required to get a separate financial review.

Council members will discuss Bennett's contract at a meeting next month.

10News reached out to Crossville City Manager David Rutherford, who is supposed to oversee the airport, but he would not comment on his role.

Story and video:

Savannah's air service portfolio growing: JetBlue, Allegiant, Sun Country have options up, fares down

With six new leisure routes in less than two years, Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is just beginning to tap its potential for inbound growth as a destination city, the airport’s air service consultant told the airport commission at its November meeting.

“While the legacy airlines continue to remain satisfied with the market, JetBlue has played a critical role in keeping fares in check,” Brad DiFiore of AilevonPacific Aviation Consulting said in his report to the board.

DiFiore pointed to growth in the number of available passenger seats — which has outpaced most other airports its size – and a new emphasis on Savannah as a destination market as major factors in the airport’s resurgence.

Fares have also come down, with today’s averages a far cry from just two years ago when Savannah had the dubious distinction of placing in the top five on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s list of airports with the highest fares.

“Before JetBlue announced it was coming into the Savannah/Hilton Head market, traffic was flat and fares were rising,” DiFiore said. “Savannah fares are extremely competitive now.”

A quick check of direct flight fares from Savannah, Jacksonville and Charleston indicates Savannah is now cheaper to New York City’s JFK and La Guardia, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia and Charlotte.

There is little doubt the turnaround started with JetBlue, said Lori Lynah, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development.

“In fact, in the second quarter of last year — the first full quarter of JetBlue service – Savannah’s fares fell 13.7 percent, dropping us from the fifth most expensive of the 100 metro airports rated to the 25th most expensive,” she said.

“It was a clear indication of the difference having a low-cost carrier makes, especially one as popular as JetBlue,” Lynah said.

The ripple effect began months before the low-cost carrier actually arrived in February and in more than JetBlue’s announced destinations. In anticipation, Delta, United and U.S. Airways added to their Savannah service, giving passengers the weekly option of 45 more flights and 5,000 additional seats.

Once JetBlue actually started service to Savannah from New York’s JFK International and Boston’s Logan International, Savannah fares began dropping as other airlines scrambled to compete.

“One of the most important aspects of having a carrier like JetBlue is that its presence tends to lower fares across the board, not just in the New York and Boston markets,” Lynah said. “Delta still holds huge share of the Savannah market, but their fares are more competitive now.”

A destination market

While JetBlue’s low-cost fares and popularity as a “fun-to-fly” airline gave Savannah a new dimension in air travel, the addition of Allegiant Air promoting the area as a fly-in destination was even more popular than anyone anticipated.

A U.S. domestic low-cost carrier based in Las Vegas, Allegiant announced in February that it would begin spring and summer service this year to Savannah/Hilton Head from three Ohio cities — Akron/Canton, Columbus and Cincinnati.

It would take almost no time for the numbers to validate Allegiant’s decision, DiFiore said.

Planes were full, especially on the Cincinnati to Savannah route, prompting the airline to extend dates of service twice already.

“We’re pleased to say that Ohio travelers have embraced Savannah and Hilton Head Island as a destination and are taking advantage of our low-cost, nonstop flights,” said Allegiant public relations specialist Stephanie Pilecki.

“We aim for a 90 percent load factor on all our flights nationwide, and our Ohio routes to SAV have exceeded our expectations.”

The airport is hoping for an announcement from Allegiant on new and/or expanded service to Savannah, Lynah said last week, adding that the news could come at any time.

Allegiant’s success in Savannah was not lost on Sun Country Airlines, a destination carrier based in Minneapolis/St. Paul that began in late August adding seasonal nonstop service from its Twin Cities hub to Savannah.

Problem solved

But Sun Country’s story is a bit different, DiFiore said.

“They are a small, privately owned airline that doesn’t even try to compete with the big boys,” he said. “Instead, they have found their niche with destination routes and charter flights.”

“We went up to Minneapolis to talk with them and learned they wanted to base an airplane somewhere in the Southeast in the fall because they do a lot of football charters down here, but everything they looked at was too expensive,” he said.

DiFiore and Lynah suggested the airline consider bringing a plane down to Savannah on Thursdays, but instead of flying it empty offering it as a destination getaway for residents of the Twin Cities.

“They liked the idea,” he said. “So they began flying to Savannah on Thursdays, doing their charter on Friday and Saturday and flying home on Sundays.

“And a funny thing happened – they found themselves flying full or nearly full planes down here and back every weekend.

“Now, Sun Country is so confident in Savannah as a destination city, they are adding service in the spring – with no charter backstop,” DiFiore said.

“JetBlue has opened the door for us in a big way.”

So, what’s next?

Lynah and DiFiore told the airport board they have three priorities:

• Build the Allegiant franchise with more frequency and more markets;

• Find solutions for the Washington, D.C., and south Florida markets;

• Grow capacity in key existing markets.

“There are a lot of people in this country who are vaguely familiar with Savannah but have never visited,” DiFiore said. “We know from experience that most people, once they visit, fall in love with the area.

“It’s our job to find ways to get them here.”

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Envoy Air Embraer ERJ-145, N652RS, Flight MQ-3047/AA-3047: Incident occurred November 15, 2015 at Sioux Falls Regional Airport (KFSD), South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, SD - An American Eagle flight made an emergency landing just 8 minutes after taking off from Sioux Falls Regional Airport Sunday.
A spokesperson with American Airlines says the plane, bound for Chicago, took off at 12:33 p.m Sunday afternoon.

Just 8 minutes into the flight, the pilot reported an engine issue and chose to head back towards Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

It was back on the ground by 12:50 p.m.

Fifty passengers were on board the plane, but no one was hurt. 

The Federal Aviation Administration says they are investigating the incident.

Air Force flight instructor facing sex charge involving student

An Air Force pilot instructor was to go on trial Monday to face charges that he had sex with two women, one an officer he was teaching to fly at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio.

Capt. Christopher Hill faces four charges and nine specifications of misconduct, accused of having a 10-month affair with the student pilot at Laughlin, having sex with an enlisted woman at Andersen AFB in Yigo, Guam in 2012, and burying an external hard drive that contained incriminating evidence near a hangar at Del Rio’s civilian airport.

Such cases are rare at Laughlin, a hub of Air Force novice pilot training. However, a judge in September found another instructor pilot, 1st Lt. Kevin Sheehan, guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman for having sexual relationships with two female student pilots.

An Air Force court-martial summary stated that he received 100 days in jail, forfeiture of $2,292 for three months, and a reprimand at a trial. He was not discharged.

A plea bargain is possible in Hill’s case. If it occurs, a judge will hear the details of the plea before accepting the deal.

The incidents were part of a pattern of misconduct that followed Hill over the past few years according to Air Force charging documents. One said that Hill, who has been in the service for more than nine years, had sexually flirtatious conversations with enlisted women in Guam and Minot Air Base in North Dakota.

The relationship with the student at Laughlin ran from Oct. 1, 2013 to July 31, 2014, another document states. The woman graduated from pilot training.

The Air Force probe into Hill’s case prompted investigators to uncover other pilot misconduct at Laughlin, one of four bases that trains fledgling pilots. It graduates more than 300 new pilots each year.

The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigation alleged that three instructor pilots repeatedly traded text messages about their use of a manufactured drug they referred to as “Molly,” sometimes a nickname for MDMA, sparking an Internet debate over the privacy rights of airmen sending text messages. Investigators scoured through thousands of messages sent among the three pilots in a six-month period.

Theys were given letters of reprimand and removed from flight status. The Air Force’s chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh III, has ordered a Pentagon review that could still lead to charges. The pilots, who have not been charged, claimed they were jokingly citing Miley Cyrus lyrics in those text messages.

A spokesman for the Air Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Col. Sean McKenna, said the case wasn’t that simple or innocent, adding, “The Air Force’s evidence was centered chiefly on text messages that spoke to use or possession of drugs, not in relation to pop culture.”

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Cessna 140, N81054: Incident occurred November 14, 2015 near Poplar Grove Airport (C77) Boone County, Illinois

Date: 14-NOV-15 
Time: 18:37:00Z
Regis#: N81054
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 140
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA W. Chicago-DuPage (NON Part 121) FSDO-03
State: Illinois


POPLAR GROVE — No one was injured, but a van was damaged Saturday afternoon when a plane was landing at the Poplar Grove Airport, 11619 Illinois Route 76.

The crash occurred at 12:37 p.m. on Orth Road just east of Illinois Route 76.

A woman was driving a van westbound on Orth Road when a Cessna 140 airplane hit the roof of the van with one of its tires.

The plane was coming in for a landing, said Boone County Sheriff Sgt. Dan Reid. 

The tire damaged the top of the van and the windshield, Reid said.

The plane carried the pilot and one passenger. 

The woman had child passengers in her van, Reid said.

The plane landed safely.

The Boone County Sheriff's Department completed an accident report, Reid said, and turned it over to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Learning a lesson on wind's effects

By Hank Billings,  4:57 p.m. CST November 15, 2015

The effects of wind on an airplane are interesting.

That’s why, as a former pilot, I study wind direction and speed by observing smoke or flags.

My earliest lesson in wind effect came when I was a young Sunday school student at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

The teacher, Charlie Peterson, told the class he was flying a light plane back from Kansas City and a stiff headwind caused him to be passed by cars on Highway 13 below him.

Eddie Rickenbacker, a World War I flying ace, was scheduled to make a speech in Springfield.

Lester Cox sent his twin-engine Beechcraft to St. Louis to pick up Rickenbacker.

At that time, Rickenbacker was president of Eastern Airlines.

I expected a young man in leather flying togs, but there emerged from the Eastern office an elderly man, slightly stooped, dressed in a business suit.

Cox had invited me to go along to interview Rickenbacker but warned me not to pester him.

So after a brief interview, I sat in the co-pilot’s seat, leaving Rickenbacker alone.

But soon he came up front and asked, “Do you have to help fly this airplane?”

“Certainly not,” I said.

Rickenbacker then said to come back so we could chat some more. We talked all the way to Springfield and I had a much better interview.

After we landed, Rickenbacker told the pilot, “That was a wonderful crosswind landing.”

The pilot beamed with pleasure at the compliment from the World War I ace.

A wing-walking act based its Stearman airplane at the Downtown Airport, on East Division Street, during the Ozark Empire Fair one year.

The narrator of the act invited me to ride on the top wing of the Stearman. I found out it was not “wing walking,” but “wing clinging.”

My feet were in stirrups on the top wing, my back was against a brace on the wing and I held onto wire attached to the wing.

But even at the Stearman’s relatively slow speed, my goggles were rattled so much by the relative wind that I was unable to see many sights as we circled the field and landed.

The young girl who rode where I rode on the top wing was later killed when the plane crashed during a Minnesota event. The pilot was seriously injured.

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Airline pilots want longer safety zones in Wellington runway extension plans

The New Zealand airline pilots union has gone to court over the minimum safety zone at each end of the proposed runway extension at Wellington airport.

The Airline Pilots' Association says the Civil Aviation director has approved a 90m runway end safety area (RESA) for the proposal, their lawyer Hugh Rennie, QC, said.

It seems the director was "lured down the golden path" and considered cost, which was not part of his role, Rennie said.

The pilots say the director should have looked at whether a primary requirement of 240m RESA was "practicable" and, if it was not, to consider what shorter distance was practicable.

But Justice Karen Clark was told that the director says he has not made a decision, that the process is continuing. Pilots are still able to talk to him about the issue, but the pilots say the director has stopped consulting about it.

Rennie told the judge that the court hearing, which is due to take three days, was not an "us and them" confrontational case but there were competing interpretations and the court's decision would help all parties.

The issue was of general application to all major New Zealand airports, he said.

The director of Civil Aviation also wants the court's decision on the correct legal interpretation he has to apply, Rennie said.

Wellington International Airport Ltd is also a party to the case. It is expected to say that the director has made his decision about the RESA and it should not be changed.

The safety zones at the airport are currently 90m, pilots say.

Wellington's runway is short, about 1800m at the moment. A 300m extension to the south end has been proposed.

The hearing is continuing.

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Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport (KMOP) operating while long-time manager recovers from stroke

John Benzinger. 
(Photo courtesy of Jason Benzinger.) 

John Benzinger has been the face of the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport for close to 30 years as its manager.

On Oct. 30, the 65-year-old suffered a stroke after returning home from work at the airport and is currently in the hospital in an induced coma.

His son Jason Benzinger said he is hopeful his dad will make a full recovery and asked for everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

“John has been a great guy for a lot of years at the airport and we wish him well on his recovery,” said John Zang, director of Mt. Pleasant Public Works.

Meanwhile, managing duties will be handled by Chris Coale, who is certified for the job and served as the airport’s assistant manager under John Benzinger.

Coale said he’s been working closely with him for a little over a year and a half.

In that time, he got to know the man who he calls a really nice, genuine guy who loves the airport.

“John has been preparing me to take over his duties since I started working here,” said Coale. “So stepping into a lot of this stuff hasn’t been too hard.”

While Benzinger is in the hospital, operations will continue as normal even though less hours will be worked.

The airport already had a small staff so losing anyone is tough, but members of Central Michigan Aviation—the local flying club—are helping out, too, said Zang.

“It’s great to have a person like Chris out there to make sure things are still running smoothly,” he said.

Coale said Benzigner knew all the regulars and everyone who came into the airport more than once twice knew him well, too.

Over the course of Benzinger’s life, he’s made his mark both in the local aviation circles as well as the community.

He worked as a postal carrier in Mt. Pleasant and was part of a farm family before beginning a fascination with flight, according to Jason Benzinger.

“My dad is a helper,” he said. “Whether it’s at the airport or not, he’s well-recognized outside of it in the community from his days as a postal worker and living here all his life.”

Jason Benzinger said his dad first purchased an experimental aircraft that he put together when he was young and had an airstrip between the house and the farmland where he lived.

“He got into the local EAA [Experimental Aircraft Association] and ran into some friends and that’s how he got into airport part of it,” said Jason Benzinger. “Not sure how he became manager, but opportunity was there and he took it and has been the manager ever since.”

When you have an employee that puts 30 years in at some place, it’s a big deal, he said.

“For my dad at the airport, it’s been him and only him for almost 30 years,” said Jason Benzinger. “It wasn’t until recently they started having guys over there learning the skill and the trade.”

Coale is hoping to have Benzinger return at some point.

“It’d be nice to see him come out of this with a decent quality of life,” he said.

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Kevin's passion for flying takes off

Kevin Wintergreen expects his Fokker aircraft will be flying within months — and he can’t wait. 

Being a passenger in a plane can be scary enough for some, but pilot and plane-builder Kevin Wintergreen pushes the limits for his passion.

For the past nine months, the pilot of more than 30 years has been building a replica Fokker E.V/D.VIII aircraft at his property in Manjimup.

"It usually takes between three and six years to build an aircraft so nine months is really quick," Kevin said.

"Then again, I've built five other aircraft so I found this one pretty easy."

For his sixth build, Kevin opted for the first German single-wing aircraft of World War I.

"For its day, it was cutting-edge technology," he said. "It knocked the daylights out of the Allies but it was right at the end of the war - in actual fact, the Allies called it the Fokker Scourge.

"I wanted something unique, something different to what everyone else was building."

Upon completion, Kevin said his replica would be the only one of its kind in the State, and possibly the country.

He plans to finish it with the original paint scheme, don a World War I German pilot's outfit and take it to air shows.

"We were even invited to go along to the 100th celebration of the Australian air force which is early next year," Kevin said.

"Even if the aircraft's not flying, I still wanted to go along and put it on display."

So far, Kevin has put about 800 hours of work into the plane and expected another 200 would finish the job.

Despite being a "daunting task", he said it was relaxing and enjoyable pastime.

"In my spare time, I like doing something, I like keeping busy," he said.

"I'm not into sport so it's all about aviation for me."

While aviation is now the semi-retired driller's favorite pastime, it began as a practical and economical means of transportation.

"In the early days, when I was in the outback drilling, it was easier to fly than drive over dusty roads," Kevin said.

"I always enjoyed flying but couldn't afford this type of aircraft so the easiest thing to do was build one."

Since relocating to Manjimup two years ago, Kevin now flies predominantly for recreational purposes with the Manjimup Aero Club.

His choice of plane has also changed in recent years.

"As I'm getting older, my aircraft are getting slower," he said.

"I wanted something a bit easier so I don't have to worry as much."

"You've got to be young and fit - this is slow and easy and safe."

But even in taking all possible safety precautions, Kevin said there were never any guarantees.

"I've had a couple of close calls test flying," he said.

Kevin said one potentially deadly incident saw the glass cockpit canopy torn off during a military-style tandem flight.

"There'd been three previous crashes in that type of plane and it decapitated the two pilots," he said.

"We later learned the kit was faulty - one of the safety latches wasn't strong enough.

"It was bending, the canopy came unlatched and at those speeds it's like an explosion."

Kevin admitted he had more faith in planes he had built himself but acknowledged flying was never without risk.

"You can take every possible precaution but there are still the unknowns," he said.

"But it's worth it.

"I absolutely love it."

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Man killed in Boy Scout rocket accident

A Highland man died Saturday, Nov. 14, in a freak accident while participating in the Boy Scouts of America's annual "Rocket Rave" event in Johnson Valley.

The event is a gathering where Scouts and others launch home-made and commercially made hobby model rockets.

Michael Bentley, a longtime scouting volunteer, was there watching his friend launch a home-made rocket, San Bernardino County sheriff's officials wrote in a news release.

The launch was successful but after watching it take off, Bentley lost track of the rocket's direction of travel.

The rocket came down and struck Bentley in the face as he looked toward the sky, officials said. Spectators at the event began to panic and call 911.

Two off-duty San Bernardino County sheriff's officials were at the event in another area and learned of the emergency. They ran to assess the nature of Bentley's injuries and recognized them as life-threatening.

The two officials, a detective and a lieutenant, coordinated a medical response and gained the help of a California Highway Patrol helicopter, the release said.

Bentley, 50, was taken to a Palm Springs hospital, where he died in surgery.

Bentley had been involved in scouting since his youth and was the immediate past district chairman of the Arrowhead District of the California Inland Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Council executive Joseph Daniszewski said Bentley was "just a great scouter and a really great man. It's just a tragedy."

In 2010, Bentley earned the Silver Beaver Award, which is awarded to registered adult leaders who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council.

Bentley also served as charter representative for First United Methodist Church of Highland.

"All of us in the Inland Empire Council are really very sad for the loss of Michael and our thoughts and prayers go to him and his family,"Daniszewski said.

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Yellowknife council to decide if float planes can use new waterfront park's dock

The City of Yellowknife is planning a new waterfront park in the city's Old Town area but whether the park's dock will be reserved for non-motorized watercraft users or opened up to float planes still remains to be seen.

City administrators unveiled the plan earlier this week for Hank Koenen Park on Wiley Road, about halfway between the Wildcat Cafe and Bullock's. The $150,000 plan calls for a boardwalk, Muskoka chairs, picnic tables, parking, bicycle racks and views of Back Bay.

It comes in response to public calls for more access to Yellowknife's lakes, the city says. But whether that access should also be extended to float plane pilots still needs to be decided by city council.

"I'm not really interested in seeing more commercial float plane dock space there," says Claudia Kraft, who lives near the proposed park and attended a public session on the project on Tuesday.

"I think it's appropriate for there to be some access for them. Ideally, that would be not in a place that's disturbing those of us that are in small non-motorized watercraft."

An online survey done by the city in the summer found that 62 percent of respondents preferred a dock for non-motorized vessels rather than for float planes. 

The park will be named after Hank Koenen, a former local float plane operator who was also a pilot in the Second World War.

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Century Tours sues Commonwealth Ports Authority for negligence

Steven Pixley
Century Tours Inc, a business that offers charter flights from China to Saipan, has sued the Commonwealth Ports Authority for negligence and carelessness in maintaining its emergency vehicles which caused the company to incur the expense of taking in stranded tourists.

Century Tours Inc., through attorney Steven P. Pixley, is asking the court for relief in damages amounting to $149,044, costs and other relief as the court deems just and proper.

In its lawsuit, Century Tours said the Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for ensuring that the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport complies with federal regulations governing airport safety and emergency response operations including Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting or ARFF requirements.

Under ARFF regulations, the  Federal Aviation Administration requires commercial airport operators to develop plans and procedures to respond to aircraft accidents, fires and hazardous materials incidents.

The plaintiff said on Aug. 21, 2015, the CPA through its executive director notified Century Tours that one of the aircraft firefighting rescue trucks operated and maintained by the CPA was not operational.

Century Tours said the  Federal Aviation Administration has strict mandatory rules regarding the availability of fire and rescue trucks at commercial airports for emergencies and as a commercial operator, and CPA was aware of these requirements.

One truck unavailable caused the airport to temporarily stop the landing and takeoff of jets that had a wing span exceeding 159 feet.

The plaintiff said the charter airline flights it manages are operated by Sichuan Airlines and China Eastern Airlines which both operate Airbus 330 aircraft with wing spans that exceed 159 feet.

As a result of the airport downgrade, the Airbus 330 aircraft was unable to operate at the Saipan airport.

 Century Tours, which was responsible for many Chinese tourists who were visiting Saipan and who were scheduled to return to China on charter flights, had to provide accommodations and feed the stranded tourists at various hotels on Saipan at the company’s expense.

The plaintiff said it was the duty of the CPA to comply with the ARFF regulations and that CPA owed a duty of care that these emergency vehicles were properly maintained to permit operations at the airport and ensure the safety of airline passengers. The plaintiff said CPA breached this duty of care.  

In addition, the plaintiff said, CPA was negligent and careless in that it failed to properly maintain the emergency truck which was not operational because of problems with its steering mechanism.

CPA, the plaintiff added, also failed to ensure that the parts were reasonably available to properly maintain the truck; failed to comply with the ARFF regulations; and failed to make regular and frequent inspections of the ARFF equipment to ensure that the equipment remained fully operational.

CPA was given 20 days upon receipt of the summons to answer the complaint. Failure to do so would mean judgment by default will be taken against the defendant for the relief demanded in the complaint.

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JetBlue unveiling improvements to Logan International Airport (KBOS), Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Logan International Airport is getting an update.

JetBlue is unveiling the first phase of its terminal improvements Monday.

The New York-based carrier has been working with MASSPORT, the airport operator, to update JetBlue's Terminal C area with new interactive kiosks, updated flight information displays and other upgrades. 

The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

JetBlue's Director of Airport Operations Norbert Strissel and MASSPORT CEO Thomas Glynn will speak at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.

Former New England Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins, a native of the East Boston neighborhood where the airport is located, will also be on hand to raise the team's Super Bowl XLIV banner over the terminal. 

The airline is a sponsor for the team.

JetBlue is Logan's largest airline carrier in terms of passengers.


El Al Boeing 777-200, 4X-ECA, Flight LY-5: Incident occurred November 15, 2015 at Billings Logan International Airport (KBIL) Billings, Yellow Stone County, Montana

A Boeing 777 left Billings at about 5:30 p.m. Monday after making an emergency landing Sunday and subsequently being grounded.

The El Al Airlines jet was transporting about 300 people from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles when an indicator warned of a possible fire in the airplane’s right engine. The aircraft made an unplanned stop at Billings Logan International airport and while the passengers left on a replacement 777 Sunday night, the original jet sat on the tarmac until El Al mechanics sorted out its issues.

Kevin Ploehn, acting director of aviation and transit, said the mechanics arrived on the second airplane from Newark. They spent Monday working on the right engine and replaced a few parts including fire extinguishers the pilot deployed as a precaution before landing in Billings.

“If there was a fire it was very small and centralized,” said Ploehn. “We don’t have all the details on that but (the mechanics) made it airworthy and took off yesterday.”

The Federal Aviation Administration sent officials from Helena to Billings to inspect the plane before it took flight, said Allen Kenitzer, FAA spokesperson.

Kenitzer said the inspectors arrived sometime Monday afternoon and cleared the aircraft for takeoff.

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Kat Healy and friend Victor Sargent deliver kosher food to stranded El Al passengers at the Billings airport on Sunday. Members of the Billings Congregation Beth Aaron used emergency funds to help feed the passengers after their Boeing 777 made an emergency landing at Logan Airport.

About 300 international travelers found themselves stuck in the Billings Logan International Airport on Sunday without access to food, and members of the Billings community did their part to help make a bad situation a little easier to bear.

Donna Healy jumped into action when she heard a El Al Airlines flight from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles made an unplanned stop in Billings. As a member of Congregation Beth Aaron, a Jewish community in Billings, Healy understands that many of the folks in Israel and aboard the flight keep a kosher diet. With the help of her daughter Kat Healy and Kat’s friend Victor Sargent, she decided to feed as many as possible.

“You just don’t often get a planeload of Israelis in Billings, and we thought we should do what we could to make them comfortable, and kosher food is a part of that,” Healy said.

She picked up fruits, cereal, crackers and hummus, among other snacks, but also provided other items like deodorant and diapers.

Healy said Beth Aaron keeps an emergency fund for events like Sunday’s and is paying for the goods she delivered.

A rabbi from Bozeman also made the trip to Billings and delivered a large quantity of food.

Michael Eisenberg was one of the stranded travelers who benefited from the surprise meal.

“Once the rabbis came, there was more than enough. Tons. People in Billings can eat bagels for a month,” Eisenberg said.

He praised the care his fellow travelers were shown while stuck in the sequester area and kept the experience in perspective.

“I missed a couple meetings today in (San Francisco). But you know what the definition of a good flight is? One where you land safely and get to walk away from. It’s all good,” Eisenberg said.

- Source:

A passenger airplane carrying nearly 300 people made an emergency landing in Billings Sunday morning after the crew reported an engine fire warning in one of the aircraft's two engines.

Israeli airline El Al landed the Boeing 777 shortly before 6 a.m., because warning lights showed a fire in the right engine. 

A Billings airport fire official confirmed that there were 279 people plus crew members aboard.

Fire crews from around Billings were on hand as the plane landed. 

No fire was visible. Originally, the airliner was going to make a first, low-level pass before landing, but instead just landed.

Mike Glancy, chief of the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Division at the Billings airport, said that although no flames were visible, the pilot discharged fire bottles — fire extinguishers — at the right engine.

A passenger on board, Soroush Arani of Los Angeles, said the flight was to have taken passengers from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles, but the airplane experienced turbulence, he said.

Shortly after that, a flight attendant announced that the pilots had seen a cockpit light indicating a fire in the right engine and that the plane would land at the nearest airport — Billings.

"I was very glad we were in the States," Arani said. "There are lots of airports. I'm glad this didn't happen anywhere else."

Because of the aircraft's large size, it could not park at the terminal.   Instead, a landing ladder was used to unload passengers. 

Billings has no customs agents at the airport for flights.

Glancy said that customs officials were en route from Great Falls this morning and were expected sometime after 1 p.m.

Calls to U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices were not immediately returned.

Passengers were removed from the aircraft and then bused to an airport terminal in a process that took about 30 minutes. Glancy said the passengers were being sequestered in a Billings airport terminal.

A spare aircraft from Newark, N.J., was being dispatched to Billings to enable passengers to complete their journey to Los Angeles International Airport.

El Al was making arrangements to feed the passengers and was making lodging accommodations for the crew, which numbered 10 to 12, Glancy said.

Arani said he flies with El Al three or four times per year and has never experienced anything like Sunday's events.

"We did not have any difficulty on the airplane at all" regarding the emergency landing, Arani said. "The way (the pilots) handled it was very professional."

After flying over the Atlantic Ocean for several hours, Arani said he was glad the issue occurred over land rather than over the ocean.

Airport personnel were working Sunday morning to remove wheelchairs and strollers from the aircraft.

El Al reportedly has six 777s in its fleet. The aircraft is primarily used for transcontinental flights and has a range of about 6,000 miles.

Story and photo gallery:

Lancair IV-P, Fly Fast LLC, N10UU: Accident occurred November 15, 2015 in Shawano County, Wisconsin

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 
Engine and Propeller Directorate; Burlington, Massachusetts
National Transportation Safety Board Materials Laboratory; Washington, District of Columbia 
Lancair Owners and Builders Organization; Saint Louis, Missouri

Lancair International; Redmond, Oregon

Fly Fast LLC:

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA043
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 15, 2015 in Shawano, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: HICKHAM LANCAIR IV-P, registration: N10UU
Injuries: 2 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 practicing an emergency descent during a dual training flight, the pilot receiving instruction entered the airplane into a steep dive, which resulted in a 0.5-G load factor for about 5 seconds and a transient drop in engine oil pressure of about 15 psi. As the descent continued, engine speed steadily increased beyond the maximum operating limit of 2,700 rpm. While still in the dive, the pilot initiated a left turn with a 3-G load factor, during which the engine oversped to 3,390 rpm. The engine immediately began to run rough, and subsequently experienced a total loss of power. The pilot executed a forced landing to a field with the landing gear and flaps retracted, during which the airplane struck a rock wall and tumbled.

Postaccident examination revealed that 8 teeth on the left magneto distributor drive gear and 16 teeth on the right gear had fractured. No evidence of progressive damage or material anomaly was observed with the distributor drive gear teeth. The nylon gear teeth were most likely damaged by the abnormal shock loads on the gear train during the engine overspeed. The damage to the gear teeth resulted in a dual magneto failure and subsequent loss of engine power. 

The flight profile of a low-G pushover to a steep dive, which was accompanied by a drop in engine oil pressure, may have led to the propeller governor not supplying adequate oil pressure to the propeller, which subsequently contributed to the engine overspeed and the failure of the magnetos.  

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power due to a dual magneto failure, as a result of an exceedance of the engine’s operating limitations while maneuvering.


On November 15, 2015, about 0904 central standard time, an amateur built Lancair IV-P airplane, N10UU, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following an inflight loss of engine power near Shawano, Wisconsin. The pilot and flight instructor sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Fly Fast LLC under
the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed from the Shawano Municipal Airport (EZS), Shawano, Wisconsin about 0841. 

The purpose of the flight was to conduct Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO) transition training for the pilot. While practicing an emergency descent, the pilot stated the engine oversped above the normal operating limit of 2,700 revolutions per minute (rpm). The pilot returned the airplane to level flight and noticed the engine begin to run rough and subsequently lost power. After the pilot and flight instructor unsuccessfully attempted to regain normal engine power, the pilot executed a forced landing into a field with the landing gear and flaps up. After touchdown, the left wingtip contacted a rock wall and the airplane tumbled, damaging both wings and fuselage. 

Based on data downloaded from the Chelton electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS), the airplane began the practice emergency descent from 6,500 ft mean sea level (msl) about 20 minutes after takeoff. With wings level and engine power near idle, the airplane pitched over to a nose low attitude of 22 degrees and encountered a 0.5 G load factor for about 5 seconds. During this low G period, the engine oil pressure decreased from 49 pounds per square inch (psi) to 34 psi, then increased to 44 psi as 1 G flight resumed. The airplane accelerated to 177 knots indicated airspeed (kias) and engine speed increased to 2,800 rpm. 

While the airplane continued in a steep descent, a left turn commenced, which reached a bank angle of 55 degrees and a G load factor of 2.79. During this descending left turn, airspeed increased to 195 kias, vertical speed increased to 7,200 ft per minute (fpm), and engine speed peaked at 3,390 rpm. Over the next 15 seconds, the airplane returned to wings level flight and engine rpm dropped to 2,060 rpm, with fuel flow increasing from 6.2 gallons per hour (gph) to 11.1 gph. 

Prior to start of the emergency descent, the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) and cylinder head temperature (CHT) of all six cylinders were parallel and consistent with a cylinder making power. Immediately following the engine overspeed, #1, 4, 5, and 6 cylinder EGTs and CHTs started to decrease, and continued to drop for the remainder of the flight. The #2 and #3 cylinder EGTs initially increased from about 700 to 1,100 degrees F. About one minute later, the #2 cylinder EGT decreased to match the other cooling cylinders, while the #3 cylinder EGT ranged from 700 to 1,400 degrees F for the remainder of the flight. 


The flight instructor, age 54, held commercial and flight instructor certificates with airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. He was hired by the airplane owners to conduct transition training using the LOBO FAA and Industry Training Standards (FITS). He reported 1,416 total flight hours, with 32 hours in the make and model of the accident airplane. The instructor completed LOBO flight instructor ground and flight standardization training in September 2014 and completed recurrent ground standardization training in September 2015.

The pilot, age 66, held airline transport pilot and commercial certificates with airplane single-engine land and multi-engine land ratings. He was a retired airline pilot and reported 23,000 total flight hours, with 5 hours in the make and model of the accident airplane. 


The accident airplane was an experimental amateur-built aircraft constructed from a kit, whose components were manufactured by the designer, Lancair International, Inc. The airplane was equipped with a Continental Motors TSIO-550E engine and a MT constant-speed four-blade wood propeller. 

The pilot operating handbook listed an emergency descent airspeed of 170-274 kias, best glide airspeed of 120 kias, and never exceed airspeed of 274 kias. The normal operating limits for the engine were 38.5 inches of manifold pressure, 30-60 psi of oil pressure, and 2,700 rpm. 

According to the engine's type certificate data sheet, the oil sump capacity was 12 quarts, with 6.5 quarts usable at a 14.5 degrees nose down attitude. Several Lancair pilots who had competed in the Reno Air Races stated that low G maneuvering would often result in an engine surge and/or overspeed. 


On March 2, 2016, the engine was examined at Continental Motors under the supervision of the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), with technical representatives from Continental Motors and LOBO. The crankshaft was rotated to verify engine drive train continuity. According to the airplane owner, the magnetos were installed on the Continental TSIO-550-E16B engine manufactured in 2009 and had 282 hours of time in service since overhaul. The magnetos were type S6RSC-25P magnetos, Continental Motors part number 10-500556-101. 

Examination of the magneto distributor gears revealed that numerous nylon gear teeth had fractured, 8 teeth on the left magneto and 16 teeth on the right magneto. The fractured distributor gear teeth were clocked on an exemplary distributor gear in an exemplary magneto. The magneto drive shaft was rotated in a clockwise direction until the area of the separated teeth aligned with the drive gear. Doing so with the left magneto revealed a large arc of separated gear teeth that placed the distributor gear electrode between the #6 and #3 cylinders' distributor block electrodes, as well as a smaller arc of separated gear teeth corresponding to the #4 cylinders' distributor block electrodes. Doing so on the left magneto revealed an arc of missing teeth that placed the distributor gear electrode between the #6 and #3 cylinders' distributor block electrodes. 

The permanent magnets cast onto both magneto armatures had been rotated on the armature shaft and the aluminum casting boss on both armatures was fractured. The left magneto permanent magnet was rotated about two degrees from its manufactured position; the right magneto permanent magnet had rotated about 12 degrees from its manufactured position. Neither magneto exhibited evidence of contact between the stationary and rotating components. The impulse coupling of both magnetos exhibited pronounced wear and hammering on the flyweight noses. Scrubbing was visible along the flyweight outer diameters. 

Replacement magnetos were installed on the engine, which was successfully test run to full power in a test cell, with no anomalies noted.


The magneto distributor gears and separated teeth were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further investigation. Tooth fractures of the left and right distributor gears initiated at both the contact and noncontact sides of the teeth. Fracture features of the gear teeth generally showed a relatively smooth area at the fracture initiation side of the tooth covering about ¼ to ½ of the fracture area. Curving lines representing the fracture front were observed at the boundary of the smooth area. Hackle features and multiple curving crack front lines were present between the smooth area and the fracture termination.

The left and right distributor gears were analyzed using a 1Varian IR600 Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer with a diamond attenuated total reflectance accessory. Each distributor gear had an FTIR spectrum consistent with Nylon 6,6, consistent with the specified material for the distributor gear. The full NTSB Materials Laboratory report is available in the official docket of this investigation.


The McCauley propeller governor, model number C290D3-M/T13, was shipped to McCauley Propeller Systems for examination and testing, with oversight by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. No anomalies were noted with the piston, O-rings, or retaining rings. The top cover sheared off near the control shaft and the aft side of the low pitch stop post was cracked and missing. After removal of the top cover, the bottom half of the bearing was loose inside of the body. Due to accident damage, the pump's capacity, internal leakage rate, pressure relief, and maximum rpm settings could not be verified. 


Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority Airworthiness Bulletin (AWB) 17-005, Issue 3, dated October 20, 2014, lists a number of potential causes for nylon magneto drive distributor gear failures, including propeller strikes, kick back during starting before fire events, and any other event that can cause shock on the gear train driving the distributor gear.

Inspectors from the FAA Aircraft Evaluations Group, FAA Airworthiness Certification Office overseeing Continental Motors, and NTSB Material Laboratory personnel conducted a review of service difficulty reports, NTSB Materials Laboratory examinations, and manufacturer reports of distributor gear failures in dual magneto failures. Results of the review did not reveal any conclusive pattern related to engine or propeller type. The manufacturer noted that manufacturing of the distributor gears has not changed significantly in the last 20 years.

A practice emergency descent profile was flown in a Lancair IV-P airplane equipped with the same model engine as the accident airplane. An engine overspeed did not occur during the descent and recorded data paralleled the accident airplane's recorded data until level off from the practice emergency descent. Although both airplanes were equipped with the same model MT wood propeller, the accident airplane was equipped with a standard (non-counterweighted) propeller, whereas the testing airplane was equipped with a counterweighted propeller, which is designed to prevent overspeed during a loss of oil pressure.


As the pilot flew the airplane toward the selected forced landing field, the flight instructor stated he considered lowering the flaps, but did not want to interrupt or change the airplane's configuration for the pilot flying. The landing gear and flaps were in the retracted position at touchdown, which occurred at the far end of the selected field. 

The flight instructor stated he thought that he should have assumed the flying duties for the forced landing, but deferred to the pilot he was instructing due to his considerable aeronautical experience. The two pilots had not discussed who would be pilot in command or who would fly the airplane if an in-flight emergency occurred. There is no requirement in 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 to designate a pilot in command prior to flight. 

Following the accident, LOBO flight instructors met for a flight training review session. Topics included a recommendation to conduct practice emergency descent maneuvers above 10,000 ft above ground level using conservative flight profiles, as well as the need to identify the pilot in command prior to flight. Also discussed was a recommendation to remain within gliding distance of an airport during practice emergency descents.

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA043 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 15, 2015 in Shawano, WI
Aircraft: HICKHAM JOHN LANCAIR IV P, registration: N10UU
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

On November 15, 2015, at 0904 central standard time, an amateur built Lancair IV-P airplane, N10UU, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Shawano, Wisconsin. The pilot and flight instructor sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Fly Fast LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed without a flight plan from the Shawano Municipal Airport (EZS), Shawano, Wisconsin, at 0841. 

While practicing an emergency (rapid) descent, the pilot stated the engine oversped and then began to run rough. After unsuccessfully attempting to regain normal engine power, the flight instructor executed a forced landing into a field. During rollout, the left wingtip contacted a rock wall and the airplane tumbled, damaging both wings and fuselage. The engine and propeller were retained for further examination.