Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hummingbird Airlines to Resume Flights

Beechcraft 99, N7994R, Hummingbird Air: Incident occurred November 08, 2015 at George F.L. Charles International Airport (TLPC / SLU), Saint Lucia


ROSEAU, Dominica, Nov 22 2015 – The problem-plagued Hummingbird Airlines has announced it will resume operations next month, following a suspension of flights in the aftermath of two recent incidents.

The airline suspended all flights after one of its aircraft crash-landed in Barbuda in August and again in St. Lucia earlier this month.

Dominica News online quotes airline official, Sam Raphael as saying the carrier will resume operations in late December.

He said the decision to stop flying was in an effort to restructure its operating procedures and make management changes.

He added that the company is taking time out to retrain captains and make other changes to better serve the traveling public.

Following the latest incident in St. Lucia at the George Charles Airport on November 9, in which the landing gear of the plane failed, the company said it would conduct internal investigations.

However, to date, neither Hummingbird Airlines nor the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority has reported their findings.

Story and photo: http://caribbeannewsservice.com

Crushed glass beautifies Doña Ana County International Jetport (5T6) Santa Teresa, New Mexico

William Provance, airport manager, shows off the recycled glass pieces used to landscape the Doña Ana County International Jetport.



Doña Ana County International Jetport has a new look. Its gray, bland gravel has been replaced by more attractive landscaping: sparkling brown glass provided by the South Central Solid Waste Authority.

“We were trying to figure out how to landscape around the building, and someone suggested recycled glass,” explained William Provance, airport manager.

The glass — nearly 5 tons of it — comes from glass bottles that have been collected and crushed into small rock-size pieces by the SCSWA.

The airport, which is home to a runway that supports small jets, cargo aircraft and private planes, is the first local government entity to use recycled glass in its landscaping.

“We were happy to assist the county in this,” said Tarkeysha Burton, SCSWA recycling coordinator. “We want people to reduce and reuse, but we also want them to purchase and use recycled content. It’s great when our government entities become examples of the recycling initiative and all it encompasses, and that was one of the key benefits in this project.”

Provance said, “The new landscaping looks nice — much better than the ugly gravel, and we haven’t had to do any upkeep up to this point.”

It took about six months to collect enough glass to cover the area in front of the building, and the result is a brilliant patch of ground that sparkles in the sunlight. Airport maintenance worker Manny Rios installed the glass once there was enough of it to fill the front lot.

The crushed glass is safe to walk on and, as Provance demonstrated, doesn’t cut when scooped gently by hand.

His only concern, he added, is how well the new landscaping will react to more severe weather.

“We haven’t had any strong winds so I don’t know if there will be any effect from that,” Provance said. “We have had rain, and there wasn’t any water lingering, so I think so far it’s been very, very good.”

The rain has helped wash away the bits of paper that remained on the glass cullet from labeling on the bottles.

Residents may obtain their own crushed glass free from the SCSWA Recycling Center, 2865 W. Amador, but specific color availability varies.

“Hopefully other facilities within the city and county, such as parks, will be able to partner with us to benefit in the way the jetport has,” Burton added.

Story and photos:  http://www.lcsun-news.com

The new landscaping sparkles in sunlight and is more attractive than the gravel it replaced. 

Beechcraft 95-B55 Baron, N600VP, LS Express LLC: Accident occurred November 22, 2015 at Albany International Airport (KALB), Colonie, Albany County, New York

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albany, New York

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

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


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

LS Express LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N600VP

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA052
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 22, 2015 in Albany, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/20/2017
Aircraft: BEECH 95 B55, registration: N600VP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The private pilot stated that, while on approach for landing, he lowered the landing gear and confirmed that all three landing gear indicator lights were illuminated. He noted that there was a "slight" crosswind, and, upon touchdown, he felt an "unusual" nose wheel shimmy before the nose landing gear trunnion fractured and the nose landing gear collapsed. Examination of the fracture surfaces revealed failure due to overstress with no preexisting conditions contributing to the failure. The airport’s automated weather observation recorded a 40° crosswind at 16 knots with gusts to 25 knots about the time of the accident. It is likely that, while landing in gusting wind conditions, the pilot allowed the airplane’s nose landing gear to contact the runway hard, which resulted in the overstress fracture of the trunnion and the resulting gear collapse.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper flare while landing in gusting crosswind conditions, which resulted in a hard landing, overstress fracture of the nose landing gear trunnion, and a subsequent nose landing gear collapse.

On November 22, 2015, at 1317 eastern standard time, a Beech 95 B55, N600VP, was substantially damaged following a nose landing gear collapse during landing at Albany International Airport (ALB), Albany, New York. The private pilot/owner was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In a telephone interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot stated that the preflight inspection and the flight to Albany revealed no mechanical or performance deficiencies with his airplane.

While on approach for landing on runway 28, the pilot lowered the landing gear and confirmed that all 3 green landing gear lights were illuminated. He noted there was a "slight" crosswind and upon touchdown, he felt an "unusual" nose wheel shimmy.

The pilot stated he applied back pressure on the yoke to relieve weight off the nose landing gear, and the airplane lifted off "slightly" from the runway. Upon the second touchdown, the nose wheel shimmy resumed, he again applied back pressure on the yoke, but when the nose gear eventually touched down, it collapsed. The nose enclosure and the propellers struck the runway, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent second-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate was issued on May 19, 2014. The pilot reported 800 total hours of flight experience, of which 157 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The airplane was manufactured in 1974, and its most recent annual inspection was completed on December 23, 2014, at 2,012 total aircraft hours.

At 1326, the weather recorded at ALB included winds from 320 degrees at 16 knots gusting to 25 knots.

Examination of photographs revealed that the nose landing gear trunion was fractured, and the trunion segments were examined in the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, DC. The fork portion had sustained gross plastic deformation and had fractured into two parts. The fracture surface was consistent with overstress. No evidence of any preexisting conditions that may have contributed to the failure were observed.

Beechcraft Baron 56TC: Incident occurred November 22, 2015 near Platte Valley Airpark (18V), Hudson, Weld County, Colorado

Six people walked away unhurt following a plane crash Sunday evening in southeastern Weld County near the Platte Valley Airpark about three miles northwest of Hudson. 

Two engines and six personnel from the Hudson Valley Fire Protection District responded to the scene, which is at Weld County Roads 16 and 41, along with the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at 4:50 p.m.

The plane was a twin-engine Beachcraft Baron 56TC, according to a news release from the Weld sheriff’s office.

The plane was attempting to take off when complications caused it to lose altitude and land suddenly, according to the release.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will carry out the investigation of the crash.

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office declined to release the identities of the people involved.

Source:  http://www.greeleytribune.com

A small plane made a crash landing in Weld County on Sunday, but all six occupants were unhurt.

The Beechcraft Baron 56TC was attempting to take off when unspecified complications caused it to abruptly lose altitude, according to the Weld County Sheriff's Office.

The aircraft then crashed near county roads 16 and 41, close to the Platte Valley Airpark, at about 4:50 p.m.

The investigation is ongoing, and will be handled by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Further information was not immediately available Sunday evening.

Source:  http://www.coloradoan.com

WELD COUNTY – No one was injured after a small plane trying to take off from the Platte Valley Airpark lost altitude and was forced to land abruptly Sunday evening.

Authorities responded to what had been reported as a plane crash at around 4:50 p.m. near WCR 16 and WCR 41.

The plane was a twin engine Beachcraft Baron 56TC with six people aboard, according to the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.

What caused the plane to lose altitude remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

Source: http://www.9news.com

Venezuela military pilots flew drug plane to Haiti

NEW YORK, USA -- The latest details to be released in a drug trafficking case involving relatives of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores indicate that the Venezuelan military is actively involved in transporting cocaine to Haiti for onward trafficking into the US.

According to the District Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, a Cessna Citation 500 took off from a terminal reserved for government officials at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas on Sunday November 8 carrying more than 800 kg (1,700 lbs) of cocaine.

Francisco Flores, 29, and Efraín Campos, 30, the nephews of first lady Cilia Flores, were among four passengers and two pilots on the Haiti-bound Citation 500. According to the flight log, the plane was co-piloted by members of the presidential security and transportation unit, Pablo Urbano Perez, a military official, and Pedro Miguel Rodriguez, an active lieutenant colonel in the Venezuelan Air Force.

The Citation 500 in question is registered in Venezuela to Sabenpe, a waste-management company that has received a myriad government contracts in the past, according to the National Registry of Contractors. 

Flores and Campos were arrested on arrival in Haiti on charges of conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States. They are being held without bail in New York after a federal grand jury handed up an indictment. They have both pleaded not guilty.

According to the flight log, the other two passengers were Marco Uzcategui and Jesfran Moreno. Those two passengers and the co-pilots are believed to be back in Caracas. US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents searched the jet and allowed it to return to Venezuela since, according to ABC News, US authorities did not have time to produce official charges against the four other people flying to Haiti and they were not arrested, despite their apparent involvement in the scheme.

The informer that led to the arrest of Flores' nephews claimed that the two regularly flew drugs out of Terminal 4 of Simon Bolivar airport, according to ABC News. He also disclosed that both helped fund Maduro’s 2013 presidential campaign using illicit funds.

Allegations of official involvement in drug trafficking have dogged Maduro's presidency and among those being investigated are the first lady's son and Caracas judge Walter Jacobo Gavidia; Venezuela's number two, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, and Aragua State Governor Tarek El Aissami, El Nuevo Herald reported.

Simon Bolivar was also the airport from which an Air France jet departed with 1.6 tons of cocaine in September 2013, the largest drug haul in the history of France. Authorities eventually arrested 27 people in that case, eight of them low-ranking military officers, according to Reuters. The suspects are still awaiting trial. 

The movement of such heavy drug loads through Venezuela's main airport is impossible without the complicity of the National Guard (GNB).

Source:  http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com

Incident occurred November 22, 2015 at Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport (KSBY), Wicomico County, Maryland

SALISBURY, Md. -  A private aircraft made an emergency landing at the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport on Sunday afternoon.

According to an airport official, two pilots and two passengers were on board the private aircraft headed to Cambridge when it diverted to the regional airport in Salisbury after a reported hydraulics failure.

The aircraft landed safely at the airport around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

No injuries were reported from the landing.

Agencies including the Salisbury barrack of the Maryland State Police and Salisbury Fire Department were on the scene as a precaution.

- Source:  http://www.wmdt.com

SALISBURY, Md.- Maryland State Police were called to the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport Sunday afternoon as a plane made an emergency landing.

Police say they responded to the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport just before 3:30 p.m. Sunday, after a private plane called in for an emergency landing. Police say fire crews were also called to the scene.

According to police, the plane reported having an issue with its brakes.

The plane landed safely, and police say no injuries were reported. The plane was then towed to a hangar.

- Source:  http://www.wboc.com

Directorate General of Civil Aviation: Air India Gets Nod to Operate Dreamliners During Fog Season

NEW DELHI:  In a boost to Air India, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given its go ahead to the government-owned airline to operate its Dreamliner fleet during the forthcoming fog season even as the regulator has called a meeting of all stakeholders including airlines and airport operators this week to take stock of their preparedness to deal with the fog-related problems.

Aviation-regulator DGCA has allowed Air India to operate its Dreamliner B787-800 aircraft, using CAT III Instrumental Landing System during the thick fog, a senior DGCA official said.

Following the DGCA certification, these aircraft will be able to land even when visibility drops to below 100 meters.

Dense fog conditions generally hits most part of north India between mid-December and mid-February every year, which result in disruption of rail and air services.

The state-run airline has 21 Boeing 787-800s in the fleet, which are deployed in both international and domestic network.

In order to conduct low-visibility landings an airline requires certification for its aircraft and pilots, who need to undergo ground training, simulator training and flying under the supervision of examiner.

Air India already has trained most of its pilots on the Dreamliner fleet for CAT-IIIB operations.

In a CAT IIIB operation, aircraft can land in visibility of as low as 50m.

Of the 76 domestic airports having scheduled operations, only Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport is equipped to handle aircraft movement in dense fog conditions.

DGCA, the official said, has called a meeting of all stakeholders including representatives of airlines and airport operators, among others, this Tuesday to discuss measures taken by them to tackle issues flight operations during the fog.

"Airports Authority of India is in the process of making three more airports - Lucknow, Jaipur and Amritsar - CAT-IIIB compliant. The process is expected to be completed by this month," the official said.

- Source:  http://indiatoday.intoday.in

Hollywood studio pays $1 million to settle Barefoot Bandit’s restitution



Stolen and crashed:  Cessna 400 Corvalis, N660BA, on Great Abaco Island.



A Hollywood studio has ponied up more than $1 million to the federal government to pay the restitution owed by Colton Harris-Moore, the fabled “Barefoot Bandit” whose life on the run from the law is headed for the big screen.

The studio, 20th Century Fox, wrote a check for $900,000 to the U.S. Marshal’s office earlier this month, the final payment of court-ordered restitution, mostly to pay for three small airplanes the then-teenaged Harris-Moore stole and crash landed, and a boat he hijacked in the Bahamas while evading capture.

That money is added to $135,558 paid to the court by the studio in 2012 and completes the restitution Harris-Moore owes. The money is in exchange for his agreement to “forfeit the intellectual property rights” for his story, according to court documents.

A book and a documentary of his exploits already have been published.

Harris-Moore was sentenced to 6 ½ years in federal prison in 2012 for the theft of the airplanes, a boat and guns during an audacious crime spree that began when he escaped from a Renton juvenile halfway house in 2008 while serving a sentence for a burglary on Camano Island.

For the next two years, he evaded capture while committing a string of break-ins and thefts, according to law-enforcement officials, often leaving a telltale bare footprint at the scene as a signature.

During much of that time, the gangly youth hid out in the forests of Orcas Island in the San Juans and squatted in the attic of a plane hangar at the island’s airport. Eventually, he flew a stolen plane from Washington across the country to the Bahamas, where he was captured.

The Internet made Harris-Moore a cult hero, and at one time he had nearly 50,000 followers on his Facebook page, where he would occasionally leave a post written on a stolen laptop.

He eluded a massive manhunt, and police warned that he was dangerous. Among his crimes were the thefts and interstate transportation of at least two stolen handguns, and police say he took an assault rifle from a police car.

Harris-Moore said he taught himself how to fly using flight manuals and a computer flight simulator, according to court documents.

While he was able to get the three planes off the ground and pilot them, sometimes in bad weather, he had a tougher time with the landings: Harris-Moore crashed all three of them, acknowledging in defense documents that he very nearly died in a September 2009 crash of a stolen Cessna that went down near Granite Falls in Snohomish County.

At his sentencing, Harris-Moore told Jones his dream of flying was the only thing that saved him from the nightmare of a childhood of neglect at the hands of an abusive alcoholic mother. He said some of the burglaries he committed were done so he could steal food so he wouldn’t starve.

During his 2012 sentencing before U.S. District Judge Richard Jones, Harris-Moore — who was just 20 at the time — said he was terrified much of the time he was on the run. “I should have died years ago,” he said.

The federal sentence was set to concurrently with a 7 1/2-year sentence imposed in a state court for a series of home and business burglaries.

- Story:  http://www.seattletimes.com

A peak inside of the stolen and crashed Cessna 400 Corvalis, N660BA.





Ignition of Idaho plane.


William Sport, standing in front of two boats he owns in the Bahamas, is upset that police shot up the smaller boat while chasing Colton Harris-Moore. "The police could have taken a warning shot. He's a little punk," Sport said. 
 
"I have no sympathy for him. He's a thief."

Colton Harris-Moore is seen in a July 2008 photo recovered from a stolen digital camera memory card.

Cessna 441, N441TN : Incident occurred November 22, 2015 at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport (KRMG), Rome, Floyd County, Georgia

Date: 22-NOV-15 
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N441TN
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 441
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Atlanta FSDO-11
City: ROME
State: Georgia

AIRCRAFT LANDED GEAR UP, ROME, GA

TRUENORTH COMPANIES LC: http://registry.faa.gov/N441TN


Six people and two dogs are fine after the twin-engine turboprop plane they were in had trouble with its nose gear and the pilot had to make an emergency landing at Richard B. Russell Airport Sunday afternoon, officials said.

According to Rome Floyd Fire Department Battalion Chief Gene Proctor, several engines and a fire truck heavy rescue unit responded to the airport after receiving a call that the plane was in distress and could not get its nose gear down. 

“They circled the airport a few times to use up fuel so there would be less in the tank,” Proctor said. “We were there, ready, in case something happened and we had to act quickly to remove the passengers,” he said.

The pilot managed to land the aircraft, with both propellers hitting the asphalt, throwing up shrapnel, he added. The plane was able to slide to a stop.

“The shrapnel did hit the fuselage, but it did not get into the fuel tank,” Proctor said. “No one was hurt, they were shaken up, but they had their belts on.”

The group flew out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but Proctor does not know where they were heading, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the accident, Proctor said. 

The National Transportation Safety Board will not have to investigate because there were no injuries.

“Anything like that has to be investigated, just like a policeman would investigate an auto wreck,” he explained. “The FAA makes sure it was not due to pilot error and find out what went wrong with the aircraft and what can be done to prevent it in the future.”

Story:  http://www.northwestgeorgianews.com

UPDATE: In response to an email from WRGA, the FAA has issued the following statement:

"A Cessna C441 aircraft landed with its nose gear in the stowed position at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Rome, GA at about 12:30 pm today. The FAA will investigate."

FAA officials did not have departure information. 

PREVIOUSLY POSTED:

From staff reports

Six people and two dogs are ok after a Cessna 441 Conquest II twin engine turboprop plane that was experiencing trouble with its nose gear made an emergency landing at Richard B. Russell Airport on Sunday, officials said.

According to Battalion Chief Gene Proctor of the Rome Floyd Fire Department, emergency officials received a call that plane was in distress and could not get its nose gear down. The plane was not scheduled to land at Richard B. Russell.

The pilot was told to circle the airport a few times to get rid of most of the fuel to minimize any fire from the landing.

The pilot managed to get his wheels down and both propellers made contact with the asphalt and sharapnel started flying. 

Some of the shrapnel did make contact with the fuselage but none of it made it back into the fuel tank, Proctor said.

The nose hit the asphalt and was able to slide to a stop. Firefighters evacuated the six passengers and the dogs. The passengers and pilot were not from Northwest Georgia. 

“They were just shaken up, none of them injured, just really frightened,” Proctor said. “The pilot did an excellent job bringing the aircraft down.”

We have left a message with FAA officials for more information on the aircraft.

NTSB officials were unaware of the crash and said they usually do not get involved unless there is significant damage or injuries.

Story:  http://wrgarome.com

Fog season ahead: This winter could be worst yet for flyers to Delhi



Long diversions, fewer seats and expensive tickets are what travelers flying to Delhi could be headed for with fog season just weeks away and advanced landing systems not installed at the ‘nearby’ airports of Jaipur, Amritsar and Lucknow. 

Passengers coming into the Capital may now have to be diverted to faraway Nagpur or Ahmedabad with Jaipur, Amritsar and Lucknow airports—where capital-bound aircraft are usually diverted to during heavy fog—missing two deadlines to be ready for extreme low-visibility conditions, sources said. The airports were to be CAT IIIB-ready by October 30.

CAT IIIB level of instrument landing system (ILS) enables aircraft to land when the visibility is down to just 50 metres. The city’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has CAT IIIB equipment but flights are diverted to a nearby airport if visibility drops further, which it often does on bad days.

“To fly to an alternate airport that is far off, say Nagpur or Ahmedabad, airlines will have to carry full fuel which would result in a payload penalty i.e. carrying lesser passengers,” said one airline official. Reduced passenger capacity could push ticket prices up in a worst-case scenario, sources said.

Severe fog is not the only worry. Several pilots Hindustan Times spoke to said the existing CAT I or II ILS system at the nearby airports isn’t working either as equipment upgradation was in progress at all three airports.

“Time is running out. New alternate airports will have to be notified if work at these airports is not completed in time,” a ministry official said.

As thick fog envelops the city every winter, flight operations are hit by delays, diversions and even cancellations in extreme conditions. Last year, the aviation ministry had directed the Airports Authority of India to upgrade the nearby airports, which typically have better visibility than Delhi, to CAT IIIB as it was found that operations at these facilities, too, had been hit due to severe fog.

Jaipur, Amritsar and Lucknow had to be upgraded to CAT IIIB. They have already missed two deadlines -- October 30 and November 10.

“Two deadlines have already passed by but none of these airports are CAT IIIB compliant yet. It is only a matter of time when diversions due to fog begin,” said a director general of civil aviation official. The regulator has called a meeting of all stakeholders on Tuesday to assess fog operations.

It was yet another example of poor planning and execution, a senior official of a budget carrier said on condition of anonymity.

Lucknow and Amritsar airport directors told HT that CAT IIIB work was on but ILS, which allows planes to land in low visibility conditions, was working. Their Jaipur counterpart said the CAT IIIB installation was ready but a number of clearances were still to come.

Source:  http://www.hindustantimes.com

Masdar and Etihad unite to beat fog



ABU DHABI // Anyone who flies to or from Abu Dhabi International Airport regularly will be aware that heavy winter fog can throw operations into chaos.

Between October and April, thick blankets of fog can force runways to close, keeping outbound aircraft on the ground as incoming services are diverted to other airports.

Help could be at hand, however, thanks to a tie-up between Etihad Airways and researchers at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

The Abu Dhabi research center will work with Etihad to develop a system, using satellite data and other information, that will allow the airline to know in advance when fog is likely to form and disperse, thus helping officials to plan ahead to minimise disruption.

On Sunday, at the start of the UAE’s Innovation Week 2015, an agreement for the research project was signed between Chris Youlten, Etihad’s senior vice president for network operations, and Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Masdar Institute’s interim provost.

After a “very challenging” fog season last winter, Mr Youlten said the airline wanted to improve its contingency planning.

As the airline grew, he said, it had to develop more sophisticated operational practices – something which required the help of others in developing a more scientific approach to readiness for dealing with fog.

“The research and development being done at the Masdar Institute offers Etihad Airways a unique opportunity to work with the scientific community in developing an innovative solution tailored to meet our operational needs,” he said.

“Meteorological forecasting allows for a proactive approach, but even when we are working to a time-frame of fog, we can’t see it coming until it is in our midst.”

Heavy fog at the capital’s airport has long caused headaches for airlines and passengers. It can mean separation distances between inbound aircraft must be increased, causing flights to be delayed or diverted, while at the same time leading to outbound services being delayed or cancelled.

Severe fog can cause all aircraft movements to be suspended, and there have been times when fog has hit for several days in a row at Abu Dhabi International Airport, despite other airports in the country being unaffected.

It often appears early in the morning, a peak time for the airport, and a single bout can cause dozens of flights to be delayed or cancelled.

The airport already has the latest technology to allow operations to continue as smoothly as possible during poor visibility. A radio beam transmitter system known as a Category IIIb Instrument Landing System is said to make landings possible when visibility is down to just 46 metres.

But General Civil Aviation Authority rules impose more stringent visibility requirements, so aircraft movements may be suspended even when visibility is higher than this.

Dr Steve Griffiths, Masdar Institute’s vice president for research, said that the agreement with Etihad demonstrated the institute’s “region-relevant scientific research capabilities”.

“This project aims to detect fog formation well in advance and help the aviation sector mitigate the adverse impacts of bad weather conditions.

“We believe the outcome of this research project will benefit not only the industry but the community as a whole.”

The initiative will be led at Masdar by Dr Marouane Temimi, associate professor of water and environmental engineering and head of the Coastal and Environmental Remote Sensing and Modelling Laboratory. Masdar students studying for master’s or PhD degrees may become involved in the project, Towards achieving a fog-ready air-traffic management system for Etihad Airways: Numerical forecast and satellite detection.

- Source:  http://www.thenational.ae

Mooney M20E Super 21, N5512Q: Accident occurred November 22, 2015 at Tipton Airport (KFME), Fort Meade, Arundel County, Maryland

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baltimore FSDO-07

http://registry.faa.gov/N5512Q

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA046
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, November 22, 2015 in Ft. Meade, MD
Aircraft: MOONEY M20E, registration: N5512Q
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

On November 22, 2015, at 1330 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20E, N5512Q, was substantially damaged following a collision with terrain during a forced landing at the Tipton Airport (FME), Fort Meade, Maryland. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual flight rule conditions were reported at the site about the time of the accident, and a VFR flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Thomasville Regional Airport (TVI), Thomasville, Georgia.

In a statement to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot stated that during climbout from runway 28, the engine began to lose power. The pilot remained in the pattern and attempted to return to runway 28. As he made a turn for final, he was unable to maintain airspeed, and landed adjacent to the runway. The right wing and firewall was damaged during the forced landing. Several witnesses watched as the airplane made an attempt to return to the airport, and noticed that the propeller seemed to be "wind milling" prior to the accident.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

On Sunday November 22, 2015 at approximately 1:52 p.m., troopers from the Maryland State Police Glen Burnie Barrack responded to a plane crash at Tipton Airport located at 7515 General Aviation Dr #1, Fort Meade, MD 20755, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a 1965 Mooney aircraft attempted to take off from Tipton Airport with a flight plan to Florida. Once airborne the aircraft lost power due to unknown mechanical reasons. The pilot Paul Antoinette, 48 years old of Baltimore, MD attempted to return and land at Tipton Airport. Antoinette was unable to make it back to the runway and the plane landed in a grassy area off the runway. There were no injuries.

- Sources: 

http://connectedcommunities.us

http://www.wbaltv.com

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com

Fatal accident occurred November 22, 2015 at Memphis International Airport (KMEM), Shelby County, Tennessee

A FedEx employee was killed in an apparent accident Sunday morning, officials confirmed.

Details were scarce, but Memphis International Airport spokesman Glen Thomas confirmed the fatality. 

Airport police initially responded a little after 6:15 a.m. to 29013 Sprankle; the Memphis Police Department has taken over the investigation.

FedEx released the following statement:

"This is tragic and our hearts are heavy with sadness over the loss of a FedEx team member following an early-morning accident at our Memphis Hub.  Our prayers and deepest sympathy are extended to his family.  We are working with local authorities in their investigation.”

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


Incident occurred November 22, 2015 in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire - UK

Emergency services have been called to an aircraft crash in Gainsborough.

Crews were called at 12:51 pm on November 22 to a field off the A631 Thorndike Way.

The incident involved a single-engine fixed-wing aircraft.

Fire crews have reported that the pilot was uninjured and when at the scene they made the aircraft safe.

A spokesperson for Lincolnshire fire and rescue said an airfield nearby had called in the incident and fire crews attended. Police then took over the scene.

She added that she didn't think there were any flames involved at the event as it had not been logged as a fire.

Source: http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk

Hero pilot went back in stricken plane to save navigator who was trapped as plane hurtled to ground



Earlier in the summer we wrote about 29 Squadron and how the squadron had moved into Wellingore airfield equipped with the Bristol Blenheim. The squadron was at the forefront of developing night-fighter tactics equipped with early variants of airborne intercept radar. Posted in to command 29 Squadron was Squadron Leader Charles Widdows.

He was no stranger to either Lincolnshire or 29 Squadron. He had joined the RAF as an Apprentice at Halton but was subsequently awarded a Cadetship to the RAF College at Cranwell from where he was commissioned in 1931. He was to fly with 29 Squadron as a pilot during the early 1930s and eventually became a test pilot at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment where he test flew the prototype Hurricane and Spitfire.

With such credentials he was the ideal officer to lead 29 Squadron during a challenging period of change. One of the frustrations which faced the unit was that the Blenheim lacked speed as a night-fighter.

The answer to the unit's needs was the Bristol Beaufighter all-metal, two-seater fighter. Like the Blenheim, the Beaufighter was developed initially as a private venture using components from the Bristol Beaufort.

Legend has it that the name was a derivative of 'Beaufort fighter' hence the Beaufighter. Fitted with two Bristol Hercules engines the Beaufighter had an operational speed of over 300 mph and was fast enough to engage enemy aircraft at night. For armament it was equipped with four 20 mm Hispano cannons and six machine guns but most importantly it had the Mark IV AI radar. The Beaufighter is recognized as the world's first really successful radar-equipped night-fighter.

29 Squadron was one of the first squadrons to receive the Beaufighter. The first aircraft which arrived on September 2, 1940 was Beaufighter R2072, though the unit continued to operate the Blenheim. With his background as a test pilot, Widdows now began the task of converting the squadron to flying the Beaufighter in its role as a night-fighter.

Fifteen days later he flew the squadron's first operational sortie but it was not to be a smooth transition. Over the next two months 29 Squadron was to lose several Blenheims as well as two Beaufighters. It was 75 years ago this month that Charles Widdows was flying Beaufighter R2095 on a night patrol. One engine stopped functioning and the second engine was malfunctioning.

He gave the order to Pilot Officer Wilson, his radar operator, to bale out, which Wilson acknowledged.

Farm land crash landing

While Widdows was in the process of getting out of the aircraft he noticed that Wilson was not able to exit the crippled fighter due to a problem with his escape hatch. Charles climbed back into the aircraft, which by now was entering into a spin. He managed to regain control and effected a crash landing on farm land just outside Sleaford.

Wilson suffered head injuries and Widdows had cuts to his face but they had survived. The second Beaufighter was abandoned a few days later when the crew baled out over Potterhansworth, also due to engine failure.

That same month Guy Gibson, who had recently joined 29 Squadron, flew his first Beaufighter familiarization flight that same month. He dedicates a whole chapter to his time on the Squadron in his book 'Enemy Coast Ahead' and speaks highly of his Commanding Officer.

Charles Widdows was a greatly respected by his squadron personnel and was promoted to Wing Commander before being posted away in June 1941. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in April 1941 for his leadership of the Squadron.

Story and photo: http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk

Cessna P206B Super Skylane, Keystone Seaplane, LLC, N8615Z: Fatal accident occurred September 18, 2015 in Spring Hill, Florida

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors Inc; Mobile, Alabama 

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA361
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 18, 2015 in Spring Hill, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/29/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA U206, registration: N8615Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The commercial pilot departed in his amphibious, single-engine airplane on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan for his home seaplane base. When the pilot arrived near his destination, he cancelled his flight plan with air traffic control (ATC), then circled in the area before requesting another IFR clearance to an airport that was equipped with an instrument approach. ATC cleared the pilot for the approach. A review of radar data indicated that the approach was normal until the airplane passed over the final approach fix; it then went off course and entered a steep descent into a residential neighborhood.

Postaccident examination of the airframe, engine, and data downloaded from the electronic engine monitor revealed no mechanical deficiencies that would have precluded normal operation before impact. The pilot’s logbook revealed that he had been actively training for his flight instructor certificate for instrument airplane and had recent IFR experience. The pilot’s toxicology testing was positive for metabolites of cocaine; however, it could not be determined if he was impaired at the time of the accident. The pilot was also under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for not reporting his past use of illegal drugs and suicidal thoughts. The FAA had conducted two psychological evaluations and a review was in process regarding the status of his medical certificate at the time of the accident. However, the investigation could not determine whether any underlying psychiatric or psychological conditions contributed to the pilot’s behavior at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain a stabilized instrument approach, which resulted in a loss of control.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 18, 2015, about 0855 eastern daylight time, a Cessna U206E amphibious airplane, N8615Z, collided with terrain near Spring Hill, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to Keystone Seaplane, LLC, Odessa, Florida, and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Page Airport (FMY), Fort Myers, Florida, about 0727.

A review of air traffic control communications provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed the pilot's original flight plan was from FMY to the Lake Keystone Seaplane Base (57FL), Odessa, Florida, where the airplane was based. When the pilot arrived near 57FL, he told air traffic control that he had the seaplane base in sight and cancelled his IFR flight plan at 0833. A review of radar data revealed that the airplane then made a series of turns in the vicinity of the seaplane base before the pilot requested an IFR clearance to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport (BKV), Brooksville, Florida. The pilot was cleared by air traffic control for the ILS RWY 9 instrument approach into BKV. Radar data revealed that the airplane was established on the approach until reaching the final approach fix, when it descended below the glideslope and radar contact was lost about 1 mile from the airport. There were no distress calls from the pilot. The last recorded radar return indicated the airplane was at an altitude of 625 ft mean sea level (msl) and a ground speed of 68 knots.

A handheld Garmin GPS 796 unit was located in the wreckage. Data downloaded from the unit revealed the airplane departed FMY about 0726:40, proceeded to Keystone Lake, circled the area for several minutes before proceeding to and executing the instrument approach into BKV. The last GPS data point was recorded at 0851:22, about 4 minutes before the accident. At that time, the airplane was on a heading of 081° at 2,121 ft msl and a ground speed of 95 knots.

Several witnesses observed the airplane right before it impacted the ground. One witness stated that he first heard the airplane's engine "cut out." When he looked up, he saw the airplane come out of the clouds and it "started to spiral down" over his house. The airplane then veered to the north before the sound of an impact was heard. A second witness said he heard the airplane approaching and the engine "got extremely loud, almost at full throttle" just before it came into his view. The witness said the airplane was at an "extremely angled," nose-down pitch attitude and was descending at a high speed. He did not see the impact due to trees.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on August 11, 2014. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that as of September 17, 2015, he had accrued a total of 559 flight hours, of which 320.7 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. He also had 55.5 hours of simulated instrument time, and 15.8 hours of actual instrument experience. In the 6 months preceding the accident, the pilot logged 3.0 hours of actual instrument time, of which 1.8 hours were logged two days before the accident while receiving instruction for his instrument flight instructor rating. The instruction included holding procedures and six instrument approaches. He also logged 5.8 hours of simulated instrument time in the 6 months preceding the accident, which included navigation and standard terminal arrival routes.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was a float-equipped Cessna U206E. It was a six-seat, high-wing airplane that was powered by a Continental Motors IO-550F, 300 hp, six-cylinder engine equipped with a three-bladed McCauley propeller. The airplane's last annual inspection was completed on August 12, 2015, at an airframe total time of 2,898 hours. The engine had a total of 301 hours since factory overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather conditions reported at BKV at 0853, included wind from 030° at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, overcast ceiling 500 ft (variable between 400 and 800 ft), temperature 24° C, dew point 22° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.84 inches of Hg.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest in the backyard of a private residence. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the site, and there was no postimpact fire. The point of initial impact was a stand of trees that were about 80 ft tall. The airplane then collided with a fence and the ground before coming to rest about 75 ft from the initial impact point. Severed tree limbs, the left elevator, the left elevator tip fairing, a tire, and a propeller blade were scattered along the wreckage path. The main wreckage included the propeller, engine, fuselage, tail section, and both pontoons. Several of the severed tree limbs exhibited flat, 45° cut surfaces with black paint transfer.

Examination of the main wreckage revealed it was twisted, crushed, and partially lying on its right side. Flight control continuity was established for all major flight control surfaces. The flaps were fully retracted and the wheels were extended. The elevator trim tab was in the 10° down position.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage and sustained impact damage. The fuel tank was breached, and first responders reported fuel draining from the wing upon their arrival at the scene. The right wing also sustained impact damage and had separated from the fuselage at the wing root. First responders reported fuel draining from the right wing's tank; in addition, about 5 gallons of 100LL fuel were drained during the recovery process. The two header tanks appeared to be undamaged. The fuel selector valve was selected to the right tank. The firewall fuel strainer remained attached to the firewall and the bowl was full of fuel. Some fuel was also found in the engine-driven fuel pump and fuel manifold valve. No evidence of water or contamination was observed. According to a fuel provider at FMY, the airplane was topped off with 36.5 gallons of 100LL fuel the day before the accident.

The engine remained partially attached to the airframe by control cables, and the three-bladed propeller had separated from the engine at its hub. The spinner exhibited rotational damage. One blade had separated from the propeller hub and was found in the initial impact crater. The blade was bent forward. The other two blades remained in the hub, which was located about 4-ft from the fuselage. The second and third blades were twisted.

The engine crankcase sustained impact damage to the lower forward area and was leaking oil. The top spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal wear as per the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. The rocker covers were removed and the engine was manually rotated. Compression and valve train continuity was established on all but the No. 6 cylinder. Further examination revealed the push rod and push rod tube for the No. 6 cylinder was impact-damaged.

The left magneto remained attached to the engine; however, the right had separated from its mounting pad and remained attached via the ignition leads. When the engine was rotated, spark was produced to each of the left magneto's ignition leads. An electric drill was used to spin the right magneto, and spark was produced to each ignition lead.

The fuel manifold valve was removed from the engine and disassembled. A small amount of fuel was in the valve and the diaphragm was intact. The fuel screen was absent of debris. Although the No. 1 injector sustained some impact damage, each of the injectors were removed from the engine and found absent of debris. The fuel pump was removed from the engine and fuel was present in the pump. The pump rotated freely when turned and the drive coupling was intact. The throttle body and metering unit were absent of debris and the throttle body moved freely when the throttle arm was moved manually.

The vacuum pump was removed and disassembled. The pump rotated smoothly and the carbon vanes were intact. The interior of the drum was absent of any rotational scoring.

The oil pump remained attached to the engine. The oil pressure relief valve was removed and inspected. The plunger and spring were intact. The valve seat was inspected, and no damage was noted. The oil filter was removed and the filament was removed. It was absent of debris. The oil sump and cooler sustained impact damage.

The propeller governor remained attached to the engine, but sustained impact damage. The control arm was in the full forward position.

Physical examination of the engine revealed there were no discrepancies that would have precluded normal operation prior to impact.

The airplane was equipped with a J.P. Instruments (JPI) EDM-930 engine monitor. The data downloaded from the unit included the accident flight and began at 0713:02 and ended at 0855:13. Eleven engine parameters were recorded every six seconds. These parameters included exhaust gas temperature, cylinder heat temperature, oil pressure and temperature, manifold pressure, outside air temperature, turbocharger inlet temperature, engine rpm, fuel remaining and fuel used, fuel flow, and battery voltage/current. The data was plotted on a graph and reviewed. The recorded engine data did not reveal any anomalies that would indicate abnormal operation of the engine before impact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was conducted on the pilot by the Florida Medical Examiner's Office - District 5, Leesburg, Florida. The cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.

Toxicology findings from the FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory were positive for the following metabolites of cocaine:

Anhydroecgonine Methyl Ester detected in the liver and cavity blood.

Benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester detected in cavity blood.

The 56-year-old pilot had a history of illegal drug use and suicidal thoughts. At the time of the accident, he was under investigation by the FAA for not reporting this past history on his application for a medical certificate.

As a result of these findings, the NTSB's Chief Medical Officer conducted a postaccident review of the pilot's FAA Medical File and Medical Case Review. According to the NTSB Medical Factual Report, the pilot initially applied for and received an FAA medical certificate and student pilot certificate in 2006. Records in the FAA file indicated that the pilot was pulled over for reckless driving on September 15, 2007, and, after a search of his vehicle, he was arrested and later convicted for possession of 6 grams of marijuana and related paraphernalia. He completed 6 weeks of drug treatment and probation as a result of this conviction, and when the FAA became aware of this event, they reviewed pertinent records pertaining to the conviction. In 2009, the FAA determined that the pilot was eligible for a third-class medical certificate.

On August 11, 2014, the FAA issued the pilot a second-class medical certificate with a limitation for corrective lenses. At that time, he reported the use of testosterone and vitamin B12 on the medical application.

On September 15, 2014, a call was made to the FAA's Hotline regarding the pilot's mental status and behavior, including the fact that the pilot had recently sued his homeowner's association and neighbors over complaints they had made about his flying.

On September 25, 2014, the FAA began its investigation into the allegations and required the pilot to provide information regarding an incident in June 2007, where the pilot had been committed to a psychiatric ward at the request of the police. According to a copy of the police report obtained separately from the FAA medical file, this was the result of an episode where he had been using cocaine, had made comments to friends and family about suicide, and had been shooting guns inside his residence. According to friends and family, he was threatening to commit suicide using the firearm in his hand at the time.

As part of the ongoing FAA investigation to determine the pilot's eligibility for a medical certificate, complete psychiatric and psychological evaluations were requested in February 2015. The reports from these evaluations are contained in his FAA file; in each, the pilot denied the use of any illicit substance and reported only the occasional use of alcohol. No psychiatric or psychological diagnosis was made by either practitioner who examined the pilot. These reports were provided to the FAA in a letter dated April 16, 2015.

On August 10, 2015, the FAA referred all of the medical files on the pilot to the FAA's psychology consultant, requesting an evaluation and determination of the pilot's eligibility for a medical certificate. No final determination had been made at the time of the accident.

Cessna P206B Super Skylane, N8615Z


Cessna P206B Super Skylane, N8615Z


Gary Cohen
A year before Gary Cohen crashed his Cessna P206B Super Skylane in a Hernando County neighborhood, federal aviation authorities learned he had a history of drug abuse and had been institutionalized for mental illness. 

Yet Cohen was allowed to keep flying and died in the September 18, 2015 crash that narrowly missed a Spring Hill man’s house. A medical examiner’s report obtained through a public records request showed Cohen had cocaine in his system, likely taken the day of the crash.

It is not clear why officials with the Federal Aviation Administration failed to seek an emergency revocation of Cohen’s FAA medical certificate, which would have grounded him. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen declined to comment, saying the agency does not answer questions about pilot medical certificates.

Records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act show Federal Aviation Administration officials were aware in September 2014 that Cohen had twice been institutionalized for suicidal tendencies. An internal Federal Aviation Administration memo shows the agency’s Tampa office contacted Dr. Susan Northrup, Federal Aviation Administration Southern Region Flight Surgeon, about Cohen’s forced commitment under Florida’s Baker Act in June 2007.

The memo, dated October 17, 2014, quoted Northrup saying if she had legal documentation of the Baker Act action against Cohen, she could initiate an emergency revocation of his medical certificate.

An email chain obtained by the Tribune shows a resident from the Lake Keystone area where Cohen lived and parked his amphibious airplane sent a copy of the Baker Act documentation to the Federal Aviation Administration flight surgeon in September.

To get a medical certificate necessary for an airman’s certificate, the applicant must meet certain standards, according to the Code of Federal Regulations. The applicant can have no established medical history or clinical diagnosis for a number of mental disorders, among them personality disorders or psychosis that manifests itself in delusions, hallucinations or grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior.

Substance abuse also is a reason to refuse a medical certificate, the federal regulations say, unless there is “established clinical evidence” that the applicant has recovered, including total abstinence for not less than the two preceding years.

Cohen, who was 56 when he died, was a pharmacist in New York before moving to Florida in 1985. In 1993, he settled in a house on Lake Keystone in the Odessa area of northwest Hillsborough County.

Neighbors describe Cohen as a vigorous if eccentric man who often jogged at a neighborhood park with his two Dobermans, Zeus and Cerberus. In videos he posted on YouTube, Cohen is shown shooting a .50-caliber sniper rifle and wakeboarding on the lake.

On June 9, 2007, the normally tranquil neighborhood around Lake Keystone was disrupted when a Hillsborough County sheriff’s SWAT team surrounded Cohen’s home. Someone had called the sheriff saying they heard gunshots in the house, according to incident reports. Cohen’s girlfriend, Ericka Ciancarelli, told deputies Cohen had “smoked or snorted cocaine” and barricaded himself in a closet with a handgun. According to Ciancarelli’s remarks in the sheriff’s report, Cohen started “talking crazy,” saying things that made her think he wanted to kill himself.

Cohen was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital under the Baker Act. Deputies reported numerous holes in the wall and spent shell casings. Two assault rifles, a .50-caliber sniper caliber rifle and a Glock handgun were confiscated, according to the report.

Cohen’s son, Randy, told deputies at the time his father was depressed over his divorce from Randy’s mother, Robin Cohen.

“He was in a bad place at that time but he was in a very good place at the time of his death,” Randy Cohen said in a recent interview.

Less than a year later, Cohen got a temporary airman’s certificate, allowing him to fly a single-engine airplane. FAA records show Cohen had to reapply for the certificate after failing the practical portion of the test on the first try. The practical test is a flight with an examiner who passes or fails the applicant, said Bergen, the FAA spokeswoman.

Sometime in 2013, Cohen’s flying maneuvers around the lake began to alarm nearby residents. They contacted local and federal officials, claiming Cohen was “buzzing” residents’ homes at low altitudes and taxiing the seaplane back and forth across the lake at high rates of speed.

Adrian Higgins, a Lake Keystone resident and former air traffic controller in the Navy, said Cohen violated a host of accepted aviation regulations and customs, such as failing to clear trees and houses with a proper safety margin. Cohen also failed to maintain safe distances from boaters and skiers when he was taxing, Higgins said.

“I observed him breaking all kinds of rules like that,” Higgins said. “I think he was flying too low even when he wasn’t taking off and landing. I don’t think he was making good decisions about when he would land and take off with the number of boaters and skiers that were on the lake.”

Residents complained to the FAA in December 2013, according to records, but the agency decided no federal aviation regulations were violated.

The next year, Cohen filed a lawsuit against the Lake Keystone Property Owners Association, alleging that association members were persuading his neighbors to make erroneous complaints about his flying. Despite having a clean flying record, the lawsuit said, Cohen drew complaints that he flew too low and took too long to land.

In September 2014, Lake Keystone association members Jim Swain and Mark Eberbach filed a counter-lawsuit against the pilot. The two men restated their complaints about Cohen’s “reckless actions” in the lawsuit, saying his flying habits constituted a “public nuisance” and caused the plaintiffs “anxiety and emotional distress.”

Cohen dropped his lawsuit soon after the counter-suit was filed.

The FAA received another complaint about Cohen’s flying on Aug. 13, 2014. An agency investigator again found no violations.

The reports of Cohen’s drug use and mental issues raise questions about what caused the crash two months ago. He took off that day from Page Airport in Fort Myers at around 7:27 a.m. His flight plan was to fly from Fort Myers to his seaplane base in Odessa. He was supposed to fly from there to Orlando.

When he got to Odessa, however, Cohen made a couple of turns around the seaplane base, and then requested clearance to fly to Brooksville-Tampa Regional Airport, according to an initial accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Cohen was cleared by air traffic control for an approach using the airplane’s instruments to the Brooksville airport. Cohen’s certificate included the higher-level instrument rating, needed for flying at night and in certain adverse conditions.

Radar data showed the airplane had established its path to the airport until the final approach, when it started descending below radar contact. Cohen made no distress calls to air traffic controllers, according to the NTSB report.

A witness told NTSB investigators he first heard the plane’s engine “cut out.” When he looked up, the witness saw the plane come out of the clouds and start to “spiral down.”

A second witness said the plane’s engine “got extremely loud, almost at full throttle” just before it came into view. The plane was at an “extremely angled,” nose-down pitch and was traveling at a high rate of speed, the witness said.

The plane crashed into a stand of trees 80 feet tall, the NTSB said. There was no post-impact fire. The airplane’s flaps, which are extended when landing, were instead retracted. The landing gear, however, was extended to land.

Randy Cohen said he is sure his father did not intend to kill himself by crashing the plane. The personal problems that led to Cohen’s involuntary commitment in 2007 had lifted, he said.

“He had gotten over that part of his life,” Randy Cohen said. “He was actually in a very good place. He was building a business, fixing up his house. He had found a new passion in flying.”

The son, who is a firefighter and fire inspector in Colorado, said his dad proved he had his wits about him that day by his choice of a crash site. The plane came to rest in a large backyard that was bordered on three sides by trees. The yard is surrounded by a densely populated residential neighborhood.

“He tried to put that plane in someone’s open backyard,” Cohen said. “There are no trees in this person’s backyard. As a pilot that is where you are trying to put the plane down to limit the loss of life.”

The NTSB is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. An agency spokesman said the results will be released sometime next year.

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

KEYSTONE SEAPLANE LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N8615Z


NTSB Identification: ERA15FA361 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 18, 2015 in Spring Hill, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA U206E, registration: N8615Z
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 18, 2015, about 0855 eastern daylight time, N8615Z, a Cessna U206E floated-equipped airplane, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain near Spring Hill, Florida. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Keystone Seaplane, LLC, Odessa, Florida, and operated by the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Page Airport (FMY), Fort Myers, Florida, about 0727.The personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A preliminary review of air traffic control communications provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed the pilot's original flight plan was from FMY to the Lake Keystone Seaplane Base (57FL), Odessa, Florida, where the airplane was based. When the pilot arrived at 57FL, he told air traffic control that he had the seaplane base in sight and cancelled his IFR flight plan at 0833. A preliminary review of radar data revealed that the airplane then made a series of turns in the vicinity of the seaplane base before the pilot requested an IFR clearance to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport (BKV), Brooksville, Florida. The pilot was cleared by air traffic control for the ILS RWY 9 instrument approach into BKV. Radar data revealed the airplane was established on the approach until reaching the final approach fix, when it descended below the glide-scope and radar contact was lost about a mile from the airport. There were no distress calls from the pilot.

Several witnesses observed the airplane right before it impacted the ground. One witness stated that he first heard the airplane's engine "cut out." When he looked up, he saw the airplane come out of the clouds and it "started to spiral down" over his house. The airplane then veered to the north before the sound of an impact was heard. A second witness said he heard the airplane approaching and the engine "got extremely loud, almost at full throttle" just before it came into his view. The witness said the airplane was at an "extremely angled" nose-down pitch and was at a high rate of speed. He did not see the impact due to trees.

The airplane came to rest in the backyard of a private residence. An on-scene examination of the airplane revealed that all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the site and there was no post-impact fire. The point of initial impact was a stand of trees that were about 80 feet tall. The airplane then collided with a fence and the ground before coming to rest about 75-feet from where it initially struck the trees. Scattered along the wreckage path were severed tree limbs, the left elevator, the left elevator tip fairing, a nose-wheel tire, and a propeller blade. The main wreckage included the propeller, engine, fuselage, tail section and both pontoons. Several of the severed tree limbs exhibited flat, 45-degree fracture surfaces with black paint transfer.

Examination of the main wreckage revealed it was twisted, crushed and partially lying on its right side. Flight control continuity was established for all major flight control surfaces. The flaps were fully retracted and the landing gear was extended. The elevator trim tab was in the 10-degree down position.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage and sustained impact damage. The fuel tank was breached and first responders reported fuel draining from the wing upon their arrival at the scene. The right wing also sustained impact damage and had separated from the fuselage at the wing root. First responders reported fuel draining from the right wing's tank; however, about 5 gallons of 100LL fuel was drained during the recovery process. The two header tanks appeared to be undamaged. The fuel selector valve was selected to the right tank. The firewall fuel strainer remained attached to the firewall and the bowl was full of fuel. Some fuel was also found in the engine-driven fuel pump and fuel manifold valve. No evidence of water or contamination was observed.

According to a fuel provider at FMY, the pilot had requested the airplane be topped off with fuel and purchased 36.5 gallons of 100LL the day before the accident.

The weather conditions reported at BKV, at 0853, included wind from 030 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast ceiling 500 (with it variable between 400 and 800 feet), temperature 24 degrees C, dewpoint 22 degrees C, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.84 inches of Hg.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. His last FAA second class medical was issued on August 11, 2014. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that as of September 17, 2015, he had accrued a total of 559 total flight hours, of which 320.7 hours were in a single-engine seaplane. He also had 55.5 hours of simulated instrument time and 15.8 hours of actual instrument experience.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19 

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov



Gary Cohen

Gary Cohen and his fiance Ericka Ciancarelli with his plane at Bartow Municipal Airport (KBOW), Florida.

Gary Cohen and his fiance Ericka Ciancarelli




















An Odessa man whose flying habits led to a long-running feud with his lakefront neighbors died Friday morning when his plane crashed into a yard in Spring Hill.

According to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Gary Cohen, 56, of Odessa, was flying a Cessna 206 amphibious floatplane that crashed just before 9 a.m. in the backyard of a home at 13088 Little Farms Drive in Spring Hill. 

The accident site is west of the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and two blocks south of John D. Floyd Elementary School.

No one on the ground was injured, authorities said, but the plane was demolished, with pieces of the aircraft scattered throughout the backyard. Cohen was the only person onboard.

Cohen was traveling from Odessa to Orlando and was in contact with the airport before the crash, sheriff’s officials said. The agency did not release any information about what Cohen and air controllers talked about.

Neighboring homes were temporarily evacuated, but the nearby school was not evacuated and classes were not affected. Crews from Hernando County Fire Rescue used foam to contain the fumes from the fuel.

Kristie Young lives a couple of houses down from where Cohen crashed. Young said she heard the plane’s engine cycling off and on for about 10 seconds before the motor failed.

“I heard it crash, and then me and the neighbors went to see if he was alive,” she said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is examining the wreckage to determine the cause, officials said.

Cohen, a licensed pilot, had feuded for years with neighbors over his use of his plane on and near Lake Keystone. A resident of the neighborhood and former board member of the Lake Keystone Property Owners Association, he filed suit against the association in 2014, saying association members were persuading his neighbors to make erroneous complaints about his flying. Despite having a clean flying record, the lawsuit says, neighbors complained he flew too low, took too long to land and suggested he could crash.

In 2007, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at Cohen’s home after he snorted cocaine, told his girlfriend he no longer wanted to live and barricaded himself in a closet with a handgun, according to sheriff’s office reports.

Responding deputies found holes in the walls and bullet casings on the ground, the reports stated. Cohen was taken into custody under the Baker Act, which allows authorities to take someone for a mental health evaluation if they are a danger to themselves or others.

Source:  http://www.tbo.com


SPRING HILL — The pilot of a small plane died Friday morning when the aircraft crashed in a residential neighborhood of Spring Hill, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

He was identified as 56-year-old Gary Cohen, who lived in the upscale Lake Keystone neighborhood in Odessa.

The plane, a Cessna 206 Amphibian with pontoons, crashed in the back yard of a home at 13088 Little Farms Drive, north of Spring Hill Drive near the intersection of Coronado Drive and Whitewood Avenue. Neighboring homes were temporarily evacuated, but there were no injuries on the ground.

The crash happened several blocks from J.D. Floyd K-8 School. School district officials reported the school was continuing normal operations.

The Sheriff's Office reported that the plane was en route from Odessa to Orlando when it crashed, but had been in contact with Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

Rob Gomez, 47, of 13110 Little Farms Drive, was home when the plane crashed and said it sounded as if the aircraft was having engine trouble.

"Then all of a sudden we heard like the engine was stalling, and then within a few seconds we heard a crash," Gomez said.

He said he ran out to try to look for the pilot, but could not find anyone. He said he saw two seats, both empty — one still inside the plane and one outside.

Cohen, who was executive director of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy, was involved last year in a nasty dispute with neighbors  in Lake Keystone over the noise of his plane, which was worth between $200,000 and $300,000.

The seaplane, some neighbors said, made the lake its personal runway, buzzing homes and treetops, forcing boats to swerve, shattering the tranquility of this wealthy, waterfront enclave.

The dispute came to a head when Cohen sued his primary adversary, the fiction writer Jim Swain who was also president of the neighborhood's homeowner association. Swain countersued, records show, but the suit was later dismissed.

On Friday, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said his office received a call at 8:56 a.m. and had deputies and rescue personnel on the scene within three to six minutes.

"We unfortunately found a pretty horrific crash," Nienhuis said. "It's hardly recognizable as an airplane."

He said the pilot was attempting to land at the nearby Hernando airport when the plane crashed.

The sheriff said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to Spring Hill to take over the investigation.

Weather "was not an obvious contributor," the sheriff said, adding that it was "miraculous" that there were no injuries on the ground and minimal property damage.

Scott Hechler, Hernando's public safety director, said there was no fire in connection with the crash, but that fuel had spilled. Firefighters used foam to make sure the fuel did not ignite.

Source:  http://www.tampabay.com


Feud over seaplane makes waves far beyond Lake Keystone
March 30, 2014 

ODESSA — The seaplane is so loud, the author said, it scared his wife's horses.

It rattled the orthodontist's new hurricane-resistant windows. It woke the plastic surgeon on a Sunday, just after he returned from vacation in India.

For months, a feud has raged on Lake Keystone. The seaplane, some say, makes the lake its personal runway, buzzing homes and treetops, forcing boats to swerve, shattering the tranquility of this wealthy, waterfront enclave.

Nine government agencies and two Hillsborough County commissioners have been involved. None has come to the aid of complaining neighbors.

The plane's owner has flight logs and global positioning system records he says refute complaints. He's the victim, he says, of the homeowners association president, who he asserts has lorded over Lake Keystone for years.

Last week, this characteristically Floridian feud took an inevitable turn: the plane owner sued. But there's more at stake than legal damages or a man's recreational aviation habits. Life on Lake Keystone may never be the same.

• • •

In 1990, Jim and Laura Swain moved onto Keystone, a roughly 430-acre lake in northwestern Hillsborough. Jim, a mystery author, is the longtime president of the Lake Keystone Property Owners Association.

The Swains have made fighting nearby development an avocation. Over the years, they have protested or demanded input on a proposed housing development, expanded roads, the design of a new strip mall, a new carwash and a new elementary school.

Neighbors credit them with preserving the rural charm of Keystone, where empty lots sell for seven figures.

"People trust him to be our eyes and ears," said Dr. Mark Eberbach.

"They wield a lot of power up here," said Jim Griffin.

Late last year, neighbors started calling Jim Swain, 57, about the seaplane. Besides noise, some worried about safety. What if it crashed? What if it hit a boat or a swimmer? Would it scare away the eagles?

• • •

Gary Cohen sat recently in an airport hangar, in designer jeans and a monogrammed shirt, explaining why complaints made by Swain and others are absurd.

"He thinks it's Lake Swain," Cohen said, "and he's acted that way for years."

Parked behind Cohen was his six-seat, white-and-blue 1971 Cessna 206 Amphibian. Cohen, executive director of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy, declined to say how much he paid for it last year. The plane is worth between $200,000 and $300,000, he said.

Cohen, 54, moved to Keystone in 1993 and raised three children there with his then-wife. He's now engaged to Ericka Ciancarelli, 36, who's learning to fly.

A conversation with Cohen is an exercise in the art of polite interruption. He speaks quickly and at length, with a thick Brooklyn accent. He had prepared a white three-ring binder with 75 pages of evidence: FAA regulations, emails with Tampa Port Authority officials and a propeller manufacturer, and copies of his flight logs.

He read aloud emails complaining about him, listing what he calls inaccuracies. In one, Swain alleged Cohen took off 14 times on a Saturday, starting at 7:30 a.m. Cohen took off four times that day, he says his logs show, starting at 11:11 a.m. He was giving rides to neighbors.

A boat has never had to swerve to avoid his plane, Cohen said, and he does not buzz homes or tree tops. He pulled up GPS logs tracking his plane's elevation. Typically, as he clears the lake's edge, he's between 250 and 400 feet up, or at least 100 feet above trees, they show.

"He's a fiction writer. He lives in a fiction world," he said of Swain. "This stuff is somewhere between Harry Potter and Star Trek."

• • •

Swain and others have contacted the following about the plane: the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Tampa Port Authority, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and offices of County Commissioners Ken Hagan and Sandy Murman.

The FAA investigated and found nothing wrong. The DOT said it couldn't do anything, but county government could.

County Attorney Chip Fletcher disagreed. Florida Statute 330.36 (2) says a "municipality" can regulate seaplanes. A county is not a municipality, he said.

Swain turned to the Port Authority, which owns the land under the lake. A port official gave the same answer: The port is not a municipality.

Word reached the national Seaplane Pilots Association in Lakeland. Executive Director Steve McCaughey routinely deals with complaints about seaplane noise and safety, when he's not on the road lobbying.

Safety concerns are overblown, McCaughey said. Florida, home to about 650 seaplane owners, is among the most seaplane-friendly states in the country. Statistically speaking, he said, boats are more dangerous. There were 662 boat accidents and 50 fatalities in Florida in 2012, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The FAA does not keep statistics for seaplane accidents, but a review of newspaper articles from 2012 shows three seaplane accidents in Florida, none fatal.

A colleague of McCaughey's flew with Cohen in December, when the complaints started.

"I can absolutely assure you this pilot's not doing anything wrong," said McCaughey.

He acknowledged his bias.

"I try to be as objective as possible in these situations," he said. "I don't want my operators making headline news. I don't want them being bad neighbors."

• • •

In the past month, another complaining neighbor has taken the lead: Richard "Skip" Hirsch, 66, a retired orthodontist. Hirsch measured the plane at 95 decibels using an app on his smartphone, he said, putting it between a passing motorcycle (90 db) and a pneumatic drill (100 db).

"When the yard people come to do the yard, until they're right up near the house, I can't hear the mowers," said Eileen, Hirsch's wife. "This plane, I can hear it when it's out on the lake."

On March 6, Hirsch emailed a port official who, months earlier, told Cohen the port had no problem with his seaplane.

"You and the Port Authority have forever changed the status quo of our lake," Hirsch wrote. "Your two sentences of implied permission have enabled Mr. Cohen to threaten our way of life."

The official — Phil Steadham, environmental affairs director— sent Hirsch's email to a port attorney with this introduction: "This is absolutely preposterous."

• • •

On Jan. 29, Cohen's attorney sent a letter to Swain, advising him to stop "all defamation of Gary Cohen's character and reputation." Cohen has asked Swain to resign as president of the property owner's association.

Swain declined to meet in person with the Tampa Bay Times. In phone interviews, Swain said the situation has been resolved, and he's not resigning.

"I consider this a dead issue," he said.

Cohen doesn't. Friday, he sued, alleging Swain led an "ongoing, personal crusade" against him consisting of "fraudulent reports and complaints."

The conflict has already shaken up the association's board.

As tensions mounted last year, Swain asked longtime treasurer Tom Werner — Cohen's next-door neighbor — to step down until the dispute was resolved.

"He said it would be best for all parties involved," said Werner. He decided to quit.

"Personally, I think the plane is really neat," Werner said.

A few weeks ago, Werner said, he was standing on his dock when Skip Hirsch pulled up in his wakeboat.

"Is that your plane?" he said Hirsch asked.

"No," Werner recalled saying, "It's my neighbor's. What's the problem?"

Hirsch said he wanted to get the plane banned.

"I told him, 'Well, I don't like your boat. Maybe I'll try to get that banned,' " Werner recalled.

Wakeboats create waves that cut into his shoreline. He said Hirsch looked at him, puzzled.

"He said 'Are you kidding me?' " Werner recalled. "He thought I was being ridiculous."

Source:   http://www.tampabay.com