Friday, November 27, 2015

Plute: Pendleton’s airport may soon be profitable

Recently one of our pundits who doesn’t live here anymore wrote about the airport. The airport is a huge infrastructure project that has been worked on since World War II. The airport has the infrastructure to facilitate commercial air travel, private airplanes, some industrial businesses and, currently, the drone project. It has always been the goal of Pendleton to attract business to the airport area — business that would employ large numbers of workers.

In order for that to happen it takes infrastructure and that is expensive. A lot of the pieces to the puzzle have been put in place. Do you abandon that now or finish? There have been some leases signed recently that lend hope and fruition to all the efforts. An extension of water and sewer is the most recent project.

The airport derives revenues from many sources. Real property leases, of which there are four general categories, include aviation land and facilities rental, terminal space rental and concession fees, commercial land and building rentals, and farmland operation (contracted out). Residential has been completely phased out. The buildings were beyond their financial life and have been demolished. The UAS range — one of only three on the west coast — is anticipated to become a large revenue generator for the industrial park. The airport receives grants and entitlement funds from the Federal Aviation Administration for airport capital improvements. The FAA pays 95 percent of improvements with the city covering the remaining 5 percent. The airport also receives $4.50 per passenger ticket sold. The airport was awarded a $1.6 million grant/loan package by the state of Oregon for the purpose of constructing facilities to lease. All new lease revenue will go to the industrial park/airport. The Pendleton UAS range is currently part of a $3.5 million grant request for the state’s 2015-16 biennium. If awarded, Pendleton is slated to receive $800,000 for range operations.

Government revenues for fiscal year 2015-16 are $2.2 million. Aviation rent, UAS range rent, commercial rent, landing fees, terminal rent, farmland operations, fuel flowage fees and passenger facilities charges are $400,000.

Inter-fund loan proceeds are $2,341,000. Total airport and business park income is $5,038,000.

The airport fund provides funding for staffing, administration, business management, operation maintenance, planning, development, regulation, security and promotion of the airport/industrial park. Administrative and business management operations include short- and long-term leasing of properties.

The department also operates and maintains the airfield itself. The airfield consists of over 100 paved acres of runways, taxiways and aprons, lighting systems, the terminal building and parking areas. There are 36 other city-owned buildings located on the airport property. There are 14 pieces of major equipment including rolling stock, several hundred acres of non-farm areas and vacant lots. The objective of the airport fund is to contribute to the growth of the community economic base through industrial development.

Expenses for 2015-16 are:

Personal — $264,000; Materials & Services — $293,830; Capital outlay — $2,253,240; Debt Service — $2,323,000.

Total Expenses — $5,150,000.

Taking out capital outlay and debt service means the general budget must subsidize approximately $112,000. This is actually getting better than it was in previous years and could break even in two years. It could be profitable by the year 2019-2020.

We have several leases that have been signed recently with delayed payment schedules. Progress has been made and the trend is now in a positive direction. We have invested several million dollars over the last decade, but it looks as though we will start receiving a return on investment relatively soon. None of this takes into consideration deferred maintenance on infrastructure. In addition, there are the industrial buildings and hangars. It is going to take more time to address these issues, but we are making progress.

Rescind permit

November 27, 2015 on Letters to the editor, Opinion   

To the Editor:

We are homeowners on Western Bay in the direct flight path of planes landing at Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport. They fly no more than a few hundred feet over our home every day.

We are concerned about the proposed oyster farm in Western Bay as it will attract birds. I already have had the experience of being on a plane which sucked up a flock of birds on takeoff, completely disabling one of two engines. That forced an emergency landing.

Airplane collisions with birds are not a hypothetical question to be resolved after the oyster farm is built. We cannot understand the decision of the FAA to allow this permit as it is our understanding that flight safety supersedes the right of an individual to establish an oyster farm. The FAA recognized this when it first advised not to build an oyster farm one mile from the airport.

With all the coastline of Maine, surely there is an appropriate site for the farm which is not on a flight path to an airport.

We encourage the FAA to rescind their permit and put flight safety first.

Richard and Janet Post


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Arabic graffiti found daubed on easyJet planes' fuel tank • Investigation launched after Arabic graffiti found on planes at French airports

An investigation is being carried out into who made the inscriptions, which were written on four planes in France. The airports cannot be identified for security reasons.

Lisa King, easyJet cabin safety manager, alerted company employees to the graffiti with an email reading: "As of today we have had four aircraft in France with written inscriptions on the inside of the fuel panel, and toilet door in Arabic script."

A spokeswoman for easyJet said the matter was not considered to be a threat and no passengers had to be removed from the aircraft.

She said: "easyJet assessed this issue, each time working in full consultation with the authorities, and is entirely satisfied it is nothing more than graffiti.

"easyJet takes very seriously any security related issue and would not operate a flight unless we are entirely satisfied it is completely safe to do so.

"easyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in full compliance with all regulations. The safety and security of its passengers and crews is always easyJet's highest priority."

The graffiti was found less than two weeks after 130 people were killed in terror attacks in the country's capital.

Philip Baum, editor of Aviation Security International, told The Sun: "Graffiti in itself won't hurt anybody. But the ability of anyone to place a prohibited item near fuel tanks is a concern, of course."

"We know there are people working in restricted areas of airports with extremist sympathies."


New aircraft, more destinations crown Air Century relaunch

Antonio Chahín, Rosario Arvelo, Larissa Medrano, Omar Chahín, Juan Ramón Gomis, Fabio Nina, in  front of a Saab 340B HI976.

Santo Domingo.- Dominican airline Air Century on Friday announced the launch of its new corporate image, with its aircraft BAE Jetstream 3100 and 3200 and the newly acquired SAAB 340B.

The new logo reflects the carrier attributes, which evoke its characteristic strength, passion, commitment and sophistication which continually invites travelers to enjoy a better experience.

The new acquisition SAAB 340B is a twin-turboprop aircraft with capacity for 34 passengers and is available for charter and shortly with regular flights to various Caribbean destinations. Pilot Omar Chahín, president of the airline also announced the flotilla´s continued growth with an additional SAAB 340B aircraft in the short term.

The company also launched its new website, where travelers will soon be able to book regular flights.

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Tackling aviation congestion in the Gulf

The absence at this year’s Dubai Airshow of multi-billion dollar aircraft deals was explained by most as the result of low oil prices and maturing order books.

But Emirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark had a more accurate explanation: congested airspace. Clark revealed that Dubai’s rapidly growing airline would have ordered 100 more Airbus superjumbos if there was room for them — not at Dubai International Airport, but in the sky.

“The capacity constraint curve has hit us a little bit sooner [than expected],” Clark said, of the region’s over-crowded airspace.

Earlier this year, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy and chairman of the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), also outlined the challenges associated with the country’s incredible aviation growth story.

In 1986, there were just 342 daily aircraft movements. The number has surged to an average of 2,250 in 2014 — more than six times the rate in less than 30 years.

By 2030, the GCAA anticipates at least 5,100 daily aircraft movements, making the UAE one of the busiest airspaces in the world. At the same time, the number of aircraft registered in the UAE is expected to rise from 762 in 2014 to 1,366 by 2030, the minister said.

Congestion has been exacerbated by the closure of entire areas of international airspace previously open to Gulf carriers. Conflict has forced airlines to divert their flights from routes that travelled over Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and parts of Egypt. The war in Yemen has in some cases added 1 ½ hours to flying time, Clark said. It may also increased fuel costs and squeezed ticket margins.

John Swift, Middle East director of air traffic management consultancy firm NATS, says aviation regulators are not acting fast enough.

“It’s a problem that isn’t being quickly grasped. They know it’s coming but it is one of those things that is perceived as being a long way away,” Swift says. “It is only when you start to get delays that people will really start to address it, rather than waiting until the issue actually hits. I detect a lot of frustration in the airline community.”

NATS recently hired consultancy firm Oxford Economics to determine the extent of the impact on flight schedules. Using data from industry website Flightstats, average delays were calculated for the busiest airports in the six Gulf countries during a seven-day period in June 2015. It discovered that the average flight delay for the region was approximately 36 minutes. While data on the causes of flight delays in the Middle East is not available, airport data from Europe found that 82 percent of delays were usually attributable to air traffic control or capacity issues.

Therefore, the Oxford Economics report deduced that an average of 29 minutes per flight could be attributed directly to airspace congestion issues. It claimed — based on University of Westminster 2011 research — the cost to airlines of delays was about $40 per minute. It also forecast that, if nothing was done to address the issue, average delays would double to nearly an hour by 2025.

Taking all these projections into account, the study estimates $16.3bn in economic benefit can be achieved in the Middle East over the next ten years if the region implements improvements to its air traffic control systems.

“Where it will have a particular effect is on hub airports, such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar,” Swift says. “Their whole operation depends on being able to use those hubs to link people across the world. That business model requires a level of predictability. As soon as you start to disrupt that predictability it is not easy.

“Not being able to get to your next destination is going to become really obvious to large numbers of people, due to delays and congestion in the hubs. It will become significant, so airlines will have to build in longer layover times to avoid delays.”

The potential economic impacts have not gone unnoticed and are being addressed at a political level. “This is a potential risk, which if not responded to today will face severe consequences tomorrow — not only for efficiency but also for safety and security,” GCAA deputy director general Ahmed Al Jallaf says. “We don’t want things to [continue to] pile up until an accident takes place.”

Al Jallaf is leading the political push to put in place a structure to tackle the problem. “It is taking a high level of attention and priority from the top of the UAE government. We are in contact with the various stakeholders,” he says. “We have taken the lead regionally. We initiated a major programme, to establish the Middle East Air Traffic Management Enhancement Program, which I chair.”

The project has made 53 recommendations. It will split the country’s airspace into sectors and determine how each sector will work together for a seamless flow of traffic.

Al Jallaf says the implementation phase, which could cost hundreds of millions of dirhams, will begin “sometime next year” and will be implemented by 2018. Stakeholders, such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports, have approved the initial design and concept phases.

Airspace is broken up into corridors; planes must stay within these specific pathways when flying between countries by entering and exiting at specified border points. In the UAE, traffic flows north to south.

While the UAE is investing heavily in air traffic management (ATM) systems and technology, the bottlenecks occur once planes move over the border to Oman. There, the ATM system is far more archaic than in the UAE.

For example, there are only five entry/exit points for planes travelling from the UAE into Oman and the latter’s ATM system can handle only nine aircraft an hour. An industry source described the situation as being similar to driving on a motorway up to the Oman border, then turning onto a country road.

Oman and the UAE have been in talks to resolve the issue and in August 2014, Omani authorities announced they would build a world-first ATM system. 

Developed by Spanish firm Indra, it was billed as being a modern breakthrough. Omani Minister of Transport and Communications Dr Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al Futaisi told the Times of Oman that the new transitional air traffic control centre “will definitely support safety in the aviation sector and open new opportunities for the country to optimize the use of its airspace.”

But a year later, the plummeting oil price has relegated the project down the list of priorities. An unnamed official from Muscat Municipality recently told Gulf News designs and a budget for the ambitious project had not been approved.

Similar problems present themselves further on, as Gulf planes then encounter airspace over India — an enormous market for the UAE and Qatar. The required distance between planes is determined by each country and depends on how sophisticated its air traffic technology is at identifying individual aircraft. In the UAE, the rule is generally 20 miles [32 kilometres] apart, while in Europe and Bahrain more advanced systems allows planes to travel only 10 miles apart. However, in India the distance was until recently a whopping 80 miles, which forced aircraft entering Indian airspace to slow down. The distance has been halved to 40 miles in some areas, but still causes delays.

“This is non-harmonized airspace,” says Captain Richard Hill, chief operations officer at Etihad Airways since April 2009. India and the UAE are working to bring their rules closer inline, he says.

Part of the dialogue is also looking at changes and improvements to the vertical distances between planes. At present, planes flying at up to 29,000 feet must remain 2,000 feet apart, with this reduced to 1,000 feet when flying between 29,000 and 41,000 feet. This shorter distance was introduced in the late 1990s and local industry sources say tests are being carried out in the North Atlantic to see if improvements in aircraft technology and surveillance could see it reduced even further to 500 feet in the worst congested airspace, potentially doubling the number of planes in the area. However, Hill says changes to current rules are unlikely to happen quickly and required further safety tests.

However the industry is hamstrung when it comes to airspace restrictions caused by warzones. Traditionally, the quickest way to Europe from the Gulf was to fly over Bahrain, then Iraq. However, ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have forced Gulf carriers to frequently use Iranian airspace, which the cash-strapped Tehran regime has used to its advantage.

“Iran is three or four times more expensive,” an industry source told Arabian Business, estimating that Tehran could now account for about 40 percent of Gulf carriers’ spending on airspace access fees. “Iran is doing very nicely out of the closure of Iraqi airspace.”

Increased military operations in the region present another direct obstacle. Only about 40 percent of UAE airspace is accessible to civilian aircraft, with the remaining 60 percent reserved for military jet fighters.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general and CEO Tony Tyler addressed the issue during a speech at the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi in April last year. “We are trying to squeeze the fast-growing civil aviation component into a fraction of the airspace,” he said. “One solution is to develop partnerships and trust with the military to open more flexible-use zones. That is happening progressively — but it is not keeping pace with demand for air travel.”

The UAE military is considering allowing some civilian aircraft to use parts of its airspace after 6pm, when its exercises have finished. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has been given permission to operate its Johannesburg route through a military corridor over the Empty Quarter, in a move viewed as a significant step towards opening up other vast areas of military airspace.

“It is realistic,” Al Jallaf says. “We have very good relations with the military. We are discussing more. We have to understand the military and civil requirements.”

A global problem, airspace congestion is also presenting a challenge for Gulf carriers looking to expand into other international markets, particularly Asia. The three major GCC carriers — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways — are targeting growth in South-East Asia. Capacity on flights to the region increased by 54 percent, to 228,716 seats per week across the three airlines, between November 2011 and November 2013.

“Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia are really up there, Jakarta has a big bottleneck... It is having an impact on countries’ GDP and an impact on international trade,” NATS Services managing director Catherine Mason says.
“There is a long pipeline of orders for both Boeing and Airbus for deliveries mostly into those regions and if all of those orders are realized there just isn’t enough capacity in the way the airspace is designed to be able to accommodate all the movements required. So there are orders for aircraft but they frankly can’t fly where people want them to fly.”

Unsurprisingly, NATS believes investment is the answer.

“There is new technology to put satellites in orbit that will provide a greater level of accuracy to relay the position of aircraft to air traffic control,” Swift says. “That would give more sophistication and raise standards and put less strain on the system. There is no one magic technology, but the industry [must make sure it] uses all the tools modern aircraft have to use the airspace more effectively.”

It has been suggested that the Gulf create a European-style centralised regional air traffic management centre. But Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at UK-based Strategic Aero Research, says that is unlikely.

“Sadly this is a pipe dream and I doubt it’ll ever materialise. Just because there is a half-baked solution in Europe does not mean it’ll work for the GCC. And even if it was implemented, at what cost would this come? And who would shoulder [that cost]?” Ahmad says.

“Convergence, the lack of a centralized GCC aviation policy head and regulation are the main barriers between GCC nations.”

However, Al Jallaf remains optimistic. He is even thinking beyond the region, to a global solution. “We are keen to learn from others’ experiences. We are monitoring what is happening in the US, Europe and Asia. We are taking the best lessons … and are in engagement with elite consultants. At the end of the day, air traffic management will be managed through a global platform.”

Political momentum does appear to be behind this issue. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and CEO and chairman of the Emirates Group, recently addressed the issue at the Dubai Airshow.

“If you [fly into Dubai] at midnight you sometimes have to sit in holding for 45 minutes before landing. The airspace situation needs re-organizing… It will be on the agenda next year for the UAE and then maybe we’ll see it for the whole of the GCC over the next 20, 30, 40 years.”

Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, chairman of the Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) also warns aircraft congestion “is going to be an issue whether we like it or not”. “If we keep it as it is now there are going to be big, big issues for everybody, especially during take-off and landing,” he says.

Alnaqbi’s solution? A private jet.

“There are a lot of business airports and they are not really congested,” he explains. “It does impact us but to a lesser degree than airports. They fly to scheduled airports, we can fly anywhere, any time.”

Despite the complex international political, economic and safety issues, the political will to solve the issue appears to be there. Let’s hope the doomsday warnings of long delays do not come to pass — private jets are not an option for everyone.

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Patricia Quinlan: 'Doctor Angel' saves sick plane passenger

Patty Quinlan, a Lehigh Valley Health Network physician, came to the aid of a man on her Thanksgiving Day flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco.

While you were watching the Detroit Lions turn the Eagles into green bean casserole on Thanksgiving Day, Patricia Quinlan was coming to the rescue of a very sick man at 35,000 feet.

The Lehigh Valley Hospital Network physician was on United Airlines Flight 653 from Philadelphia to San Francisco when the passenger across the aisle from her lost consciousness and fell out of his seat.

"I thought 'Hopefully, he just fell asleep,'" Quinlan recounted with a laugh in a phone interview from Seattle, where she and her family are visiting friends.

But no — the man was in bad shape, with a thready pulse and dangerously low blood pressure.

Quinlan, of Center Valley, went to work. The plane, a 727, had an automated external defibrillator — an electronic device used to shock stopped hearts back into rhythm.

She hooked it to the man's chest and discovered he had a normal heart rhythm, meaning he wasn't suffering a blockage.

"The pilot asked if we needed to make an emergency landing in Chicago," Quinlan said. "If I hadn't had [the defibrillator], I would have said yes."

With the help of a pediatric intensive care unit nurse and an emergency medical technician who also happened to be on the flight, Quinlan began administering intravenous fluid.

Slowly but surely, the 59-year-old man — who was heading to China via San Francisco — came around.

"He was out for a good 20 minutes," Quinlan said. "It took us about 90 minutes to get him upright. We'd lift him a little and he'd pass out again."

The story was more complicated than it sounds. The man was alone, so there was no way to determine his medical history. The plane was also packed — Quinlan and the others had to maneuver in the narrow aisle with no room to spare.

The passengers pitched in. Some used their smartphones to shine light on the patient; one man offered his belt as a tourniquet for the IV, but it was too big, so Quinlan ended up using her hair tie.

No one could find alcohol to disinfect the IV needle. A flight attendant doused it with whiskey from the bar cart.

"And the IV bag had a little leak in it, so a woman found masking tape in her pocketbook and we taped it up," Quinlan said.

It was all quite MacGyver-like. By the time the plane landed, the man was alert and able to walk off the plane.

He was very grateful, Quinlan said.

"I think he was just probably very, very dehydrated," she added. "And he had taken blood pressure medicine that morning."

The flight crew gave Quinlan a thank-you note for "going above and beyond" and the pilot carried her luggage off the plane.

They also gave her a nickname, one that will undoubtedly follow her around for the rest of her career once her colleagues get hold of it:

"Doctor Angel."


World Aviation Forum in Montreal tackles climate and terror

Even against the backdrop of the recent bombing of a Russian aircraft and increasing pressures to make air travel more sustainable, there was no denying the almost giddy sense of optimism for the thriving aviation industry as hundreds of delegates gathered in Montreal this week for the inaugural World Aviation Forum.

Organized by the International Civil Aviation Organization — an agency of the United Nations which oversees international air transport — the conference brought an array of 800 representatives from countries around the world to ICAO headquarters in Montreal. Countries from Mozambique to Portugal to Kazakhstan were there, as well as delegates from lesser-known places, like Benin in West Africa.

While the U.S. State Department’s global travel alert this week — in effect until at least Feb. 24 — following “increased terrorist threats” around the world certainly cast a shadow over the industry, ICAO president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said the biggest challenge still remains accommodating the anticipated growth safely, efficiently and in an environmentally responsible way.

“Latest projections point to no less than a doubling of flight and passenger volumes over the next 15 years,” he said in his opening keynote address. “This means that the 100,000 daily flights today will grow to 200,000 by 2030, with the 3.3 billion passengers we now move around the world each year surpassing 6 billion over the same period.”

On a typical day, more than 9 million people around the world take a flight.

The conference discussed one big obstacle on the horizon for the aviation industry — and Montreal’s local aerospace industry — as world leaders meet at the United Nations climate change conference in Paris next week.

It is likely the aviation industry will be targeted at that forum, said Nadia Bhuiyan, a professor in the department of mechanical and industrial engineering at Concordia University and director of education for the Concordia Institute for Aerospace and Design Innovation (CIADI), with calls for greener aircraft.

“In climate talks held in Geneva in February, aviation was not spared and this sort of sets the stage for what’s to come,” she said in an interview.

She said the expected surge in air traffic will only make it that much more challenging to reduce carbon emissions from aircraft; the aviation industry is already responsible for about 2 per cent of the global manmade contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

The aerospace industry has been working hard to address this issue, she said, and has already made progress with lighter, quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft.

“The industry, universities and governments are working together to tackle this even more aggressively,” she said. “There is a continued need to find ways to reduce fuel consumption … and invest in new technologies to further reduce emissions.”

She said that continued action on environmental sustainability is urgently needed and that Montreal, as a major aerospace hub, must play a role in meeting those environmental challenges.

Aliu, however, said he hopes that new standards adopted for 2016 requiring more efficient engines for aircraft will calm environmental concerns.

“In Paris, we need to ensure that aviation is not targeted in a disproportionate manner as a means of funding other sectors because we are doing what it takes on our own,” he said in an interview.


As for safety, Aliu admitted that audits have shown “some troubling variation” in the implementation of ICAO standards and recommended practices across jurisdictions, which was the reason for the launch of its No Country Left Behind program last year: to begin closing gaps.

The goal is that whether a passenger is travelling from Paris to Sydney or Beijing to the Congo, they must be able to do so with complete assurance of safe, secure and reliable air transport, said Aliu.

But when planes fall out of the sky — as was the case with the Russian Metrojet airliner over Egypt’s Sinai desert last month and Malaysia Airlines last year — and major tourist destinations like Paris are attacked, travellers, understandably, get jittery.

“The effects of this type of incident can definitely have a huge impact on the industry and expected growth,” said Bhuiyan.

Hundreds of billions of dollars were lost in the tourism industry after increased terrorism in 1985 and, of course, following 9/11, Bhuiyan said. Now the U.S. travel alert could wreak havoc with holiday travelling this year. “If people’s fears are well managed, then we can still expect an increase of 5 per cent annually in air travel,” she said.

The increase in terror threats, she said, requires better screening methods, better protection of airports and safer in-flight travel. Aliu told reporters this week that ICAO will hold a meeting in March on security to address issues such as risk management and airport security, including “insider threats” from airport staff, airline employees and others who have access to aircraft.

He said it’s critical that public confidence in air travel remains high, pledging to implement recommendations of an investigation being conducted into the Oct. 31 explosion aboard the Russian plane that killed 224 people. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility, saying it had planted a bomb aboard the aircraft.


Could these environmental and security concerns in aviation have ramifications for Montreal’s aerospace industry, which provides 42,000 jobs in the Montreal area and has sales of $14 billion? Already industry giant Bombardier Inc. has floundered with its fuel-efficient CSeries jet, which prompted the Quebec government to make the controversial decision this month to invest US$1 billion in the troubled program. And Quebec will ask the federal government to match its investment.

Even in the wake of terrorism and the Bombardier predicament, Quebec’s aerospace industry has never been stronger, said Suzanne Benoît, president of aerospace cluster Aéro Montréal.

“Of course we have to keep it safe,” she said in an interview. “But this is a great time for aerospace because of the forecast growth.” She said 40,000 more aircraft will be required to meet aviation demands by 2030.

Montreal — which has the third-largest aerospace cluster in the world and houses industry giants such as Pratt & Whitney Canada, Bombardier Inc., Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. and CAE. — is not struggling because of events at Bombardier, she said.

“Bombardier is not in trouble,” she said, adding the CSeries is a “rethought” aircraft that will be the greenest aircraft in its category (single aisle, 100 to 139 seats), but something that new and complex needs a lot of financial support.

But some analysts have said the bailout and massive writedown after a US$4.9-billion third-quarter loss is the beginning of the end for Bombardier’s gamble on a narrowbody aircraft.

Richard Aboulafia, a Washingtong-based consultant in the aircraft field, said in an interview the CSeries has been “ripping apart” the rest of company because Bombardier simply bit off more than it could chew. Although he did call the CSeries a “seriously good aircraft.”

Lacking funds to be commercially aggressive, he said, Bombardier couldn’t afford to really launch a new generation jetliner. He likened it to bringing “a crème brûlée torch to a flame-throwers fight.”

And he said the outcome should be interesting now that whole problem has landed squarely in the lap of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who would be hard-pressed to turn his back on a major Quebec company but whose government has recently forecast a likely $3-billion deficit rather than the $2.3-billion surplus the Conservatives had predicted.

But no one is really predicting that Bombardier’s troubles will affect the rest of the industry here. Bhuiyan said what is happening can be attributed, in part, to the newness of the product.

“Some of Bombardier’s troubles can be compared to Boeing’s Dreamliner problems,” she said. “An aircraft that is so innovative and new will undoubtedly come with its share of risk and uncertainty, which will result in delays and cost overruns.”

Research to conquer some of these concerns is important and Montreal is certainly doing its part, said Benoît. The Montreal Aerospace Institutes is a joint venture between the aerospace industry and local universities to address the industry’s needs.

And Concordia was just granted a $1-million chair in aerospace design engineering by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, which will help it create innovative programs to meet the design needs of the industry.

Senior chair holder Catharine Marsden said it’s an exciting time for the aerospace industry because there is so much growth and so many technological advances.

“It’s a very high tech field and a very regulated field. Aircraft need to be safe and compliant, so there are many constraints to the design,” she said. On top of that, it is very global and very competitive.

The new chair will help the university train students who are up to the task of integrating new technologies and designing the best aircraft.

“We have many companies at the forefront of this field,” Marsden said. “The aerospace business is not going to go away any time soon.”


Cessna 175A Skylark, N6793E: Incident occurred November 27, 2015 near Capital City Airport (KFFT), Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Date: 27-NOV-15 
Time:     20:15:00Z
Regis#:     N6793E
Aircraft Make:     CESSNA
Aircraft Model:     175
Event Type:     Incident
Highest Injury:     None
Damage:     Unknown
Flight Phase:     LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office:   FAA Louisville FSDO-17
State:     Kentucky


Dean and Cindy Stoops spent what he called “three and a half hours” of routine, boring flying on their way home from visiting their son and his family for Thanksgiving in Jacksonville, N.C. That was until early Friday when he discovered the Cessna 175A Skylark plane he was flying had lost some of its power on his descent as he neared Lexington.

Being who his wife Cindy has always called “Mr. Safety,” Stoops said his 40 years of flying experience and time flying Black Hawk helicopters for the Army National Guard during his military career kicked in and he decided not to risk flying over the city of Frankfort to get to the Capital City Airport for fear he could potentially end up crashing into a residence.

With Cindy’s help, Stoops said he spotted a field near the edge of the Franklin and Scott County line that appeared to provide the perfect place to make an emergency landing. It turned out to be an excellent decision because Stoops said that once he got lined up with the field, the engine completely quit.

“It was long enough and flat enough, and it was near a road and near a house, which are pretty much all of the things you would hope for,” Stoops said. “The landing was pretty uneventful.”

He said he was not scared or anxious as he prepared to land because he had years of training that had prepared him for such an emergency situation along with “a whole lot of good luck” in finding the perfect landing field.

Stoops, 56, landed the four-seater plane without damaging the aircraft and without any injuries to him or wife Cindy, 60. Their two dogs they had taken along on the trip—10-year-old Bubba, who is half pug and half beagle, and Charlie, a 4-year-old white Maltese, also escaped injury.

“The adrenaline didn’t hit until after we had landed,” Stoops said, conceding that he had only felt that large of an adrenaline rush a few other times in his life, two of which occurred when he experienced parachute malfunctions while skydiving and another when confronting a robber during a home invasion.

The couple who live in Burgin, near Harrodsburg, have flown to Hilton Head and Florida for family vacations in the past, Stoops said. The Cessna actually belongs to his father, Dick Stoops, of Versailles, he said, but he flies it fairly often as well.

Stoops said the emergency landing won’t impact his love of flying in any way.

“It’s like asking somebody who has been in an auto accident if they will give up driving,” he explained. “If you drive a vehicle long enough, you’re going to have an emergency at some point. So, it wasn’t that big of a deal. It’s something that I’ve planned for and trained for all of my life.”

Stoops said his father obtained his pilot’s license after returning from serving in Viet Nam. That launched the family’s passion for aviation

“We grew up with airplanes and flying on the weekends,” Stoops said. “Some families have a boat and spend time on the river. We had a plane and spent time flying.”

The shared generational passion for aviation influenced both Stoops and his son in their career choices.

Until six years ago, Stoops was a Senior Instructor Pilot for Black Hawk Helicopters for the Army National Guard and has flown overseas among locations such as Kuwait, Iraq, and South America. Stoops said his son is currently a V-22 Osprey instructor for the Air Force.

“Aviation is kind of in our blood,” Stoops said.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene located near U.S. 460.

“He made a great decision under stress not to fly over the city of Frankfort,” Sheriff Pat Melon said.

The owner of the open field where Stoops landed is allowing them to keep the plane there until he and his father who is an airplane mechanic and licensed FAA inspector can make the necessary repairs to safely move it, Stoops said.


FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT)- A trip home after spending Thanksgiving with family turned frightening for a central Kentucky couple and their dogs.

Investigators say they had to land their small plane in a field after experiencing engine trouble.

It happened late Friday afternoon at a farm on Woodlake Road in Franklin County, about seven or eight miles from Capital City Airport, investigators said.

Dean and Cindy Stoops, of Mercer County, and their two dogs were on the way home from North Carolina, where they spent Thanksgiving with family.

Dean Stoops, who was piloting the plane, told WKYT's Garrett Wymer that he could not get the plane to full power when he tried to level off as he neared the airport.

Instead of flying over the city and risking a crash there, he decided to land in an open field not far from U.S. 460.

"We give him kudos for not taking the chance to fly on in," said Franklin Co. Sheriff Pat Melton. "You're about seven or eight miles from Capital City Airport, so obviously he made a very conscious and very wise decision tonight."

No one was hurt and the plane was not damaged in the landing.

Stoops' father, who owns the plane, is an airplane mechanic, Stoops said, and together they tried to fix the plane. After still having problems, he says they secured the plane, and the property owner is letting them leave it there until they can fix it and fly it back to Capital City Airport where it is housed.


The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is on scene of an emergency plane landing.

Franklin County Sheriff, Pat Melton, tells WKYT the plane landed in a field on Woodlake Road near U.S. 460.

Melton says the plane is intact, and the couple, who was on board the plane, is safe.

Investigators say the couple was flying from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Frankfort.

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Who owns planes at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (KPHF), Virginia?

The City Council recently approved a big property tax break for aircraft, from $2.10 per $100 of assessed value to 50 cents per $100 of valuation.

City Manager Jim Bourey asked the council to approve the tax break in the hopes of attracting "two major economic development projects" to the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.

After that story ran, a reader called to ask who owns planes there today. For that reader (and anyone else who may be wondering) here is the list of businesses that own planes there, courtesy of airport spokeswoman Jessica Wharton:

•Rick Aviation, 23 planes

•Tempus Jet Centers, LLC, 17 planes

•Atlantic Aviation, 9 planes

•L-3 Communications Corp., 8 planes

•Falwell Aviation dba Freedom Aviation, 7 planes

•W.M. Jordan Co., 3 planes

•Tidewater Flying Club, 3 planes

•Smithfield Foods, Inc., 2 planes

•Liebherr America, 1 plane

•Newport News School Board leases a hangar but has no plane there now.


Incident occurred November 27, 2015 in Oldtown, Allegany County, Maryland

There were no reported injuries Friday when a two-seater aircraft reportedly ran out of fuel and made an emergency landing in a field near Oldtown. 

Allegany County Emergency Management reports that units were called to the area of 18719 East Wilson Road just before 1 p.m. 

Volunteer fire personnel from Oldtown, District 16, Bowling Green and Paw Paw, W.Va., responded to the scene, as did state police and Trooper 5, a state police medevac helicopter. 

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Beech C23 Sundowner, N2009D, Sundowner 2009D LLC: Incident occurred November 26, 2015 near St. John the Baptist Parish Airport (1L0) Reserve, Louisiana


A small plane carrying two adults made an emergency landing in a LaPlace parking lot Thursday morning, according to the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s office.

The plane left the St. John the Baptist Parish Airport when the pilot and one passenger encountered engine trouble.

The pilot landed safely in a parking lot Belle Terre Boulevard.

No one on the plane or ground was injured.

The aircraft suffered approximately $30,000 in damage.



Date: 26-NOV-15
Time: 14:17:00Z
Regis#: N2009D
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 23
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA  Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baton Rouge FSDO-03
State: Louisiana


Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey: Reports of downed airplane in Delaware River turned out to be float plane landing

HAMILTON – State and local authorities scrambled to Duck Island Friday afternoon on a report of a airplane that had gone down in the Delaware River.

A marine unit from Trenton, Hamilton police and fire crews and several ambulances arrived on the eastern shore of the Delaware shortly before 1 p.m. 

A boat was launched, ambulances staged and fire crews descended on a boat yard.

But after an extensive search of the water, no plane was found.

State Police from their Twitter account announced that the search was unfounded. 

A float plane had landed in the water briefly and took off again. 

Crews were recalled.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said there were not any hard-and-fast rules about landing in the Delaware River and the agency would usually defer to local laws. 

There is no state law against float planes landing in the Delaware River, according to Brian Polite, spokesman for the State Police.

A plane landing in the Delaware River may violate local ordinance if the municipality where the landing takes place has passed an ordinance against it, Polite said. 

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Florida contractor pleads guilty for tax fraud scheme

A Florida contractor who once leased Russian planes to the U.S. Air Force for training flights has pleaded guilty to a tax fraud scheme worth $1.7 million..

Department of Justice officials said Maxim Silinsky of Fort Lauderdale, Florida underpaid both corporate and individual income tax from 2007 through 2010 by hiding funds through a series of domestic and foreign entities, as well as other financial accounts.

Silinsky’s Simplex Corporation provided aircraft parts to U.S. military deployed in Afghanistan, as well leasing Russian aircraft to the Air Force. Starting in 2008, Silinsky underreported income on tax returns, transferring a total of $1.7 million to nominee bank accounts under the auspices of being the costs of goods sold.

During a 2012 audit of the company, DOJ officials said Silinsky lied to IRS agents about the transfers. He also purchased real estate under the names of the nominee count holders to further obscure the funds.

Finally, Silinsky employed a family member to serve has a shareholder of a shell company set up to receive the funds. The shell company paid taxes on the money, but at a lower rate.

Silinsky struck a plea deal with prosecutors in which he also admitted to making illegal payments to a government contract and U.S. military personnel. He entered the guilty plea on Nov. 24.

The contractor will face sentencing at a Feb. 2 hearing, where he faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the loss of tax revenue, plus restitution to the IRS.

- Source:

SpiceJet plans to place order for 100-150 planes • During the winter schedule, the airline looks to operate 291 flights

After posting profits in the first two quarters of the current fiscal, SpiceJet plans to order 100-150 aircraft and is in talks with the major aircraft manufacturers for the same.

During the winter schedule the airline will look to operate 291 flights across the country in order to rope in tourists who look to travel during the winter months.

In order to consolidate its operations and expand at the same time, the airline is looking to buy both big and narrow bodied airlines, so that it can operate in smaller airports in the tier III and tier IV towns.

“We are in talks with manufacturers for an order of 100-150 aircraft of large and small aircraft. The order is likely to be finalized early next year,” said Shilpi Gupta, senior vice-president, commercial, SpiceJet.

After facing rough times in December 2014 when it had reached the brink of closure the airline was forced to cut down on the routes it used to operate.

In order to revive the company’s fortunes, the team under the airlines’ promoter and CEO, Ajay Singh focused on two of the most crucial aspects of running an airline i.e, improved ground operations and higher utilization of aircraft.

Since August the aircraft utilization stands at 13 hours which is higher than most of its peers in the domestic aviation sector. Rohit pal Singh, senior general manager, SpiceJet, said that the Q-400 Bombardier aircraft which have been serviced earlier this year has resulted in enhancing the speed at which the aircraft travels without increasing the fuel consumption. It helped the company cut down on its fuel cost and improve revenues.

As a result, the 14 Bombardier aircraft that SpiceJet operates can now make more number of trips in a particular day. These aircraft also have 18 minutes turnaround time which is lesser than other type of aircraft.

“As a team we have worked on our ground operations and engineering in order to keep our flights on time. Hence we have the best On Time Performance (OTP) in the Mumbai airport where we faced a lot of problems pertaining to operations during December,” added Rohit Pal Singh.

According to the data available with Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), SpiceJet’s passenger load factor (PLF) stood at 92% in October while the while the market share improved to 12.8%. The low cost airline also carried 8.99 lakh passengers during the month.

In the second quarter of the current fiscal the airline made a profit of R23.77 crore in the second quarter of the fiscal compared to a loss of Rs 310.44 crore in the corresponding period.


Incident occurred November 27, 2015 at Columbia Metropolitan Airport (KCAE), West Columbia, South Carolina


A commercial jet made an emergency landing at Columbia Metropolitan Airport Friday morning.

The American Airlines jet landed safely.

Flight 2777 was bound for Columbia from Dallas, scheduled to arrive at about 10:56 a.m. 39 passengers and three crew members were on board. 

Nobody was injured.

Officials with Columbia Metropolitan Airport said the facility's Public Safety Department received an alert from the American Airlines flight. 

Officers remained on alert until the aircraft landed. 

The jet touched down at about 10:45 a.m.

The airline says the jet was experiencing mechanical issues, which caused the emergency procedure. It taxied to the gate. 

A maintenance crew inspected the jet and determined the mechanical issue was a faulty indicator. 

A spokesperson for American Airlines says the jet is back in service and the flight is returning to Dallas. 

The jet was being operated for American Airlines as American Eagle by ExpressJet Airlines.

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LifeFlight’s new airplane almost ready for the skies

Fifteen minutes after the first swimmers waded into the waters off Ducktrap Beach in Lincolnville last August, tension spread among the organizers of LifeFlight’s annual Islesboro Swim. Swimmer Number 19 was missing. His dedicated kayaker, responsible for supporting him along the three-mile venture across Penobscot Bay to Islesboro, could no longer see him.

“Maybe he’s one of the three who scratched,” one of the organizers suggested.

“No,” said Melissa Arndt, director of communications for the LifeFlight of Maine/LifeFlight Foundation. “I know he entered the water.”

Minutes later, Number 19 made his existence known amidst the other swimmers. Yes, he was in the water. The kayaker had simply lost sight of him.

Fortunately for all involved, the flyover by LifeFlight’s helicopter at the annual Lincolnville-Islesboro fundraising swim was for show only, not for rescue. However, the Lewiston-based chopper itself was a fill-in. LifeFlight’s Bangor-based chopper, which had originally been scheduled to for the Islesboro swim, been called to an emergency in Houlton.

The frequency of calls made for LightFlight help has increased over the past decade, which is why the nonprofit is adding a Beechcraft King Air B200 airplane to the fleet, and is actively raising money to purchase a third helicopter.

While the new plane has been refurbished following its purchase in May, LifeFlight has conducted more than 50 transports, some involving Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital, using a loaner plane, according to Arndt.

The new plane owned by LifeFlight is now close to being flight-ready, with only FAA approval remaining. 

Then fly, it will. And it will cruise at 315 mph, more than double the helicopters’ top speed of 125 mph.

The plane can also fly in some weather conditions less suitable for choppers, according to Arndt.

Along with the plane’s purchase, LifeFlight has hired five fixed wing-certified pilots and one fixed wing mechanic; the organization is also in the process of hiring four additional pilots.

 The organization is still fundraising for the third helicopter. Approximately $700,000 more is needed for the aircraft itself, plus an additional $500,000 for the medical equipment and $2 million for a new hangar and other costs associated with establishing a new base in southern Maine.

LifeFlight also fundraises for education and training initiatives to strengthen the EMS network across the entire state.

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