Monday, November 30, 2015

Long Beach Airport (KLGB) Must Add Nine Commercial Flight Slots To Comply With Noise Ordinance

An annual analysis of aircraft operating noise at the Long Beach Airport has led to the conclusion that the city must offer nine more daily commercial flights in order to stay in compliance with the Airport Noise Compatibility Ordinance.

The City Council is scheduled to conduct a study session on the report at its Dec. 8 meeting. A memo from City Manager Pat West details the issue as part of the Dec. 8 City Council agenda.

The analysis, conducted by Mestre Greve Associates, is part of the compliance agreement settled in court in 1990. That was the year a baseline was established, figuring the “noise bucket” for three categories of airplane — commercial, commuter and general aviation.

Since that date, the commercial requirement was for Long Beach to offer a minimum of 41 flights a day. Currently, all of those flight slots are allocated.

A Noise Ordinance adopted in 1995 by the City Council requires an annual report on the noise experience in the previous year. The latest report covers Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015.

Those results showed the air carrier cumulative totals were well below the allocated noise budget. After additional study and an audit, it was confirmed that Mestre Greve’s conclusion that at least nine more flights must be added was correct.

Under the noise ordinance, it is the Airport Director’s responsibility to allocate the slots, a process that must be completed within 30 days of the determination that they are available. According to the staff report, the slots will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. If more than one carrier requests slots, they would be allocated sequentially to each carrier until all the slots were allocated.

There is an appeal process, with the airport director’s decision appealable to the city manager. That decision can, in turn, be appealed to the council.

However, the ordinance requirements for slots must be met, or the entire ordinance could be in jeopardy. Long Beach is one of the few airports in the nation to have an ordinance allowing it to limit the number of flights based on noise.

JetBlue, the commercial carrier that holds most of the commercial slots, requested earlier this year that the city study and file for designation as an international airport. Results of that study have not returned to the City Council.


'Con Air' flight carrying deportees to New Zealand did not have authority to land

The flight dubbed 'Con Air' that carried deported criminals from Australia did not have authority to land in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Transport has confirmed to ONE News that Skytraders, an Australian airline, failed to get prior approval for the non-scheduled flight, which arrived in Auckland on November 19.

It was carrying 12 deportees from Christmas Island, and had flown from Perth, by way of Melbourne.

They were sent back to New Zealand under a tough new immigration policy.

A ministry spokeswoman said the law requires operators to obtain authorization from the Secretary of Transport.

"The operator of the flight (Skytraders) had not sought prior approval from the Ministry of Transport," the spokeswoman said.

No specific authorization was required from the CAA and the CAA had no concerns with the flight.

"The requirement for operators of non-scheduled flights to seek authorization is an administrative requirement.

"It exists to ensure that the operator is not circumventing New Zealand's bilateral air services agreements which relate to scheduled services, and to confirm the operator is complying with all relevant safety and security requirements."

The plane was allowed to land.

Officials reminded Skytraders of its obligations shortly after it landed.

However, they decided not to prosecute the airline because it held a Foreign Air Operator certificate and complied with other rules. 

The spokeswoman said Skytraders had previously received authorization for and operated non-scheduled services to New Zealand.

A second flight, carrying 11 deportees, arrived at Auckland Airport on Thursday.

Ricardo Young, 29, who had served two years of a three year sentence for aggravated robbery, has told ONE News how he was handed an $8200 bill for the flight.

That's despite Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton stating last month that he was "happy" to pay for deportees airfares.

Under a New Zealand law change, those arriving back will be subject to parole and monitoring conditions.

Story and video:

Blue Angels touch down in Knoxville

An F/A-18 Hornet jet descended from a gray sky Monday and touched down at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, bringing a Navy Blue Angels representative to meet with organizers of the upcoming Smoky Mountain Air Show.

Meanwhile, a Cyber Monday promotion in connection with the April 16-17 show offered parking tickets at half price. No admission will be charged for the show, but there is a parking fee per car. Becky Huckaby, spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, said the fee could amount to $40 the day of the show, but tickets were on sale Monday for $25. They were selling briskly, Huckaby said about noon.

“We are very excited,” she said. “This morning we opened up purchase of the tickets available to the public at 5 a.m. and they are going very well. It’s been higher than we expected it would be.”

Organizers of the show — which will be the first air show at McGhee Tyson in about 15 years — are in the middle of selecting and negotiating acts, Huckaby said. Organizers will be attending the International Council of Air Shows convention in Las Vegas Dec. 6-9 to scout possible acts for the Knoxville show. They hope to be able to announce some acts after the first of the year, Huckaby said.

But the headline event of the show will be the Blue Angels, and planning for that act is already underway. Marine Capt. Corrie Mays, events coordinator for the Blue Angels, arrived Monday riding in the back seat of a Hornet piloted by Navy Lt. Tyler Davies, one of the demonstration pilots.

Mays spoke briefly with reporters after landing. She described the Blue Angels performance that crowds will see at the Smoky Mountain Air Show.

“It will range from altitudes of 200 feet up to 15,000 feet and from speeds right at the speed of sound down to 120 miles per hour,” she said.

Mays said her visit with organizers would deal with things from details of the air show to hotel and other accommodations for about 60 people who will arrive as the Blue Angels team.

The April show will be the first at McGhee Tyson since 2000, and is being produced by the airport authority, Tennessee Air National Guard, Knoxville, Knox County and Blount County. Col. Bobby Underwood, operations group commander, said the base is pleased to be putting on an air show, as for years that wasn’t possible because its people were busy supporting the global war on terror.

Story and photo gallery:

Frontier Airlines hiring flight attendants in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Frontier Airlines says it is recruiting more than 500 new flight attendants, primarily to be based out of the airline's new crew base in Chicago.

Prospective flight attendants must be at least 21 years old, hold valid passports and be willing and able to meet the company's dress code. They also must be willing to work nights, weekend and holidays. Customer service and sales backgrounds are preferred

Frontier will host a meet and greet for interested candidates at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at the Doubletree Hotel in Arlington, Ill.

For more information and to apply online, visit


ARFF Training Officer admits he stole from orphans

Al Schaffer

TAMPA, Fla. -- In May, we confronted Tampa Fire Captain, Al Schaffer who -- according to IRS records -- had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the IRS.

"These are orphans and abused children. I have to say I'm offended," we told Schaffer who responded, "And I'm sorry you're offended but I'm not going to comment on that, Sir."

Schafer may not have had a comment for us in May but a federal plea deal he signed this past week provides irrefutable proof that money donated to the Hope Children's Home for these orphans ended up in his pocket.

"What he did was totally unacceptable," Kirk Eicholtz told us. Eicholtz who was appointed by the court as interim CEO when the money came up missing adds, "from Hope Children's home perspective, we are happy this chapter in this book is closed.

In the plea, Schaffer admits he doubled his salary as treasurer'. He wrote checks from the Children's Home bank account to pay his personal credit card at Citibank and American express; and he embezzled at least $187,000. IRS records say the exact number is actually several thousand more that that.

We said to Eicholtz,"He faces the possibility of jail time, do you think it is appropriate here?

Eicholtz responded "That's not for me to be the judge and jury, but I do know restitution is paramount."

And while Al Schaffer is still a member of Tampa Fire Department the Chief promised if this day ever came and there was 100 percent proof Schaffer stole the money, he wouldn't be a member of the department for very long.

"if I get anything that has merit from those regulatory agencies, then I've got a problem here, " Tampa Fire Chief Tom Forward told us in May, "You know this person is no longer suitable to wear the uniform of the City of Tampa's Fire Department."

In the meantime, Eicholtz says it was only after Schaffer refused to repay the money, that the board turned to law enforcement

That's what breaks a person's heart because if he had just followed the reconciliation process of some sort he wouldn't be in the mess he is in now."

Schaffer who used two sets of books, could face 20 years in prison , a $374,000 fine and must pay restitution. He was not at the fire station when we got there Monday and his attorney said it wouldn't be appropriate to comment.

According to the plea, he broke down emotionally when talking to the feds. He is scheduled to makes his first appearance in Federal Court sometime this week.

Story, video and photo:

TAMPA — The Hope Children’s Home in Northwest Tampa houses 75 children, described on its website as “discarded, abused, unwanted or orphaned.”

The home, which is biblically based, is funded through donations from churches, clubs, organizations and individuals.

The money is supposed to go toward caring for and schooling abused and neglected children, some of whose pictures and statements of thanks are also on the website.

But for five years, Alfred Schaffer, the son of the founder, embezzled more than $187,000 from the home, through the access he had in his side job as the home’s business manager and chief financial officer, according to federal court documents.

As a Tampa fire captain, Schaffer is paid nearly $80,000 a year by the city, according to city records. He was hired by the department in 1995.

Department spokesman Jason Penny said Schaffer is an airport training officer, responsible for keeping firefighters trained in aircraft rescue and fire fighting.

Schaffer, 50, of Land O’ Lakes, has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of mail fraud, which carries up to 20 years in prison under the terms of a plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court.

On Monday afternoon, Schaffer was suspended from his Tampa fire job after Chief Tom Forward learned of the plea agreement, Penny said.

“He is entitled to a disciplinary hearing but will not collect pay and will not return to work,” Penny said in a statement.

The children’s home has an affiliated home in Honduras and runs two thrift stores, one in Tampa and one in Clearwater.

Schaffer began his thefts in January 2007 and continued through October 2011, according to his plea agreement. He was paid $500 every other week. In 2007, his pay was transferred to him by direct deposit.

But Schaffer continued to pay himself the old way, meaning his pay was doubled, according to his plea agreement, which says Schaffer told a board member in 2011 that his embezzlement grew from there.

After learning of the thefts, officials at the home didn’t alert law enforcement but tried to arrange for Schaffer to repay the stolen money.

“The board members prayed and debated what to do about the scheme,” Schaffer’s plea agreement states. The home did not get the money back from Schaffer.

This summer, federal law enforcement agents contacted the home and obtained records documenting the scheme, the plea agreement states.

Agents determined Schaffer wrote checks to himself “rather than to the benefit of the children or the ministry,” according to the plea agreement. He was able to do this because he had a stamp with the signature of a board member.

He masked the transactions in financial statements he provided to the board.

The scheme involved more than 100 checks Schaffer wrote to his personal credit card accounts and to himself.

Officials at the home did not immediately return a message left Monday by The Tampa Tribune.

Story and comments:

Effort underway to put Wright Flyer on Ohio state seal: Oakwood man designed seal including Wright brothers plane, issue has become his ‘mission’

William Burnett says he originally suggested and painted the Wright Flyer on the state seal of Ohio.

OAKWOOD —  The Wright Flyer soars on U.S. quarters and Ohio and North Carolina license plates, but there’s one place William W. Burnett has lobbied for years to see it added: The official seal of the state of Ohio.

A second wind has pushed the idea forward with legislation state Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, sent to the House of Representatives to put the Flyer on the seal, just the way Burnett first painted it on the emblem in the late 1990s.

The brand marketing consultant says his goal is to “basically preserve and protect our global identity as the birthplace of aviation state while adding justifiable credence to our claim.”

Lawmakers have tried at least three prior times since the 1990s to put the imprint of the Flyer on the seal. The scene shows a harvested wheat field with a sheaf of wheat and a bundle of arrows under the sun rising over the Scioto River and Mount Logan near Chillicothe in Ross County.

Burnett painted the Flyer soaring into a sunburst.

The Oakwood resident said he was spurred to act when he introduced himself as from the birthplace of aviation to a passenger on a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., years ago. The person mistakenly thought Burnett was from the Carolinas. Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first successful powered airplane took off Dec. 17, 1903, on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, N.C.

That boat ride on the Atlantic led Burnett to paint the Flyer on the seal of Ohio and start a years-long quest to add the biplane to the emblem.

For Burnett, Perales said, “it just became a mission for him.”

Past and future Flyer

Adding the Flyer to the seal fits in with the state’s future in aerospace as much as it does with the Buckeye State’s aviation heritage, Perales said. The retired Air Force officer is chairman of the state’s aerospace and aviation technology committee.

“It wasn’t a primary objective of those legislators like it is of mine today with the aerospace group,” he said. “… It all ties together and that’s the difference that bill didn’t have before in that it was kind of isolated. Now if fits into a bigger picture, a bigger strategy.”

Perales also introduced a bill that declares the Wright brothers the first to fly a motorized airplane in controlled flight. House lawmakers unanimously endorsed the legislation in May and the Senate could vote on the bill next week before the 112th anniversary of the Wright brothers Kitty Hawk flights.

Ohio aims to debunk Connecticut legislators recent declaration Gustave Whitehead beat the Wright brothers as the first aviators to fly an airplane.

Burnett’s ties to aviation reach into the past. His father worked on aircraft projects at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and a grandfather was an aeronautical engineer who worked with Orville Wright at McCook Field, a forerunner of Wright-Patterson. Burnett said he grew up near the Wright brothers’ home.

“This really encouraged me throughout my life that aviation is a very important part of Ohio and American history and it should be preserved in our state seal,” he said.

The latest push to add the Flyer isn’t welcomed by all, though.

In an interview in November, Ross County Historical Society Director Thomas Kuhn said his group prefers to keep the seal as it is today.

“If you’re going to add an airplane, why not a space capsule, or why not a man walking on the moon,” he asked then. “Where does it end? It’s traditionally been a scene of natural beauty and wonder.”

Today, the seal has the same setting as Ohio’s original seal sketched in 1803 but abolished two years later, according to historical records.

An unofficial seal had a canal boat in the 1840s until it was removed in 1866, according to Tom Rieder, a reference archivist at the Ohio History Connection in Columbus.

Over the years, state officials added and then removed a farmer, a blacksmith and a locomotive train. An 1866 motto —“Imperium in Imperio,” translated as an empire within an empire — lasted two years before the controversial saying was abolished, he said.

“That was greatly criticized,” he said. The seal was last modified in 1996.


Aviation buffs launch campaign to rebuild a Wright Brothers plane

Back in the days when these things were allowed, aviation pioneer Harry Atwood landed his plane on the White House lawn, the finale of the first flight from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Atwood would go on to other great feats, but the plane, a Burgess-Wright Model F, which he landed on the South Lawn that July day in 1911, would not fare so well. Four years later, another pilot would crash it into a Massachusetts swamp, and parts of it would be sold for scrap.

Now, more than a century later, a group of aviation buffs have launched a campaign to restore the plane, which they say is the last remaining authentic Wright Brothers aircraft. Their goal is to raise $4 million to rebuild the plane, which would then be displayed in Terminal A at Reagan National Airport.

“It’s just a fascinating project,” said Keith Meurlin, president of the Washington Airports Task Force, which helped launch the campaign. “The fact that it’s still around, that we have the ability to preserve and display it, is a great opportunity.”

The restoration would be done by Ken W. Hyde, who heads the Wright Experience, a Warrenton, Va.-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Wright Brothers. Part of Hyde’s work focuses on restoring and rebuilding Wright Brothers aircraft.

Twenty years ago, Hyde found and purchased some original parts of the Burgess-Wright aircraft that Atwood flew, including the engine, transmission and some of the controls. According to Hyde, Burgess started as a shipbuilding company but partnered with the Wright Brothers to begin building aircraft.

“It was a different time back then,” he said. The airplane may have been part of a historic flight, but it wasn’t necessarily considered “historical” he said. There was no [National Transportation Safety Board] to investigate the cause of the crash and take the plane into custody, so people on the ground simply took parts of the plane and sold them, Hyde added.

Hyde estimates that it would take 18 to 24 months — roughly 12,000 to 14,000 hours — to restore the plane. He previously built a reproduction of the 1910 Wright B plane that is on display at the College Park Aviation Museum.

Clyde Kizer, part of the Discovery of Flight Foundation, which also is involved in the fundraising campaign, said it took two years to reach an agreement with airport officials to display the plane.

“It’s a national treasure,” Kizer said, adding with a chuckle: “It’s the first airplane to land at the White House — legally.”

Enough of the aircraft’s parts were recovered that experts consider the plane “original,” Kizer said.

In 2014, a Richmond-area television station raised questions about the Discovery of Flight Foundation and its ties to state Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William). The report alleged that Lingamfelter tried to steer earmarks to the foundation. It also noted that Kizer had hosted a fundraiser at his home for the delegate. The report said the practice did not violate any laws, but said it did raise questions about the delegate’s conduct.

Kizer said that he did host a fundraiser for Lingamfelter, but said they weren’t friends and that he had not asked the delegate for money to support the foundation. He said that Lingamfelter had visited the Wright Experience and was interested in its focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). He was not aware that the delegate had sponsored legislation to support the foundation until Lingamfelter mentioned it after it failed to pass. Lingamfelter did not respond to e-mails and telephone calls seeking comment on the matter.

The hope is that the Burgess-Wright plane would be displayed at National’s historic Terminal A, which opened in 1941. The space, with its view of the airport’s runways, is rented out for special events including weddings and meetings.

“We are supportive of the effort to bring the Wright Flyer to the Nation’s Airport. We have committed to finding space for the aircraft and any associated displays so travelers can appreciate the history and beauty it embodies,” said Christopher Paolino, spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs National and Dulles airports.

A New York Times account of Atwood’s historic flight noted that the pilot was met by President Howard Taft.

“Atwood stepped from the machine and was escorted to the portico, where the president presented him with the gold medal of the Aero Club of Washington,” it read. Atwood’s mother was also there to witness the landing. But when she asked to fly with her son back to the polo field where the plane would be parked, “Atwood promptly and firmly declined to do that.”

Original article can be found here:

Meet Turkey's first professional female aerobatic pilot

Semin Öztürk, 24, enjoys being Turkey's first female professional aerobatic pilot. Daily Sabah spoke to Öztürk to delve into the life of a young and dedicated pilot, who describes flying as a ‘love'.

Flying shows are always amusing to viewers, as they wonder how aerobatic pilots dance in the air so skillfully. It is difficult to understand how they perform various maneuvers like twirling, tumbling and twisting in airplanes that would normally seem impossible to do.

Semin Öztürk, Turkey's first professional female aerobatic pilot, is one of these pilots and she risks her life each time she is in the cockpit. Aerobatic flying is indeed a form of art, and Öztürk describes what she does as more than a passion, but "love."

Since her first flight at the age of 12, Öztürk has not feared anything when she is in her airplane. Daily Sabah had the opportunity to talk to Öztürk, a young, dedicated woman, and share a day in the life of an aerobatic pilot.

Daily Sabah: How did your interest in aerobatics begin? What would you like to say about the role of your father, Ali İsmet Öztürk, also a professional aerobatic pilot, in your career choice?

Semin Öztürk: My father Ali İsmet Öztürk started aerobatic flight when I was nine. This was the first time I saw him as an aerobatic pilot and not just a father. I fell under its spell immediately and wanted to fly with him. However, each occupant of the aircraft must wear a parachute, and I was too small to wear one. This is why I waited three years. My biggest dream was to grow big enough to take an aerobatic flight with my parachute on my back. From the very beginning, my father has always supported me and led me to discover myself.

DS: You made your first flight at the age of 12. Could you share your first aviation experience as far as you can remember?

SÖ: I had just turned 12. I was old enough to wear my parachute. I was feeling very excited and happy because the moment I had been waiting for for three years had finally come. My father accompanied me during my first aerobatic flight. We made the final controls together. This flight was a turning point in my life, as after that, aerobatic flight became a passion in my life.

DS: Where did you complete your aviation training?

SÖ:  I received my private pilot license from Ayjet Flight School when I was 21. I was in my second year of university. After I received the license, I was allowed to fly alone. Later, I received aerobatic flight education at the Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety in the U.S. When I returned home, I began to embark on flights unaccompanied.

DS: In a previous interview, we learned that you are afraid of heights. Does this affect you while you are flying? If so, how do you overcome it?

That is true. I have acrophobia. When I look out of a high building, I feel thrilled and scared. However, my fear of heights does not affect my flying. Everything is different when I am in the plane. I am the one who controls it. This is what makes me feel safe when I am in the air.

DS: It is obvious that aerobatic pilots undertake very strict training. How does your training go, and what do you do to complete effective training?

SÖ: I take two-month training camps, which occur in a very busy and intensive atmosphere. Every day, I make two or three training flights. What I do is fully focus on flying. I pay extra attention to my sleep and food. I do not consume fatty foods and stay away from anything that might affect my blood pressure as much as possible. I follow a special diet rich in protein and vegetables and continuously consume water. During aerobatic flights, pilots are generally affected by G-force, a movement that influences your body and wears you out. This is why we take frequent training flights to adjust our body to it. When I do not have training flights in my program, I attend courses.

DS: How does it feel being Turkey's first professional female aerobatic pilot?

SÖ:  I have been studying aerobatic flights for years. I had my first air show at Airshow SHG 2015 at the Sivrihisar International Sportive Aviation Center in September. I am happy to reap the fruits of my efforts and feel responsible for young people who are willing to become aerobatic pilots in the future. I receive both positive and negative feedback during my training sessions. There are some people who do not understand the struggle I endure while flying and have a biased perception. It is difficult to exist as a woman in Turkey, and I also encounter difficulties on my path. Still, there are more young people interested in aviation and aerobatic flights these days. I also feel happy to see them and am ready to support this profession, raising more aerobatic pilots in Turkey as much as I can.


Incident occurred November 30, 2015 on Mount Tarawera, New Zealand

A pilot and three passengers had to be plucked off Mt. Tarawera after their helicopter's tail rotor struck a rock and broke off, resulting in a "heavy landing".

Emergency services were called about 2 pm today when a Volcanic Air Safaris helicopter landed heavily on the summit of Mt. Tarawera.

The company's managing director, Phil Barclay, told the Rotorua Daily Post it appeared the tail rotor struck a rock and broke off when it was close to landing.

He said no one was hurt and the helicopter only suffered minor damage.

"It's certainly not going to be an expensive fix from what we gather at the moment."

Mr. Barclay said the passengers were picked up by another helicopter and returned safely around 3 pm.

The company then flew back to the mountain to pick up the damaged helicopter and take it back to its hangar.

"It received minor damage as a result of the heavy landing but it should be up and running again soon."

A Rescue Co-ordination center spokesman said they received news of the incident around 2:20 pm from the New Zealand Fire Service.

"We were being alerted to the incident by the fire service when the beacon went off. Within minutes the helicopter company contacted us to say it was not a major incident.

"It went from being a potentially very serious incident to us calling off respondents very quickly."

In a statement, police said the Civil Aviation Authority had been informed and was investigating the incident.

Volcanic Air, a Rotorua-based company, operates scenic flights from the Rotorua Lakefront and Rotorua Airport to destinations including Mt. Tarawera and White Island.

- Source:

Police charge man over alleged attempted theft from aviation firm

Police investigating an attempted theft have charged a man.

Patrick Maguire of Naas Lane, Quedgeley, was arrested in connection with an offense alleged to have taken place at Targett Aviation, Nympsfield on November 14.

He was subsequently charged with attempted theft and is due to appear before Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on January 28, 2016.


Airbus A320-216, Indonesia AirAsia, PK-AXC: Fatal accident occurred December 28, 2014 in Java Sea, Indonesia

Aircraft Accident Investigation Report:

Malfunctions, Pilot Response Blamed in AirAsia Flight 8501 Crash
Investigators’ report depicts confusion and escalating trouble in plane’s cockpit

The Wall Street Journal
By BEN OTTO in Jakarta, Indonesia, and  ANDY PASZTOR in Los Angeles
Updated Dec. 1, 2015 5:16 a.m. ET

Indonesian investigators said the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 last year, which killed all 162 people on board, was caused by a combination of system malfunctions and improper pilot responses to cascading electrical and rudder-system problems.

Investigators from Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee said Tuesday that a cracked solder joint on the Airbus A320 resulted in an electrical interruption that prompted computer-generated warnings of a rudder malfunction.

The problem occurred four times during the flight. The first three times, the flight crew responded according to standard procedure, investigators said. The fourth time, however, the flight-data recorder indicated actions were taken similar to those of circuit breakers being reset. That led the autopilot to disengage.

Soerjanto Tjahjono, chief of the committee, told The Wall Street Journal that it appeared that a member of the flight crew had reset the circuit breakers. If a pilot had done that, he would have had to leave his seat, Mr. Tjahjono said. He said that three days before the flight, the captain had encountered the electrical problem on the same jet on the ground and had seen a maintenance crew resolve it by resetting the circuit breakers. Mr. Tjahjono said Airbus Group SE permits resetting the circuit breakers, as long as “you know the consequences.”

The reset turned off both the plane’s autopilot and auto-thrust system, and the pilots didn’t turn them back on, investigators said, leaving them to manually fly with a degraded and unfamiliar fly-by-wire system. But with normal flight protections gone, the faulty rudder controls put the plane into a steep bank while pilots flew higher. Investigators said the crew was unable to react appropriately to “a prolonged stall condition” ending in the crash.

The report depicts confusion and escalating trouble in the cockpit, with pilots deviating from course and asking air-traffic controllers to approve a climb to avoid a storm even as they confronted four separate rudder-system warnings within 15 minutes.

Roughly a minute after the fourth warning, according to the report, the co-pilot pulled the jet’s nose up sharply and that was followed quickly by a stall warning that “continued until the end of the [cockpit voice] recording.” The co-pilot’s control stick remained “mostly at maximum pitch up” until the crash, investigators determined.

Reflecting further lack of crew coordination, the report indicates the captain also was manipulating his control stick almost from the instant the stall warning activated to the time the flight-data recording ended. In an emergency, cockpit discipline requires one of the two pilots to take over the controls and make all flight inputs.

After six separate orders by the Indonesian captain to “pull down, pull down” the first officer, who was French, replied in his native language: “What is going wrong,” according to the report. That rise led to the fatal stall, Mardjono Siswosuwarno, lead investigator for the crash, said.

Investigators found the solder problem had come up 23 times in the previous 12 months, gaining in frequency in recent months. They suggested responses to the problem were inadequate. The circuit breakers had been reset three days earlier by mechanics during troubleshooting on the ground.

The report describes a series of discussions between ground staff and the flight’s captain, including an exchange in which the captain was told he could “reset [the breakers] whenever instructed” by computerized warning messages.

AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed in waters off the coast of Borneo island en route to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya on Dec. 28.

Airbus said it had received the final accident report and was carefully studying its contents. “Airbus has provided full technical assistance and expertise to the authorities in charge of the investigation,” the company added.

AirAsia Indonesia said it had introduced several safety initiatives before the release of the report, including upset-recovery training and implementation of an aircraft-maintenance and analysis system to provide real-time monitoring on aircraft fault messages.

The crash came years after international air-safety authorities recognized the dangers of high-altitude stalls with degraded fly-by-wire flight controls. They have urged stepped-up training to enhance manual flying skills of pilots so they could cope with precisely such types of emergencies.

Months ago, safety experts from Airbus and several airlines that operate A320s said that pulling or resetting circuit breakers in midair was considered hazardous and wasn’t part of any Airbus-authorized training program.

Such a move can have unpredictable consequences by causing automated flight-protections to disengage suddenly.

The global airline industry has been struggling to sharpen flying skills at a time cockpits are becoming increasingly automated. Several accidents have raised concerns that pilots lack the skills to respond to emergencies that simulators can’t replicate well.

An Air France Airbus A330 jet in 2009 crashed after crews lost some of their automatic flight controls and failed to recognize they were in a high-altitude stall. All 228 people on the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris died.

The same year, a Colgan Air turboprop crashed near Buffalo, N.Y. Investigators determined the pilot was never properly trained on how to respond to the type of emergency the aircraft encountered. All 50 people on the plane died.

Airbus said last year it was revising its pilot-training policies to place greater emphasis on manual flying skills.

In recent years, some airlines, including Delta Air Lines Inc., have sent a few of their most seasoned instructors back to flight school to learn how to detect and recover for airborne upsets.


(CNN) —The way pilots responded to a technical malfunction resulted in the crash of an AirAsia flight into the Java Sea, killing all 162 people on board, investigators said Tuesday. 

AirAsia Flight 8501 was en route to Singapore from the Indonesian city of Surabaya on December 28 last year when it crashed.

It was one in a string of aviation disasters that occurred in Asia in 2014, including the mysterious disappearance of MH370 over the Indian Ocean and the crash of TransAsia Flight 222 on a Taiwanese island.

In the AirAsia disaster, the system that regulates the plane's rudder movement kept malfunctioning because of a cracked solder joint. Aircraft maintenance records found it had malfunctioned 23 times in the year before the crash, and the interval between those incidents became shorter in the three months prior to the crash, Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee said in a report.

"Subsequent flight crew action resulted in inability to control the aircraft ... causing the aircraft to depart from the normal flight envelope and enter a prolonged stall condition that was beyond the capability of the flight crew to recover," the report said.

In other words, "it's a series of technical failures, but it's the pilot response that leads to the plane crashing," CNN's aviation correspondent Richard Quest said.

Pilot training weakness

The investigation, a joint effort involving Australian, French, Singaporean and Malaysian authorities, points to weaknesses in pilot training in dealing with upsets, or when an aircraft is angled greater than 45 degrees.

"Our recommendation to AirAsia is to train their pilots flying the Airbus plane on how to make an upset recovery," investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said.

The AirAsia pilots had not been trained for that scenario, he added, because the manual provided by the plane's manufacturer said the aircraft, an Airbus 320, was designed to prevent it from becoming upset and therefore upset recovery training was unnecessary.

AirAsia has since required upset recovery training for its pilots, Utomo said.

Utomo also said the cockpit voice recorder showed confusing instructions from the captain to the co-pilot who was manning the controls at the time.

"The most interesting part that could be heard from the CVR is that whenever the plane went up, the captain said 'pull down.' ... To go down, the captain has to say 'push,' while to go up, the captain has to say 'pull' in reference to moving the side stick handle."

Cruising involves such high speeds, CNN's Quest said, that pilots responding without complete precision can often be disastrous.

"A huge amount of training is done on takeoff and landing and traditionally, of course, is 70-80% (of when accidents take place); only 10% takes (place) in the cruise phase of flight. But if something does happen in the cruise phase of flight, it does typically end up fatal."

Plane ascended rapidly before crash

Preliminary findings from Indonesia's NTSC earlier this year said roughly 35 minutes into the two-hour flight, the pilot asked air traffic control for permission to climb to avoid stormy weather.

The plane went from cruising at 32,000 feet, ascending steeply to 37,400 feet in about 30 seconds -- something commercial planes are not designed to do. It may have been climbing at a rate twice as fast as it could and should, one analyst told CNN.

Minutes later, the plane disappeared from radar.

Although the area was experiencing turbulent weather patterns, seven other planes flying nearby landed safely.

Malaysia-based AirAsia did not have the clearance to fly the route on that particular day.

Indonesia's NTSC issued several recommendations to AirAsia and Airbus as well as Indonesian, U.S. and European aviation regulatory bodies, but the statement did not detail what they are.

AirAsia Flight 8501’s pilots effectively wrestled each other at the controls as they sought to fight off an electronics-system failure, dooming the plane and the lives of all 162 people on board last year, Indonesian crash investigators found.

A crack in the soldering of the rudder system caused the plane to exit autopilot, then start rolling sideways and upward, according to a report released on Tuesday by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee. 

The two pilots then tried to control the aircraft in opposing ways, leading the plane to stall.

“What the captain was doing wasn’t in line with the co-pilot,” head investigator Nurcahyo Utomo told reporters in Jakarta. “The captain pulled while the co-pilot pushed so the recovery wasn’t effective.”

Last December’s crash of the Airbus A320 drew further attention to aviation safety in Asia as it occurred months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. 

AirAsia Bhd. is seeking to move on from the tragedy as it braces for its slowest revenue growth in at least a dozen years.

“It’s the airline’s responsibility to keep the aircraft in good shape to fly and the crew to respond accordingly,” said Shukor Yusof, founder of Endau Analytics. “It will have a negative impact on AirAsia as a whole.”

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes said he won’t leave any stone unturned to make sure the industry learns from the accident. “There’s much to be learned here for AirAsia, the manufacturer and the aviation industry,” Fernandes said on Twitter.

As a result of the pilots’ actions, the committee said it’s recommending plane maker Airbus Group SE to have connected cockpit control sticks similar to those in rival Boeing Co. planes. Airbus said in a statement that it’s studying the report’s contents.

Repeated Defects

Investigators examined aircraft maintenance records and found 23 instances of rudder-system problem in the last 12 months, with the interval of occurrence becoming shorter in the last three months, according to the report.

The investigation also found AirAsia’s post-flight maintenance not optimal, as it failed to detect the repeated defects, Utomo said.

The investigation report recommended all pilots be trained in taking over controls during a crisis and that Airbus have mandatory recovery training for all pilots using its aircraft.

Flight 8501 was en route to Singapore from Surabaya on Dec. 28 when the plane lost contact with air-traffic controllers soon after they gave permission to ascend to 34,000 feet amid bad weather.

The plane, operated by Malaysia-based AirAsia’s Indonesian affiliate, reached 38,000 feet before the plane stalled and started falling by 20,000 feet per minute, Utomo said.

Satellite images had shown storm clouds that reached as high as 44,000 feet, investigators had said earlier. The committee found no indication that weather was a factor in the crash, Utomo said.

Debris from the AirAsia crash was spotted in the Java Sea on Dec. 30, and the jet’s fuselage was found on the seabed two weeks later.

At least three crashes -- an airforce plane carrying civilians, a PT Trigana Air Service plane and a 10-person flight by PT Aviastar Mandiri -- by Indonesian carriers have occurred since AirAsia’s, increasing scrutiny on a market already faced with accidents and oversight issues.


Glendale Municipal Airport (KGEU) rates, fees to rise in 2016

If you or your group plans to have a banner message towed by an airplane out of Glendale Municipal Airport, it’s likely going to cost more, assuming the company passes on to customers the fees charged at the airport.

The City Council this month approved increases in rates and charges at the airport, including open tie-downs, vehicle gate-access cards, transient overnight fees and banner towing.

The hikes, the first since 2003, will take effect January 1st.

“The adjustments are considered to be reasonable and are at market value with like fees at other Valley airports,” stated Public Works Director Jack Friedline in a message to council urging approval of the increases.

“Airport staff conducted a survey over the past year and did a comparative analysis of local airports’ rates and charges. The results of the survey indicated certain fees at Glendale Airport were below the market rate averages of similar Valley airports,” Friedline’s report stated.

Changes in rates for airports are nothing new. Facilities across the Valley typically survey charges at other locations and adjust their fees accordingly, the DPW director noted.

Glendale’s rates were reviewed by the Airport Advisory Commission in June, and the panel recommended changes. Airport tenants were notified of the proposals and invited to comment, but no input was received during a 60-day comment period, according to public works officials.

The approved changes include:

• Increasing the current $20 per month open-tie down rate by $5 per month in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 — reaching $40 in the final year. Friedline said adjusting the rate annually would lessen the impact on tenants.

• The vehicle-access card will go from $10 to $15 with a $15 reactivation fee.

• Terminal leases for office aviation will go from $19.99 a square foot per year to a variable and negotiable level.

• Land leases now between 10 cents to 26 cents per square foot will become variable and negotiable.

• Transient aircraft overnight daily fees will rise as follows: From $3.75 to $5 for a single-engine plane; $5.25 to $9 for a twin-engine; and from $11.25 to $34 for a jet.

• Banner tows will climb from $10 per tow to $50 a day.

Friedline said the change in lease terms will create flexibility for new development.

The estimated increase in aircraft tie-down revenues the first year is $6,060, based on the average of 101 current tie-down rentals. The cumulative revenue over the first four-year period, based on the incremental increases is estimated at $60,600. The department said revenue from new leases is unknown; however, the changes are coming at a time when officials expect more interest in airport development.

The 477-acre airport serves both general aviation and corporate jet traffic and is a general aviation “reliever” facility for Sky Harbor International Airport in downtown Phoenix. It features a two-story, 18,000 square-foot terminal and a Federal Aviation Administration-controlled tower.

Friedline stated the proposed rates and charges will add to the airport’s self-sustainability by increasing revenues and enabling staff to better maintain and operate the public facility.


Judge frees disruptive flight attendant but bans her from flying

The American Airlines flight attendant accused of striking co-workers and federal marshals on an overseas Thanksgiving flight from Charlotte is free to return to her New Hampshire home for a psychological evaluation.

But she can’t fly.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer set a $50,000 unsecured bond for Joanne Snow, 67, provided she visit a mental health treatment facility within 10 days for an assessment.

Snow, whose career spans some 50 years, is accused of two federal crimes stemming from a round-trip flight between Charlotte and Frankfurt, Germany, marred by what witnesses describe as her erratic and violent behavior. She faces a maximum penalty of more than 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

She was arrested last Friday after the return trip to Charlotte and involuntarily committed to area hospitals. She was jailed after her release from the medical facilities.

During her detention hearing in federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Savage told the judge that the government was OK with Snow being released from jail for treatment – once prosecutors had a better understanding of her condition.

Assistant Public Defender Peter Adolph said his client could get better treatment and an assessment if she was out of jail and home in New Hampshire, where she has family and friends to support her, and he raised the possibility that Snow’s behavior on the November flight might have resulted from an adverse reaction to new medication.

Cayer placed Snow under the supervision of her son Kyle Snow, who told the judge he lives within 10 miles of his mother’s home. The son also agreed to make sure his mother receives treatment and complies with the other conditions of her release.

After the hearing, Kyle Snow and other family members declined comment.

The judge banned Snow from flying or trying to make contact with the crew of the Charlotte-to-Frankfurt flight, as well as other potential witnesses in her case. She must also report to U.S. Probation officers in her home state.

An affidavit from a U.S. air marshal who was a passenger on the overseas flight said Snow struck her co-workers and marshals and then tried to flee passport control after the plane landed in Charlotte. A federal prosecutor said Snow tried to open the aircraft’s door while it taxied for takeoff in Germany.

Snow was involuntary committed to a hospital after her arrest last Friday but was released. She has been held in the Mecklenburg County Jail since her initial court appearance on Tuesday, during which she talked over her attorney and said she had not disrupted the flights.

During the Friday hearing, Snow appeared much more in control than she had at her Tuesday hearing when she talked over her attorney and interrupted the judge. Friday, she wore a burgundy Mecklenburg jail T-shirt and walked into a courtroom mostly filled with family and friends. A representative of American Airlines also was on hand.

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AFFIDAVIT: Flight attendant complaint 

NORTH CAROLINA -- A flight attendant from New Hampshire will be in court for causing a big scene on an American Airlines plane overseas.

Joanne Snow of Stratham is described in federal court paperwork as "mentally unstable." 

She's accused of slapping a fellow flight attendant, kicking an air marshal and trying to unlock the plane's door as it taxied to the gate in Germany.
Crew members have been concerned about her erratic behavior before. 

Snow told the judge in her initial appearance that she just wants to get back to New Hampshire be with her family.
Show will be in court again Friday morning in North Carolina. She faces up to twenty years in prison for interfering with a flight crew.

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  • American Airlines attendant charged with disrupting both legs of Charlotte-Frankfurt flight
  • Affidavit says Joanne Snow attacked flight crew and marshals
  • She is charged with two federal crimes

An American Airlines flight attendant faces several federal charges after she began attacking fellow crew members and U.S. marshals on both legs of an international flight from Charlotte.

Joanne Snow is charged with Interference with Flight Crew Members and Attendants, and Assault on an Officer or Employee of the United States, according to court documents related to the case.

Snow’s erratic behavior disrupted both legs of American flight 704 from Charlotte to Frankfurt, Germany, on Nov. 23 and 24, according to a federal affidavit.

According to the affidavit by federal Air Marshal Joseph D. Fialka, who was assigned to the roundtrip, Snow slapped other flight attendants and shoved, punched or kicked at marshals. Fialka says that other flight attendants told him before takeoff from Charlotte that they had tried to have Snow removed from duty but that American did not replace her.

Snow, he said, confessed to him several times before takeoff that she was “crazy” or a “train wreck.”

Once the doors closed, another attendant told Fialka that Snow had slapped her in the middle galley of the aircraft.  Some 45 minutes later, Fialka says, Snow shoved him several times.

“She was quite irrational at this time,” the marshal said in his affidavit. “She proceeded to the back of the plane, I learned that, while in the back of the plane, she grabbed the collar of the clothing (of another marshal) ... and spoke nonsensical things.”

Later, Fialka said he tried to calm Snow. In response, she struck him twice with her open palm in his chest, he said. “The force of this action moved me back. I weigh considerably more than Snow.”

The behavior continued and disrupted the rest of the flight, then resumed on the trip back to Charlotte with the same crew in place, the affidavit says.

After landing, the flight crew wanted to find help for their colleague, Fialka wrote, but at customs, Snow’s behavior escalated. She began yelling and screaming and try to get around passport control. Fialka says he handcuffed her for her own safety, then escorted her to an interview room.

There, he says, she kicked him five or six time before he and another law enforcement officer could restrain her.

Snow’s initial appearance in federal court was canceled.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A flight attendant on an international flight out of Charlotte was acting erratic but was not removed from the plane despite objections from the flight crew, according to an affidavit filed in federal court. 

A criminal complaint filed in federal court late last week charges Joanne Snow with interfering with a flight crew and assault, resisting or impeding a federal officer. The charges involve incidents on two flights last week.

The affidavit, written by a federal air marshal, alleges that flight attendants notified officials before the flight on Nov. 23 to Frankfurt, Germany that Snow was acting irrationally and in a manner that "caused concern for the safety and security of the flight.” The marshal claimed Snow admitted she was "crazy" and a "train wreck."

The crew members requested Snow not work on the flight but "American Airlines management did not remove her from work status," according to the affidavit.

Channel 9 reached out to American Airlines Monday and received the following statement:

"We are aware of the incident, along with the subsequent criminal complaint, and take this matter very seriously. We are cooperating fully with federal law enforcement in their investigation, and are working directly with our employees. The safety and security of our customers and employees is always the top priority."

The affidavit goes on to allege that Snow "physically assaulted," "shoved" and struck people with an "open palm."

Officials said she was disruptive for the duration of the flight.

Snow and the same flight crew were assigned to another flight departing Frankfurt on Nov. 25.

"Snow appeared to be mentally unstable this entire flight as well," according to the affidavit.

Snow was scheduled to appear in court Monday morning but the appearance was canceled. 

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