Thursday, December 10, 2015

Beech G36 Bonanza, Rural Health Outreach Inc., N536G: Accident occurred May 23, 2014 in Silver City, New Mexico

From left to right: Ella Kirk, Michael Mahl and Ella Myers. 

Peter Hochla

SILVER CITY - The families of three students at Aldo Leopold Charter School who died in a small aircraft accident in 2014, have reached a financial settlement with the charter school concerning its role in the accident. 

The three students – Ella Kirk, 14; Michael Mahl, 16; and Ella Myers, 16 – had been flying over the Signal Peak burn area in the Gila National Forest as part of their ecological monitoring internships at ALCS when the pilot of the single-engine plane they were flying in overshot Whiskey Creek Airport in Arenas Valley, outside Silver City. The three sophomores and pilot died in the crash, in an empty field just west of the Vans Mobile Home Park.

National Transportation Safety Board reports and eye witness accounts confirmed that the pilot, Peter Hochla, an Albuquerque-based psychiatrist, took off during unstable weather conditions from Whiskey Creek Airport in Grant County, then failed to properly execute a landing, resulting in the fatal crash. The report said the pilot lacked the capability to land the high performance plane in a cross wind.

The terms of the agreement will include an assessment of the safety practices at the school, educating staff and faculty about the school’s role in the incident, and public acknowledgement.

“There will be an information session where my clients and myself will provide information to the (ALCS) faculty and staff and the governing council,” said Bill Davis of the Davis Law Firm, which managed the settlement. “There is a lot of misinformation about what happened and how it happened.”

Davis said much misinformation stemmed from Aldo Leopold Charter School claiming it did not sponsor the event.

“The school said it was not a school trip,” Davis said. “But it was a teacher at the school who located the pilot and put the kids on the plane. … He did tell some at the school about the trip, but not the principal. He did not follow proper channels, including vetting the pilot. They should have had a chartered flight with an experienced pilot.”

Davis said the teacher will receive a letter of reprimand.

Another step in the settlement will be for the school to apologize for its role in the accident.

“It’s drafted but we don’t have the official one yet,” Davis said of the apology. “It has to be approved by the Government Council, which is like the school board for Aldo Leopold. And it is a public acceptance of responsibility. We’ll have that in a couple of weeks.”

The apology was also something the parents had requested.

“Our objective has always been to help the school understand the chain of events leading up to this terrible tragedy,” said Patrice Mutchnick, Ella Kirk's mother in a statement. “Where were the checks and balances that should have prevented the teacher putting the children on a plane with a non-commercial pilot in such bad weather? We hoped the school could take responsibility for their actions leading up to the crash, so they could learn from their mistakes and take steps to make sure this kind of thing never happens again.”

The settlement also included a financial aspect, as the families received the maximum amount allowed by the state — $750,000. There also was a separate settlement from the pilot’s insurance company. That amount remains private, Davis said.

“All three of the kids were very driven,” said John and Jenny Mahl, parents of Michael Mahl. “These three kids were rock stars; the amount of talent that they all had, music-wise, scholastically. It’s a horrific way that those kids died, but they lived life. They left an impact.”

According to school officials, all three of the teenagers were eco-monitors for the school.


Left-to-right: Michael Mahl, 16, Ella Kirk, 14, and Ella Myers, 16.

Ella Jaz Kirk

Michael Sebastian Mahl 

Ella Myers

NTSB Identification: CEN14FA249 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 23, 2014 in Silver City, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/17/2015
Aircraft: RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT COMPANY G36, registration: N536G
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

The airplane was returning from a local flight and the pilot flew a tight downwind leg for landing on runway 35, possibly due to a direct crosswind in excess of 20 knots. During the base turn, the airplane overshot the final course, and the pilot used at least 60 degrees of bank to correct the airplane back on course and over the runway. The airplane then bounced and touched down at least 20 knots above the manufacturer’s published approach speed with about 1,810 ft remaining on the runway. The airplane’s airspeed began to rapidly decrease, but then several seconds later, the airplane’s airspeed increased as the pilot rejected the landing. The airplane did not gain significant altitude or airspeed then began a slight right turn. The airplane’s roll rate then sharply increased, and the airplane quickly descended, consistent with a stall, before colliding with a transmission wire and terrain. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Strong, variable, gusty wind, with an environment conductive to the formation of dry microbursts, was present at the airport at the time of the accident. Several lightning strikes were recorded in the vicinity of the accident site around the time of the accident. It is unknown if the presence of lightning or wind impacted the pilot’s inflight decision-making in the pattern, on approach, or during the attempted go-around. The circumstances of the accident are consistent with an in-flight encounter with a strong tailwind and/or windshear during climbout after the rejected landing.

An autopsy conducted on the pilot identified significant stenosis of a distal coronary artery without any other evidence of cardiac distress; however, if there was an associated medical event, the condition would likely result in sudden incapacitation, which is not consistent with the airplane’s coordinated flight profile. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The airplane’s encounter with a strong tailwind and/or windshear, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s continuation of the unstable approach, long landing, and delayed decision to conduct a go-around.


On May 23, 2014, at 1553 mountain daylight time, a Raytheon G36 airplane, N536G, impacted terrain near Silver City, New Mexico. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Rural Health Outreach Inc. and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Whiskey Creek Airport (94E), Silver City, New Mexico, at 1536.

Several witnesses at 94E saw the airplane just prior to the accident. One witness at 94E saw the airplane in the pattern for runway 35. He noted that the airplane's position on downwind was "tight" in relation to the airport. The airplane began a "very tight base leg that was at least a 60 degree bank." The witness described the winds as gusty, around 25-30 knots, as would be associated with the passage of a thunderstorm. The airplane tightened the base to final turn and overshot the final approach leg. The witness estimated that the airplane's first touchdown occurred near mid-field, where it bounced and then settled to the runway. Shortly thereafter, the engine sounded as if the pilot had applied full engine power. The airplane was seen travelling down the runway and then took off. The airplane's landing gear and flaps appeared to both be down. The airplane began gaining altitude and started a slight right turn. The witness said that the airplane stalled and descended out of sight.

Another witness observed the airplane in a "tight left downwind approach for runway 35 at about 600-800" feet above ground level. The airplane's groundspeed increased in the base turn and the airplane flew through the runway's extended centerline. The airplane used at least 60 degrees of bank to correct back towards the runway's centerline. The airplane landed and then attempted to go around. The airplane went off the end of the runway at a high angle of attack, descended slightly into the valley, and then began to gain altitude. The airplane started a 15° bank turn to the east, began to descend, and the airplane's angle of attack got "steeper" as the airplane descended out of sight.

A witness near the accident site saw the airplane "gradually roll to the right, and then "sharply pitch" to the right where it impacted the ground."

The airplane impacted desert terrain near several trailer homes. A post impact fire ensued and consumed a majority of the airplane.


The pilot, age 67, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot flew his airplane frequently to treat patients at remote medical clinics. A review of the pilot's log book found that the last completed page ended on March 14, 2014. As of that date, the pilot logged a total of 3,547.7 hours. The preceding log book entries indicated that the pilot flew on average 15 hours per month, so the pilot's total flight time was about 3,600 hours prior to the accident. The pilot's flight review, which included an instrument proficiency check, was completed on December 16, 2012, in the accident airplane. On January 29, 2014, the pilot was issued a second class medical certificate with the restrictions that the pilot must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. The medical examination also noted mild cataracts and his retina showed no holes, tears, or retinal detachment.


The single engine, low wing, six-seat, retractable gear airplane, serial number E-3707, was manufactured in 2006. It was powered by a single 300-horsepower Continental Motors IO-550-B engine, serial number 675766, that drove a metal Hartzell three bladed, variable pitch propeller. The airplane's last inspection was an annual type accomplished on June 6, 2013, at an airframe total time of 1,105.8 hours. On October 3, 2013, the engine was overhauled and modified by a supplemental type certificate. The overhauled engine was installed in the airplane on November 1, 2013 at a total airframe time of 1,156.1 hours. The most recent hour meter recorded in the logbooks was for maintenance performed on April 8, 2014, at a total airframe time of 1,229.4 hours.


At 1555, an automated weather reporting station located at the Grant Country Airport (KSVC), located about 8.75 nautical miles southeast of the accident site reported wind from 270 degrees at 21 knots gusting to 28 knots, visibility 10 miles, ceiling broken at 10,000 feet, temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 34 degrees F, and a barometric pressure of 30.04 inches of mercury.

A weather study was conducted for the accident area. Atmosphere data retrieved from a weather balloon launch at 1800 from Santa Teresa, New Mexico, identified an environment conducive to "dry microbursts." This area had a potential for severe weather gusts of 68 knots and microburst gust potential of 50 knots. Weather radar data identified patterns consistent with developing and decaying convective activity in the vicinity of the accident site near the time of the accident. Some storm cell decay occurred south of the accident location with 10-15 minutes prior to the accident. In addition, from 1539-1555, several lightning strikes were detected within 10 miles of the accident site.


The Whiskey Creek Airport (94E) is a public airport located at measured altitude of 6,126 feet mean sea level. It has one runway 17/35, 5,400 feet by 50 feet, of asphalt construction in good condition.


The airplane impacted desert terrain near several trailer homes, about 0.8 miles northeast of runway 35's departure end. The airplane's first impact point was a transmission wire located west of the accident site about 25 feet above the ground. Forty feet east of the transmission wire was a ground crater which contained the airplane's propeller. The debris path was roughly cone shaped, was aligned on a 77° magnetic heading, and was about 140 feet long and 70 feet at its widest area. A postimpact fire ensued which consumed a majority of the airplane. The main wreckage contained remnants of the cabin, fuselage, wings, and empennage. The wreckage came to rest facing a 228° heading.

Both ailerons were partially consumed by the postimpact fire and remnants remained attached to their respective wing. The left aileron trim actuator extension was measured and found to be about 1.75 inches, which corresponded to about 7° trim tab trailing edge down. Aileron control continuity was established from the flight controls to each wing bell crank. Aileron trim control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the aileron trim actuator. The flaps actuator indicated the flaps were up. The left and right elevator flight control surfaces were partially consumed by the postimpact fire. Remnants of the elevators remained attached to their respective horizontal stabilizer. The left and right elevator trim actuator extensions were measured and found to be 1.625 inches, which corresponded between 10-15° trim tab trailing edge down, airplane nose up. Elevator control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the elevator surfaces. The elevator trim control cables were confirmed from the cockpit to the trim actuators. The rudder was partially consumed by the postimpact fire and remnants remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. Rudder control continuity was established from the cockpit to the rudder bell crank. The gear handle was found in the down position. The fuel selector was found selecting the right main tank. No preimpact anomalies were detected with the airframe.

The engine was impacted damaged and found separated from the airframe. Both magnetos were actuated by hand and found to produce a spark at each terminal. The fuel manifold valve screen was clear of debris and all fuel nozzles were found clear of blockages. The throttle body and fuel metering unit's fuel screen contained a small amount of fibrous material but was largely unobstructed. The crankshaft was able to be turned by hand with continuity established throughout the engine. Cylinder thumb compression and suction was confirmed to each cylinder. A borescope inspection of each cylinder found normal operation and combustion signatures. No preimpact anomalies were detected with the engine.

The propeller blades were labelled "A", "B", and "C" for documentation purposes only. All three blades displayed signatures of chordwise scratches, leading edge nicks and gouges, and blade polishing. Blade B was curled near the tip and the tip of the blade was found separated. Blade C displayed S-bending along its entire length.

A Garmin Oregon 450t hand held GPS was found in the debris field and was sent to the NTSB laboratories for a data download.


An autopsy was authorized and conducted on the pilot by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator. The cause of death was the result of multiple blunt trauma and the manner of death was ruled an accident. The autopsy identified 80% stenosis of the distal third left anterior descending coronary artery. All other arteries were free of stenosis.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Testing detected the presence of oxymetazonline which is a decongestant used in the treatment of nasal congestion.


Pilot Operating Handbook

Beechcraft's Model G36 Bonanza Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), revised July 2014, listed the maximum demonstrated crosswind limit as 17 knots.

The Normal Procedures section lists the balked landing checklist:

1. Throttle and Propeller … Full Forward
2. Airspeed …80 KTS (until clear of obstacles, then trim to 110 KTS)
3. Flaps … UP
4. Landing Gear … RETRACT
5. Cowl Flaps … OPEN

Published landing performance data for the airplane is predicated on a threshold speed between 78-81 knots depending on the airplane's weight. Published performance data does not exist for landings in excess of the published approach speeds or in excess of 10 knots of tailwind. Using a gross weight of 3,400 pounds, a direct crosswind of 20 knots, 70° F, and an approach speed of 80 knots, engineers from Textron Aviation estimated the required landing distance at 1,720 feet.

The POH provided a chart of stall speeds with idle power. The chart was run for the airplane's final configuration of flaps up and airplane gross weights between 2,800-3,600 pounds. The stall speed at 30° of bank would be between 66-72 knots.


Garmin Oregon 450t

The Garmin Oregon 450t is a battery operated hand-portable GPS receiver with a 12 channel wide area augmentation system (WAAS). The unit contains an electronic compass and a barometric pressure sensor for recording pressure-based altitude information. Published GPS position location accuracy is less than 33 feet horizontal under normal conditions, and 10-16 feet with differential global positioning system (DGPS) active. Although the device was thermally damaged, the airplane's last flight track was extracted. For the accident flight, the device was powered on at 1401 and recorded the airplane's takeoff time of 1536 as the flight departed on runway 17. The airplane turned to the north and flew about 13 miles north in an area between Black Peak and New Mexico Highway 15. The airplane then returned back to 94E and entered a left base turn for runway 35. Starting at 1551, the GPS update rate began to vary and there were two episodes of where the GPS receiver momentarily lost satellite lock and continued to record position information based on projected data. About 1552:15, as the airplane turned left towards the runway, the receiver lost satellite lock and the airplane's position returned at 1552:42 as the airplane was over the runway. At that time, the airplane was about 770 feet down the runway and 175 feet above ground level. At 1552:53, the airplane touched down with a groundspeed of 120 knots, skipped, and touched down 3 seconds later at 100 knots groundspeed with about 1,810 feet remaining on the runway. The airplane slowed to 87 knots and with 1,060 feet remaining on the runway the airplane's groundspeed began to increase. The airplane lifted off from the runway, flew to the north, and began a slight climb. At 1553:12, the airplane began to turn right at a rate of about 3-4° per second. About 1553:26, the receiver again lost satellite lock and regained the airplane's position about 30 seconds later at the accident site. The final portion of the accident sequence was not captured by the device.


An Apple iPhone was located in the airplane's wreckage and shipped to the NTSB laboratories for download. Data extracted from the iPhone showed that none of the video files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. Thirty eight of the image files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. Most of these files depicted persons and aircraft on the ground. Ten of these files corresponded with previews or full resolution images of the view off the right wing from inside an aircraft in-flight. The file containing the most recent image was taken at 15:46:35 MDT. There was no data which could aid in reconstructing in accident sequence.

Secure Digital (SD) Card

An SD card was found in a thermally damaged camera in the airplane's wreckage. The SD card was extracted from the camera and shipped to the NTSB laboratories for download. Data extracted from the SD card found that two of the video files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. Twenty of the image files were date/time stamped on the day of the accident. All of the image files corresponded with external views of an airplane on the ground or in-flight views looking forward or off the right wing. The most recent image was time stamped 1546 MDT. The two video files depicted in-flight views looking forward or off the right wing from an airplane in level flight. There was no data which could aid in reconstructing in accident sequence.


Long Island Air Traffic Controller Faces Weapons, Drug Charges

Breen Peck in a police photo after his arrest. 
(Nassau County police department) 

WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An air traffic controller in Westbury, Long Island has been charged with illegally carrying weapons and possessing crystal meth.

Police arrested Breen Peck, 52, during a traffic stop in Wantagh at 10:22 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators say Peck confessed to carrying two loaded guns without a permit. They said they found the crystal meth in his pants pocket. 

Peck works as an air traffic controller at the Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities, or TRACON, in Westbury, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, police said Peck was headed to a local hotel for the night when he was stopped in a car with illegally tinted windows.

Peck, whose home address is listed as being in Redkey, Indiana, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a controlled substance and numerous traffic violations.

Sources told 1010 WINS that Peck was transferred to New York after possibly being involved in at least two other near misses in the Washington D.C. area — with one incident involving a plane carrying First Lady Michelle Obama, and another involving a plane carrying a Congressman. The matter is still under investigation.

The FAA could not confirm that Peck was the same air traffic controller responsible for those incidents, but a source told CBS2 that Peck was made to undergo extensive training in 2011.

The FAA said Peck was not on duty directing aircraft because he failed his Westbury testing.

Peck is assigned to the facility training program at New York Terminal Radar Approach in Westbury.

“The Nassau County Police Department notified the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today that they arrested Breen Peck, an air traffic employee at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) in Westbury, NY, yesterday,” The FAA said in a statement. “Peck currently is not an air traffic controller, he is assigned to the facility training program.  The FAA is  investigating the circumstances related to the investigation.”

Peck admitted to arresting officers that he had two unlicensed handguns in his car. They also found a stash of what is believed to be crystal methamphetamine in his pants pocket.

According to Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said Peck is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the 2nd degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance and several traffic violations.

“We believe he is an active substance abuser. Nassau County Police Department may have averted an air disaster in the skies above Nassau County by arresting this defendant,” Krumpter said.

Peck was arrested without incident. He is due in court Thursday. He has maintained his innocence, but was not represented by a union layer. A judge held him on $25,000 bond.

The center where Peck is employed controls flights into and out of LaGuardia, Kennedy, Long Island MacArthur, Republic, Newark Liberty, and Teterboro airports.

Story and video:

A veteran air traffic controller responsible for two highly-publicized mishaps — one involving a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the other a plane with a Wisconsin congressman on board — has been arrested in New York after police said they found him with a gun in his car and methamphetamine in his pants pocket.

Breen Peck, 52, was transferred from the Warrenton, Va., air traffic control facility several years ago after the two troubling incidents came to light. After retraining, he was assigned to administrative duties at the facility that directs planes in and out of New York city airports. He was not, however, permitted to return to directing air traffic. The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that it was investigating the circumstances related to Peck’s arrest.

Peck was arrested Wednesday night and arraigned Thursday in Hempstead, N.Y., on charges of criminal possession of a gun and possession of a controlled substance. He also was cited for a number of traffic violations.

Nassau county police said they pulled over Peck’s 2010 Toyota after he failed to signal a left turn. They said he told them that he had a loaded handgun behind the driver’s seat and another in the rear cargo area and did not have a permit. After they arrested him, police said they discovered a substance believed to be crystal methamphetamine in his front pants pocket.

While working in the Warrenton facility, Peck was responsible for two widely publicized incidents involving planes carrying high-profile passengers.

In 2010, he was directing the pilot of an United Airlines Airbus that came within 15 seconds of colliding with a smaller jet while approaching Reagan National Airport. The United pilot could be heard saying “That was close” on the radio. He reported pulling up hard after a cockpit collision warning went off, narrowly missing a 22-seat commuter jet. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) was onboard the plane.

The following April, Peck was directing a White House plane that was carrying Michelle Obama and Jill Biden as it attempted to land at Andrews Air Force Base. He allowed the plane to get too close to the potentially dangerous wake of a 200-ton military cargo jet. The White House plane aborted the landing attempt.

In addition to the Obama and Sensenbrenner incidents, Peck was held responsible for at least two other errors in the six years he worked at in Warrenton. He became a certified controller in 1991.


Aircraft orders slow as cycle peaks; potential for production impact seen

A decline in aircraft orders this year shows the order cycle is peaking after five years of torrid growth, industry experts said on Thursday, raising speculation that Boeing Co and Airbus may be forced to scale back higher production rates planned for coming years.

"Orders have a history of very high peaks and very low troughs," said Edmund Greenslet, an independent analyst who publishes the Airline Monitor. After big surges, "orders drop very quickly."

With three weeks left in 2015, Boeing Co and Airbus have booked 1,582 orders, a decline from 2,888 in 2014.

Boeing Co booked 11 new jetliner orders worth about $1.1 billion at list prices on Thursday, leaving it about 180 short of its 2015 target of 755-760 planes.

Airbus has booked 1,007 net orders this year, versus 575 for Boeing, giving it 64 percent of orders. Boeing is likely to deliver far more airplanes than Airbus in 2015.

The slowdown itself is not a surprise. Because Boeing and Airbus have eight to 10 years of backlog, planes ordered today won't be delivered until 2023 or later, said John Plueger, president of Air Lease Corp.

"There's not a whole lot left really to sell," he said. Slow sales in the next few years is "a normal reaction."

But some see rising risk of a production excess. "I can see signs of a glut emerging," said Adam Pilarski, an analyst at consulting firm Avitas, that could mean order cancellations.

The biggest concern is over single-aisle planes. Airbus and Boeing each produce 42 of these planes a month. Airbus recently said it will lift that to 60 in 2019 and sources said Boeing is discussing when to follow. Failure to match the higher rate would leave Boeing with fewer production slots to sell.

Sales have been stoked by new models. Airbus' single-aisle A320neo is due out by the end of the year, with the first going to Germany's Lufthansa. Boeing this week rolled out its new 737 MAX, which is due to enter service in 2017.

The risk of order cancellations is growing as the global economy cools, particularly in China, Russia and Brazil, Pilarski said.

Boeing's orders in the latest week included 10 of its 737 planes for Turkish Airlines and one 767 for FedEx Corp. Four orders for 737 jetliners were canceled.

That's a risk for suppliers. "When the consequences of these cuts in production come, they come fast," Greenslet said.


Private jet dealer targeted in $75M lawsuit, foreclosure

Fort Lauderdale executive jet dealer Aero Toy Store and its affiliates were hit with a $75.34 million lawsuit that includes a foreclosure claim on one of its buildings and a lien on its aircraft inventory.

The company has a fixed-based operator facility at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and a dealership that sells planes such as Challenger 600s and Boeing Super 27s, in addition to helicopters.

CPC Finance II filed the complaint on Dec. 2 against Aero Toy Store, Gulfstream IV 1145, CCA Financial Services, Free Trade Ltd. and Morris Shirazi Inc., along with individual guarantors Mayer Shirazpour and Gabrielle Shirazipour. It concerns an aircraft inventory loan originated in 2008 by General Electric Capital Corp. and restructured in 2009 to include a mortgage and additional guarantees.

The loan was sold in September to CPC Finance II, managed by Patrick T. Marino in Fort Lauderdale.

The complaint states that Aero Toy Store and Gultstream IV defaulted on the loan in 2010 and owe $75.34 million, plus interest. All of the other guarantors named in the lawsuit are on the hook for the same amount, expect for Free Trade Ltd., which has a limited guaranty of $8 million.

Mayer Shirazpour couldn’t be reached for comment.

The foreclosure seeks to seize Free Trade Ltd.’s 13,189-square-foot aviation facility at 2050 N.W. 62nd St. The 2.2-acre property was acquired for $8 million in 1996.

The complaint does not target Aero Toy Store’s larger facility at 1710 N.W. 62nd St., which is leased from the city, said Richard Storfer, the Fort Lauderdale attorney who represents CPC Finance II. However, the lawsuit seeks to seize all the assets of Aero Toy Store and the companies named, including aircraft inventory, he said.

Aero Toy Store’s website currently lists 11 executive jets and three helicopters in inventory.


Federal Aviation Administration, Massport hear residents tell of ill effects of plane noise

Their voices sharp with frustration, residents and politicians from across Boston took the Federal Aviation Administration to task over airplane noise at a public forum in Milton last Thursday.

With hundreds gathered in the town’s high school auditorium for a meeting that ran nearly two hours over its planned two-hour slot, speakers shared stories of what they described as infuriating and possibly hazardous living conditions under the flight paths of approaching and departing planes.

The FAA implemented a NextGen satellite-based navigation system called RNAV in 2012. According to the FAA, the system has increased safety and efficiency through precise plane routing. For their part, residents living under the routes say the new system has burdened their neighborhoods unequally, subjecting them to unending processions of jets overhead.

“It’s like being in a warzone,” said Pamela Wolfe of Hull. Residents described infants unable to sleep, families who can’t hold conversations in their homes, asthma and cancer risks, and the constant noise from dozens of planes flying overhead every hour.

Elected officials said they have been fielding complaints from their constituents since the RNAV procedures went into effect.

“We all noticed the huge uptick in calls and complaints, from teachers who are trying to teach class, to families that are just trying to enjoy their backyards, community activists worrying about the health of their communities,” said Congressman Stephen Lynch.

According to the Massport complaint log, there was a corresponding spike in calls to the agency with the introduction of the new system.

From January through November 2012, which included the first two months of the system’s implementation, Massport registered 2,175 complaints. In that same time frame this year it logged 15,688 complaints. Complaints from the towns of Milton and Hull kept pace with the increase at Masspprt: 94 and 14, respectively, in 2012; 4,123 and 1,035, respectively, in 2015.

Although Dorchester reported a lower number of complaints, its number still rose from 4 in 2012 to 99 in 2015.

US Rep. Michael Capuano said he lives directly under one of the flight paths. “I understand that in a city there are things you have to put up with… I accept that as part of life,” he said. And while Logan is a shared benefit, he added, “with every benefit there is also some pain, in this case pollution and noise. That pain can and should be shared fairly amongst all of us.”

Lynch organized and moderated the forum, which was attended by FAA officials, including area regional executive manager Todd Freidenburg, and by Alan Hale, and Flavio Leo of Massport.

“We on the state level are essentially powerless with respect to the FAA and airplane traffic,” said state Sen. Brian Joyce, from Milton. “I’ve been serving for about 19 years; this is the single most frustrating issue that I have ever faced,” he said.

Jeanne DuBois, the former head of Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation (DBEDC) also weighed in, saying that simply pushing the bulk of air traffic to their neighborhoods was not the answer.

A longtime community organizer from Roslindale, DuBois said she is woken up at 5:15 each morning by the planes and the experience is having a negative effect on her health. The communities need to coordinate their discussions on this issue, she said. “We’ll decide what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and you guys are going to have to report back, because this is not acceptable,” she added.

Hale, the Logan air traffic manager, told the gathering that wind and weather are the primary determinants in what runway patterns are selected. The FAA’s Friedberg said that his agency has worked extensively with around 30 communities to assess and reduce noise. “Our goal in being here is to better understand your concerns,” he said.

That aviation officials were present was a positive step, Lynch said, but he pointed out that it was only after he threatened to cut $25 million from the FAA’s budget that officials agreed to conduct a community forum.

Lynch added that he was hopeful advancements could be made in the near future with flight route adjustments and increasing the height of incoming planes. “We’ve got some indication of progress,” he said. 


Vans RV-7, N307AB: Fatal accident occurred December 10, 2015 near General Dick Stout Field Airport (1L8), Hurricane, Washington County, Utah


NTSB Identification: WPR16FA036 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 10, 2015 in Hurricane, UT
Aircraft: BARNETT ALLEN S RV7, registration: N307AB
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 10, 2015, about 1347 mountain standard time, a Barnett Allen Experimental amateur built, Vans Aircraft, Inc., RV7 airplane, N307AB, experienced an inflight break up, and sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain about 3 miles west of the General Dick Stout Field Airport, Hurricane, Utah. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The airline transport pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual (VMC) meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The local personal flight departed from an unknown airport at an undetermined time.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board, investigator-in-charge revealed that the debris path was about ½ mile long. All major components of the airplane were discovered in the debris path. The first piece observed was the vertical stabilizer with the upper portion of the rudder attached. The left wing separated about mid span and both horizontal stabilizers also separated and were scattered throughout the center of the debris field. 

Several witnesses observed airplane debris floating in the air. The witnesses stated that the airplane's engine sounded like it was making power changes. One witness stated that the engine was running the entire descent. He observed the airplane spiraling and descending in a cork screw type maneuver. Another witness observed the airplane inverted at a low altitude just prior to impact. 

The airplane was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

Shawn Arthur Ackerman, 56, and Bonnie Bergstrom Ackerman, 49, died in an airplane crash near Sand Hollow Reservoir in Hurricane, Utah.

HURRICANE — Authorities released the names Saturday of a Grassy Meadows Sky Ranch married couple who died in an airplane crash near Sand Hollow Reservoir in Hurricane Thursday afternoon.

Shawn Arthur Ackerman, 56, and Bonnie Bergstrom Ackerman, 49, both of Hurricane, were found dead after something went wrong during a flight in a 2011 two-seat, single-engine fixed-wing Van’s RV-7 aircraft, causing the airplane to crash in a remote area in Hurricane between Sullivan’s Knoll and Flora Tech Road.

The St. George Communications Center received reports that the couple’s airplane had crashed around 1:37 p.m. Thursday. It was reported that a plane was seen traveling very low before the crash, Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said.

Kevin Prisbrey, of Ivins, said he was sitting on his friend’s porch, talking with his friend when he heard a plane making abnormal sounds that sounded like it was “sputtering.”

“We heard the airplane going ‘vroom, vroom’ like the engine’s cutting out,” Prisbrey said. “I was like ‘dude, that sounds like the airplane that crashed in Ivins years ago.’ We were just talking about it, then, all of a sudden, we hear this ‘boom’ and then silence.”

“It was really loud,” he said. “It was like right above us, it sounded like. But we couldn’t see – because the house is in the way – until we heard it stop and that big ole ‘boom.’ I think that’s when it hit or something.”

When Prisbrey and his friend ran around to the other side of the house to see what was going on, he said, they saw two pieces of metal debris falling from the sky and fluttering down by the point of the mountain.

“We were trying to figure out – it didn’t blow up or no smoke or anything – but we seen two pieces of metal flying out of the sky, like falling down,” Prisbrey said. “There wasn’t no flames or nothin’ that’s why I was like ‘what the heck’ but the engine stalled so I figured well it was probably shut off.”

The aircraft went down just a few miles from the couple’s home in a rugged, undeveloped area between Sullivan’s Knoll and Flora Tech Road, and landed upside down on the cockpit.

While it has yet to be confirmed by officials, there were multiple reports that the wing of the aircraft had separated from the plane before it crashed.

Rulon Broadbent posted on the St. George News Facebook page that he saw the aircraft go down while he was working on the roof of a home in the Dixie Springs subdivision. Broadbent said he saw one of the wings come off as the plane was spiraling down.

The airplane was registered to and was being operated by Shawn Ackerman, who was a licensed commercial pilot.

In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration recognized Shawn Ackerman with inclusion in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database. The database names Ackerman and other certified pilots who met or exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA.

The cause of the airplane crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The couple’s family issued the following statement:

Shawn and Bonnie Ackerman of Hurricane, Utah were involved in a fatal aircraft accident at approximately 1:30 PM on Thursday, December 10th. Further details are pending a complete investigation from the NTSB. In Lieu of flowers please make donations to the ‘Best Friends Animal Society’ in Kanab, Utah at Thank you for respecting the family’s privacy in this time of mourning.


HURRICANE — Two victims killed in a plane crash in Hurricane Thursday afternoon were identified by police Saturday. 

Shawn Ackerman, 56, and Bonnie Ackerman, 49, both of Hurricane, were identified Saturday by Hurricane Police as the victims of Thursday's single-engine plane crash. Around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, dispatch received a call of a plane traveling very low before crashing into a remote area between Sullivan Knoll and Floratech Rd. in Hurricane, police said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, which has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board, police said.

The family of the victims issued the following statement:

"Shawn and Bonnie Ackerman of Hurricane, Utah were involved in a fatal aircraft accident at approximately 1:30 PM on Thursday, December 10th. Further details are pending a complete investigation from the NTSB. In iieu of flowers please make donations to the 'Best Friends Animal Society' in Kanab, Utah at*. Thank you for respecting the family's privacy in this time of mourning."

* does not assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


"Our Christmas photo session 2010 with our last plane a Beech Debonair," Bonnie Ackerman posted on her Facebook page, date and location unspecified.

HURRICANE — A plane crashed Thursday afternoon and police confirmed two people were killed.

The accident occurred around 1:30 p.m. near 1365 S. 3325 West, according to Hurricane City police. The St. George Consolidated Dispatch Center received a call about a single-engine plane that was seen traveling very low before it crashed in a remote area between Sullivan Knoll and Floratech Road, police said. A resident who lives in the area called in the crash and officials from Hurricane City police and the Hurricane City Fire Department were dispatched to the scene.

"It took a little bit to find exactly where the plane had gone down," Hurricane City Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said. "But they were able to locate a plane that had crashed."

Officials said a man and woman were killed in the crash, but details about what caused the accident were not immediately known. The victims have not yet been identified, pending family notification.

The area of the crash is a fairly remote area that has a lot of undeveloped private property, Buell said.

Story and video:

According to a Hurricane City Police Department news release, there "are fatalities" in Thursday afternoon's plane crash.

"It was reported that a plane was seen traveling very low and crashing in a remote area between Sullivan Knoll and Floratech Road," according to the release. "At this time we have located the plane and confirmed there are fatalities."

According to dispatch reports earlier Thursday afternoon, a person witnessed part of the crash and "heard a loud boom" before calling 911.

The person later told dispatchers the plane's cockpit was upside down and one of the wings had been separated from the plane, lying 3 to 4 feet away, according to emergency radio transmission.

Members of the Hurricane City Police Department and the Hurricane Valley Fire District responded to the scene. Life Flight was put on standby shortly after the report came in, but it was later canceled after dispatchers were told of a confirmed fatality.

Thursday's crash was the third at the Hurricane airport this year and the fifth since 2012, according to records kept by the Federal Aviation Administration.

On May 30 of this year, pilot Carlos Duenas was critically injured when his experimental aircraft crashed into a horse corral just north of the airport during an attempt at an emergency landing.

On March 9, another pilot walked away uninjured after reporting heavy winds as he attempted to land. The plane landed in a ditch south of the runway.

Story, video and photos:

HURRICANE – Authorities have confirmed fatalities as a result of a single-engine aircraft crash in an area north of Sand Hollow Reservoir Thursday afternoon.

The crash was reported at around 1:37 p.m.

“It was reported that a plane was seen traveling very low,” Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said, “and crashing in a remote area between Sullivan Knoll and Floratech Road.”

Buell said the crash left a large debris field and is currently being investigated.

Multiple units from different agencies, including Hurricane City Police Department and Hurricane Valley Fire District, are on scene.


Airline Fuel Case Set For Mention January 20

The three St James men who were charged in July for allegedly stealing aviation fuel from Jamaica Aircraft Refueling Services (JARS) in Montego Bay, St James are booked to return to court on January 20 next year.

Dave Morris, Rayon Downer, and Rhoan Williams are facing charges before the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's (RM) Court ranging from breaches of the Larceny Act to receiving stolen property. Their bails were extended when they appeared in court on Tuesday.

The three were arrested and charged on July 24 after the police raided three dwellings and a business place and evidence allegedly linking the men to the stolen aviation fuel was found. During the raids, $2 million in cash and documents of evidential value were confiscated.

The matter involving the theft of the aviation fuel first came to the fore on May 10, when a fuel tanker was reportedly seen refueling at the JARS plant at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. This aroused the suspicion of airport officials as according to the police, the refuelers are only used to servicing aircraft coming into the airport.

Subsequent to the men's arrests, approximately 4,000 litres of fuel was reportedly found at an undisclosed location.

When the matter was mentioned on Tuesday, the court was told that an additional statement with regard to Williams was outstanding from the prosecution's case file.

This revelation prompted defense attorney O'Neil Brown, who is representing Morris, to inform Resident Magistrate Sandria Wong-Small that the matter had previously been put off after Williams' lawyer, Jacqueline Minto, had raised concerns over whether the prosecution had sufficient information to proceed with its case against her client.

"On the last occasion we were here, Ms Minto wanted to find out where the prosecution was going with this matter and how they would proceed. The Crown indicated they wanted one final date so they could get their house in order. All we are doing is setting a date and then coming and setting another date," said attorney Brown.

"Let us set a date that will allow us to see the outstanding statement and the prosecution is to make an assessment of the case," RM Wong-Small replied, before setting the case for mention on January 20, 2016.


Risks from In-Flight Pilot Error Persist • Eurocontrol study finds quarter of pilots fail to take correct action when alarms go off

The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 10, 2015 4:46 p.m. ET

Pilots responding improperly to midair-collision alarms pose one of the top safety risks for airline passengers across Europe, according to studies by the regional authority that show little improvement in addressing the danger.

One-quarter of cockpit crews who received such computer-generated emergency warnings failed to take the correct evasive action, according to data from some 800 incidents in European airspace last year.

Reacting to such commands, which typically pop up less than 30 seconds before a possible collision, roughly 8% of pilots did the opposite of what the technology commanded, such as pulling the plane up when the alert told them to push it down. Another 17% climbed or descended too slowly or too quickly, according to analyses by Eurocontrol, which handles and coordinates European air traffic.

Individual airlines and locations weren’t disclosed, but all the events occurred outside airport radar coverage.

Improper pilot responses rose to 36% for follow-up alerts, according to Tzvetomir Blajev, the Eurocontrol official who headed the study. Results from previous years were comparable.

None of the close calls analyzed led to accidents, but “the number of improper responses is concerning,” Mr. Blajev said in an interview. “We are looking for more information to start safety-improvement actions.”

Findings from recent studies in the U.S. or elsewhere haven’t been disseminated, so it isn’t possible to compare regions. Based on historical data buttressed by recent but limited anecdotal information, some safety experts estimate the error rate to be comparable.

Business jets also are equipped with comparable warning systems, but the performance level of those pilots is even less clear.

In a separate, detailed analysis of dozens of the most serious European midair close calls in 2014, Eurocontrol concluded that only sheer luck prevented two from ending in tragedy.

“The normal safety barriers broke down completely” partly due to pilots’ failures to respond properly, according to Mr. Blajev, who directs the agency’s safety-improvement initiatives.

Further efforts are under way to determine factors influencing cockpit reactions, he said.

Some independent safety experts believe pilot complacency and undue reliance on cockpit automation are major reasons behind the slip-ups. “When something really goes wrong, crews may not be ready to respond emotionally, or otherwise,” according to consultant Robert Matthews, a former U.S. Federal Aviation Administration safety analyst.

The rate of pilot errors in avoiding potential midair collisions in Europe was disclosed at an international safety conference in Miami Beach in November.

The Eurocontrol study was based on data drawn from just 13 radar facilities, a small portion of those in the 42 countries whose airspace Eurocontrol handles or coordinates. It involved an average of 120 incidents each month, indicating that such incidents likely occur thousands of times each year throughout Europe.

Years before the Eurocontrol study, Airbus Group SE opted to equip its A380 and A350 jets with technology to automatically put the planes into the appropriate climb or descent trajectory, without any pilot action. The company incorporated the technology partly out of concern that pilots would react too slowly or otherwise incorrectly to warnings. Crews are trained to respond within a few seconds.

Current collision-avoidance systems, called TCAS or ACAS, have dramatically reduced the specter of midair crashes world-wide.

When onboard computers determine two aircraft are on a potential collision course, they issue a general warning followed by a more urgent and specific alert called a resolution advisory. That shows up on the instrument panel, typically depicting the other plane in red and instructing pilots to immediately climb or descend.

The start and duration of such advisories depends on variables including altitude, closing speed and pilot reactions. Computers on opposing planes communicate with each other during maneuvers and can adjust the warnings they issue, with the goal of ensuring pilots maintain a safe vertical separation of at least 300 feet. Pilots are informed once the danger passes.

The automated commands “should always be followed precisely by flight crews, that’s the firm policy of Eurocontrol,” according to Mr. Blajev.

In the U.S., pilots and regulators say aviators have somewhat greater leeway to adjust responses, based on their judgment, specifics of the situation and whether crews are able to clearly see the other plane or know its intentions.

Yet the systems aren’t foolproof, because equipment failures or pilot mistakes have resulted in several high-profile tragedies since the 1990s. One of the most dramatic crashes occurred in 2002 over European airspace, when a DHL Inc. cargo jet collided with a Russian-built charter plane carrying dozens of teenage tourists, resulting in 71 fatalities.

Original article can be found here: