Sunday, December 13, 2015

Our View: Don’t muck up Cirrus Aircraft agreement

Maybe they were just looking to bluster, on the record, for labor interests and on behalf of a major political supporter.

And maybe nothing will come of the proposal from Duluth City Councilors Joel Sipress and Sharla Gardner to add a provision, at the last minute, to a development agreement with Cirrus, requiring the airplane manufacturer to submit future labor disputes to binding arbitration.

Maybe. All of Duluth certainly can hope so. Because, right now, Sipress’ and Gardner’s proposal, a clear moment of politically motivated government overreach, is threatening to scuttle a deal for the construction of a $10.5 million Cirrus finishing facility here in Duluth and the promise of 150 badly needed, good-paying, family-supporting manufacturing jobs.

Cirrus’ very future in Duluth, and the 600 or so jobs it already provides, may even be in jeopardy because of the proposal — a requirement that really isn’t up to local politicians or local government to attempt to dictate.

“These matters are subject to the jurisdiction of the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board),” an attorney representing Cirrus, Bill Burns, said after Sipress and Gardner made their proposal at the City Council’s agenda-setting session on Thursday, according to News Tribune coverage. “It is my own opinion that this is not an appropriate place for the city to tread. I don’t think anyone would say I’m anything other than an ongoing supporter of organized labor. If and when issues arise at Cirrus they should be dealt with appropriately, and they will be. … As a citizen of Duluth, I think it’s a bad idea for the community. And certainly from the standpoint of Cirrus, they’re not prepared to accept those as restrictions, and we feel they’re inappropriate.”

Burns’ stern words can echo in the ears of city councilors Monday evening when they’re expected to consider and vote on the development agreement. The amendment from Sipress and Gardner can be left out. It can be rejected in Duluth just as a similar provision was rejected in St. Paul during the last legislative session.

Not only is Sipress’ and Gardner’s labor requirement inappropriate overreach, it’s completely unnecessary. Cirrus already has a grievance process in place to handle worker disputes. The company doesn’t need additional mediation or arbitration rules, its vice president of administration, Bill King, said in July.

It certainly doesn’t need city councilors or others in government trying to tell it how to run its business.

This development agreement is too important to muck up. It helps assure Cirrus’ growth and success in Duluth — as opposed to somewhere else.


Golden Circle Air T-Bird II, N92744: Accident occurred December 13, 2015 near Lower Creek Airport (NC27), Lenoir, Caldwell County, North Carolina 

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA067
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 13, 2015 in Lenoir, NC
Aircraft: GOLDEN CIRCLE AIR INC T BIRD II, registration: N92744
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

On December 13, 2015, at 1724 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Golden Circle Air T Bird II, N92744, was destroyed after it departed controlled flight and crashed into trees and terrain after takeoff from Lower Creek Airport (NC27), Lenoir, North Carolina. The private pilot/owner was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who responded to the scene said he recovered a wing-mounted video camera, removed the data card, and downloaded the contents. Review of the data revealed the accident flight was captured on the card. The inspector then forwarded the video of the flight to the NTSB for review. 

Examination of the video revealed that the camera was mounted on the left wing, pointed spanwise along the wing, and provided a view of the cockpit. The pilot could be seen with his left hand on the yoke, but his right hand, which was in the vicinity of the engine throttle, was obscured. 

The airplane took off and completed the upwind leg of the traffic pattern, and initiated a turn to the right towards the crosswind leg. The sound of the engine was smooth and continuous throughout the takeoff and climb. As the airplane entered the turn, a reduction in power was heard, but the engine sound remained smooth and continuous. At the moment of power reduction and the initiation of the turn, the pilot simultaneously applied left aileron, right rudder, and back pressure on the yoke. 

As the airplane rolled right and into a nose-down spin, the engine could be heard accelerating. 

The "Remove Before Flight" flag on the locking pin for the Ballistic Recovery System (BRS) parachute deployment handle was observed in the camera's field of view, as the pilot struggled with one hand and then two hands to remove the pin during the descent. Eventually, the pilot freed the pin, and actuated the deployment handle as the nose of the airplane entered the tops of the trees. 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent second-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate was issued on July 8, 2011, and he reported 40 total hours of flight experience on that date. 

Examination of excerpts from the pilot's logbook revealed he had logged 90.6 total hours of flight experience, 25 hours of which were in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot logged 7 hours of flight experience in the 90 days prior to the accident, and 1.2 hours in the 30 days prior; all of which was in the accident airplane. 

The airplane was manufactured in 2001. The maintenance records were not recovered, therefore the maintenance and inspection history of the airplane could not be immediately determined. 

At 1735, the weather recorded at Morgantown-Lenoir Airport, 10 miles southwest of the accident site, (MRN) included winds from 140 degrees at 3knots. 

Examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector revealed no pre-impact mechanical anomalies. The BRS parachute was free from its canister, but was not fully deployed.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Charlotte FSDO-68

LENOIR, NC (WBTV) -  The Caldwell County Sheriff's Office says an ultralight plane crashed near Lenoir Sunday night.

The crash reportedly happened near Lower Creek Airfield in Lenoir.

Caldwell County Emergency Management got the call about the crash on Blue Sky Lane at 5:24 p.m.

Caldwell County officials say the aircraft crashed in the woods just short of the nearby airstrip. 

Caldwell County Emergency Services Director Dino Dibernardi said the pilot was removed from the wreckage by firefighters and taken to Caldwell Memorial Hospital. From there the pilot was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.


Case highlights importance of pilot medical certification

The case of helicopter pilot Dave Armstrong demonstrates the importance of civil aviation rules in maintaining New Zealand’s world-class aviation safety standards, says the Civil Aviation Authority.

Dave Armstrong, left, with Scott Lee, the hunter he rescued.

A judge has rejected a Kaikoura helicopter pilot’s claim that he was justified flying without a current medical certificate on two rescue missions.

Christchurch District Court Judge Tony Couch imposed fines totalling $5800 on Dave Armstrong, who may have saved an injured tramper’s life on one of the missions in April 2014.

He flew when his medical certificate had been revoked by the Director of Civil Aviation after he had suffered what was diagnosed as a mini-stroke in 2012.

Armstrong pleaded guilty at the Kaikoura District Court in October to two charges of flying without his medical certificate, and a third charge relating to incorrect log-book entries which hid his flying.

Judge Couch said he could not conclude that Armstrong was the only option as a pilot for these flights.

On the first occasion, another pilot had been present but Armstrong had concluded that his own skill and knowledge of the terrain meant he should fly the helicopter.

On the second occasion – a search for overdue kayakers in the Clarence River – there was no emergency and no possible justification for Armstrong’s flight of more than an hour with another pilot and a policeman on board. During the flight, a message was received that the kayakers had been found.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane had argued that Armstrong should be discharged without conviction because if the convictions were entered it would send an awkward message to the rescue community.

Pilots would be unwilling to fly in similar circumstances even when they were the only option or the last resort, because they knew they would face prosecution and conviction by the Civil Aviation authorities.

Prosecutor Chris Macklin said the Director of Civil Aviation did not accept that, and discharges without conviction would send a very unhelpful message about the compliance with the regulations. He did not accept that it would send any unacceptable message to rescuers.

Most interest in the case centered on an incident on April 5, 2015, when a tramper fell and broke his femur in the Puhipuhi Valley and was left lying in a precarious position. His companion used her outer clothing to tie him in position and stop him falling further.

A doctor warned that he could have died if left overnight. A rescue helicopter from Christchurch was unable to find the injured man and make the rescue and the police then approached Kaikoura Helicopters Ltd. Armstrong decided to fly, making two short flights in deteriorating light and weather conditions to drop the doctor and rescuers in to the scene, and the injured man was brought out by stretcher, overland.

The injured tramper, Scott Lee, met Armstrong at the Kaikoura Court House in October when Armstrong pleaded guilty. Lee regards him as a hero for having saved his life.

The police were not told at the time of the flights that Armstrong was not certificated to fly. If they were told, they would not have allowed the flights to go ahead.

Judge Couch said that on both flights on April 5 and the search for the kayakers on April 21, if Armstrong had suffered an even momentary loss of awareness or control there would have been a serious risk for the people on board.

It was clear that Armstrong was well informed about the suspension of his medical certification, and his offending was deliberate, measured, and premeditated.

He had invoiced the police for the rescue flying, as usual.

He had also admitted to other flights so the offences were “not isolated events but were part of a pattern of unlawful behavior”.

He said he could not conclude that the consequences of the convictions would outweight the gravity of the offending – which would have allowed him to consider a discharge – and imposed the convictions and fines.


Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter pilot retires from life-saving role

Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust pilot Alan Deal is retiring after a flying career of more than 50 years.

Taking to the skies and saving lives has been a reality for Alan Deal for nearly two decades.

But he now will remain grounded as he retires from his role as rescue helicopter pilot for the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter. 

The Hobsonville resident, who wanted to be a pilot from the age of six, has been flying for more than 50 years. He started off his career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1965 and when time came for him to retire as Squadron Leader, he took up a role with the New Zealand Police and then later with the rescue helicopter to avoid heading into an admin role. 

Deal says his favorite part of the job has been working with "truly committed and motivated people". 

"What you can achieve when you have a team using all their initiative and skill to save a patient's life is greater than the sum of any one of those parts," he says. 

"Rescue helicopter work is a unique environment; you never know what you're going to get. It's free-flowing and challenging, but hugely satisfying."

Deal plans to spend time with his grandchildren and take his boat out while he's still "fit and active". 


Boeing 737-3H4 (WL), N396SW Southwest Airlines: Incident occurred December 13, 2015 at San Antonio International Airport (KSAT), Texas

Southwest Airlines Flight 987 has landed safely at San Antonio International Airport according to airport tower communications following a call of an "aircraft in trouble," Sunday afternoon.

About 16 units of the San Antonio Fire Department responded as, according to scanner chatter, the aircraft approaching had a "loose canard."

Initial reports were that a piece of the aircraft had fallen off as it approached San Antonio International.

No injuries have been reported.


SAN ANTONIO -  A plane headed to Harlingen was forced to land after it was discovered part of the wing was missing.

Southwest flight 987 from Austin to Harlingen was diverted to San Antonio Sunday afternoon. 

It's unclear when the part of the wing fell off.

Passengers tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS the pilot told passengers they lost a piece of the wing, but he still had control of the plane. They tell us the pilot landed mid-flight.

Emergency crews met the plane on the tarmac. It was towed to the gate. Southwest tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS it was a mechanical issue with a flap on the wing.

The flight was supposed to land at Valley International Airport at 4:25. The passengers will be put on a new plane from San Antonio to Harlingen. There is no new estimated time of arrival.


New policy: With open skies, airports likely to generate huge revenues

KARACHI: Pakistan’s airports are now set to generate huge revenues as more and more airlines touch there thanks to the new aviation policy.

Keeping in view the spirit of the Aviation Policy 2015, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) held talks for liberalizing the existing and concluding new air services agreements with 17 countries at the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation Event held between October 19 and 23 in Antalya, Turkey.

This undoubtedly is the first step to make the operations framework attractive for the airlines of other countries and making aviation activities more lucrative in Pakistan.

These countries included Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, European nations represented by the European Commission, Ireland, Malta, Morocco, New Zealand, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Serbia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Turkey, the UAE and Vietnam.

In fact, protectionism and restricted market access were the main hurdles to the growth potential of the country’s aviation sector. The new policy rightly addresses the problem by making air services agreements more liberal, ensuring greater business freedom, higher levels of customer satisfaction and greater micro and macro-economic growth in the aviation domain.

Furthermore, the open skies policy for other countries based on the principle of reciprocity is bound to give a boost to aviation activities in the country.

Apart from the bilateral air services agreements, Pakistan being a member of the D-8 is also negotiating multilateral agreements that will permit liberal air services between member states. Endeavors are being made to enter into similar agreements under the umbrella of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and Saarc.

The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, known as Developing-8, works on development cooperation amongst Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. Its objectives are to improve the position of member states in the global economy, diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, enhance participation in decision-making at the international level and improve standards of living.

Rise in air traffic

The execution of these air services agreements will obviously result in a massive increase in the flow of air traffic to Pakistan. To cope with the increase, there is definitely a need to improve airport infrastructure and run the airports on modern lines.

The CAA has decided to take various measures immediately. These include refurbishment of airport buildings, rehabilitation of airside infrastructure and strengthening of air cargo services to promote export of Pakistani products globally. Establishment of two state-of-the-art cargo villages – one in the north and the other in the south – are also on the anvil.

To accelerate the pace of work, the CAA has decided to appoint chief operating officers (COO) at major airports. Operational control of all agencies working at the airports like ANF, Customs and Immigration will be given to the COO for efficient airport operations.

Moreover, rationalization of duties and taxes in the aviation sector to help attract more businesses and provide benefits to the end-users is an absolute must. Restructuring and simplification of taxes in line with best international practices is in the process.

The CAA believes that higher taxes and duties negatively impact the transportation activity, which in turn adversely impacts economic growth and employment opportunities. It advocates there should be no taxes and duties on investment in the aviation sector.

Support to economy

According to the new aviation policy, currently, the airline and airport industry supports about 58.1 million jobs (8.7 million are within the sector itself, working for airlines, at airports) and contributes $2.4 trillion to the global gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent of 3.4% of global GDP.

Developing countries in Asia enjoyed steady economic growth at 6.2% in 2014. Asia’s population and income growth is expected to continue through at least the first half of the 21st century.

If the current growth rate continues, by 2050, Asia’s per capita income could rise by 600% matching Europe and other western countries, and this growth will generate major changes in the travel market.

Aircraft manufacturers estimate the region’s airlines will need an additional 12,820 airplanes valued at $1.9 trillion over the next 20 years. That would represent 36% of the world’s new airplane deliveries.

Air transport is indispensable for business and tourism of Pakistan, which are the principal foundation of economic growth, particularly for developing economies.

It is encouraging to note that the CAA’s financial position is reasonably sound. In fiscal year 2014-15, it paid Rs6,195 million in income tax and is expected to pay Rs9,262 million in 2015-16. The total revenue generated by the CAA in 2014-15 was Rs50,819 million and it is expected to generate Rs56,176 million in 2015-16 thanks to the vibrant aviation policy.

The open skies policy promises much in terms of growth potential. Let’s hope Pakistan is able to utilize it to its advantage.


Fire damages unoccupied Boeing building in Everett, Washington • Blaze was limited to a small area in a building under construction where wing of Boeing 777x will be manufactured

A fire damaged the roof of an unoccupied Boeing building in Everett Saturday night.

Damage was limited to several dozen square feet on the roof of a wing factory under construction for the Boeing 777x, said Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler.

There were no injuries, said Tischler, who called the fire “pretty small.” 

The size of the structure resulted in the fire department dispatching multiple crews to the scene.

The cause of the fire, which started about 8 p.m., is being investigated.


Sacked workers file N5bn suit against Virgin Atlantic Airways

Twenty Nigerian cabin crew staff recently laid off by Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd have instituted a N5 billion suit against the Airline at the National Industrial Court, Lagos Division.

The aggrieved workers are; Genevieve Mordi, Umo Akinselure, Lukman Yusuf, Ekaete Victor-Iyamu, Vic­toria Enyi, George Ezemba, James Ajayi, Rosemary Ogbor, Babajide Akinyele and Remilekun Lashebikan.

Others are: Yewande Salau, David Dagat, Babafemi Oshifeko, Babatunde Olamuye, Juliet Ezumba, Rachel Ideho, Ademola Olowolade, Imelda Blankson, Halimat Odeyemi and Tolumilade Sogbesan.

Joined as co-respondent in the suit is the Aviation Logistics and Management Ltd.

In a motion on notice filed by them through their lawyer, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN), the claimants are seeking for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents from laying them off or giving effects to the notice of termination of employment served on them pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

They are also seeking the suspension of the notice of termination of employment served on them pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

The claimants are also asking sacked workers file N5bn suit against Virgin Atlantic Airways for an order of the court directing the respondents to pay them the sum of N5billion as damages for the act of discrimination against them.

They were all laid off on November 30, 2015, following an internal memo issued by the Executive Vice President, Customer, of the Airline, Jill Brady.

In the memo, it was disclosed that the provision of cultural expertise which was the primary purpose of employing the claimants was no longer required by the Airline on its Lagos-London route.

However, in a 36-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion on notice which deposed to by one of the claimants, Akinselure, he stated that they (claimants) were not informed by the respondents that the sole reason for their employment was to provide cultural expertise in respect the Airline’s flight operations on the Lagos-London route.

It was further averred that no survey was ever conducted by the Airline which revealed that the cultural expertise provided by the claimants in respect of its Lagos-London route is no longer required.

The deponent averred that the Airline’s intention to terminate the employment of the claimants was based solely on their race, color and social extraction.

It was further stated that the Airline has consistently and persistently taken actions which are discriminatory, oppressive and detrimental to the interest of the claimants as Nigerians and Nigeria as a country.

The Lagos-London route was said to be the most commercially viable and most profitable route for the Airline.

Original article can be found here:

Rescue helicopter buzzed by plane near Lismore

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was buzzed by a plane as it passed by North Lismore Plateau yesterday while returning from a mission out west.

The helicopter had been tasked to a property at Torrington around 1 pm where a 55-year-old man received a pelvic injury after coming off his horse.

As the chopper was returning to base a single-engine aircraft appeared to follow it from the direction of the Lismore Airport, gaining rapidly on the rescue helicopter, before veering off to the left and flying back towards the airport.

The fixed wing airplane appeared to have a large red dot on its side, with an enclosed bubble-type cockpit, similar to those flown by Japanese pilots during World War II.

The helicopter service has been asked for comment.


Transportation Security Administration Investigating Possible Security Violation at Des Moines International Airport (KDSM)

DES MOINES, Iowa — A possible security violation is under investigation at the Des Moines International Airport.

An investigation report with the Des Moines Police Department indicates that at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Des Moines police officers were approached by a Delta Airlines employee who said he witnessed an adult male Envoy Airlines employee with a duffle bag avoid TSA screening by walking across a ramp and re-enter into the concourse.

The report says surveillance video shows the man with a Security Identification Display Area badge, receive his boarding pass, join a line of passengers and board a plane that departed at 5:45 p.m. The Airport Administration and TSA are continuing to investigate the matter further.


International Civil Aviation Organization audit flags air traffic control staff shortage in India

NEW DELHI: A severe shortage of air traffic controllers (ATCOs) in India may prove to be the latest worry for international aviation authorities and trigger a global fear over flying in the country. 

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN agency, completed its audit of Indian aviation last week and is learnt to have red-flagged the shortage.

While the ICAO report will be ready in about 90 days, sources said its officials made their concerns clear during the audit.

Highly placed sources said that if ICAO makes this issue a "serious safety concern" in its report, there could be critical repercussions for Indian aviation.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had downgraded the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in January 2014 due to its poor oversight capability of aviation caused by the lack of technical manpower. 

The downgrade was reversed 14 months later in April 2015 after India took steps to beef up its weak aviation regulator.

"If the ICAO audit red-flags the shortage of ATCOs, then other aviation agencies -- notably the FAA -- could also issue their own alerts or want to conduct their own audits.

It could open the Pandora's Box for us and technically pave the way for yet another safety downgrade for Indian aviation, something that will have a tremendous impact for Indian airlines," a source said.

Air traffic control comes directly under the Airports Authority of India (AAI) because the plan to hive it off as a separate company has been pending for years.

A senior AAI official said, "India has between 2,500 and 2,800 ATCOs. For many years no hiring of controllers took place that led to the current situation. 

Now AAI has inducted 200 ATCOs; will conduct exam for hiring 400 more on December 29 and has started the process of hiring 200 more.

By next March we will have 600 more ATCOs and then 200 additional will join a few months later."

While AAI is now hiring controllers, the situation of the ground is worrying. "There is a serious shortage of controllers.

We are asked to work on our off days and also put on extra hours.

Our work conditions are very stressful and that is not conducive to safe flying," said a senior controller.

The worst situation is in the busy and constrained airport of Mumbai. 

"The megapolis has only 265 controllers while the requirement is anywhere from 350 to 550. Controllers do not want to be posted in Mumbai due to shortage of accommodation and as a result the available workforce is severely over-worked," said a source.

ICAO is also learnt to have expressed concern at the congestion of communication channels between ATC and aircraft.

The lack of continuity at the top of DGCA, which has had seven director-generals in last eight years, was also emerged as a sore point in the audit. 

The current DG, M Sathiyavathy, an IAS officer who was this summer empanelled to become a secretary in the government of India, is also slated to move out early next year as she was asked to continue as regulator till the ICAO audit got over.

"The audit team asked M Sathiyavathy if she will also move on shortly and she had to allay their fears about DGCA having a stable leadership," said a source.

DGCA's officers say that Sathiyavathy has proven to be a "good boss with a firm grip on aviation safety issues". They want either Sathiyavathy to stay on as DG or that her successor be a technical officer who has risen from within the ranks.


Santa comes in for a landing at Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N)

Santa (Bruce Wessel of Manville) flies into Central Jersey Regional Airport in Hillsborough on December 13, 2015 sponsored by TriState Aviation, the flight school at the airport, along with Hillsborough Rotary Club.

Hillsborough —Though baby Piper at only four weeks old will not remember her first visit to Santa Claus at Central Jersey Regional Airport Sunday, two-year-old sister Bella will fill her in on what is sure to become a family tradition. With both parents professional pilots, the Kilpatrick girls are destined to be as comfortable in the sky as Santa seemed to be. Piper was even named for the type of plane both parents learn to fly on.

Confessing that she "loves Santa," Bella clapped happily atop her daddy, Kevin Kilpatrick's shoulders. This was not her first time meeting Santa — she and he are well acquainted — but it was her debut visit with him at the airport that both her parents frequent. Kilpatrick used to be Santa's pilot at the airport.

Noting that this year weather more than cooperated with clear, sunny skies and almost 70 degrees — unheard of in Central Jersey in December — Kevin Kilpatrick of Warren recalled a Santa Fly In from years ago when he flying in the jolly man's.

"About ten years ago, it was 17 degrees in the open cockpit," he said. "From one extreme to another. This is her first time at this event, but we will be carrying it on.She likes flying with daddy and is excited that Santa is coming by airplane."

"Piper's so excited, she fell asleep," mom Kimberly Kilpatrick said laughing.

Santa Claus, flown in by pilot Art Madden in a Cessna 172, did a fly by for the excited children and adults, circled the airfield and landed. Assisted by a team of three elves, Santa then handed out gifts to the children, revealed special messages, and took photos. 

As Santa was readying to circle round the airfield, the children chanted "We want Santa," after singing a rousing rendition of "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer." The excitement in the crowd grew as the arrival of Santa, portrayed by Bruce Wessel of Manville, drew near.

Once a regular annual occurrence at Central Jersey Regional Airport, the Santa Fly In, was reinstituted last year by husband and wife team Farzan Saleem and Jodi DiPane, co-owners of TriState Aviation, the airport's resident flight school.

According to Saleem, more than 100 children were registered for the event.

"Joe Horner, the owner of the airport, was involved with the community and with the Rotary Club," Saleem said. "We are very community centric as well and though this was a great way to get the community together and raise some money for the Hillsborough Rotary Club to help many charities in our area. More than double the amount are coming this year. We are really amazed by the response and excited to be part of it."

Readying for her first Christmas, seven month old Maggie Ferrullo was decked out in her Santa finery, complete with a jaunty bow on her headband. Wide-eyed and a bit confused, mom Michelle Walters of Manville, who was celebrating her own birthday, was understandably thrilled for her little one.

"It's her first time meeting Santa and we wanted to make it exciting," Walters said. "Arriving in an airplane is exciting."

Excited about meeting Santa, Jayden, 5, and Jenna Komor, 3, in matching Christmas dresses, were first up to meet the big guy. Along with mom Jennifer and dad Matthew Komor of Middlesex, this was the first time at the Fly In event. Jenna was a bit intimidated by Santa in person, so big sister Jayden intercepted and handed off her gift to her.

Happy to get "exactly what we wanted," — Legos — Jayden and Jenna shook their gifts making a dancy beat.

"They sound like jingle bells in there," Jenna said.

Also celebrating his birthday, three-year-old Zach Kosmoski came to the Santa Fly In, along with mom and dad Gabby and Matt Kosmoski of Hillsborough, and brother Logan, 9 months. A lover of planes and trucks, Zach was happily chattering about his new Tonka trucks from Santa to everyone who could hear.

"This year he understand more," Gabby Kosmoski said. "He is so excited. And he loves planes. This was great."

Co-sponsored of the event, members of the Hillsborough Rotary Club were also on hand to give out free hot cocoa, cookies and hot dogs for the attendees. Gifts were supplied by the parents of the registered children, who donated $10 per child to the cause.


All Nippon Airways will consider expanding local flights beyond Sydney

Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways will consider expanding to other destinations like Melbourne and Perth in the future after launching its first flights between Tokyo and Sydney since the 1990s on Saturday, says  Kenya Inada, ANA general manager Asia and Oceania.

"We want to see very good success in the [daily Tokyo] Haneda-Sydney route first, then we will look at other options later on," he said through a translator. "One idea might be Perth, but I do hear there is an increased demand from Melbourne as well. So I think that we will be considering cities such as those."

Rival Japan Airlines (JAL), which flies from Sydney to Tokyo Narita, has reportedly been considering the launch of new flights to Perth as demand for travel between the two countries continues to increase, in large part due to the popularity of Japan as a tourism destination for Australians. Perth lacks any direct flights to Japan, while Melbourne is served by Jetstar four times a week.

Qantas this year switched its Sydney-Tokyo flights to Haneda Airport from Narita International Airport once slots became available because Haneda is closer to the Tokyo CBD and more convenient for business travellers. At the same time, Qantas launched new daily flights from Brisbane to Narita. Qantas and JAL are codeshare partners as well as co-owners of the Jetstar Japan joint venture.

Mr Inada said ANA had returned to Australia after a long absence because it was an obvious "white spot" on its route map around the world. He said Sydney was chosen as the first route because the city had the biggest demand, particularly in the business market. 

To date, 60 percent of the tickets sold on ANA services have been bought by Japanese travellers,  the rest by Australians. In the 12 months to October, 326,600 Japanese visited Australia; 284,500 Australians headed to Japan.

Japan is a particularly popular outbound destination for Australians for skiing during the northern winter. Mr Inada said many Australians had been using ANA's domestic services between Tokyo and Sapporo and Hakodate even before the carrier had resumed flights to Sydney.

Codeshare with Virgin

In the Australian market, Mr Inada said ANA was seeking a codeshare agreement with Virgin Australia that would allow inbound Japanese visitors to codeshare on Virgin domestic flights, but he did not know when such a deal could be finalized.

When asked whether Virgin Australia was likely to seek a codeshare on the Sydney-Haneda route, he said the Australian carrier hadn't made such a request to date.

Virgin Australia covers the Asian market through a partnership with one of its largest shareholders, Singapore Airlines, which flies many Australians to Japan via Singapore. Singapore Airlines and ANA are both in the Star Alliance.

Mr Inada said the ANA flights would also open a new way for Australians to fly to Europe, as the morning arrival into Haneda connected easily with ANA flights to London, Frankfurt, Munich and Paris. But he said the prices set by ANA on the Kangaroo route were unlikely to be particularly low unless there was a dearth of empty seats at a particular time of year.

"I don't think that we will be able to compete with the Emirates of the world," he said.

For its first flight to Sydney, ANA brought a special Boeing 787-9 aircraft outfitted in a R2-D2 Star Wars livery, which neatly coincided with the opening of the latest Star Wars film last week. Mr Inada said he couldn't say when it would next return on the route.

"That is top secret," he said with a laugh. "We wanted it for the launch. After that, it does need to be utilized in operations in other areas as well."


Qantas halts greyhound freight services

Entrance to the Canidrome

In reaction to the ABC’s investigation program last week, Australian airline Qantas has said in a post on social media that it will no longer provide freight services for greyhounds in Asia.

Animals Australia, an animal rights group interviewed during the investigation, commended Qantas’s recent policy change, saying that it represents “a win for the gentle dogs exported to certain death each year.”

“We share your concerns about the disturbing story that appeared on [7.30] earlier in the week,” reported ABC, the public Australian broadcaster, citing Qantas’ post on Twitter.

“In the past we have transported a small number of racing greyhounds to Asia,” the airline added. “However in light of the story we have made the decision to no longer provide racing greyhound freight services to Asia.”

The announcement comes only days after the undercover investigation revealed how the dogs are sourced and imported to Asia, in what the broadcaster termed a “death trade.”

The dogs, which originate in Australia, are shipped to countries like Macau and China once they are deemed uncompetitive on Australia’s racing tracks.

Concern over the welfare of greyhounds intensified last week after the ABC’s 7.30 program revealed that many greyhounds imported to Macau were being euthanized once deemed unable to compete in the SAR.

In April, animal rights activists in Macau exposed the killing of more than 30 underperforming dogs each month at the Canidrome, where as many as 800 are housed. But according the investigation last week, even those greyhounds that are capable of racing are imperiled by a track that is “too hard” and by living conditions that are “prison-like.”

Once in Asia, the greyhounds are not subject to the same protections and rights that they enjoy in Australia. The situation has prompted activists in both Macau and Australia, as elsewhere, to protest the treatment of greyhounds and campaign for an end to the trade.

Australia’s Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, said in response to the program that the government would continue to work with the industry to find “more effective, evidence-based options” to ensure the welfare of exported dogs.

According to Animals Australia, Qantas is one of only two commercial airlines with direct routes from Australia to Hong Kong – the main entry point for imported greyhounds. The animal rights organization says that the other airline, Cathay Pacific, has confirmed that they are not involved in the freighting of Australian greyhounds.


Chennai airport to get new navigational aid to prevent another total shutdown

CHENNAI: The city airport seems to have learned a lesson from the floods that forced a shutdown last week. To prevent natural calamities from grounding flights, the authorities are planning to install a backup for VOR (VHF Omnidirectional Range), navigation equipment that helps aircraft find their way in the sky. 

Two VOR navigational equipment suffered damage due to the floods, and with no backup, flight movements had to be stopped. The one near the main runway was repaired in two days, but the one near the second runway is not in good shape though engineers restored it. 

A senior official of Airports Authority of India (AAI) said, "The new VOR can be used as a backup for the existing one and can also be used to guide planes to the second runway which does not have navigational aids now." The new VOR is likely to be installed at an elevation higher than the current flood mark to prevent a shutdown. 

The equipment will be brought from Allahabad. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had to struggle to restore the equipment during the floods. Signals from VOR helps overflying aircraft identify the airport and stay on course while traversing the peninsula. Air routes are designed based on the availability of these navigational equipment that transmits a radio signal, voice signal, data and the code of the airport or the ground station. 

VOR and its advanced versions are crucial because they are also used as reference points by flights to identify the airport. 

"The floods taught us that being close to the river, the airport may be affected again in a repeat of heavy rain and release of water from Chembarambakkam reservoir. But we do not want the navigation system to be affected," the official said. Officials have already suggested that the height of the radar be raised. 

A senior pilot said VORs are crucial for Chennai because the airport has a history of radars malfunctioning. 

"It is a conventional primary navigational aid. When radar is not available, flights rely on VOR to fly into the airport," he said. 

However, foreign airports have begun to phase out VOR as satellite-based navigation is being used to fix shorter and direct air routes.


City airport not fit for Airbus 380

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is undergoing renovation and expansions are in pipeline. But it seems that is not enough for it to host the world's largest passenger aircraft - the Airbus A380. International airline operators claim that the airport will need a large scale upgradation to accommodate the Airbus. The General Manager (India) of Singapore Airlines David Lau said, "We have enough traffic as we operate four direct flights in a week to and from Ahmedabad. Putting an Airbus A380 on this route would be great help. But airport is not equipped for the large airbus. The size of the runway is very small and not convenient for the airbus to maneuver."

Airbus 380 is not only the largest but also a double-deck passenger aircraft with a capacity of over 800 passengers at a time. It is a four-engine aircraft. "An A380 has very large wingspan and engines are lower in comparison to other aircrafts, there is a possibility that they may scrape the ground. So, a lot of modification is required at the airport before it can be ready to welcome a A380," added Lau. Ahmedabad airport has two international airlines that own and operate A380. Singapore Airlines is one, the other is Emirates.

A statement from the Emirates stated, "Deploying an A380 is dependent on factors such as demand from the market, approvals from the authorities and capability of the airport to handle the aircraft. India is a key market for Emirates and we are keen on deploying an A380 here. But right now the infrastructure at most Indian airports are not A380-friendly."

Singapore Airlines operates A380 at Mumbai and Delhi airport and find Bangalore airport has the infrastructure to host the airbus. Ahmedabad Airport Director AK Sharma said, "To accommodate aircraft like A380, we have to receive proposals from airlines. Only then can we initiate a feasibility study. The airport will need a large-scale upgradation including using a 3G network. Currently, we work using a 2G network."


Seventy Paris airport workers have security passes revoked over extremism fears

Seventy workers at Paris airports suspected of being radical Islamists have had their security passes revoked since the deadly attacks in the city a month ago.

Security agents have also examined the contents of around 4,000 workers' lockers at Charles de Gaulle and Orly as the airports authority attempts to weed out any potential terrorists working at the busy transport hubs.

French security sources have said that Islamist militants killed in a police raid in a Paris suburb five days after the November 13 attacks were planning to attack Charles de Gaulle, France’s biggest international airport.

The radicalization of airport personnel sparked concern after the crash in October of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt which Western intelligence officials believe was brought down by a bomb smuggled on board by an airport worker.

Augustin de Romanet, chief executive officer of ADP, the company that runs the two Paris airports, said the state authority which issues security passes had carried out a screening after the attacks on Paris, in which 130 people were killed and 350 injured.

"Nearly 70 red badges were withdrawn after the attacks, mainly for cases of radicalization," he said in an interview with French media.

He said around 85,000 people had secure-zone clearance in the two airports, most of them working for airlines or for several hundred subcontractors.

So-called red badges are issued to people employed in the secure zone of Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, working for instance as baggage handlers, aircraft cleaners and suppliers.

"To be issued with a red badge, you have to be cleared by police, and if you work for a company that carries out security checks of in-flight luggage, you need three police checks," De Romanet said.

Some airport workers suspected of links to radical Islam were placed under house arrest under state of emergency powers implemented after the attacks a month ago.

It emerged after the November 13 massacre that dozens of airport staff had their security passes revoked after the terror attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in January, but others continued to work despite being on an intelligence watch-list as potential Islamist extremists.

There has also been concern about radicalism among bus, metro and rail employees in the Paris region. Samy Amimour, one of the attackers who blew himself up in the Bataclan rock venue in Paris, had worked as a bus driver despite being on an intelligence watch-list.


Skylar Petrik: 17-year-old earns his pilot’s license • Richland Aviation at Sidney-Richland Municipal Airport (KSDY), Sidney, Richland County, Montana

17-year-old Skylar Petrik in the cockpit of the Cessna he's now licensed to fly.

While battling through his senior year of high school, earning a 4.0 GPA and also dedicating his school nights and weekends to hockey, Skylar Petrik still managed to complete a rare accomplishment for a 17-year-old student-athlete— earn his private pilot’s license.

“Hockey, I’ve always said, is the most fun thing I’ve ever done — until I started flying airplanes,” Petrik said. “That’s the one thing I like doing better than hockey.”

Mike and Sarah Petrik, Skylar’s parents, own and operate Richland Aviation.

“[Richland Aviation] has been in the family for 40+ years now, and it’s always something that’s been kind of implied that I would get my pilot’s license,” Skylar said. “Last summer, my dad finally got his hands on an airplane that was appropriate to get my pilot’s license. One of our pilots that worked for Richland Aviation was a flight instructor, and he said, ‘yeah, I’ll teach him how to fly.’”

Mike Malcher was that pilot, and started working with Petrik last summer. But, after only a few hours of instruction time, they stopped the run from Billings to Sidney that Malcher piloted. Another instructor, one of Richland Aviation’s former pilots, filled the position several months later. Petrik and the instructor worked on ground instruction, and after only 10 hours of ground work, in January of this year, the instructor soloed him, allowing him to fly alone. Once again, the flight instructor left the Sidney area and left Petrik waiting for another instructor to finish his training.

After a few months of inactivity, Malcher stepped back into the picture, now piloting a run from Sidney to Sheridan, Wyo.

“I started flying the UPS plane with him back and forth to Sheridan,” Petrik said. “Every day when we were sitting in Sheridan, we would fly the airplane, and that was brutal. It was really hot and bumpy, but at the same time was a lot of fun. He and I built a lot of time. We must have flown the airplane for 25 hours over the two weeks.”

While in Sheridan, he also completed his written test, another requirement for receiving his license.

“So I passed that thing, another milestone, and at night I would read my books, make sure I was all read up on everything,” Petrik said.

By this time, his senior year was upon him. He took some time adjusting back into the school schedule, but quickly returned focus on his goal of becoming a licensed pilot.

“At the end of the two weeks, I came home, I was pretty close, still needed more ground instruction because I wasn’t ready for the ground examination,” Petrik explained. “The ground examination is your big check ride. It includes an oral examination and practical tests.”

Kevin Keegan, another local flight instructor, worked with Petrik during his school-to-work internship during his eighth hour, which starts at 2:30 p.m. every school day, until around 5 p.m.

“He and I started doing a lot of ground stuff together,” Petrik said. “He asked me questions to make sure I knew all the airplane systems, navigation. He flew with me to make sure I knew everything I needed to know for the practical test.”

At the tail-end of November, Skylar passed the checkride and now holds a private pilot’s license.

“Now I’m a licensed pilot,”Petrik said. “Finally.”

This license gives him the ability to fly himself and passengers to any location the little Cessna 172 will take him.

“With a private pilot’s license, you are allowed to go with wherever you want, with whoever you want, with as many people as you want,” Petrik explained.

As a high school senior planning on attending Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, Wis., his journey does not stop here.

“For me, this is the segue to more stuff, because I plan on getting multi-engine rating and instrument rating, my commercial pilot’s license. The commercial pilot’s license allows you to fly for compensation,” Petrik said.

He plans on earning a degree in a subject completely unrelated to aviation, due to the simple fact he has all he needs to earn his commercial license at home. He does not plan to leave his next goal untouched for too long.

“I’m going to try to get as much done as I can during the summer,” Petrik said. “I want to get as far as I can before that next step into college, because college is going to be hard enough, so I don’t need to throw something else into it.”

For now, he continues to log hours while also sharing his accomplishment with his friends in the air, and still finds time for school and hockey.

“Senior year’s gotten really crazy. I had no idea the workload, so I’ve had to adopt a really delicate balance between school and hockey and flying the airplane,” Petrik said. “I don’t get to do all of them as much as I would like to, but I get to do them a lot and I get to do them every day.”

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Mizzou basketball team, grounded in Lubbock, forced to practice in airport hangar

It's not everyday a top-tier college basketball team is forced to practice in an airport hangar, but that's exactly what the Missouri Tigers were forced to do Saturday.

The Tigers — en route to Tucson, Ariz., for a matchup with 7-1 and No. 13 Arizona — were grounded in Lubbock, Texas, after their plane experienced mechanical issues. After sitting around for three hours, coach Kim Anderson was worried his team would be unable to take part in its scheduled walk-through in Tucson. So, he did what any good coach would do and improvised.


ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- Before leaving Columbia Saturday, the University of Missouri Tiger Men’s Basketball team already knew it would be the underdog on the road Sunday night against the 13th ranked Arizona Wildcats. But the team encountered a little adversity before even arriving in Tucson, thanks to a 9 hour layover in Lubbock, TX.

A mechanical issue grounded the team plane. After spending three hours cooped up and fearing that the delay would scrap the team’s scheduled walk-through practice in Arizona that night,  the team made the best of the situation by practicing in the airport hangar.

“I think it was good to get them up, get ’em moving around and maybe get their focus on the game a little bit as we get ready to play,” Head Coach Kim Anderson told the Mizzou Network. You find in Division II you do this a lot. You don’t do this a lot in Division I but in Division II, rarely are you in an airport hangar,” he said.

The team arrived in Tucson around midnight St. Louis time.


180th Fighter Wing brings air show back to Toledo Express Airport (KTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -  For the first time in 12 years, the Toledo Express Airport is planning an air show set for this summer. 

On Thursday, the 180th Fighter Wing and the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority announced the 2016 Toledo Air Show scheduled for July 16-17. 

The show will feature the Thunderbirds, the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force. The lineup for the Toledo Air Show will also include other military air demonstration teams, civilian air demonstration teams, and displays of military aircraft and equipment from across the Department of Defense and the Ohio National Guard. 

The last air show at Toledo Express was held back in the summer of 2004 and drew large crowds, which is what the Fighter Wing wants to see again. 

"There's been a gap in time just based on the availability and the scheduling of the major demonstration team, and that's both the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels," said Col. Craig Baker, commander of the 180th Fighter Wing. "They're on a two-year cycle and we've missed them the last couple of cycles, so we were able to get the Thunderbirds on their 2016 cycle."

Staff Sergeant Shane Hughes said the Fighter Wing wants to bring back the air show to show their gratitude for the community's support and because it is a great economic opportunity for local businesses. 

Congressman Bob Latta of the 5th District is already excited for it and released this statement, "This summer, our community will have the chance to see the pride, professionalism and dedication that our brave servicemen and women display on a daily basis. The Thunderbirds are among America's elite pilots. This is a great opportunity to strengthen the ties between our community, and our Armed Forces." 

Latta added, “From the Birth of Aviation and the Wright brothers, to Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Ohio has a long, storied aviation history. I look forward to the opportunity to continue that tradition as the 180th Fighter Wing and Thunderbirds showcase the pride and precision of the United States Air Force.” 

The Congressman’s release said the Thunderbirds, the Air Force’s official air demonstration team, have been active since 1953 and 325 officers have worn the distinguished emblem of “America’s Ambassadors in Blue” serving for the unit. It also said air shows have taken place in Toledo since 1957, and have brought in as many as 75,000 people per event. 

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