Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Waterville council OKs lease with Black Bear Aviation: Robert LaFleur Airport (KWVL), Kennebec County, Maine

Ken Vautour, an aircraft mechanic with Black Bear Aviation, works on a Beechcraft on Oct. 2 at Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport, the municipally owned airport in Waterville. The City Council approved a five-year lease Tuesday to provide the growing company more space at the airport.



WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday approved a lease with Black Bear Aviation to include more space at the city-owned airport, approved spending $1,500 to help build a recreational trail through the South End and said good-bye to two city councilors.

Councilors voted 7-0 to approve a five-year lease, with a five-year extension, for the aviation company at Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport. The company does aircraft maintenance, painting, sales, detailing and repair.

Black Bear owner Kevin Dauphinee said his company is growing and he wants to lease two more rooms at the airport, one of which would be used for fabric and other materials needed for an interior shop he is bringing in that will do complete custom interiors.

“At the beginning of the year we had three employees; we have seven now,” Dauphinee said. “We’re doing pretty good. We’re growing fast.”

City Manager Michael Roy praised the company’s work at the airport.

“We’re very happy with the relations we’ve had with Kevin,” he said.

Councilor Rosemary Winslow, D-Ward 3, was pleased with the report.

“This is very good,” she said. “It’s good to hear.”

Story:  https://www.centralmaine.com

Honda’s new jet takes off in North Carolina

Last week saw one of the best moments in Greensboro since N.C. State won the national championship in men’s basketball at the coliseum in 1974.

The Wolfpack was led by high-flying David Thompson. But not even Thompson could soar like Michimasa Fujino.

Fujino is president and chief executive officer of Honda Aircraft, which earned its final Federal Aviation Administration certification and is cleared for takeoff. The made-in-Greensboro HondaJet is ready for final production and delivery.

The occasion, marked by a formal announcement and celebration Wednesday, brought tears to Fujino’s eyes.

Greensboro can share in the emotion. It’s been a long journey since Fujino took a liking to Piedmont Triad International Airport and decided this was the place to build a small, high-performance jet with its innovative design.

Honda backed Fujino’s dream, putting its resources and reputation behind the venture. It has invested an estimated $2 billion in research and development – and come up with a marvelous product.

The HondaJet has taken off. This is a company that may have an unlimited ceiling.

Source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion

Investigation into Fire at Guadalupe Mountains National Park Continues: Trails and Campgrounds Open

Salt Flat, TX – The Federal Aviation Administration has concluded their investigation into the cause of the fire on Guadalupe Peak on December 8, 2015 was not connected to an aviation crash.

Original reports to the Federal Aviation Administration indicted that the cause could have been a small plane crash, but search crews have not been able to substantiate this report.  

Discovery of debris from a small airplane were later identified as remains from an older crash by park officials. 

Rocky terrain and poor flying conditions have slowed investigations. 

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Interagency Fire Suppression Resources team contained the fire and National Park Service Special Investigative Services concluded site investigations over the weekend.  

The ongoing investigation into the incident will continue. 

The public is encouraged to report any information regarding this incident to the Investigative Services Protection Tip Line at (888) 653-0009. 

 Park closures due to onsite investigations have been removed. 

All Pine Springs trails and the Pine Springs campground in the park have reopened for public use. 

Park information, including park conditions, closures, restrictions, weather and program information are available on the park’s website www.nps.gov/gumo or by telephone at (915) 828-3251 ext. 2124. 

The Pine Springs Visitor Center is open daily, except December 25, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Also visit the park on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/guadalupe.mountains.

Information from NPS

Source: http://krwg.org

Date: 09-DEC-15
Time:  00:05:00Z
Regis#:  UNKNOWN
Event Type:  Accident
Highest Injury:  Unknown
Damage:  Destroyed
Flight Phase:  UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lubbock FSDO-13
City:  PINE SPRINGS
State:  Texas

AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES INTO GUADALUPE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, UNKNOWN MAKE/MODEL, UNKNOWN PERSONS ON BOARD, AIRCRAFT IS DESTROYED, WRECKAGE LOCATED NEAR PINE SPRINGS, TX

The trail head access road leading to the start of the Guadalupe Peak Trail was closed as federal, state and park crews attempted to locate wreckage. 




A Life Flight helicopter prepares to take off and help survey the fire on Guadalupe Peak that was originally attributed to a plane crash.

The orange flame of a fire possibly caused by a downed plane (left) can be seen from the Pine Creek station. The small white light in the center of the photo is a two-man emergency response team hiking up the peak as emergency responders from Texas, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Eddy County watch from the road. 

Distiller making late delivery to Colorado Springs WWII pilot

Retired Col. Tom Barr told the crew of the this B-17 they would sure get a case of liquor if they named their B-17 bomber "Soouthern Comfort." On Wednesday, the distiller is coming through for Barr with a ceremony to honor him at the National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs. 



Tom Barr named his B-17 bomber "Southern Comfort" as a reminder of his Florida home.

His Yankee crewmates went along with him for the booze.

The 90-year-old Colorado Springs veteran said he told those men in 1945 that by painting the logo of the famous liquor on the side of the four-engine plane, the Kentucky distiller surely would send some of their 100-proof liqueur to the base in England.

"I convinced them we would send off to the company and they would send us a case of Southern Comfort," the retired colonel said Tuesday.

More than seven decades later, Southern Comfort is delivering.

"We're going to give him some very special gifts," said Rick Bubenhofer, who heads public relations efforts for Brown-Forman, the company that makes Southern Comfort.

The distiller is honoring Barr on Wednesday at the National Museum of World War II Aviation. Officials wouldn't disclose the surprises that await Barr, but one of them might have a Southern kick to laud a pilot who flew "Southern Comfort" for 11 missions during World War II.

It was Barr's daughter who finally sent off for that long-awaited liqueur in a letter to Brown-Forman's CEO.

"The letter was brought to the attention of the Brown-Forman Military Veterans Group (BRAVE) as their mission is to recognize and support active and retired military personnel," the firm said in a news release. "The membership of BRAVE unanimously voted to honor Colonel Barr for his service and the memory of his crew with a special ceremony."

Barr served 30 years in the Air Force and was a teenage latecomer to World War II. He signed up for the Air Corps, hoping they would let him finish college before they sent him to war.

"I wanted to be a CPA and attorney," he said.

​The Air Force, though, suffered grievous losses in the skies over Europe - more than 47,000 died in the 8th Air Force alone - and rushed thousands of young men into the cockpit. Barr was sent to training in California, then shipped to Europe on the Queen Mary, where he and his crew had the debate over the bomber's name.

Barr said he didn't worry about danger during his missions over German-occupied territory.

"You've already done things you never thought you were going to do," he said. "You just take it and go."

The Boeing-built B-17 was aptly called the Flying Fortress. It bristled with .50-caliber machine guns and was known for its ability to bring crews home after severe damage from enemy fire.

"It was a great airplane," Barr said.

Arriving in England in April 1945, Barr was sent straight to combat.

"Six days later, I had six missions in," he said. "I came back and flew five more missions, and the war was over."

After World War II, Barr stuck with the service. He flew again in Vietnam before hanging up his uniform in 1974.

Bubenhofer said in honoring Barr, Southern Comfort is honoring all the men and women of World War II.

"There's too few chances left to show our gratitude to this generation of people," he said.

Source:  http://gazette.com

National Championship Air Races seeking title sponsor after Breitling exits

The National Championship Air Races are in search of a title sponsor after Swiss watch maker Breitling decided not to continue its sponsorship.

“We’re out there trying to find another title sponsor,” said Air Races CEO Mike Crowell. “There are a lot of people we’re in contact with and we have some possibilities. We’ll be fine (this year) if we don’t get one. We had a good year. Our costs are very much in line with how they should be. We’re very positive about the future.”

Air Races officials reported in November that they were anticipating a profit of $100,000 from the 2015 event at Reno-Stead Airport, a boost for the 52-year-old special event that had struggled financially during the great recession and in the aftermath of a devastating crash in 2011 that killed a race pilot and 10 people on the ground.

Breitling, a sponsor of the races for nearly two decades, was a big part of the event surviving those lean years. The company also was the title sponsor of the Unlimited Gold championship race. Crowell said Breitling's decision to discontinue its title sponsorship was made in October, though not publicly announced. Emails and phone messages seeking comment from Breitling representatives were not returned on Tuesday.

In 2015, Breitling brought its jet demonstration team to the Air Races for the first time, part of its first American tour. The Air Races have already booked the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team for 2016.

Tickets to the event, which is scheduled for Sept. 14-18, 2016, go on sale after the first of the year.

Crowell said specialty acts and other highlights of 2016 will be announced in January.

Source:  http://www.rgj.com

Turkish Airlines now flies to Madagascar

Turkey's flagship carrier, Turkish Airlines (THY), is now flying to Mauritius and Madagascar, beginning yesterday, the airline announced. 

Port Louis and Antananarivo, the capitals and the largest cities of Mauritius and Madagascar, have joined the airline's network. 

Port Louis in Mauritius will be Turkish Airlines' 281th destination, while Antananarivo in Madagascar will be the 282nd destination among 113 nations served across the globe.


With the additions of the new destinations, Turkish Airlines' Africa network encompasses 48 destinations in 31 countries. 


Beginning yesterday, the Istanbul-Port Louis-Antananarivo flights will be operating three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in both directions.


Beginning from Feb. 8, 2016, flights between these cities will be increased to four times weekly with the addition of a Monday flight.


Source: http://www.dailysabah.com

Boeing 737-3H4, N649SW, Southwest Airlines: Accident occurred December 15, 2015 at Nashville International Airport (KBNA), Davidson County, Tennessee

NTSB Identification: DCA16LA032 
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Southwest Airlines
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 15, 2015 in Nashville, TN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/23/2017
Aircraft: BOEING 737 3H4, registration: N649SW
Injuries: 138 Uninjured.

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

On December 15, 2015, at 5:23pm central standard time (CST), Southwest Airlines flight 31, a Boeing 737-300, N649SW, exited the taxiway while taxing to the gate and came to rest in a ditch at the Nashville International Airport (BNA), Nashville, Tennessee. Nine of the 138 passengers and crew onboard received minor injuries during the evacuation and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Houston, Texas. Weather was not a factor, light conditions were dark just after sunset. 

The airplane landed normally on runway 20R and exited at taxiway B2. The flight crew received and understood the taxi instructions to their assigned gate. As the crew proceeded along taxiway T3, the flight crew had difficulty locating taxiway T4 as the area was dark, and there was glare from the terminal lights ahead. The crew maneuvered the airplane along T3 and onto T4, and then turned back to the right on a general heading consistent with heading across the ramp toward the assigned gate. The flight crew could not see T4 or the grassy area because the taxiway lights were off and the glare from the terminal lights. As a result, the airplane left the pavement and came to rest in a drainage ditch resulting in substantial damage to airplane. The cabin crew initially attempted to keep the passengers seated, but after being unable to contact the flight crew due to the loud alarm on the flight deck, the cabin crew properly initiated and conducted an evacuation.

As a result of past complaints regarding the brightness of the green taxiway centerline lights on taxiways H, J, L and T-6, BNA tower controllers routinely turned off the taxiway centerline lighting. Although the facility had not received any requests on the day of the accident, about 30 minutes prior to the event the tower controller in charge (CIC) turned off the centerline lights as a matter of routine. In doing so, the CIC inadvertently turned off the "TWY J & Apron 2" selector, which included the taxiway lights in the vicinity of the excursion. The airfield lighting panel screensaver feature prevented the tower controllers from having an immediate visual reference to the status of the airfield lighting.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
the flight crew's early turn towards the assigned gate because taxiway lighting had been inadvertently turned off by the controller-in-charge which resulted in the airplane leaving the paved surface.

Contributing to the accident was the operation of the screen-saver function on the lighting control panel that prevented the tower controllers from having an immediate visual reference to the status of the airfield lighting.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 15, 2015, at 5:23pm central standard time (CST), Southwest Airlines flight 31, a Boeing 737-300, N649SW, exited the taxiway while taxing to the gate and came to rest in a ditch at the Nashville International Airport (BNA), Nashville, Tennessee. Nine of the 138 passengers and crew onboard received minor injuries during the evacuation and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as a regularly scheduled passenger flight from William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Houston, Texas. 

The airplane landed normally on runway 20R and exited at taxiway B2. ATC instructed the flight to taxi to the ramp (gate C20) via taxiway B, T3, and T4. (Figure 1) 

The captain reported he used landing lights to assist in the taxi along B and T3 and then extinguished the landing lights as the airplane crossed runway 13/31, but left the taxi lights on. Video surveillance footage was consistent with the captain's report. The flight crew reported that they had difficulty locating taxiway T4 as it appeared dark and there was glare from the terminal lights ahead. About 15 seconds prior to the excursion the airplane began a left turn briefly to a heading of about 065 degrees. Taxiway T4 was oriented about 045 degrees. Crew reports, and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recording, indicate the crew was searching for the turn to the ramp when flight data recorder (FDR) data and video surveillance footage indicated the airplane then turned back to the right to a heading of 090 degrees, consistent with the heading toward gate C20. Three seconds later the airplane exited the taxiway into a grassy area with a large drainage ditch, east of the intersection of taxiways T4 and J. The nosegear collapsed, and the airplane came to rest angled to the right, on the left nacelle, right wing tip, and nose. (Figure 2)

Shortly after the airplane came to rest, the CVR recording indicated, an audible alarm began sounding in the cockpit which the flight crew indicated they could not silence (see Tests and Research section). The pilot advised ATC that "we've cut the corner here and are off in the grass" and asked for ARFF equipment. 

According to the flight attendant (FA) statements, there was a large jolt and loud bang when the airplane stopped and all the cabin lights went out for some time before the emergency lights came on. The FAs stated that they did not know what was going on so began yelling, "heads down, stay down" as they tried to call the pilots but there was no power on the interphones. The FAs initiated the evacuation a short time later. About one minute after the airplane came to rest, the pilots noticed that the slides were deploying and passengers were evacuating and the captain announced on the public address system "okay don't evacuate flight attendants, do not evacuate" to which the first officer responded "oh they are already going." 

Review of Air Traffic records and interviews with controllers revealed that about 30 minutes prior to the accident the taxiway lights for "TWY J & Apron 2" were selected "off." This resulted in shutting off the lights for taxiways L and J; taxiways T4 and T5 to the northeast of L; the lights along the edge of the ramp parallel to J; and the connector and circular area between Concourses B and C. 

INJURIES TO PERSONS

Nine of the 133 passengers received minor injuries during the evacuation. None of the five crew members were injured.

DAMAGE TO AIRCRAFT

The nose landing gear collapsed in a rearward direction resulting in substantial damage to frames, stringers, and the bulkhead aft of the nose gear well. Additional minor damage to engine nacelles, fairings, and skin was also found. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The captain, age 58, had worked for Southwest Airlines since 1999. He held an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, multi-engine land, with a type rating in the B737. He held an FAA first class medical certificate with a limitation for glasses for near vision. Company records indicate that he had approximately 19,300 hours total time with approximately 14,100 hours in the B737. He had no previous accidents, incidents, or violations. He had flown to Nashville numerous times previously.

The first officer, age 61, had worked for Southwest Airlines since 2006. He held an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, multi-engine land, with type ratings in the B-727, B-737, B-757, B-767, CL-30, and DC-9. He held an FAA first class medical certificate with a limitation for glasses for near vision. Company records indicated a total time of approximately 15,500 hours, with approximately 5400 hours in the B737. He had no previous accidents, incidents, or violations. He had flown to Nashville numerous times previously. 

The three flight attendants were all current and qualified on the B737.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

N649SW, manufacturer serial number 27719, was a Boeing 737-3H4 equipped with CFM-56-3B1 engines. The airplane had accumulated approximately 58,630 hours total time on the airframe. Recorded data and airline records indicated no relevant maintenance issues with the airplane. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Nashville Airport 5:05pm weather observation indicated clear conditions with 10 miles visibility, wind from 180 degrees at 3 knots, temperature 17ยบ C. There was no precipitation. Night lighting conditions prevailed, local sunset was at 4:34pm.

COMMUNICATIONS

After the airplane came to rest, the pilot advised the tower that he that he had "cut the corner" and requested assistance. There were no further communications between the flight crew and the tower. The flight crew reported that a loud audible alarm in the cockpit, which they could not silence, impeded communication. 

AERODROME INFORMATION

The Nashville International Airport (BNA) is located approximately 5 miles southeast of the city of Nashville, Tennessee. The airport averages almost 500 operations per day, mostly air carrier and air taxi activity. Runway 20R is 7,704 feet long and 150 feet wide, aligned to 201 degrees magnetic. 

The airfield lighting at BNA consisted of taxiway edge and taxiway centerline lights, runway edge and runway centerline lights, runway end identifier lights, approach lights, and a rotating beacon. The airfield lighting was controlled via two airfield lighting touchscreen control panels located near the local controller (LC) and ground controller (GC) positions in the control tower. The BNA air traffic control tower (ATCT) standard operating procedures (SOP), BNA Order 7111.1B, dated July 24, 2014, did not specify who had overall responsibility for the operation of the airfield lighting.

The airfield lighting panels (Figure 3) were owned by the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) and were operated using software installed in 2010. The airfield lighting was operated in accordance with requirements contained in FAAO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, and a letter of agreement between the control tower and MNAA dated December 16, 2013.


The lighting panel had preset intensity selections used according to current weather/day/night conditions and was operated by the tower controllers via a touch screen that selected lighting intensities as required by the current conditions. Specific airfield lighting configurations could be selected to operate independently of the pre-set conditions, such as turning off a specific taxiway lighting circuit. The touch screen control circuit that activated or deactivated the taxiway centerline lights was located next to the touch screen control circuit that activated or deactivated the lighting for the ramp/apron and a portion of taxiway T4. 

The lighting panels had a screensaver mode that caused the screen to go black after approximately five minutes if the panel was not accessed by a controller.

ATCT staff informed investigators that as a result of past complaints regarding the brightness of the green taxiway centerline lights on taxiways H, J, L, and T6, BNA tower controllers routinely turn off the centerline lighting. On the date of the accident the facility had not received any specific request to turn off the centerline lights; however, prior to the event, the controller in charge (CIC) attempted to turn off the centerline lights as a matter of routine. In doing so, the CIC inadvertently turned off the "TWY J & Apron 2" selector. 

The CIC was later notified by Airport Operations that the lights were off, and he turned them back on approximately 25 minutes after the incident.

Subsequent to the accident, Nashville ATCT modified their standard operating procedure regarding responsibility for taxiway lighting and eliminated the lighting panel screensaver function.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

The solid-state flight data recorder (FDR), a Honeywell SSFDR, model 980-4700, records a minimum of 25 hours of airplane flight information in a digital format. The FDR was in good condition, and the data were extracted normally from the FDR. 

The solid-state cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was a Honeywell 6022 SSCVR 120 that recorded 2 hours of digital cockpit audio. The audio information was extracted from the CVR normally, without difficulty. The quality of the audio was characterized as good to excellent. No CVR group was convened, and a summary was prepared by the NTSB recorders lab. 

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

The cabin crew consisted of three flight attendants (FA). The lead A-FA was seated at the outboard position of a dual jumpseat located in the forward entry area next to door L1. The B-FA was seated at the outboard position of a dual jumpseat located in the aft galley next to door L2. The C-FA was seated at the inboard position of a dual jumpseat located in the forward entry area next to door L1. All three flight attendants stated the aircraft landed normally and was taxing to the gate when it came to an unexpected abrupt stop. The loud sounds and unusual attitude of the airplane alerted the FAs that there was a problem. All three flight attendants stated they waited for the pilots to contact them with further instructions. Passengers had started getting out of their seats and were moving around the cabin, so both the A-FA and C-FA started using their emergency commands "heads down, stay down" to control passenger movement. The A-FA attempted to use the interphone to call the cockpit, but was not successful because it was not powered. The A-FA and C-FA discussed the aircraft attitude, loud sounds and lack of communication from the cockpit and initiated an evacuation using only door R1 (the A-FA had assessed door L1 and observed the left engine on the ground and decided to block the exit). The C-FA operated door R1 while the A-FA tried contacting the pilots for the second time with no success. The B-FA heard evacuation commands coming from the forward cabin and started yelling evacuation commands in the aft cabin. She turned on the emergency light switch located on the aft jumpseat panel and opened her primary (L2) exit door first, followed by her secondary (R2) exit door. After all the passengers had evacuated the aircraft, the FA's checked the cabin, gathered emergency equipment and exited the aircraft. They staged outside on the tarmac to keep passengers a safe distance from the aircraft. 

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The flight crew reported that a loud alarm in the cockpit, that they were unable to silence, distracted them from communicating with the cabin crew. A review of the sound by a Boeing test pilot confirmed that the alarm was consistent with the gear unsafe alarm, and could not be silenced without disabling a circuit breaker or running a checklist procedure for an unrelated scenario.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO: http://registry.faa.gov/N649SW
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Southwest Airlines
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 15, 2015 in Nashville, TN
Aircraft: BOEING 737 3H4, registration: N649SW
Injuries: 138 Uninjured.

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

On Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 1725 central standard time, Southwest Airlines flight 31, a Boeing 737, N649SW, departed taxiway T4 and came to rest in a ditch at the Nashville International Airport, (BNA), Nashville, Tennessee. The passengers evacuated via the emergency slides. The aircraft was substantially damaged and nine passengers sustained minor injuries. The flight was a regularly scheduled passenger flight from the William P Hobby Airport (HOU), Houston, Texas. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Nashville FSDO-19



The FAA on Wednesday morning continued to investigate what caused a Southwest plane to skid off a taxiway at the Nashville International Airport and land in a ditch, injuring at least eight passengers.

Southwest Flight 31, a Boeing 737 carrying 133 passengers and five crew members, rolled off taxiway T4 near the terminal into the grass and came to a halt about 5:20 p.m. Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority officials said emergency personnel immediately responded, along with Nashville fire department crews to assist passengers hurt in the wreck.

Airport spokeswoman Shannon Sumrall said Southwest brought in a recovery team early Wednesday to pull the plane out of the ditch with a crane and then moved it to another location at the terminal.

All runways were open and operational Wednesday morning and there were no delays, she said.

​Southwest officials said the plane departed from Houston Hobby Airport at 4 p.m. and landed just before 5:20 p.m. Passengers said it was a full plane.

​FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said her agency on Wednesday continued to investigate what went wrong.

The National Transportation Safety Board may also come in to investigate the cause of the wreck. If that happens, Bergen said, that agency will head the investigation.

"It's a taxing event, so we are monitoring the situation and awaiting a damage estimate," NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss said Wednesday.

Substantial damage to the aircraft will determine whether NTSB leads the investigation, Weiss said.

After the incident, passengers left the aircraft and were bused to the terminal, Bergen said. Photos from the scene showed at least one of the plane's emergency slides deployed.

Fire spokesman Brian Haas said three ambulances transported eight people to TriStar Summit Medical Center.

Most of those passengers suffered minor injuries, mostly bumps and bruises, Haas said, and one person was suffering from chest pains.

So far no additional injuries have been reported overnight, he said.

Passengers described hearing a loud noise while the plane was taxiing, feeling the plane tilt slightly and then the plane coming to a stop in the ditch. After the accident, many were checking on the status of their bags at the Southwest baggage claim area.

Joe Caverlee, from Westmoreland, said he'd been at the airport about two hours after the crash and felt lucky it wasn't worse.

"The flight crew was awesome," he said  "They told everyone to keep down, to keep down. The emergency doors opened in the front and back and we were out of there in minutes."

Reginald Smith Jr., who was on the plane, called the landing frightening.

"We landed, we were coasting and then we were bouncing up and down and the next thing you know ... it felt as if we were about to topple over as we were going into the ditch," said Smith as he stood inside the airport terminal. "You could feel the plane hit and stop. It was terrifying."

Smith, who said he flew from Houston to sing in the Nashville Symphony, said after the crash that many passengers on the plane quickly helped crew members assist elderly and disabled passengers off the plane first.

Another passenger, Andy Borchers, said the plane's emergency lights lit after the plane hit the ditch, crew members opened an emergency door and everyone on board slid down one-by-one.

“There was no urgency, we weren’t moving at a high speed,” Borchers said. “Everyone was in pretty good spirits,” he said. “But the flight attendants were shaken up.”

Recent airplane accidents in Tennessee

June 15, 2011: A Cessna 525A was significantly damaged, while a student pilot was in the cockpit and overran a runway at John C. Tune airport in Nashville. The pilot-in-charge took the controls while landing, after he reportedly failed to execute a go-around when the airplane was at a high-speed with the student, No one was injured.

Oct. 29, 2013: A drunken Canadian pilot crashed his plane on a runaway at the Nashville International Airport. He was the only passenger on the plane and was announced dead at the scene.  He filed a 30 minute trip from Windsor, Ontario, down to Pelee Island in Lake Erie, but crossed the southern border undetected, then circled Tune for hours before crashing. A pilot spotted the debris and reported to airport officials.

Feb. 3, 2014: A Gulfstream 690C, coming from Kansas to Nashville, made two attempts to land before crashing near the YMCA in Bellevue, killing all four people on board. The airplane had maintenance done days before in Oklahoma City. The aircraft veered left just before crashing about 10 miles southwest of John C. Tune airport.

Dec. 26, 2014: A Cessna 162 overturned after making a hard landing at John C. Tune airport. No one was injured in the small airplane crash, as the first emergency personal called off additional help.

Aug. 7, 2015: A Delta flight headed to Cincinnati out of BNA caught fire for several seconds. As the plane pushed from the jet bridge, the engine turned on and caught fire immediately. The pilot, then, turned off the engine and the fire extinguished itself. The plane was taken back to the gate. No one was injured and the passengers booked new flights. 

Story, photo gallery and video:   http://www.tennessean.com

Southwest Airlines released a statement on the incident.

“At approximately 5:30 p.m. local time, Southwest Airlines flight 31 from Houston Hobby Airport to Nashville International Airport exited the taxiway shortly after arriving into Nashville, as the airplane was approaching the gate. The 133 passengers and five Crewmembers were safely transported into the airport, and we are currently working to support their needs. The Safety of our Customers and Employees remains our primary focus.

 


A Southwest plane carrying passengers and a crew from Houston rolled off a taxiway into the grass and got stuck in a ditch at the Nashville International Airport Tuesday, injuring at least eight people, authorities said.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said Southwest Flight 31, a Boeing 737, rolled off taxiway T4 near the terminal into the grass and came to a halt about 5:20 p.m. Central time. Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority officials said emergency personnel immediately responded, along with Nashville fire department crews.

Southwest officials said the plane that carried 133 passengers and five crew members departed from Houston Hobby Airport at 4 p.m. Central time. Passengers said it was a full plane.

Passengers left the aircraft and were bused to the terminal, Bergen said. Photos from the scene showed at least one of the plane's emergency slides deployed.

Fire spokesman Brian Haas said three ambulances transported eight people to TriStar Summit Medical Center.

Most of those passengers suffered minor injuries, mostly bumps and bruises, Haas said, and one person was suffering from chest pains.

Passengers described hearing a loud noise while the plane was taxiing, feeling the plane tilt slightly and then the plane coming to a stop in the ditch. After the accident, many were checking on the status of their bags at the Southwest baggage claim area.

Joe Caverlee, from Westmoreland, said he'd been at the airport about two hours after the crash and felt lucky it wasn't worse.

"The flight crew was awesome," he said  "They told everyone to keep down, to keep down. The emergency doors opened in the front and back and we were out of there in minutes."

Reginald Smith Jr., who was on the plane, called the landing frightening.

"We landed, we were coasting and then we were bouncing up and down and the next thing you know ... it felt as if we were about to topple over as we were going into the ditch," said Smith as he stood inside the airport terminal. "You could feel the plane hit and stop. It was terrifying."

Smith, who said he flew from Houston to sing in the Nashville Symphony, said after the crash that many passengers on the plane quickly helped crew members assist elderly and disabled passengers off the plane first.

Another passenger, Andy Borchers, said the plane's emergency lights lit after the plane hit the ditch, crew members opened an emergency door and everyone on board slid down one-by-one.

“There was no urgency, we weren’t moving at a high speed,” Borchers said. “Everyone was in pretty good spirits,” he said. “But the flight attendants were shaken up.”

The incident remains under investigation by the FAA.

Airport officials said all runways were open and operational and there were no delays after the crash.

Source:  http://www.wbir.com







Unclaimed cellphone causes security scare on flight landing in Miami from Paris



Police investigated, then cleared what had been reported as a suspicious item onboard an American Airlines flight that arrived in Miami from Paris on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The Miami-Dade Police Department's bomb squad cleared a suspicious item discovered onboard American Airlines Flight 63, which departed from Charles de Gaulle Airport, the airline said in an email.

Federal investigators said the suspicious item was a cellphone that a flight crew member discovered and no passenger would claim at the time, WPLG-Ch. 10 reported. During the investigation, a passenger came forward and claimed the phone.

The flight, which arrived around 3:32 p.m. at Miami International Airport, had 217 passengers and 14 crew members onboard, the airline said.

The aircraft was moved to a remote area for the investigation and passengers were kept in airport buses on the airfield while police inspected the plane, Miami-Dade Aviation Department Communications Director Greg Chin said in an email.

Both local authorities and federal investigators spent most of the afternoon "trying to determine if the item is something to be concerned about," Miami-Dade police posted on Twitter.

Just after 6:30 p.m., passengers reboarded the plane and were taken to Concourse D to go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Chin said.

Flight 63 is the same flight that was targeted in a failed bombing attempt about 14 years ago. On Dec. 22, 2001, Richard Reid tried and failed to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his shoes aboard the Miami-bound flight.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com

747 flyover called off due to weather


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A Boeing 747 was supposed to fly over Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon at a low altitude but weather got in the way.

Rolls-Royce and Raytheon had planned to fly into Indianapolis from the east side, through downtown, toward the southwest side of Indianapolis during the lunch hour Tuesday. They said they would be flying at minimum safe altitudes and cooperating with the FAA.

The original flight time was noon, but it was pushed back an hour because of weather.

Rolls-Royce said that as they entered Indianapolis they were told that Indianapolis’ cloud ceiling was too low to fly. The aircraft continued on to its destination in Tucson Arizona.

The flyover was planned so people could take a look at the Rolls-Royce powered “Flying Test Bed” plane they say is supported by Raytheon.

The companies got out the word in advance, they say, to make sure people knew what is happening so they weren’t concerned.

They had coordinated with local organizations and emergency response teams so they knew as well.

Earlier this year, Rolls-Royce celebrated 100 years in Indianapolis.

They also announced earlier this year a $600 million upgrade to their Indy plant.

Story and video:  http://wishtv.com

Bahamasair Loses $3.5m Crash Monies: de Havilland Canada DHC-8-301, C6-BFN, accident occurred April 20, 2007 at Governor's Harbour Airport, Bahamas



The Court of Appeal yesterday overturned a $3.5 million damages award to Bahamasair, finding that the airline had failed to install an upgraded part that may have prevented a 2007 crash landing.

The appellate court’s 36-page verdict overturned the October 2014 findings by former Chief Justice, Sir Michael Barnett, that “negligence” by the part’s designer/manufacturer had caused the landing gear on one of Bahamasair’s Dash-8 aircraft to collapse upon landing.

Apart from ‘negligence’ in manufacturing the actual part, the ex-Chief Justice also found that the Canadian firm had failed to inform Bahamasair that the ‘damper ring’ - a key component in a Dash-8’s landing gear - also suffered from ‘fragmentation’ problems.

But Appeal Justice Jon Isaacs, in a written judgment supported by his two colleagues, found that Sir Michael’s ruling against Messier-Dowty was “unreasonable and cannot be supported by the evidence”.

Justice Isaacs said Messier-Dowty had informed Bahamasair about its new, upgraded ‘damper rind’ and upper bearing, but the national flag carrier had continued to use an old part - one that had ceased to be manufactured since 1998.

And he found it was fair for the Canadian company to “assume that the end user will not so abuse or misuse his product” such that it wears down more quickly than expected - a development that does not mean the product is defective.

The Court of Appeal’s verdict represents a second blow for Bahamasair within the space of three days, given that the national flag carrier is already grappling with the threat of industrial unrest as it approaches the peak Christmas travel season (see other article Page 1B).

Apart from the $3.5 million damages reversal, money that will come in especially handy given its cash-strapped situation, the judgment raises major questions over Bahamasair’s aircraft maintenance procedures, and whether it is employing the latest parts and staying abreast of changes in industry technology.

It is unclear whether the findings will impact how Bahamians and the travelling public perceive Bahamasair, especially since it has a relatively good safety track record compared to many airlines.

However, Appeal Justice Isaacs criticized Bahamasair’s failure to produce the Maintenance Control Manual (MCM) that was used by Bahamasair’s employees to replace a cylinder on the crashed aircraft’s landing gear on May 19, 2006.

Describing the Court of Appeal’s “disquiet” over the situation, Appeal Justice Isaacs wrote: “This document would have been crucial in assisting a tribunal to determine whether or not the respondent [Bahamasair] was carrying out the requisite maintenance properly.

“The appellant [Messier-Dowty] was unduly hamstrung by the failure of the respondent to produce the MCM and, ultimately, an omission which may have proven fatal to their counterclaim.

“The MCM should have been in the possession of [Bahamasair] and it should have been produced during discovery. Its non-production has not been adequately explained.”

And the Court of Appeal also criticized Sir Michael for effectively ignoring the 2007 accident report produced by the Civil Aviation Department’s Flight Standards Inspectorate, finding he failed to consider all available evidence in the case as a result.

The September 9, 2007, report listed four possible causes for the January 18, 2007, crash at Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera. It also saw Bahamasair “contest the conclusions that they did not perform the May 2006 repairs in accordance with industry standards, and that their maintenance program was not up to industry standards”.

The Court of Appeal verdict recorded that the Dash-8 involved in the accident had been manufactured in 1989, and purchased by Bahamasair the following year - meaning it had spent 17 years in the national flag carrier’s service.

“On 18 January, 2007, the aircraft departed New Providence for a flight to Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera,” the verdict recalled.

“The take-off and flight were uneventful. When the aircraft landed on the runway at the Governor’s Harbour Airport, almost immediately it began to vibrate violently.

“As the aircraft continued down the runway the vibrations increased in intensity, making it difficult for the pilot to maintain directional control of the aircraft,” the Court of Appeal continued.

“About five to 10 seconds after landing, the left main landing gear (LMLG) collapsed, causing the aircraft’s fuselage, the number one propeller and left wing-tip to come into contact with the ground for approximately 150 feet before the aircraft came to a stop. This resulted in extensive damage to the aircraft.”

Charles Taylor Aviation (CTA) was retained by Bahamasair and its insurers to investigate the accident’s cause, and the Flight Standards Inspectorate report listed four possible causes for the crash - an under-services shock strut (low hydraulic fluid); a broken damper ring; no damper ring; or a damaged damper ring.

Sir Michael found for Bahamasair, finding Messier-Dowty was “negligent” in the design and manufacture of the ‘damper ring’ - a verdict that the latter appealed.

The Court of Appeal noted the trial evidence of Winslow Moss, a 35-year Bahamasair employee, who “could not explain” why the Task Card requiring him to perform a specific job - changing the upper bearing and ‘damper ring’ on the Dash-8 involved - was blank.

“In the absence of an explanation for the apparent discrepancy by Mr Moss, the Chief Justice was left with the state of the evidence being Mr. Moss was aware of Transport Canada Airworthiness Directive 14 (TCAD14), and performed the work pursuant to task card 3210/15, but did not change the upper bearing and damper ring as mandated by TCAD14,” Appeal Justice Isaacs wrote.

“Further, the extension check of the MLG shock strut was to have been done as soon as possible after five landings. There was no evidence that was done. In those circumstances, it was not open for the Chief Justice to conclude the appellant had failed to give [Bahamasair] notice of the damper ring problem.”

The Court of Appeal also disagreed with Sir Michael’s finding that Messier-Dowty’s old ‘damper ring’ design was “inadequate”, instead ruling that it was trying “to improve on an already solid design”.

And previous air accidents involving the part had stemmed from poor maintenance by airlines, rather than design or manufacturing flaws.

“Expending the effort to make your product better does not mean that the original is bad,” Appeal Justice Isaacs added.

“A manufacturer is entitled to assume that the end user will not so abuse or misuse his product that it wears down sooner than it ought to if maintained properly. Excessive wear does not translate into defective products.”

He also found it was ‘unreasonable” for the ex-Chief Justice to have found that Messier-Dowty did not give Bahamasair warning about deficiencies with the original ‘damper ring’, especially since it had not been identified as the key cause in previous accidents.

The Court of Appeal found there was “no lack of transparency” by the Canadian manufacturer, and that country’s regulator seemed satisfied there were no defects of the kind alleged by Bahamasair.

The Court of Appeal judgment alluded to the fact that “warning signs”, such as vibrations and a ‘blown tyre’, were present before the Eleuthera crash, but were interpreted as signs of a different problem.

“It is likely that had [Bahamasair] conducted the extension test by jacking up the aircraft as recommended by the appellant’s manual as soon after five cycles as possible, the emerging problem would have been discovered and rectified,” Appeal Justice Isaacs wrote.

“[Bahamasair] was afforded an opportunity to examine the product before it failed, but declined to do so. Ultimately, therefore, the failure of [Bahamasair] to install the new damper ring and upper bearing was not due to the negligence of the appellant in advising it of the new product, but from the respondent’s decision to continue using a ring it ought to have known was no longer being produced since 1998.

“It is unclear whether [Bahamasair] investigated the cause of the cracked cylinder which was replaced by Mr Moss. This may have been of some moment to the problem subsequently experienced in Eleuthera. A witness referred to this point but it does not appear to have made an impression on the Chief Justice.”

Bahamasair chairman Valentine Grimes did not return Tribune Business messages left at his law firm and on his cell phone seeking comment.

Story and comments: http://www.tribune242.com

Aviation firm plans expansion: Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport (KJVL), Janesville, Rock County, Wisconsin



JANESVILLE — SC Aviation, Inc. began construction on its 36,720-square-foot hangar at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport recently.

The company’s expanding air charter operation, which includes both domestic and international services, and aircraft maintenance are fueling this project. 

Once fully-operational, the company expects to increase staffing levels by over 30 full-time employees.

SC Aviation is a subsidiary of Colony Brands, Inc.

Source:  http://www.beloitdailynews.com

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee D, Patuxent River Navy Flying Club, N432FL: Accident occurred December 10, 2015 at St. Mary's County Regional Airport (2W6), Leonardtown, Maryland

PATUXENT RIVER NAVY FLYING CLUB: http://registry.faa.gov/N432FL

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Washington FSDO-27

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA077 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 10, 2015 in California, MD
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28, registration: N432FL
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor reported that during the student pilot's first night flight, the lesson was to familiarize the student with flying at night, and included takeoffs and landings. The flight instructor reported that during landing, the student pilot held the approach path "for a while" then drifted below the approach path, as indicated by the visual approach slope indicator. The flight instructor told the student that he needed to climb and reestablish the airplane on the approach path. 

The flight instructor reported that subsequently he (the instructor) "became confused" and could not determine the airplane's position relative to the runway. The flight instructor reported that he "snapped out of the condition", but the airplane collided with trees and impacted the ground short of the runway before a recovery could be made. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot's descent below the prescribed final approach path at night, and flight instructor's failure to correct the student pilot's descent, which resulted in a collision with trees and impact with the ground.




An airplane listed in aviation records as owned by the Patuxent River Navy Flying Club crashed last week near a runway at the St. Mary’s Regional Airport.

According to those familiar with the incident, no one was hurt in the crash that occurred Thursday, December 10, around 10 p.m.

Read more: http://www.somdnews.com

Beech 58TC Baron, Ayelet Aviation LLC, N23712: Incident occurred December 14, 2015 at Central Wisconsin Airport (KCWA), Mosinee, Marathon County, Wisconsin

Date: 14-DEC-15
Time: 23:53:00Z
Regis#: N23712
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 58
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13
City: MOSINEE
State: Wisconsin

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING WENT OFF THE END OF THE RUNWAY, CENTRAL WISCONSIN AIRPORT, MOSINEE, WI

AYELET AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N23712

Aviat A-1B Husky, R E Govnor Schiefelbein LLC, N143HP: Incident occurred December 14, 2015 at Charles R Johnson Airport (T05), Port Mansfield, Willacy County, Texas

Date: 14-DEC-15
Time: 17:14:00Z
Regis#: N143HP
Aircraft Make: AVIAT
Aircraft Model: A1
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA San Antonio FSDO-17
City: PORT MANSFIELD
State: Texas

AIRCRAFT ON LANDING, GEAR COLLAPSED, CHARLES R. JOHNSON AIRPORT, PORT MANSFIELD, TX

RE GOVNOR SCHIEFELBEIN LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N143HP