Friday, December 18, 2015

Colorado Grand helps fund Flight for Life crash site memorial park

Flight Nurse Matt Bowe grinned as Colorado Grand Community Liaison Eddie O'Brien presented him a $15,000 check for a memorial park, in memory of Patrick Mahany, who died in a Flight For Life helicopter crash last summer.

Colorado Grand Communtiy Liason Eddie O'Brien and Flight Nurse Matt Bowe hugged after the grant was presented. Bowe is back in uniform after surviving a July helicopter crash.

The Colorado Grand pledged donations to several Summit County nonprofits this year, giving out a total of $443,000 in proceeds across western Colorado communities.

This year, in addition to several annual grants, the program is also pledging $15,000 to help fund a memorial park at the crash site of the Lifeguard Two Flight For Life helicopter. The July 3 crash took the life of pilot and decorated Vietnam veteran Patrick Mahany, and seriously injured flight nurses David Repsher and Matt Bowe.

“We have been giving Flight For Life grants since the very beginning,” Colorado Grand spokesman Eddie O’Brien said. “This is a celebration of life. What a terrific loss we had when we lost Patrick.”

Plans for the pocket park are being drafted, with Norris Design selected as the landscape architects for the project. O’Brien noted that in addition to the bidders, several locals have offered their time and services to help realize the memorial.

“We took the single bid, and the other bidders have said they still want to be involved in this,” O’Brien said. “The landscape designers are donating time… This is a wonderful group.”

Julie Kelble, who is chairing the park committee, said they planned to put the memorial park off of the rec path by the hospital, overlooking the crash site. The committee has been meeting since September, and hopes to open the park to the public on July 3, 2016.

 Julie Kelble, who is chairing a committee to build the memorial park, looks at a photo of Patrick Mahany. The decorated Vietnam veteran and Flight For Life pilot perished in a helicopter crash last July.


The Colorado Grand, created in 1989 by automotive enthusiast Bob Sutherland, has raised more than $4 million to date. Funds are raised through entry fees and donations for the annual car tour, which features five days of vintage (pre-1960s) sports and racecars driving through Colorado’s mountain towns.

Inspired by the Mille Miglia in Italy, the event took a turn of its own in bringing the cars through scenic mountain towns, and looking for ways to give back in turn.

Every year, the event gives funds to the Robert D. Sutherland Memorial Foundation to support bipolar-disorder therapy through a University of Colorado clinic, granting $40,000 this year.

The event also pledged a $150,000 donation to the Colorado State Patrol foundation, to help subsidize the Fallen Officers Fund, the Hardship Fund and the Tuition Scholarship Fund.

Colorado Grand presented a $4,000 grant to the Colorado Mountain College Foundation, to support GED and ESL scholarships in Summit County.

“We have this tremendous relationship with (Colorado State Patrol),” Flight Nurse Peter Werlin said. “They’ve been with us through our tragedy, and we’ve been with them through their tragedies.”

Flight For Life and Colorado State Patrol receive grants from the Colorado Grand annually. In past years, the Grand has helped fund the Flight For Life Hangar at St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center, named after Sandy Signman and Gary McCall who died in a Lifeguard Two crash landing on Huron Peak in 1994.

“The board members continue to support Flight For Life and take pride in building the hangar,” O’Brien said. “It was a community effort that built the hangar; the community ‘owns’ the hangar.”

The Colorado Grant also gave $12,000 to Court-Appointed Special Advocates of the Continental Divide (CASA). The funds will be used to support child advocacy in court, as well as training volunteers.

The Family and Intercultural Resource Center received $7,000 for parenting and fatherhood classes.

Colorado Grand also gave several grants to local nonprofits on Thursday, including the Family and Intercultural Resource Center (FIRC), Colorado Mountain College, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and the League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS).

The FIRC received $7,500 for parenting and fatherhood classes, and CMC will have an additional $4,000 to support GED and ESL programs in Summit County. CASA was granted $12,000 to fund child advocacy operations and volunteer training. In addition, LAPS was granted $4,000 to support a medical fund for low-income Summit County pet owners.

“These guys just come and pour money into our communities,” Werlin said.

Story and photo gallery:

In total, the Colorado Grand pledged more than $443,000 to Colorado nonprofits this year.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA290
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, July 03, 2015 in Frisco, CO
Aircraft: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS INC AS350B3E, registration: N390LG
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 3, 2015, at 1339 mountain daylight time, an Airbus Helicopter Inc. (formerly American Eurocopter) AS350B3e helicopter, N390LG, impacted the upper west parking lot 360 feet southwest of the Summit Medical Center helipad (91CO), Frisco, Colorado. A post-impact fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Air Methods Corp and the flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on a company flight plan. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured and two flight nurses were seriously injured. The public relations flight was en route to Gypsum, Colorado.

According to Air Methods the helicopter was flying to the American Spirit of Adventure Boy Scout Camp near Gypsum, Colorado, for a public relations mission. Multiple witnesses observed the helicopter lift off from the ground-based helipad, rotate counterclockwise, and climb simultaneously. One witness estimated that the helicopter reached an altitude of 100 feet before it started to descend. The helicopter continued to spin counterclockwise several times before it impacted a parking lot and an RV to the southwest of the Flight for Life hangar and helipad. The helicopter came to rest on its right side, was damaged by impact forces, and was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire.

Influx of passengers at Monterey Regional Airport (KMRY), Monterey County, California

MONTEREY, Calif. -

"It actually is more for safety than it is for anything else," said Monterey Regional Airport Executive Director Mike LaPier.

The runway safety project, which was mandated by the FAA, is complete. Now airport officials prepare for an influx of passengers for the holiday season and those traveling to the Super Bowl.

"Well it's a convenient airport first of all. It's not too busy, getting in and out, getting the proper services. They're all right here and it's very easy. It's pretty simple to navigate through so we think that's an advantage,” said Mike LaPier.

And while it's still uncertain how many people book commercial flights into Monterey for the big game February 7th, Executive Director Michael LaPier said there will undoubtedly be more traffic than usual. 

"We know that we are going to see a number of large corporate jets and private jets and aircrafts that will be here that will take advantage of the Monterey area and all it has to offer," said Mike LaPier.

The 80 mile drive to Levis Stadium for Super Bowl 50 doesn't hurt either.

"If you fly into Monterey you're staying out of all the congestion in the bay area and you have a nice drive in and out," said Monterey Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jody Hansen.

With less than two months till the big game the chamber of commerce will begin putting up banners encouraging people to fly and stay in Monterey.

"Oh it's going to be busy. I think with the excitement about the Super bowl 50 a lot of people will be looking for places to stay you know nearby then extend their stays. And that's what we're hoping to encourage," said Hansen.

"The week after is also the AT&T pebble beach classic so we think there's going to be a heavy amount of traffic here for that period of time," said LaPier.


U.S. and Mexico Agree to Liberal Air-Service Treaty: Deal still requires ratification by Mexican Senate

The Wall Street Journal
Updated Dec. 18, 2015 6:53 p.m. ET

The U.S. and Mexico reached a liberal air treaty that would clear the way for airlines on both sides of the border to set their own prices and fly any routes they choose between the two nations with unlimited frequency.

The treaty, signed Friday by Transportation ministers from the two countries after two years of negotiations, still must be ratified by the Mexican senate. Officials from both nations said that if implemented it would increase traffic and enhance competition, benefitting fliers.

The accord “lays the groundwork to take advantage to the maximum of the boom in the airline industry happening in both countries,” said Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, Mexico’s transportation and communications minister. The treaty encourages code-sharing among U.S. and Mexican carriers and would boost the overall number of fliers between the nations, Mr. Ruiz Esparza said.

Thomas Engle, U.S. State Department deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs, said the agreement eliminates rules that limited service to just two or three airlines from each country on about 30 cross-border routes. The enhanced competition “should help keep fares affordable,” Mr. Engle said.

Mexico was one of the largest countries with which the U.S. lacked a modernized air accord. Others include Russia and China. The U.S. currently has 118 so-called “Open Skies” air treaties with foreign governments. Although U.S. officials said the Mexico accord doesn’t follow that model, they said it removes all the barriers in the current, restrictive U.S.-Mexico agreement.

The treaty wouldn’t eliminate all hurdles. The main airport in Mexico City, Benito Ju├írez International Airport, is congested and airlines must have slots—take-off and landing appointments—to access that facility. Mr. Engle said the rights in the new treaty allow an unlimited number of carriers to apply to serve routes, but he acknowledged that airport requires slots, as do a few in the U.S., making them difficult to breach for new entrants.

Still, U.S. carriers that serve Mexico, including United Continental Holdings Inc. and JetBlue Airways Corp., applauded the tentative treaty. American Airlines Group Inc., the leading U.S. carrier to Latin America, said it anticipates improving service to Mexico once the new accord is in place.

Delta Air Lines Inc. said it expects expanded opportunities along with its partner Grupo Aeromexico SAB, Mexico’s flag airline. Delta, which has had a code-sharing agreement with Aeromexico since 1994, currently owns or has options for about 17% of the Mexican carrier, and last month said it intends to increase that stake to 49%.

Delta and Aeromexico in March applied for U.S. government permission for antitrust immunity so they could operate a tight joint venture in which they would share revenue and jointly set schedules and prices. That application is still being reviewed, said Susan Kurland, the U.S. Transportation Department’s assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs.

Top executives from major Mexican airlines attended the signing ceremony at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Volaris Chief Executive Enrique Beltranena said in an interview that he expects the Mexican Senate to ratify the agreement when legislators take up the matter in February. He said the treaty opens up two interesting routes that Volaris will take a look at: Mexico City to New York and Mexico City to Houston. Volaris currently has 21 U.S. destinations.

Aeromexico praised the agreement in newspaper ads Friday, saying it would allow Mexican airlines to form alliances with U.S. counterparts like its proposed one with Delta that would “improve service and lower prices.”

Aeromexico flies to 17 U.S. cities. Together with Delta, it claimed nearly a quarter of U.S.-Mexico air passengers in the year’s first eight months, according to Mexico’s civil aviation agency.

Rivals complained this fall that a deeper Aeromexico-Delta alliance would seal the Mexican carrier’s dominance in the cross border market. One carrier, Interjet, pulled out of the national airlines chamber in October to protest its supposed bias in favor Aeromexico.

Interjet said it considers the accord “very positive and necessary given the transformations and needs of the current market.”

Original article can be found here:

CityJet sale talks with Intro believed to be almost sealed

CityJet executive chairman, Pat Byrne, right, at a Berlin aviation conference where the aircraft deal with Superjet International was announced in October, with Superjet International boss, Nazario Cauceglia. CityJet has 15 firm orders and 16 options

Negotiations by CityJet owner Intro Aviation to exit its investment in the Dublin-based airline are close to being finalized, it's believed.

The German owner has been in talks since the spring about selling the carrier, it's understood, with speculation having mounted once founder Pat Byrne returned to the airline as executive chairman in February.

If the negotiations are successfully concluded in coming weeks, it's believed that Intro will no longer be a shareholder in CityJet, which has recently embarked on an ambitious expansion plan. CityJet declined to comment.

There has been a significant amount of activity at the airline since Mr. Byrne's return, with the executive chairman having effectively driven the changes, it's believed.

It's highly unlikely that he would continue to run CityJet without having a stake in it. Intro Aviation is thought to be in talks with an investor connected to the aviation industry.

The carrier, sold by Air France-KLM to Intro Aviation last year, recently placed firm orders for 15 Sukhoi Superjet aircraft and took options on 16 more.

That order is worth over $1bn at list prices. The Superjets will be used to replace the existing CityJet fleet and expand services.

Under the Superjet agreement, the aircraft are being bought by UK-based aviation financing and leasing firm Falko. It will then lease the jets to CityJet.

Earlier this year CityJet inked a sale and leaseback of its existing fleet of Avro BAE jets with Falko.

CityJet also secured a major deal with Scandinavian carrier SAS to operate a regional service on its behalf.

As part of that contract, CityJet acquired 100pc ownership of SAS subsidiary Blue1. The Irish airline also placed an order for up to 14 Bombardier aircraft that will be used to operate the service for SAS.

Intro Aviation is believed to have paid nothing for CityJet when it acquired it last year, while Air France-KLM also wrote off tens of millions of euros in debts owed by CityJet to the parent, and also indemnified it against ongoing litigation in France.


Two hangars completed at Pitt-Greenville Airport (KPGV), Greenville, Pitt County, North Carolina

Hangar 24 is 120 feet by 115 feet with a 36 foot by 36 foot unfinished office space.

The Pitt-Greenville Airport has completed construction of two new corporate hangars that officials hope will be the start of east coast hub for corporate aircraft.

The Airport Authority expects to receive the keys to the two new hangars today and will then immediately get to work to improve the access road to the hangers and a security fence around the hangar area.

The hangars will generate revenue for the airport and the area three ways, according to Jerry Vickers, executive director of the Pitt-Greenville Airport Authority.

The first is from leasing the hangars, the second is selling fuel to the planes, and the third is through tax revenue for Greenville and Pitt County.

Once the access road and fencing are repaired, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March, the authority could begin leasing out the hangars at a cost of $8 per square foot, although if a company were to sign a three-year lease, it would likely receive a discount on the lease.

“The fuel is a big revenue raiser,” Vickers said. “The more of them, the thirstier they are, and we like it.”

If planes make their home at the airport, they must register and pay taxes in Greenville and Pitt County, so that brings additional revenue to the tax coffers.

Hangar 22 at the airport is 150 feet by 75 feet with 12 feet by 20 feet of finished office space.

The type of aircraft the airport attempts to attract for the larger hangar is in the $30 to $36 million range.

“This is the kind of tide that raises all kinds of boats,” Vickers said.

The planes that the airport hopes will lease the hangars do not have to be from local corporations. While the plane and the pilot may be based in the Greenville area, the corporation might be located in another state, Vickers said.

If the plane is needed for a trip, the pilot would begin the flight in Greenville, fly to the location where the corporation is located, pick up the passengers and fly them to their destination. At the end of the trip, the pilot would would fly back to Greenville to store the plane until the next trip.

“One aircraft we’re working to get is from a company in Charlottesville [Virginia],” Vickers said.

“We’ve got a lot of prospects; two that are really looking good,” he said. “We only need two.”

Hangar 22 at the airport is 150 feet by 75 feet with 12 feet by 20 feet of finished office space.

The first hangar, Hangar 22, is 150 feet by 75 feett with a 16 feet by 20 feet finished office space. The second hangar, Hangar 24, is 120 feet by 115 feet with a 36 foot by 36 foot unfinished office space and an epoxy floor.

The Airport Authority Board of Directors approved a $2 million budget for the hangars and it approved $1,996,220 to pay for construction and engineering. It had an additional $7,462 in change orders that it expects to pay for a projected shortfall of $3,682.

The Authority applied for two grants for the access road rehabilitation and security fencing improvements and reimbursement of hangar site development costs. It expects to receive a state grant for $336,300 for those two expenses, with $81,736 going to access road rehabilitation and $57,743 for security improvements.

“The city and the county will be happy with this grant as well because that reduced the payback period,” Vickers told the board on Wednesday.

After it receives $196,821 for the site development reimbursement, the total projected costs is expected to be $1,806.861.


Air Odisha Bhubaneswar-Sambalpur flights to begin by December 30

Bhubaneswar, Dec 18:

Having completed the trial run between Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur successfully this afternoon, Bhubaneswar based air charter company Air Odisha Aviation Private Limited (AOAPL) plans to start commercial air services between the cities by December 30.

“The trial run of the flight was successful. We have been given a green signal by DGCA to start operating our commercial flights. We are trying to start the flight services between Sambalpur and Bhubaneswar by December 30,” said Trideb Rout, Director of the Air Odisha Aviation Private Limited.

“The flight services would be offered six days a week from Monday till Saturday and there would be one flight daily between the two cities. Initially the launching price of the ticket would be kept between Rs 2000 to Rs 2500 and they would be made available at both airports and online,” he added.

The direct flight between Bhubaneswar to Sambalpur would bring down the travel time down to 50 minutes. The timing of the flight, however, is yet to be finalized.

“We are trying for a suitable time so that flyers from Western Odisha can get an easy connecting flight to Delhi or Mumbai from Biju Patnaik International Airport of Bhubaneswar. Besides, in the long term we are planning to start direct flight services to Rourkela and Jharsuguda as well,” said Rout.

As per information provided by the company, the single-engine short-haul Cessna 208 Caravan regional airliner took off from Bhubaneswar at about 12.15 PM today and successfully landed in Rourkela at about 2.20 PM. It again took off from Rourkela at about 3 PM and landed in Sambalpur after twenty minutes.

The Biju Patnaik International Airport headquartered airliner had long been vying to start the services but got the nod from DGCA only recently.


Beech 95-B55 (T42A) Baron, N555TK: Incident occurred December 18, 2015 at Hayward Executive Airport (KHWD), Hayward, Alameda County, California

Date: 19-DEC-15 
Time: 00:25:00Z
Regis#: N555TK
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 55
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Personal
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Oakland FSDO-27
State: California


HAYWARD (KRON) — A plane crash has been reported at the Hayward Airport Friday afternoon, according to firefighters.

Hayward fire said the pilot and the passenger did not sustain any injuries from the crash. 

This occurred on the landing, but it is unclear exactly what went wrong.


Iqaluit Humane Society needs new airline deal to fly dogs to Ottawa: Shelter worried it may have to euthanize after flight schedule change ends deal with Canadian North

Two airlines are in discussion with the Iqaluit Humane Society to find a way to continue flying unwanted dogs to Ottawa and adoptive homes in the south.

The humane society has a partnership with a shelter in Gatineau, Que., to take dogs when the Iqaluit shelter becomes overcrowded.

Only two airlines have scheduled flights between Iqaluit and Ottawa: Canadian North and First Air.

For the past four years Canadian North has been sponsoring the shelter by flying dogs south, free of charge. But upcoming changes to airline's flight schedule in January means that arrangement will no longer work out.

As of Jan. 11, Canadian North's southbound flight arrives in Ottawa at 8:25 p.m.

"What it means for the dogs is that they've got no one there at the cargo office to pick them up. They're not open by the time the flight gets in, it gets in too late," said Iqaluit Humane Society president Janelle Kennedy.

"It's not that they wouldn't still send the dogs or that they wouldn't have the space."

The Iqaluit Humane Society got the news in an email sent by Canadian north Dec. 9.

"It was a great run to be able to keep our daytime flight until the end of the year, however, I just received word that as of January 11, 2016, we are back to our evening flight from Iqaluit to Ottawa. I hope that 'the other airline' will be able to assist with transport of the pets in 2016," wrote Gail Quinn, Canadian North's manager of sponsorship's and events.

Canadian North has a codeshare agreement with First Air, meaning a customer booking a ticket with one airline may end up flying with the other, depending on the time of the flight. The agreement is under review by the Canadian Competition Bureau.

The shelter in Iqaluit typically takes in 25 dogs a month.

"When you run out of space, you have to make decisions," Kennedy said.

"We've been priding ourselves as being a no-kill shelter and we really don't want to have to go that route."

Shipping costs can be expensive – a 100 pound dog could cost as much as $500 to transport, said Kennedy.

"If we have to pay cargo bills, we'd never afford it. It's extremely expensive as everybody knows."

Deal in the works

When CBC contacted Canadian North, it said it had been in discussions with the shelter to figure out a work-around to ensure the program would continue to run.

"We're happy to present an offer to the Iqaluit Humane Society and we hope we can keep working together with them. We're proud to support this," said Canadian North spokesperson Kelly Lewis.

Lewis wouldn't get into specifics of how the arrangement would work.

"We've provided all the details to them on this and we'll certainly be waiting hearing back from them on it."

The shelter's president said it is reviewing the offer, as well as offers from First Air to send dogs to Ottawa.

"We know it's a big commitment but it's life or death for these animals," Kennedy said.

Story and photos:

Opinion: Island Airlines and Cape & Islands Air Freight

Island Airlines crash lands 

We propose a new law, or at least a strict new business regulation, that requires any for-profit commercial enterprise that serves the public interest to give at least 30 days notice before closing its doors.

Today's culprit: Island Airlines and Cape & Islands Air Freight, which closed down without warning at Barnstable Municipal Airport last Friday. 

Increased ferry service to the island was partly to blame for the company's closure.

Noah Karberg, public information coordinator for Nantucket Memorial Airport, said the loss of Island Airlines and its freight arm was a blow to residents, visitors and businesses there.

“They were the main air taxi provider,” he said. “And we are concerned about freight. They were a crucial link, a lifeline for spare parts" and other necessities.

Bringing in another airline to pick up the slack isn’t easy, he said. Island Airlines and its freight company used a separate hangar, had its own parking lot, and a system for securely moving goods from its planes to its facilities and then to customers. All of that is off limits until bankruptcy proceedings are resolved.

Now the two airports are scrambling to find alternatives, and Cape Air is working hard to help.

“We knew something was afoot,” said airport Manager Roland “Bud” Breault. “We knew for a while that they’ve been having some financial difficulties.”

If that is the case, the airport should have planned for the possibility of an overnight shutdown. And if Islands Air really cared about the Cape and Nantucket communities, it would have worked with the airports, Cape Air and other partners to better prepare to fill the gap.


Durango-La Plata County Airport (KDRO) reports busy November: Taxiway rehabilitation project to start in spring

The Durango-La Plata County Airport had a busy November, and American Airlines increased its service to help meet the demand.

The number of people leaving on a plane from Durango was up 5 percent in November to 13,706 compared to 13,051 during the same period last year.

“We’re back to a growing trend again,” said aviation director Kip Turner.

The airport saw several months of decline this year. The total number of people boarding planes, also called enplanements, is down 2.1 percent from 164,949 to 160,520 so far for the year. The drop is mainly due to Frontier Airlines’ cutting its seasonal flights to Durango this year.

Frontier did not provide flights to Durango in November last year, so the new numbers clearly reflect the additional service American is providing to Durango.

If American had not added capacity to Durango, the airport could have seen much steeper declines in enplanements.

In November, 2,932 passengers flew American Airlines to Dallas, an increase of 47 percent over last year. Overall seat capacity for the month was up 15.5 percent.

“Airlines don’t add seat capacity unless you have a strong market,” Turner said.

The Dallas route is an ongoing success story for the airport because in 2013 American provided only seasonal flights to and Dallas and now it has a daily flight to and from the Texas city and two daily flights to and from Phoenix, Turner said.

“It’s something to get excited about,” he said.

The airport is preparing for several major construction projects to handle growth.

In the spring, the airport will start a taxiway rehabilitation project. It was expected to start in 2015, but was delayed because some federal grant funding was not available until September, Turner said.

The work will take place mainly at night and is not expected to disrupt flights, he said.

The airport also is preparing for construction of a new airport terminal on the east side of the runway. The project, estimated to cost $85 million in its first phase, will require a vote of the people to approve funding. It is expected to be on the ballot in November.

The airport advisory commission is talking about changing the airport’s name to better reflect the regional service it provides.

But this process is in its infant stages, Turner said. 


Pediatric Medical Emergency Team Extend Lease at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport (KCGI), Cape Girardeau County, Missouri

During their Dec. 7 meeting, the Cape Girardeau City Council approved a lease agreement amendment between the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis, extending for one year the hospital’s use of hangar space.

The lease agreement allows SSM to house their Cape Girardeau Transport Team (including a pediatric nurse, a respiratory therapist, and an ambulance driver) and equipment used to respond to our region’s need for emergency pediatric medical care in partnership with ARCH Air Medical Services out of Farmington, Mo.

This is the third approval of a one-year lease extension between the City/Airport and SSM since 2012. The lease also provides the City additional revenues of $1,400 per month and generates additional revenue through fuel sales.

Below are the number of trips the SSM transport team locally have been called upon to respond. If the continued presence of SSM produces enough air medical traffic throughout the region, including the Southeast Missouri Bootheel, ARCH could consider a return to the Cape Girardeau area.

Read more here:

Okmulgee Regional Airport (KOKM) now patterned after Jones Riverside Airport (KRVS)

Jeff Hough -Tulsa’s Deputy Airports Director

City Council voted to approve the reduction in the Williams Electric, LLC who agrees to a net decrease in their contract of $3,570.00 for work done at the Okmulgee Regional Airport. City Clerk, Ronnia Andrews, informed the Council that the project is finished.

Additionally they approved an Amendment to an agreement with CEC Infrastructure Solutions to construct some drainage improvements.

The Council voted to approve the appointment of Terry Bemis to replace Mr. Jack Harlan on the Airport Advisory Board.

Jeff Hough, who is, Tulsa’s Deputy Airports Director spoke to the Council and gave an update on the progress at Okmulgee Regional Airport which is now under the umbrella of the Tulsa Airports. It paves the way to an identical operation as the Jones Riverside Airport near Jenks, which they are attempting to model it after.

The City has an agreement with the Tulsa International Trust who has been operating the airport since July 1, 2015. They are working on drafting documents to lease out the property. They want to lease land for private hangar development as well as Commercial Development. Hough announced that he will be retiring in August and he is trying to build the framework before he leaves.

Jeff Moulder, who will take on Hough’s duties, will still be staying and getting more engaged in the workings of the airport.

Mr. Hough told the council that he had attended several meetings in the city, including the Lions Club and would be happy to talk to more organizations. City Manager Roger Ballenger thanked Mr. Hough for making the information available to the public about the future plans of the Okmulgee Regional Airport.

“This is the most exciting thing for Okmulgee in 30 years,” Ballenger jokingly said, “Jeff Hough is Time Magazines Man of the Year for Okmulgee.”


Jeff Moulder (seated right)

Appeals court: Private pilots can’t ride share like Uber

Washington — Private pilots can’t offer flight-sharing services to the public using an Internet model similar to those developed by Uber and Lyft, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The ruling upholds a decision earlier this year by the Federal Aviation Administration that said the service offered by Boston-based Flytenow violates flight regulations.

The company’s website connected private pilots with passengers willing to share fuel costs and other flight expenses. Such cost-sharing arrangements have been allowed for decades through word of mouth, bulletin boards and email.

But the FAA said that posting a planned trip on a website was like advertising and subjected private pilots to the same elaborate safety regulations as pilots for commercial airlines. That forced the company to shut down.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the FAA that rules prohibiting private pilots from being paid include partial payments made to cover flight expenses. The three-judge panel also rejected Flytenow’s arguments that it wasn’t acting like a “common carrier.”

Flytenow said it only provided services to people who became members and that its pilots had the discretion to reject passengers on a case-by-case basis. Writing for the court, Judge Cornelia Pillard said membership “requires nothing more than signing up” on the website. She said refusing some customers doesn’t change the company’s commercial purpose.

The FAA’s decision would not end the longstanding practice of allowing pilots to let passengers share flight expenses, as long as the invitation is limited to defined groups, Pillard said. She also rejected Flytenow’s argument that the FAA was restricting the company’s freedom of speech, saying the advertising of illegal activity has never been protected speech.

Alan Guichard, chief financial officer and co-founder of Flytenow, said the decision means “less choice for consumers and less innovation in general aviation.” He said the company is considering an appeal.

An FAA spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Flytenow co-founder Matt Voska, third from left, and passengers Steve McHugh, left, Zac Campbell and Greg Skloot prepare to depart from Palo Alto Airport on a trip to Monterey. Voska, a private pilot, said the passengers used the firm's online service to find his flight.

California-based Flytenow Inc. — the aviation version of the ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft — is locked in a court battle with federal regulators, who contend the emerging air-pool business amounts to an illegal charter operation.

The company, which started on the East Coast early last year and later moved to Mountain View in Silicon Valley, runs an online bulletin board where private pilots post their flight plans and potential passengers can arrange to fly with them on the condition that expenses are shared equally.

Flytenow's founders say the operation complies with federal regulations that allow pilots to share the cost of fuel, aircraft rentals and airport fees with travelers or aviation enthusiasts — a practice that was established long before the invention of the Internet.

But the Federal Aviation Administration asserts that flight-sharing is illegal when it involves an online service that can reach a broad segment of the public interested in flying. After receiving an FAA notification to that effect, Flytenow stopped listing flights in late 2014 and went to court.

"It's OK for pilots to post a written notice at an airport or a college campus with 10,000 students, but if they post the same message online, the FAA says no. Where do you draw the line?" said Matt Voska of San Francisco, a private pilot and a co-founder of Flytenow. "What we are doing is permissible."

The company's case was heard late last month in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which handles matters related to federal agencies. A decision is pending.

Meanwhile, other flight-sharing services, such as Airpooler Inc., which served Boston, Palo Alto and San Diego, have ceased operations at least until the outcome of the case. Airpooler also received a FAA notice that its online operation violated federal regulations.

Before Flytenow shut down its site, the company was fast becoming part of the growing sharing economy that involves hundreds of start-ups in the U.S. Among the more well-known firms are room rental service Airbnb as well as Uber and Lyft, both app-based transportation networking companies.

Flytenow's founders say their online service has attracted about 25,000 members, including travelers, flying enthusiasts and several thousand private, commercial and air transport pilots who filled the website with their personal flight plans.

"The biggest risk to society today is the need for the government to keep pace with innovation," said Alan Guichard, an attorney and co-founder of Flytenow. "This whole concept is now taking off in Europe."

Voska estimated that he made about a dozen trips to carry passengers to such destinations as Half Moon Bay, Merced, Monterey, Napa and Sonoma. He said expenses were shared equally by him and his passengers, who also paid a separate $10 fee to Flytenow.

Flytenow officials estimate that the cost of a typical round trip ranged from $60 to $70 per passenger, hundreds of dollars cheaper than an air charter. For example, they said a round trip from Palo Alto to Lake Tahoe would cost about $100 a person, while a comparable flight on Southwest Airlines from San Francisco to Reno/Tahoe would run $190 to $227 with an advanced reservation for the cheapest option.

"Tons of people want to use this," Voska said. "They want to see it happen."

FAA officials declined to comment on the case. The agency contends in court papers, however, that by accepting paying passengers through Flytenow's website, pilots have been conducting illegal commercial flight operations without government scrutiny or proper certification.

The FAA claims that pilots who list flights online are holding themselves out to the public as available to provide air travel for compensation, in this case expenses.

As such, the government argues that the pilots must obtain commercial operator's licenses, known as Part 119 certificates, which subject them to tougher safety requirements and additional qualifications.

FAA attorneys also assert that the expense-sharing rule that Flytenow relies on allows only "casual" cost sharing by pilots who wish to take some friends or acquaintances on a trip. In contrast, they say, the service's website was designed to attract the attention of a broad segment of the public.

Flytenow disagrees, arguing that the company and its participating pilots should be exempt from the FAA's commercial licensing requirements

Guichard said obtaining an operator's certificate would be difficult for private pilots, who would have to develop a business plan, have at least 1,500 hours of flight time, train to get a commercial pilot's license and submit to additional FAA inspections.

"This would be cost-prohibitive for a private pilot who is only sharing expenses," Guichard said.

Company lawyers note that since the expense-sharing rule was adopted in 1963, private pilots have long posted written notices of their planned trips at airports, kiosks, colleges and universities as well as other public places.

Jon Riches, a Flytenow attorney with the Goldwater Institute in Arizona, said pilots using the website have complied with the rule because they split expenses and do not make a profit. They also determine when and where they will fly, not the passengers or Flytenow, he added.

The company further contends that both pilots and passengers have met an additional requirement of having a common purpose for the trip, such as conducting some kind of personal business — an indication the flight is not merely to transport passengers.

"This is just people in small planes sharing expenses," Riches said. Given the FAA's position, "Sully Sullenberger and Neil Armstrong could not fly passengers using Flytenow."

Original article can be found here:

New airline Rayani Air aims to break even in three years

PUTRAJAYA (Dec 18): Rayani Air Sdn Bhd, which received its air operator's certificate (AOC) today and plans to launch operations on Dec 20, aims to reach break-even in three years, its newly-appointed managing director Jaafar Zamhari said.

"In our projection of cash flow, we anticipate the payback period to take three years," Jaafar said, but declined to reveal the amount of money the airline will invest to kickstart its operations.

Jaafar clarified that Rayani Air will operate as a full service carrier, competing with airlines such as Malaysia Airlines Bhd in the same market.

"But we still offer F&B (food and beverage) on board for sale just in case passengers need them," he told a press conference after a handover ceremony of the AOC from the Department of Civil Aviation today.

Jaafar said the airline is targeting a passenger load factor of 75%, above its  break-even load factor of 65%.

On its expansion plan, Jaafar said Rayani Air will consider all fundraising plans to help support its expansion plan, including an initial public offering (IPO).

"Part of the expansion plan (other than fleet expansion) includes expanding into the Umrah and Hajj flights," he added.

Jaafar also said as a new entrant to the local aviation market, Rayani Air does not see itself as a competitor to the established incumbents.

"Rather, we sees ourselves as an additional choice of airline that travellers can choose from," he said.

Jaafar said for starters, Rayani Air will mount two 22-year-old Boeing 737-400s to serve Langkawi International Airport, klia2 and Kota Baru, followed by Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in early 2016.

In the longer term, he said the company plans to add on another two 737-400s and two 737-800s to its fleet by 2017, as it increases its domestic routes and flight frequencies.

Jaafar also said Rayani Air's initial plan of setting up an operational base in Melaka airport was withdrawn due to limited capacity of the airport there.

"Langkawi International Airport became the choice of our hub for its growing tourism-based economy in Malaysia," he said.


Former heart clinic employee admits to illegally disclosing patient’s medical records

Ebony Shonte Echols was not happy with a patient — a commercial airline pilot — who complained about the heart clinic where she worked.

So she sent his health information to the Federal Aviation Administration against his wishes, federal authorities said.

Echols, 35, a former employee of State of the Heart Cardiology in Grapevine, agreed last week to plead guilty in the case, court records show. A federal judge has to formally approve the plea deal before it is official.

She was indicted in January on one count of wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information and three counts of making false statements, for lying to the FBI.

Echols got into an argument in February 2014 with the pilot, who was being treated at the clinic for a physical fitness exam required by the Federal Aviation Administration. He was not identified in federal court documents.

Afterward, she told the man he was “terminated as a patient of the clinic” and that she was going to send his medical records to the Federal Aviation Administration, court records show. The pilot told her not to. She did so “with the intent to cause malicious harm,” the indictment said.

Echols has a criminal record, according to Dallas County records.

She received deferred adjudication in 2014 for fraud she committed while working for a podiatrist in Irving. In that case, Echols used a patient’s banking and personal information to pay her rent in 2011, court records show.

Also last year, she was convicted of insurance fraud, according to records.

She was convicted in 2003 of failing to identify a fugitive.

And Echols had three check by theft cases, in 2001, 2010 and 2011, records show.


New corporate hangar could be ready in a month: South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field (KELD), El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas

After nearly two years, construction could be completed within the next month on a new corporate hangar at South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field.

The El Dorado Airport Commission heard an update on the $1.6 million project this week.

Blake Roberson of Garver Engineers said rain and cold temperatures have hindered progress in recent weeks, but the project could be completed within a month.

“We’re getting close,” he said, adding that he had asked contractor Dayco Construction for a schedule of work that remains on the project.

Construction began in February 2014 on the 130-by-115-square-foot community hangar. Airport commissioners have said it will help generate revenue for the airport and meet growing demand for hangar space, particularly for overnight parking.

The project has been slow-going, having faced several delays, including inclement weather and a lack of steady progress by the contractor early on.

Roberson told commissioners that Dayco will take care of punch-list items, dressing up the site, seeding and other issues to wrap up construction in coming weeks.

Jeff Teague, chairman of the airport commission, told Roberson that a rubber boot had not been properly installed on a door in the hangar.

“I have talked to those guys about that, and they will address it,” Roberson said.

Also included in the job is a new concrete ramp and parking and terminal lighting improvements.

The project is being covered by a combination of state and federal grants and $850,000 from the former El Dorado Forward economic development tax.

Roberson said about $500,000 remains in the payment schedule.

Commissioners also approved new guidelines for fuel pricing to help pull in new customers and reward existing ones who regularly purchase fuel at the city’s fixed base operation.

The commission discussed the issue last month when SARA manager Timothy Johnson proposed the incentive by changing the discount rate based on the volume of fuel purchased.

On Monday, Johnson reported that jet fuel sales through November came largely from transient traffic (nearly 42 percent).

SeaPort Airlines, the area’s Essential Air Service carrier, purchased 38.8 percent of jet fuel, and the remainder of sales (19.4) came from based aircraft.

Johnson proposed new discount rates based on a three-month buying history for customers.

They include the greater of 40 cents or 12.5 percent per gallon up to 500 gallons; 50 cents or 15 percent for 501 to 999 gallons; and 60 cents or 17.5 percent for 1,000 or more gallons.

For based aircraft (AvGas) prices, Johnson proposed a discounted rate of 15 cents per gallon for any quantity.

Teague clarified that the FBO had been offering discounts, but Johnson’s proposal would change the rates and formally adopt the way the discounts are calculated.

Teague also said that more fuel has been sold at SARA since the city took over the FBO in 2010.

“Before then, we were not selling anywhere near the gallons we’re selling now. The increase came when we became competitive with the prices,” he said.

Johnson told commissioners that fuel Jet A prices were down in November, hitting the lowest sales of 2015 at 15,126 gallons and trailing behind the second lowest month of August at 16,534 gallons.

“Because of the weather, we just haven’t been that busy,” Johnson said.

Teague noted that low-lead fuel sales have been on the upswing for the past several months after having dropped earlier in the year.

“That’s a nice trend,” he said.

Johnson also said that SeaPort continues to see healthy loads after switching its Dallas route to Houston in September.

He said the number of passengers have dropped off since the airline’s introductory rates for Houston flights ended on Oct. 15.

“Some days are better than others,” he said, pointing out that the airline still offers one flight a day Houston.

Johnson said SeaPort is encouraged bythe community’s response to the Houston flights and is considering boosting the number of daily flights there to two, which was the number of daily flights to Dallas.

SeaPort also offers flights to Memphis.

Also, the commission:

Approved the 2016 budget for the airport.

The budget, which projects $325 in revenues over expenditures, will forwarded to the El Dorado City Council for final approval.

Tabled action on a proposed hangar rental agreement until the next regular meeting on Jan. 11, allowing commissioners time to review it.