Friday, December 25, 2015

Incident occurred December 25, 2015 at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (KBUF), Erie County, New York

A small private plane declaring an inflight emergency Friday after experiencing electrical problems landed safely at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The twin-engine turboprop Rockwell Challenger Commander had requested permission for an emergency landing, prompting airport officials to declare a low-level alert. Emergency vehicles were standing by, but the plane landed without incident at 2:05 p.m., and taxied to Prior Aviation for inspection.

“It’s being checked out, and the alert has been concluded,” said Douglas Hartmeyer, spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which operates the airport in Cheektowaga. “The plane had a completely normal, safe landing.”

Hartmeyer said the plane had left Orange, Mass., bound for Pontiac, Mich., with seven people aboard, including the pilot and crew. The 11-seat plane, manufactured in 1981, is registered to Sasha Air LLC of Hingham, Mass., according to Federal Aviation Administration records.



Incident occurred December 25, 2015 at Greater Rochester International Airport (KROC), Rochester, Monroe County, New York

The Federal Aviation Administration says it is investigating after a plane was forced to return to Rochester International Airport after declaring an emergency shortly after takeoff.

It happened around 3 p.m. Friday.

A spokesman for the FAA says the crew of Commutair Flight 3585 declared an emergency because of an "engine-related problem" shortly after the plane took off from Rochester heading for Washington Dulles International Airport.

Authorities say the plane made it back Rochester and landed safely.

Representatives for Commutair did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


An engine-related problem forced a plane bound for Virginia to return to Rochester.

The Federal Aviation Administration says CommutAir Flight 3585 declared an emergency at around 3 p.m. Friday shortly after takeoff.

The plane had been headed to Washington Dulles International Airport but returned to Greater Rochester International Airport. It landed safely.

Representatives for Commutair did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The FAA is investigating.

Read more here:

Raven, N79ZR: Fatal accident occurred July 06, 2014 in Mattituck, New York


Zubair S. Khan

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA330 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 06, 2014 in Mattituck, NY
Aircraft: ZUBAIR S KHAN RAVEN, registration: N79ZR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 July 6, 2014, about 1905 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Raven, N79ZR, was substantially damaged when it impacted the water in the vicinity of Mattituck, New York. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The personal flight originated at Brookhaven Airport (HWV), Shirley, New York, about 1855.

The airplane was located floating on top of the water of Long Island Sound, the following morning by a private individual.

According to radar data, the airplane was first observed at 1,200 feet above mean sea level (msl) south of HWV. The airplane turned left towards the north and continued to climb to about 8,500 feet msl as it went over the north shoreline and continued flight over Long Island Sound. The airplane subsequently began to descend. At 1904:18, radar data indicated that the airplane was at 7,400 feet msl and began a left 270° turn towards the east. At 1904:33, radar data indicated that the airplane was traveling in an east direction and was at 5,800 feet msl. The last radar return was recorded at 1905:19, and indicated an altitude of about 1,100 feet msl.


The pilot, age 41, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued June 21, 2005, and a third-class airman medical certificate issued June 11, 2013, with no limitations. The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination. On the pilot's June 11, 2013, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical application, he reported 220 total flight hours. According to a statement provided by a flight instructor, the pilot had satisfactorily completed a flight review on April 6, 2014; however, at the time of the flight review, the pilot's total flight time was not recorded.


The four-seat, composite canard airplane, with retractable landing gear was manufactured in 2014 and issued an airworthiness certificate on February 7, 2014. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-C1A engine driving a Catto Glass Carbon Composite 3-Blade propeller. Review of the aircraft maintenance logbook records showed that a condition inspection was completed on February 7, 2014 at a recorded time of 20.1 hours. The Hobbs meter was not located at the accident site and airframe operating time could not be conclusively determined.

The airplane was equipped with a front-hinged canopy which functioned as the front windshield, side windows, and cabin roof. The canopy was the only access to and from the cockpit. A primary latch lever mounted in the cockpit operated four latch pins.

Weight and balance information, computed on January 30, 2013, indicated that the airplane's maximum gross takeoff weight was 2,200 pounds and the designed center of gravity (CG) range was 95 to 99.5 inches aft of datum. Utilizing the computed information, the airplane's weight at the time of takeoff was about 1,818 pounds and the CG was 102.2 inches aft of datum. The investigation was not able to determine if the pilot had performed a weight and balance or why he elected to operate the airplane out of CG.


The 1853 recorded weather observation at Westhampton Beach, The Gabreski Airport (KFOK), Westhampton Beach, New York, located about 10 miles to the south of the last recorded radar return, included wind from 220 degrees at 9 knots with gusts of 17 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 17 degrees C, and barometric altimeter 29.98 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was located at 41°3'53.7" N and 072°41.418" W, about 4 miles north of the north shore of Long Island and about 20 miles northeast of the departure airport.
Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector and a representative from the engine manufacturer revealed damage to fuselage, left wingtip leading edge, and the right canard trailing edge. The damage was consistent with a left wing low attitude when it impacted the water. The pilot had a personal parachute pack, and when recovered, photographic evidence revealed that the parachute had been deployed, remained attached to the pilot, trailing behind the airplane, and wrapped around the propeller. Examination of the canopy brackets attached to the fuselage and both hinges revealed no tearing or shearing of the bolts; however, neither the bolts nor the canopy were present.

Flight control continuity was confirmed to all flight control surfaces from the cockpit control, except for the rudders. Rudder continuity was confirmed from the cable fracture point in the vicinity of the rudder pedals to the rudder control surfaces; however, the rudder pedals were absent.

The left wing and left canard remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing exhibited leading edge damage which extended from the wingtip inward approximately 4 feet.

The nose section exhibited impact damage and was partially fractured on the right side circumferentially around the bottom of the nose but remained partially attached on the left side. The nose wheel remained attached and was partially extended. Examination of the canopy brackets attached to the forward section of the fuselage and both hinges revealed no tearing or shearing of the bolts; however, no bolts nor the canopy were present.

The canopy was subsequently located July 9, 2014, floating on top of the water, about 39 miles northeast of the last recorded radar return. The canopy remained intact and the windscreen was not damaged. A video camera remained attached to the canopy; however, no recording of the accident flight was able to be extracted from the camera memory. The canopy quick release mechanism remained attached to the canopy and was found in the released position. The four locking pins and associated locking pin holes exhibited no distortion and were unremarkable. The four pins were reinstalled into the locking pin holes and appeared to lock into place. The quick release line was pulled by an FAA inspector and all four pins released and operated normally.

The instrument panel exhibited impact damage but remained attached to the forward portion of the cockpit. The throttle lever handle was impact separated; however, the lower portion of the throttle lever arm remained attached and was in the full forward or "OPEN" position. The mixture lever was in the full forward or full "rich" position. The fuel selector valve was in the "BOTH" position. The landing gear position indicator located aft of the fuel selector valve indicated three "UP" positions. Both ignition switches were found guarded and in the "ON" position. The glareshield included circuit breakers and several switches. The following switches were found in the on position: Master, Radio Master, Landing Light, Strobe Lights, Pitot Heat, Spare Circuit, and Fuel Pump. The left side control stick remained attached to the control column.

The left and right cockpit molded seats remained attached and had various fractures located along the back. Both seatbelts and shoulder harnesses remained attached to the associated attach point; however, the right seat belt and should harness had been cut by first responders to facilitate recovery of the occupant.

The right wing and right canard remained attached to the airplane. The right rudder remained attached to the winglet at all hinge points. The right aileron remained attached at all hinge points.

Both fuel caps remained secured and in place. Each fuel tank indicated a 30 gallon capacity.

The aft pusher engine compartment remained attached to the fuselage and the firewall was not damaged. The lower and upper engine cowlings exhibited impact damage but remained attached to the fuselage. The engine assembly remained attached to all engine mounts. The composite three-blade propeller remained attached to the propeller crankshaft flange. The propeller blades were not damaged, and the personal parachute canopy and associated cords were found wrapped around the blades and hub.

Examination of the engine assembly revealed that the left and right engine exhaust pipes exhibited impact crush damage at the Nos. 1 and 2 cylinders. All induction tubes were attached to their respective attached points.

The throttle cable remained attached to the throttle control arm on the fuel injector servo and was at mid-range. The mixture control remained attached to the mixture control arm and was in the full rich position. The fuel injector servo was removed and contained fuel. The fuel injector servo fuel inlet screen was removed and free of contaminants. The fuel injector servo regulator section was disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel flow divider was removed, disassembled and no anomalies were noted. The fuel injector nozzles were removed from all cylinders and no anomalies were noted.

The engine was subsequently partially disassembled. The engine was rotated by hand using the propeller. Suction and compression was obtained on all cylinders. Valve train continuity was observed through all cylinder rocker arms. The accessory drive gears were observed rotating. Crankshaft and valve train continuity was verified. A detailed "Memorandum of Record - Engine Examination Report" with accompanying pictures is contained in the public docket for this investigation.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 7, 2014, by Suffolk County Medical Examiner's Office, Hauppauge, New York. The autopsy reported the cause of death as "multiple blunt impact injuries," and the report listed the specific injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated no carbon monoxide detected in the blood (Cavity) and no ethanol was detected in the urine. The report listed the following drug being detected:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (Marihuana) detected in the blood (Heart)
- 0.005 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in Urine
- 0.0015 (ug/ml, ug/g) Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) detected in Blood (Heart)

According to the FAA Aerospace Medical Research website, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana and has effects at levels as low as 0.001 ug/ml. THC has mood altering effects causing euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, sense of well-being, disorientation, image distortion, and psychosis. The ability to concentrate and maintain attention are decreased during marijuana use. Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid is the inactive metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol.


A fuel receipt was located revealing that the airplane had been fueled at HWV, at 1837 on the day of the accident, with 53 gallons of fuel.

The Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A) Chapter 15, which states in part, "…once the stall has developed and a large amount of lift has been lost, the airplane will begin to sink rapidly and this will be accompanied by a corresponding rapid increase in angle of attack. This is the beginning of what is termed a deep stall. As an airplane enters a deep stall, increasing drag reduces forward speed to well below normal stall speed. The sink rate may increase to many thousands of feet per minute. The airplane eventually stabilizes in a vertical descent…it must be emphasized that this situation can occur without an excessively nose-high pitch attitude…Deep stalls are virtually unrecoverable."

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A)

Section 4 "Aerodynamics of Flight" states "The CG range is very important when it comes to stall recovery characteristics. If an aircraft is allowed to be operated outside of the CG, the pilot may have difficulty recovering from a stall. The most critical CG violation would occur when operating with a CG which exceeds the rear limit. In this situation, a pilot may not be able to generate sufficient force with the elevator to counteract the excess weight aft of the CG. With the ability to decrease the AOA [angle of attack], the aircraft continues in a stalled condition until it contacts the ground."

The section further goes on and states the following: "Longitudinal stability is the quality that makes an aircraft stable about its lateral axis. It involves the pitching motion as the aircraft's nose moves up and down in flight. A longitudinally unstable aircraft has a tendency to dive or climb progressively into a very steep dive or climb, or even a stall. Thus, an aircraft with longitudinal instability becomes difficult and sometimes dangerous to fly.

Static longitudinal stability or instability in an aircraft, is dependent upon three factors:
1. Location of the wing with respect to the CG
2. Location of the horizontal tail surfaces with respect to the CG
3. Area or size of the tail surfaces"

The "Glossary" defines CG as "the point at which an airplane would balance if it were possible to suspend it at that point. It is the mass center of the airplane, or the theoretical point at which the entire weight of the airplane is assume to be concentrated. It may expressed in inches from the reference datum, or in percentage of mean aerodynamic chord (MAC). The location depends on the distribution of weight in the airplane."

Deep Stall

According to a book titled "The Light Airplane Pilot's Guide to Stall/Spin Awareness" a deep stall is "…when the horizontal tail of a conventional airplane becomes buried in the main wing's tail wake and loses its power to push the nose down, or with a canard design when the main wing stalls before the canard does. In both cases, the airplane seeks a higher angle of attack, usually above 40 degrees, and stabilizes there. There may not be enough elevator authority to reduce the angle of attack for recovery."

According to Advisory Circular AC90-109 Section 5c(6) "It's also possible, even for a seemingly carefree handling airplane, to achieve what some have called a deep stall, where there is not sufficient nose-down pitch authority to break the stall, possibly creating an unrecoverable situation. Some airplanes can pitch nose-up before the stall, resulting in a rapid stall entry unless the pilot counters with a conscious forward yoke/stick motion."

Flight Standards District Office: FAA Farmingdale FSDO-11 

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA330 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 06, 2014 in Mattituck, NY
Aircraft: ZUBAIR S KHAN RAVEN, registration: N79ZR
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On July 6, 2014, about 1905 eastern daylight time, an experimental-amateur built Raven, N79ZR, impacted the water in the vicinity of Mattituck, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was located the following day floating in the Long Island Sound and sustained substantial damage to fuselage and nose section. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from Brookhaven Airport (HWV), Shirley, New York, about 1855.

According to radar data, the airplane was first observed at 1200 feet above mean sea level (msl) south of HWV. Then, about 1856, the airplane turned north and continued to climb to about 8500 feet msl as it went over the shoreline. About 1904, the airplane was at 7000 feet msl and began a left 270 degree turn to the east and descended during the turn to about 5800 feet msl. The last radar return was recorded about 1905 and indicated an altitude of about 1100 feet msl.

A fuel receipt was located revealing that the airplane had been fueled at HWV, at 1837 on the day of the accident, with 53 gallons of fuel.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector and a representative from the engine manufacturer revealed damage to fuselage, left wingtip leading edge, and the right canard trailing edge. The pilot had a personal parachute pack, and when recovered, the parachute had been deployed, remained attached, and was found trailing behind the airplane. Examination of the canopy brackets attached to the fuselage and both hinges revealed no tearing or shearing of the bolts; however, no bolts nor the canopy were present. The canopy was subsequently located July 9, 2014, floating in the water, about 39 miles northeast of the last recorded radar return.

  Zubair Khan

Zubair Khan with his brother-in-law Umar Niazi. Mr. Khan was killed when his experimental plane crashed into the Long Island Sound near Mattituck. 

Zubair Khan during the first taxiing of his plane at Brookhaven Calabro Airport in February 2014.

Onlookers watch as Mr. Khan’s plane is towed to shore in Mattituck Inlet.

More than a dozen media outlets swarmed the Mattituck shore after the crash.

A Mattituck Inlet Marina employee operates the crane to lift Mr. Khan’s plane from the water. 

A Mattituck Inlet Marina employee helps guide the crashed experimental plane out of the water.

 The front of the plane’s fuselage was falling off as the plane was returned to land.

 A Sea Tow worker helps pull the downed plane from the water at Mattituck Inlet Marina.

Southold Town police sergeants confer with marine unit officers after they arrived in Mattituck with the crash victim’s body on board.

Riverhead ambulance volunteers wait as police and firefighters investigate reports that a plane crashed in Long Island Sound. 

Drones banned from airspace around bridge during demolition

PITTSBURGH — Authorities in western Pennsylvania say drones will be banned from the airspace around a Pittsburgh bridge during the span's scheduled demolition next week.

The Greenfield Bridge is more than 90 years old and carries traffic above the interstate locally known as the Parkway East. 

It's been closed since October and will be replaced by a new span scheduled to open by May 2017.

The old bridge is scheduled to come down in a controlled implosion at about 9 a.m. Monday.

The city's public safety department says a temporary flight restriction "for manned and unmanned aerial systems" will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, extending 2,999 feet in the air and one-half nautical mile — 3,038 feet — around the demolition site.


Colorado Springs Police Department: Man claimed to be on plane with dead pilot, bomb

Record ID: 22360

Incident Date:  December 25, 2015 

Time:  12:10:00 AM 

Division:  Falcon -- Shift III

Title:  Bomb Threat

Location:  4700 Blk El Camino Drive

Summary:    On 12/25/15, just after midnight, the Colorado Springs Police Department dispatch center received numerous calls from an individual claiming to have a bomb on an airplane. 

The individual made comments about being on an airplane with a bomb, having killed a pilot and flying to Florida. 

Investigation by officers led them to an address in the 4700 block of El Camino Drive. 

The caller was located and taken into custody for false reporting explosives. 

The subject was not on an airplane and had not been on a plane. 

The subject was identified as Colorado Springs residence Julio Chavez. 

The subject’s motives for the phone calls are unknown at this time and the investigation is still ongoing. 

There appears to be no threat to the community. 

Adult Arrested: Julio Chavez

PD Contact:  Lt. Noblitt 


Teens taking flight with Civil Air Patrol

Cadets stand in front of the Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft at Hilo International Airport.

The Civil Air Patrol Lyman Field Squadron gives teenagers, ages 12-18, an opportunity to fly a single-engine Cessna aircraft.

A licensed pilot takes off and lands the plane, but in the air the pilot gives the cadet the option to fly the plane from the co-pilot seat. Cadets soar over volcanoes, houses and forests on the island, seeing everything from a bird’s-eye view.

Civil Air Patrol covers the flight’s cost for squadron members.

Civil Air Patrol is a nonprofit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force and encourages youth to serve the nation.

It specializes in emergency services, including search and rescue and disaster relief operations, aerospace education and cadet programs for teenagers.

The Lyman Field Squadron meets from 5-8 p.m. every Wednesday at the Civil Air Patrol hangar at the Hilo airport.


North runway reopened at Taoyuan airport

President Ma Ying-jeou (second left) and Premier Mao Chi-kuo (center) give thumbs-up during a launch ceremony for the renovated north runway Dec. 24 at the TTIA. 

The renovated north runway at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport commenced operations Dec. 24, marking a significant development in the government’s ongoing efforts to enhance the country’s tourism infrastructure.

During the launch ceremony, President Ma Ying-jeou praised the TTIA’s transformation in recent years, saying he expects the enhanced capabilities of the facility to play a critical role in driving Taiwan’s tourism industry.

“Thanks to government initiatives since 2008 designed to improve the TTIA’s infrastructure and service quality, the airport has emerged as a regional benchmark,” Ma said.

These efforts have earned global recognition in the form of the facility’s improved ratings in Airport Service Quality surveys conducted by the Montreal-based Airports Council International between 2012 and 2014, as well as top rankings in staff service by the U.K.-based aviation industry consultancy Skytrax.

According to the president, the number of foreign visitors to Taiwan has been increasing by one million per year since he took office in 2008, with the annual total set to top 10.3 million by the end of 2015.

During this same period, the country’s related foreign exchange earnings has increased from NT$170 billion (US$5.23 billion) to NT$440 billion.

Ma attributed the phenomenal growth to direct cross-strait flights and a surge in the number of countries offering visa privileges to ROC passport holders.

“These achievements prove that the government’s viable diplomacy and peaceful development of cross-strait relations are paying dividends,” he said.

Measuring 3,660 meters long and 60 meters wide, the NT$2.14 billion runway is in full compliance with the specifications stipulated in International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 14, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The reinstated runway can accommodate a fully loaded Airbus A-380. Together with the south runway, the airport’s handling capacity will increase from 30 flights to 50 per hour, with the overall on-time ratio improving from 85 percent to 98 percent, according to the MOTC.

With the expansion of Terminal 2 set for completion in 2018, the addition of a third terminal and the planning of a third runway beginning 2020, the MOTC expects the TTIA’s annual service capacity to top 100 million travelers by 2030. 


Aero Contractors Insists It Is Not Culpable In Bauchi Airport Incident

Aero Contractors has insisted that the management of the Bauchi airport should be blamed for using a ladder to disembark passengers at the airport last Saturday, as it was given assurance that everything was on ground for its chartered B737 -500, aircraft to land at the Bauchi airport.

Briefing journalists at its Head Office at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos during the week, the Accountable Manager/Acting Managing Director, Aero Contractors, Captain Russell Foon, said that the airline communicated with the airport manager before the flight and was given clearance to come.

He added that at the arrival of the flight, it was told that the stairs had broken down.

According to him, “On Friday 18th, November 2015, confirmed arrangements were made by our Head of Ground Operations, Mr. Peter Omata for the handling of the flight through the airport manager of Bauchi, Mr. Abubakar. He confirmed on many occasions the availability of the airstairs and cost”.

Lee Foon, who spoke on behalf of the airline explained that the flight, a Boeing 737-500 with registration number 5N-BLG, was chartered to take the groom of a wedding from Abuja to Bauchi.

He said that the flight was chartered last Thursday to be used for a wedding and that the airline made contact with the Bauchi Airport management repeatedly, who assured that ground handling facilities were on ground only for the aircraft to arrive in Bauchi last Saturday and be told that the equipment had broken down few minutes ago.

According to him, after some minutes on the aircraft, the passengers began to agitate and ask to be let down, and when the ladder was brought the airline captain, to avoid any unruly behavior and any incident decided against safety regulations to disembark the passengers with the ladder as he claimed the groom was a passenger of the flight.

“At 10:42 the aircraft touched down on Runway 35 at Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport. The controller advised the crew that due to absence of Marshallers and no ramp officials of any sort that parking would be at their own discretion.

“After parking the captain reports they waited for up to 10 minutes for stairs to be brought to the aircraft but no stairs came to the aircraft. The captain reported that he informed passengers of the situation and they were beginning to become agitated. What was not known to the crew at the beginning of the flight was that the groom of the wedding was onboard the flight. The wedding was to be started in another 20 minutes”, he added.

On why the airline had used the Boeing 737-500 to airlift 37 passengers to Bauchi, Foon said that for the return flight the airline had 104 passengers and that was why they did not use a smaller aircraft for the charter.


Passengers unable to board flight Rarotonga

Police were called before the announcement was made.

Christmas plans were put on hold for some passengers unable to board a flight to Rarotonga this afternoon.

The Virgin Australia flight was due to depart Auckland at 4:25 pm today, but before they could check in, Wellington women Kerri and Louisa were told they would not be boarding the flight as it was over its weight limit.

They were heading to Rarotonga for a holiday and to celebrate Louisa's birthday on New Year's Eve.

"They said it was a weight issue, but it was pretty clear it was overbooking," said Kerri, who did not want her last name identified.

She said around 15 passengers were affected, but they were not told what the problem was until three police officers were called to the scene.

"They had called them in before they would tell us what was happening," she said. "It made us feel like we were not trusted to behave ourselves.

It was like they were saying 'this group is potentially threatening'.

"I understand that they need to protect themselves and there would be some angry people out there who might get unruly and where that would be necessary, but at the same time, it still makes you feel a little bit stink. "

A spokesman for airport police confirmed officers had been called the scene as they were told "there might be a problem".

"We were called to keep the peace," he said. "We were also called to an Emirates flight that was cancelled that afternoon."

Despite the bad news, none of the affected passengers had been yelling or behaving violently, she said. She had observed that many were on way to visit family members for Christmas -- with December 25 still a day away in Rarotonga.

"There was a little boy, no older than five, who was travelling unaccompanied to see his grandparents for Christmas and he wasn't allowed on," Kerri said.

After a two-and-a-half hour wait at the ticketing counter, the women were told they would not be re-booked for another two days.

They were provided with accommodation at a nearby Holiday Inn until their flight on December 27.

Virgin Australia check-ins are handled by their partner airline Air New Zealand, but staff at the ticketing counter were not aware there had been a problem and deferred queries to an overseas Virgin Australia contact.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Australia said the incident was due to "forecast inclement weather in the region" which meant there were additional weight restrictions in place.

"We apologize for any inconvenience caused to our guests, and will have them on their way as soon as possible," she said.

"Guests who were not able to travel were advised of their recommendation around 30 minutes after check-in closed. Airport security was present throughout this process as a precautionary measure only. "

However, Kerri said communication was poor and the situation could have been handled more effectively.

"The whole way it was handled, there was just no communication for the longest time. Potentially they weren't even telling us the true story of what was happening.


Foreign carriers may not get landing rights on demand

Signalling a major shift in granting air traffic rights, the government is looking at restricting the number of landing points for overseas airlines irrespective of their seat entitlements.

The thinking on these lines comes against the backdrop of Gulf carriers cornering a large chunk of international air traffic from India because of having landing rights across a number of airports in the country.

A  civil aviation ministry official said it was looking at restricting the ports of call given to foreign airlines under bilaterals while remaining flexible on seat entitlements.

Some foreign carriers pitch for more landing points as well as higher number of seats but at times allowing such requests could hurt domestic carriers, the official said.

“There should be a balance between the interests of passengers and the interests of Indian carriers,” he said, adding, at present, the balance seems to be tilted towards overseas airlines.

According to the official, restrictions would in a way ensure that foreign airlines do not make certain places their regional hubs for air services.

A firm decision on restricting the landing points for overseas airlines is yet to be taken, the official said.

The bilateral rights allow carriers of two countries to operate a fixed number of seats to a limited number of destinations in each other’s territory. India has Air Service Agreements (ASA) with 109 countries covering aspects relating to the number of flights, seats, landing points and code-share. The utilisation of bilateral rights at any point of time differs from country to country and is subject to periodic re-negotiation.

As per the draft aviation policy, the government plans to liberalise the regime of bilateral rights leading to greater ease of doing business and wider choice to passengers.

Meanwhile, the Ministry is preparing to put in place a mechanism to provide additional seats to interested foreign carriers through auction and the proceeds would be used for funding regional connectivity scheme.

"If the foreign carrier has exhausted its seat entitlement, then additional seats can be provided through auction," he said.

Noting that separate guidelines would be there for the auction process, the official said, "If seats are auctioned, there will not be any problem as it will ensure transparency... We (the Ministry) want to try this route".

Initially, the rights would be auctioned for a period of three years and it is being proposed as a "temporary measure" as of now, the official noted.


Port Columbus International Airport (KCMH) reports more passengers, flights in November

The number of passengers at Port Columbus International Airport was up 15 percent last month, thanks to an increase in flights from the year before and a quirk of the calendar.

“It’s really a combination of three factors: more flights, bigger airplanes and an extra day of holiday traffic,” said Angie Tabor, Port Columbus spokeswoman.

The extra day is because the Monday after Thanksgiving, a busy travel day, was Nov. 30 this year; it fell on Dec. 1 last year.

Port Columbus had 582,430 passengers in November, up 15 percent from a year earlier. Looking at January to November, the passenger count was up 7 percent from a year earlier.

The airport had 3,946 flights in November, up 4 percent. For January to November, the flight count was up 1 percent.

“We’re seeing airlines bringing larger aircraft into the market,” said Tabor, explaining why the increase in passengers grew by more than the increase in flights.

Southwest Airlines carried the most passengers and is a key contributor to the overall increase in passengers. The airline has added six daily flights since last year, two each to Boston and Washington and one each to Dallas and Oakland.

Southwest accounted for 37 percent of passengers; followed by American Airlines, 26 percent; Delta Airlines, 23 percent; United Airlines, 14 percent; and Air Canada, 1 percent.

At Rickenbacker Airport, which mainly handles cargo, 15.4 million pounds of cargo was moved in November, down 13 percent from the same month last year.

Most of the decline was in domestic shipping, with providers such as FedEx doing more deliveries by truck and fewer by air, Tabor said. Domestic shipping volume was down 20 percent in the month.

At the same time, international shipping has grown, rising last month by 5 percent.

Rickenbacker’s international cargo flights have increased because of two carriers, Cathay Pacific and Emirates SkyCargo, which began local operations last year and in May, respectively.


Jabalpur airport’s license suspension revoked

BHOPAL: Union minister of state for civil aviation, Mahesh Sharma, has revoked the suspension of license of Dumna Airport, Jabalpur, on Thursday.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended license of the airport following an incident on December 4 in which some wild boars marched onto the runway at the time of landing of a SpiceJet flight with 53 on board. 

The aircraft swirled to the left and skidded off the runway, though the passengers had a narrow escape.

Moved by the suspension of license, Jabalpur MP Rakesh Singh had met Sharma to apprise him with the factual position. 

The minister has reportedly assured him that Air India will resume its operations from Jabalpur from Friday onwards. 

There are regular flights for Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad from the airport. 

Airports Authority of India (AAI), which runs Jabalpur Airport, had also suspended three Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) in connection with the incident, sources said.

The decision to suspend the licence was taken following a report submitted by a joint team of SpiceJet and DGCA officials who inspected the Jabalpur airport two days after the incident. 

Sources said the AAI has been told to overcome drawbacks, including improper fencing of the operational area.


Cathay Pacific Fined $547,000 for Skirting French Labor Laws

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. was fined almost 500,000 euros ($547,000) for what a French court termed irregular pay practices concerning pilots operating European routes for the Hong Kong-based airline.

The penalty was imposed after union complaints that crew stationed at Charles de Gaulle airport weren’t being recognized by Cathay as based in France, allowing it to avoid making proper payments into Ursaaf, an organization that collects social security contributions including state health insurance levies.

The fine comprised a penalty of 190,000 euros that had already been paid, plus a further 307,833 euros that had been held in escrow since the case began, the court in Bobigny, near Paris, said Thursday. Cathay Pacific pleaded guilty though fast-track proceedings.

“The issues arose from changes to local laws and their interpretation throughout the years” from 1993 when Cathay set up a base in Paris, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement. The company’s arrangements didn’t keep up, it said.

Other airlines that have been fined in the past for “irregular” practices in paying workers include Air France, IAG SA’s Vueling unit, EasyJet Plc and Ryanair Holdings Plc.


United Pilots to Vote on Contract Extension: Majority backing would extend airline’s success in reaching new deals with unions

The Wall Street Journal
By Doug Cameron
Updated Dec. 24, 2015 4:27 p.m. ET

Pilots union leaders at United Continental Holdings Inc. agreed to send a proposed contract extension to a vote by members, a spokesman said Thursday.

The airline’s 12,000 aviators are due to start voting on the two-year extension Jan. 5, and majority backing would extend United’s recent success in reaching new deals with its unionized workers.

David Kelly, a spokesman for the master executive council representing United pilots, said its leaders voted this week to accept the tentative agreement.

United shares were recently up 2.4% at $59.78, the best performer among airline stocks.

The airline has suffered from rocky labor relations since its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines, and has been trying to smooth that friction under new management that took over in September. Shortly after Oscar Munoz, a railroad executive and United director, was named chief executive when his predecessor was abruptly ousted, Mr. Munoz said one of his priorities was to listen to the company’s 85,000 workers.

Its pilots reached a joint contract in late 2012, two years after the merger. Still, the group has groused periodically about what it sees as poor training, lack of the proper tools to do the job, United’s erratic reliability and other issues. The pilots’ current contract comes open for renewal in late 2017. This fall, United proposed extending the current pact in a round of expedited bargaining that would only cover a few issues. The talks lasted less than 30 days before this agreement was reached.

United declined to comment Thursday, but last month said the proposed deal underscores the “positive, collaborative relationship” between the company and the union leadership. Capt. Jay Heppner, chairman of the ruling council of the Air Line Pilots Association, said polling of the membership indicated the pilots want “industry-leading compensation” without “any concessions.”

The airline last month said it reached a deal to start negotiations with the International Association of Machinists union more than a year before the contract covering 30,000 ramp workers, customer-service agents and reservationists opens for renewal at the end of 2016. The company at that time extended by two years to January 2019 its earlier commitment not to contract out IAM jobs at United hubs and airports. Since 2013, United has outsourced about 2,300 airport jobs to outside vendors to cut costs.

The airline in late October said it has reached a new proposed joint labor agreement for its 9,000 mechanics. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union this week sent the proposal out to a membership vote, with ballots due to be counted on Jan. 25.

Perhaps the trickiest negotiations concern United’s 21,000 flight attendants. They and United have been unable to reach agreement on a joint contract even though they have been bargaining since 2012. The talks are being assisted by federal mediators. But until a tentative deal is reached and then ratified by a majority of the group, the former United attendants are limited to staffing United planes, and the Continental attendants can only fly on Continental aircraft. Flight attendants last week held a world-wide protest in pursuit of a joint contract.

Original article can be found here:

Rans S-12XL Airaile, N124LP: Accident occurred December 19, 2015 in Guanica, Puerto Rico

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA076 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 19, 2015 in Guanica, PR
Aircraft: PORRATA LUIS G RANS S 12XL, registration: N124LP
Injuries: 1 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 December 19, 2015, about 1120 Atlantic standard time, an experimental amateur-built Rans S-12XL, N124LP, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power near Guanica, Puerto Rico. The sport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Dr Hermenegildo Ortiz Quinones Airport (X63), Humacao, Puerto Rico, about 1015, and was destined for Eugenio Maria de Hostos Airport (TJMZ), Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, he performed a preflight and engine run up with no anomalies noted. He flew the airplane for about an hour before the engine "sounded weird," then began to lose power, until the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot unsuccessfully attempted to restart the engine two times using the emergency checklist prior to preforming a forced landing to a field. During the landing, the airplane incurred substantial damage to the fuselage.

A postaccident examination of the engine revealed that there was fuel noted in the fuel tanks, fuel pump, fuel filter, and both carburetors. One spark plug was removed from each cylinder and thumb compression was obtained from all cylinders. However, when the propeller was rotated by hand, a metal scraping sound was heard in the vicinity of the gear box. The engine oil was drained and metal particles were noted in the oil.

The engine was retained for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19

Stinson 108 Voyager, N97411: Accident occurred December 19, 2015 in Portales, Roosevelt County, New Mexico 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Albuquerque FSDO-01

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA090
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 19, 2015 in Portales, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/2016
Aircraft: STINSON 108, registration: N97411
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, seated in the right seat, was providing tail-wheel flight instruction in an airplane equipped with wheel brakes only accessible to the pilot in the left seat. The flight instructor reported that he demonstrated the first landing to the pilot receiving instruction in the left seat. During the landing roll, he reported that he began to lose rudder effectiveness and the airplane started to veer to the right, so he applied full power to abort the landing. 

The flight instructor further reported that during the aborted landing, the pilot receiving instruction applied both toe brakes at the moment full power was applied. The flight instructor attempted to maintain directional control, but the left wing impacted the runway and the airplane veered off the runway to the left. The flight instructor reduced the power to idle and the airplane stopped in the terrain adjacent to the runway. The left wing and left aileron were substantially damaged. 

The pilot receiving instruction reported that he remained clear of the flight controls and brakes during the landing roll. He reported that he applied brakes only after the runway excursion to the left, after the flight instructor had reduced power to idle during the aborted landing. The flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Postaccident photos revealed deceleration skid marks leading off the runway first to the right, and additional deceleration skid marks about 550 feet further down the runway leading off to the left into the grass. 

The flight instructor reported the automated weather observing system about the time of the accident reported wind from 220 degrees true at 10 knots, which resulted in a 5 knot crosswind.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot receiving instruction's improper brake application during the flight instructor's aborted landing, which resulted in a loss of directional control and a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was the flight instructor's decision to perform flight training in an airplane without dual-equipped wheel brakes.