Monday, December 28, 2015

Okinawa court fines man ¥500,000 for pointing laser at U.S. Marines chopper

NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – A court in Okinawa Prefecture on Monday ordered a 56-year-old man to pay a fine of ¥500,000 ($4,152) for pointing a laser at a U.S. military helicopter flying near an American base in the prefecture in July.

The order came after prosecutors indicted Katsuro Hiraoka, who runs a video-related company, the same day on charges of aiming a laser at a helicopter carrying four Marines around 300 meters above his house in the city of Ginowan for nine minutes from around 9 p.m. on July 1, forcing them to halt their training.

The Marine Corps has expressed concern about laser pointers, with an official saying they “pose a threat to the safe operation” of aircraft at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

Similar incidents have also been confirmed in which a laser was aimed at U.S. military aircraft flying near the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and at U.S. military and Maritime Self-Defense Force aircraft at the Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Source: http://www.japantimes.co.jp

Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717, N488HA: Incident occurred December 26, 2015 in Honolulu, Hawaii

Date: 26-DEC-15
Time: 21:50:00Z
Regis#: N488HA
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 717
Event Type: Incident
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Commercial
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Flight Number: HAL346
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Honolulu FSDO-13
City: HONOLULU
State: Hawaii

N488HA HAWAIIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT HAL346 BOEING 717 AIRCRAFT DURING TAXI TO GATE, WING TIP STRUCK A FENCE POST, NO INJURIES, DAMAGE TO BE DETERMINED, HONOLULU, HI

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N488HA

Helicopter Lifts Palm Trees Out of Canyon



A helicopter was spotted Monday flying palm trees out of a canyon between Santee and Tierrasanta.

The City of San Diego is working to protect exposed sewer lines around town.

This particular canyon is near De Portola Middle School.

The helicopter can move plam trees out, or bring large rocks in to the canyon.

With El Nino expected to bring heavy rain this winter, the idea is to cover the sewer lines before there are any problems.

Story and video: http://www.nbcsandiego.com

Waco YMF, N99Y, Scotty Box R&D LLC: Accident occurred December 25, 2015 in Fullerton, Orange County, California

SCOTTY BOX R&D LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N99Y 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Long Beach FSDO-05

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA089
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, December 25, 2015 in Fullerton, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Aircraft: WACO YMF, registration: N99Y
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 pilot of the tailwheel-equipped biplane reported that during the landing roll, a gust of wind lifted the right wing. The airplane started to ground-loop to the right, the left main landing gear collapsed, and left wing impacted the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the bottom left wing.

The pilot reported that there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The automated weather reporting station located at Fullerton Municipal Airport reported at 1553 Pacific standard time, wind from 300 degrees at 10 knots, wind gust 20 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear sky, temperature 59 degrees Fahrenheit (F), dew point 16 degrees F, and a barometric pressure of 30.01 inches of mercury.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll.

Accident occurred December 28, 2015 in Paraguachon, Colombia



Colombia's Defense Minister confirmed that the helicopter was not violating his country’s sovereignty.

A helicopter belonging to Venezuela’s National Guard crashed in the Colombian border town of Paraguachon due to “adverse weather conditions,” Venezuela’s foreign minister confirmed through Twitter Monday.

“Adverse weather conditions led to this unfortunate accident. We thank Colombian authorities who provided support to the officers,” tweeted Delcy Rodriguez, Venezuela’s top diplomat.

The aircraft fell at around 10:30 a.m. local time, landing "a maximum of 7 or 10 meters" inside Colombian territory.

Colombia’s Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said the injured pilot and copilot were rescued by Venezuelan authorities. "It was a fly-over in Venezuelan territory," said Villegas, who added that the event was not a violation of Colombian sovereignty.

The Colombian Civil Aeronautics initially told AFP that there were three wounded, all of them taken to medical centers in the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, about 120 kilometers east of where the accident occurred.

"We will proceed through diplomatic channels with the government of Venezuela to establish where the wreckage will be sent," said Villegas.

Colombia and Venezuela share a 2,219 kilometer border, part of which has been closed since an attack by Colombian paramilitaries on Venezuelan troops in August.

Source:  http://www.telesurtv.net

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737, N670SW: Incident occurred December 26, 2015 in Sacramento, California

Date: 26-DEC-15
Time: 00:45:00Z
Regis#: N670SW
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 737
Event Type: Incident
Flight Number: SWA4139
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Sacramento FSDO-25
City: SACRAMENTO
State: California

N670SW SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FLIGHT SWA4139 BOEING 733 AIRCRAFT ON DEPARTURE SUSTAINED A BIRDSTRIKE, RETURNED AND LANDED WITHOUT INCIDENT, INSPECTION REVEALED DAMAGE TO LEFT ELEVATOR, SACRAMENTO, CA

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO: http://registry.faa.govN670SW

Mooney M20K 231, C-GUXC: Fatal accident occurred December 28, 2015 near Montreal/Mascouche Airport (CSK3), Mascouche, Quebec

NTSB Identification: CEN16WA072
Accident occurred Monday, December 28, 2015 in Mascouche, Canada
Aircraft: MOONEY M20K, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.
The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On December 28, 2015, about 2227 universal coordinated time, a Canadian registered Mooney M20K, C-GUXC, impacted terrain while attempting to land at Mascouche (CSK3), Quebec, Canada. The pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the government of Canada. Further information may be obtained from:

Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB)
Place du Centre
200 Promenade du Portage, 4th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 1K8

Phone: 1-819-994-4255
Fax: 1-819-953-9586

This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released by or obtained from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.







Écrasement à Mascouche: un père meurt, son fils s’en sort

Dominique Scali et Baptiste Zapirain, Le Journal de Montréal

Un père et son fils ont été impliqués dans l’écrasement d’un petit avion près de l’aéroport de Mascouche lundi. L’homme qui pilotait l’appareil a perdu la vie tandis que le jeune garçon a été blessé.

Houman Yahyaei était âgé de 40 ans. Son garçon, Sean, âgé de 9 ans, a été gravement blessé et hospitalisé à l’hôpital Pierre-Le Gardeur, mais on ne craint plus pour sa vie, a confirmé en fin de soirée lundi Christine Coulombe, porte-parole de la Sûreté du Québec (SQ).

Les causes officielles de l’accident demeurent inconnues. Un ami pilote de Houman Yahyaei a cependant indiqué qu'une manoeuvre non sécuritaire de ce dernier pourrait être en cause.

Selon nos informations, les deux occupants revenaient d’un voyage en Floride à bord de l’appareil, un Mooney M20K fabriqué en 1979. Ils auraient fait une escale à Atlantic City.

«Il était en provenance des États-Unis. Il s’est arrêté à Lachute et atterrissait à Mascouche», a indiqué Roxanne Daoust, porte-parole du Bureau de la sécurité des transports (BST).

Deux enquêteurs du BST se sont d’ailleurs rendus sur les lieux de l’écrasement lundi, afin de photographier l’appareil, identifier les pièces et examiner le terrain.




Peu d’expérience

Le pilote aurait eu environ trois ans d’expérience de vol et son avion pourrait être considéré comme difficile à piloter seul, a confié un de ses amis qui a préféré taire son nom. Selon son analyse, la météo ne serait pas un facteur dans cet accident.

L’appareil s’est écrasé à 17 h 27 sur le territoire de la Ville de Terrebonne, au bord de l’autoroute 640, près de la jonction avec l’autoroute 25.

Une autre source, qui décrit le défunt pilote comme une personne «relativement nerveuse», précise qu’il n’était pas encore qualifié aux règles de vol aux instruments.


Cette qualification permet aux pilotes de voler sans référence visuelle avec le sol ou l’eau. Et l’heure de l’écrasement laisse penser qu’il faisait déjà noir au moment de l’accident.

Gilles Lambert, gestionnaire de l’aéroport de Mascouche, a préféré ne pas faire de commentaires.

Des écrasements d’avion ont déjà eu lieu près de l’aéroport de Mascouche par le passé, dont un en 2012 et un autre en 2013, mais les occupants s’en étaient sortis avec des blessures mineures.




Haute performance

La compagnie Mooney, basée à Kerrville, au Texas, a changé de mains à plusieurs reprises depuis sa création en 1929.

L’entreprise décrit ses modèles M20 comme étant des avions monomoteurs à «haute performance».

Source: http://www.journaldemontreal.com


SQ spokeswoman Sgt. Joyce Kemp said investigators are still trying to determine what caused the small plane to crash.


A man in his 40s is dead and a young boy remains in hospital after a small plane crashed Monday evening near Mascouche Airport, located around 20 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

Provincial police said the boy is believed to be around 10 years old.

Both were taken to hospital in critical condition and the man died later that evening. 

The boy remains in hospital and police say they no longer fear for his life.

The Mooney M20K 231 plane crashed at the side of Highway 640 near the airport around 5:15 p.m. Monday afternoon.

There was no word on what caused the crash, which is now the subject of a joint investigation by the Transportation Safety Board and the Sûreté du Québec.

Investigators are looking for anyone who might have witnessed the crash and said they can call the provincial police at 1-800-659-4264.

Story and comments: http://www.cbc.ca

Cessna 207A, N9651M, Grant Aviation Inc: Incident occurred December 24, 2015 in Pilot Point, Alaska

Date: 24-DEC-15
Time: 03:00:00Z
Regis#: N9651M
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 207
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 135
Aircraft Operator: GRANT AVIATION
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03
City: PILOT POINT
State: Alaska

N9651M CESSNA 207A GRANT AVIATION PART 135 AIRCRAFT ON LANDING, NOSE GEAR SUSTAINED UNKNOWN DAMAGE, PILOT POINT, ALASKA

GRANT AVIATION INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N9651M

Airbus hiring in Mobile, Alabama, tops 300 with more being added



If a new job in Alabama’s expanding aerospace sector is among your new year’s resolutions, Airbus Americas’ U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile is seeking qualified candidates.

The $600 million A320 family final assembly line, which began production officially with its September inauguration, will accept applications through Jan. 12 for the following positions:

Quality inspector – Final Assembly Line
Quality inspector – Flight Line
Quality conformance specialist
Aircraft mechanics – structure installation
Aircraft mechanics – aircraft cabin interior installation
Aircraft mechanics – aircraft electrical installation

Airbus Americas’ spokeswoman Kristi Tucker said the latest hiring wave will complement the more than 300 already hired as training shifts to Mobile after more than two years of dispatching trainees to the Toulouse, France-based planemaker’s facilities in France and Germany.

“The majority of all of our new hires went overseas to train for some period of time based on their job roles, ranging from three to nine months. Now, we have some expats working in Mobile to continue that training. Eventually those trained will become the trainers to any new hires,” Tucker said. “Our final trainees are returning and will all be on site‎, and we’re all looking forward to first flights and first deliveries.”

The first of the Mobile-assembled narrow-body planes is slated for delivery to Jet Blue in the second quarter of 2016, while American Airlines will accept delivery of the second A321 at a later date, she said.

Of the more than 300 hired to date, Tucker confirmed more than half hail from Mobile and Baldwin counties and barely 10 percent are from out of state. Meanwhile, 16 percent of the current Airbus workforce in Mobile is female, and U.S. military veterans account for 31 percent. 
   
For those interested in the latest hiring wave, the positions available represent a wide range of experience and skill level.

The hourly pay range for both quality inspector positions is $20-$23. The final assembly line inspector requires at least a high school diploma and five years of experience, preferably with an international aviation company. The flight line inspector should have at least seven years of experience with preference given to aircraft or quality test engineers. Click here for the complete job description and additional requirements.

The quality conformance specialist, meanwhile, should have at least five years of experience – preferably in aircraft manufacturing, lean manufacturing or quality inspection with an international aviation company – and a degree in aerospace/industrial engineering or business/quality management is preferred. Salary information was not immediately available, but the complete job description and additional requirements are available here.

Tucker confirmed “more than 10, fewer than 20” will be hired for the remaining installation positions in the latest wave with hiring ongoing in 2016.

All three aircraft mechanic categories require at least a high school diploma or GED and one or more years’ experience, preferably in the aircraft sector.

Structure mechanics are responsible for the structural installation of parts and major components in the manufacturing of the aircraft, while aircraft cabin interior mechanics are responsible for cabin furnishing installation on the aircraft with a focus on a specified area such as cabin equipment, floor covering, cockpit, cargo and doors. Electrical mechanics are responsible for the electrical installations, connections, bonding, measure and troubleshooting with a focus on basic aircraft installation, cabin installation, cockpit and cargo and ground testing.

Salary information for the mechanics’ positions was not immediately available, but the complete job descriptions and additional requirements are available here.

Airbus’ U.S. Manufacturing Facility at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley joins global operations in Toulouse; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China, and is expected to employ about 1,000 people at peak production of 40 to 50 aircraft by 2018.

The Alabama Industrial Development Training program oversees all employment postings and pre-employment training for the A320 final assembly line in Mobile. For a complete list of available positions associated with the Mobile project as they become available, check the AIDT website regularly.

- See more at: http://alabamanewscenter.com


National Transportation Safety Board hiring to replace 2 Alaska crash investigators



Two of Alaska’s four dedicated National Transportation Safety Board investigators are leaving the state, and the federal agency’s Anchorage office is moving quickly to fill their vacancies.

Clint Johnson, the NTSB’s Alaska chief, confirmed Monday that his office had openings to replace air safety investigator Chris Shaver and aviation accident investigator Millicent Hoidal. Both will remain with the board, but Shaver has moved to Denver to care for a sick family member; Hoidal is getting married and moving to Georgia next year.

Johnson said that he hopes to select new candidates to replace Shaver and Hoidal by late January. Application pages for both the aviation accident investigator position and the air safety investigator position have been posted on a federal jobs website, where they are listed as open until Jan. 11 and Jan. 13 respectively.

“We don’t have openings all that often, so people take advantage of it when we do have openings,” Johnson said. “Usually we get 100 to 120 applications (per position); we have to sort through those.”

In the meantime, two dedicated investigators in addition to Johnson -- lead investigator Brice Banning and Shaun Williams, who joined the Anchorage office with Hoidal in December 2014 -- remain in Alaska.

Johnson said that by a fortunate coincidence, the vacancies come during a winter with relatively few crashes; the Federal Aviation Administration lists 77 crashes in Alaska this year, including 10 fatal crashes and 22 crash fatalities. Nearly half of those fatalities occurred in one crash, a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter that struck a rock face in the Misty Fjords National Monument near Ketchikan on June 25, killing the pilot and nine cruise-ship passengers.

And Anchorage investigators backup available to them from other NTSB offices during the transition.

“We always have the ability to bring investigators up from the Lower 48,” Johnson said. “This is the best time of the year for this kind of thing to happen.”

Competition for the jobs is intensified by limited staffing at the NTSB nationwide, as well as the rarified skill sets required by investigators.

“It’s a very small agency -- 400 people total,” Johnson said. “As far as the field investigators, regional investigators, (there’s) less than 50 of us nationwide; a very small group.”

Johnson said each of the positions have steep requirements, with prospective air safety investigators expected to have pilot’s licenses and a minimum of roughly 1,500 hours of flight time.

“We hire from industry types,” Johnson said. “What we’re looking for is people who’ve been flying Part 135, Part 121 (air carrier flights) -- guys or gals who have been flying in the field.”

Aviation accident investigators require a master’s degree, ideally in a field like aeronautical engineering. Johnson said typical candidates include accident investigators hired by aircraft makers like Cessna or airlines like Delta, who already assist NTSB staff looking into crashes involving their employers.

Although the positions have different names and different entry thresholds, Johnson said the people who fill them end up doing essentially the same job.

“They’re investigating aircraft accidents and determining probable causes, and making recommendations to hopefully ensure they don’t happen again,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s own path to the NTSB began when his family sold their flight company, Alaska Helicopters, to Era Helicopters in 1995. Before that, he said, he spent 13 years doing various jobs with the Alaska Helicopters -- including transporting investigators to wrecked aircraft.

“I used to fly these guys to accident sites and I thought, ‘Man, that would be a cool job’ -- and I never thought I’d be doing it later on,” Johnson said. “It’s a great job, I’ve gotta tell you.”

Story:   http://www.adn.com

Co-pilot accidentally triggered jet flight's plunge over Turkey

Mumbai-Brussels flight, carrying 280 passengers, dropped 2,251 ft before correcting course while captain was resting, co-pilot was in charge.

The co-pilot of a Jet Airways flight that plunged 2,251 feet over Turkey before correcting course last year "inadvertently manipulated" the controls, resulting in the incident, according to an inquiry by aviation regulator DGCA. 

The Mumbai-Brussels flight, with 280 passengers aboard, suddenly lost altitude on August 8, 2014, when the 46-year-old co-pilot was in charge. The 40-year-old fight captain was sleeping as permitted under cockpit rules. 

The Air Traffic Control in the Turkish capital of Ankara cautioned the co-pilot when the plane began to drop altitude, flying below 32,000 feet. Most passenger planes cruise at an altitude in the range of 30,000 feet to 40,000 feet, and the Jet flight was cleared to fly at 34,000 feet. 

The aircraft, a Boeing 777-300 ER, had flown 4 hours and 43 minutes when the incident took place. 

Initial reports after the incident had said that the plane plunged 5,000 feet, but investigations showed that it fell 2,251 feet before corrective measures were taken. The reports had also said that the co-pilot was busy using a tablet computer, called an electronic flight bag by airlines, but the DGCA report has no mention of it. 

The final-investigation report by Sanjay Bramhane, DGCA's deputy director for air safety (western region), states that the flight started to lose altitude after the co-pilot accidentally changed controls while working on some other settings. 

After the Ankara ATC alerted him, he pressed the altitude hold button on the control panel and the flight climbed back 32,000 feet. He then woke up the captain, who noticed a reading of 29,200 feet on the flight management computer. 

The co-pilot should have ideally first alerted the captain instead of correcting the flight's course on his own. A first officer is not required to make unsupervised altitude changes while the captain is resting. "The first officer did not feel any abnormal condition of dropping altitude, and decided to correct the flight level by initiating climb without bringing it to the notice of the resting commander," the report states. 

The presence of a cabin crew member in the cockpit while the captain is resting can prevent such incidents, it adds. Bramhane recommended corrective training on flight automation systems for the co-pilot. 

As part of the probe, the aviation regulator examined training records of the co-pilot to ascertain if there were any lapses by him or instructors during refresher flying exercises and other courses. No lapses were found.

Source:  http://www.mumbaimirror.com

Judge dismisses Audubon Park airspace appeal



Audubon Park has lost a second round in a legal dispute with the Louisville Regional Airport Authority over efforts to prevent the authority from obtaining airspace easements for planes over homes in the historic city off Preston Highway near Louisville International Airport.

The airport authority sued the city in 2014 after the city fined the authority $13,000 for alleged violations of a new ordinance -condemning noise, fumes and other "pollution" from planes - that  required anyone seeking an "avigation" easement to first obtain a city permit.

The ordinance was meant specifically to address the authority's actions, beginning in 2011, to seek overhead easements from the city's residents - which some wanted to grant - in exchange for doing noise insulation work on their homes under the federally funded QuieterHome Program.

In its suit, the airport authority sought to dismiss the $13,000 citation and have the ordinance declared invalid.  A Dec. 16 ruling by Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Audra Eckerle upheld a March 17 Jefferson District Court that ruled in favor of the airport authority on both requests. The city had appealed the March ruling.

The latest ruling essentially said the city council could not enforce a local ordinance against the airport authority and that the ordinance placed "prior restraint on all communication" concerning a particular type of legal transaction, in violation of the First Amendment.

"We believe both were wrongly decided according to law," said Stephen Emery, Audubon Park's city attorney, adding that other issues remained unresolved in the ruling.

It's "obviously disappointing," and a second appeal is possible, once the city council reconvenes and discusses the matter, Mayor Dorn Crawford said Monday.  Crawford said he's learned the legal process is a "marathon" and "not a sprint."

The immediate effect of the latest ruling on homeowners appears to be minimal, if it stands, although the airport authority would not have to pay the $13,000 fine. Audubon Park has already missed the boat as of Sept. 30 for having insulation work done under the all-voluntary QuieterHome Program, which is administered by the airport authority.

The airport authority completed work by Sept. 30 in the Preston Highway area and moved on to  the University of Louisville area, Skip Miller, the authority's executive director, said.

That "doesn't preclude us from coming back" and reinstating the program along Preston, if that were formally approved, he said. But he didn't indicate that is likely to happen anytime soon.

"Someday we might come back," he said.

In the meantime, Audubon Park households who qualified for the noise insulation work and others who were not included in the QuieterHome work could get some relief from airport noise as the result of legislation introduced last year state by Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville that's been re-filed during the pre-filing period for the upcoming state legislative session in Frankfort.

The proposed statute would provide a refundable state income tax (even for those who don't owe or pay taxes) for individuals who live near an airport in areas with severe noise levels and purchase sound reducing materials, such as doors, windows and insulation.

Legislative leaders wanted to consider it when a budget would be proposed, and a joint Senate-House committee hearing was held on it in November, Wayne said. The amount of the credit would be equal to the total cost of the noise reduction items installed.

The amount that could be awarded would be limited to $3 million per year, and it's estimated it would take about 19 years to compensate the 9,000 or so residents who could qualify, Wayne said. The idea makes sense, given the millions of dollars in tax revenues generated by airports in state and local taxes, he said.

In Audubon Park, the "nuisance" ordinance, as Crawford describes it, equated granting easements with sanctioning the emission of pollutants by planes and detracting from the character and integrity of the city. In effect, the ordinance makes it unlawful to offer, solicit or accept an easement because of the alleged adverse effects.

After the city council approved the ordinance in late 2013, 13 applicants co-applied with the airport authority for permits the following spring.   But the city said the airport authority was required to get a permit first, even to talk to residents.

Crawford also said residents should be entitled to the insulation work without turning over easements and argued in court documents that the Federal Aviation Administration said easements were not part of the QuieterHome program.

Insulation work on 61 households in Audubon Park that were eligible originally was scheduled for 2011 and 2012, but disagreements over the easements and other delays prevented that from starting.

Crawford still wants the ordinance to be in effect and said he opposes granting airspace easements, even if the airport authority were to pay for them.   It would have "spillover" effect on the whole city, he said.

Source: http://www.courier-journal.com

Long lines at Lake Charles Regional Airport (KLCH)


LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

There are still long lines at the Lake Charles Regional Airport, a trickle-down from the severe weather that impacted other parts of the county.

USA Today reported Sunday that 1,275 flights were canceled and more than 5,300 delayed nationwide.

Source:  http://www.kplctv.com

Monday Flights Cancelled at Barkeley Regional Airport (KPAH)



Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah has canceled flights this afternoon because of severe weather.

Airport Marketing Director Eddie Grant says due to the volume of cancellations nationwide, flights are filling up fast. 

The local airport only provides flights to Chicago and the earliest availability at the moment to rebook is Thursday. 

 Grant says the best way to check schedules is via United.com and the airport’s twitter and Facebook accounts.

The Associated Press reports a winter storm forecast could bring Chicago up to a half-inch of ice and wind gusts reaching 60 mph. 

The National Weather Service says power outages are possible.

Story:  http://wkms.org

We'll make you a pilot – or your money back! How one British firm is planning to fill the world's shortage of aviators



England's glorious south coast from Corfe Castle to the Isle of Wight is rapidly becoming familiar territory for an increasing number of future airline pilots.

Cruising along in a Diamond DA42 Twin Star aircraft, the fabulous view of the white chalk Needles jutting up from the azure waters abeam our wing tip makes it easy to see why so many covet a career in the cockpit.

The craft is one of almost 60 operated by Southampton-based CTC Aviation, which is among the top trainers of flight crews for the world's leading airlines.

Inside the Diamond is a flying classroom with electronic instruments, digital engine controls and an autopilot, all of which helps students transition from novice aviator to first officer in an airliner.

Lining up for landing into Bournemouth Airport, the air is thick with training machines in various stages of arrival.

Many belong to CTC Aviation, which is under new ownership having just marked its 25th anniversary. Activity at Bournemouth, one of CTC's four UK sites, is a clear sign the commercial flight training industry is booming.

Following a 2012 management buy-out backed by private equity firm Inflexion, global aerospace and defence company L-3 Communications acquired CTC in May 2015, valuing the business at £140million.

Today CTC is led by chief executive Rob Clarke, a qualified airline training captain and son of the company's founder, Chris Clarke.

Every year the company trains more than 1,500 newly qualified and experienced pilots for over 40 carriers, including EasyJet, Qatar Airways, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Dragon Air.

'Currently, no one can dispute the need for airline pilots,' Clarke says. 'Aircraft manufacturers estimate that we'll need half a million in the next 20 years.'

Such demand means CTC has just recorded its busiest year. Some 27,000 applications were lodged for pilot training courses and 226 newly-minted commercial pilots graduated in the past year.

'We're one of the largest training organisations in the world but, compared with what is required, it is clear there's a real industry issue to be dealt with,' Clarke adds.

Britain has long been recognised as a centre of excellence for flight training – although it has one of the worst climates in the world for educating fledgling flyers.

CTC overcomes this by operating a network of training bases which takes advantage of superb conditions in the US and New Zealand.

Another major challenge for the company is the cost of training for aspiring airline pilots. Clarke says this can be more than £100,000 to go from no experience to a commercial license.

Sponsorship opportunities are available in some parts of the world but in Europe the financial responsibility rests with the individual.

British Airways and EasyJet are among those with programmes to securitise loans which are repaid once a pilot is employed full-time.

Clarke reckons more airlines will offer some financial assistance, so strong is the level of demand for suitably qualified pilots, especially in fast-growing markets like the Middle East, Far East and the US.

'There are airlines where they cannot fly because they do not have enough crew,' Clarke says.

Despite the surging demand, CTC recognises that spending £100,000 or more on flight training is a large sum in anybody's money. That's why the company's selection process is so strong, Clarke insists.

'We will not put someone on a course who we do not believe is going to pass.

'Our point of difference is our 98 per cent pass rate and our ability to get people into the airlines. That is something we want to protect and we do that by increasing the quality of the guys we select, train and send to the airlines.

'If you get through your selection we will guarantee that there are no extras like exam fees.

'Plus if you fail we will give you your money back, minus our administration fee. We are trying to do our best as a training provider.'

Fundamentally the cost of training a pilot comes down to safety. Many hours are spent in simulators practising emergency procedures and learning to 'fly' the aircraft students will go on to operate in real life.

It is also about maintaining standards so that airlines are confident in the men and women entrusted with the safety of dozens of passengers.

So what kind of person makes the ideal airline pilot?

As an experienced training captain, Clarke reckons the job of flying is relatively easy.

'We are looking for individuals that have got the passion and desire – they are all very positive people. The people we are looking for are just the average person.

'Not necessarily straight-A students but someone who has a passion for the career and someone who we would be able to sit next to for nine hours in a small cockpit.

'The career of a pilot is fantastic. We need to raise the profile to enable those of all social backgrounds to realise it is an achievable career goal and in particular we must continue to make the industry more attractive to women.

'If the industry is to continue to grow sustainably then it has to recruit the best talent and cannot afford to ignore 50 per cent of the population.'

Today some 4 per cent of pilots are female. For those coming through CTC's training programs that figure rises to 9 percent.

Another imbalance Clarke wants addressed is taxation. He thinks the Government should listen to the industry's concerns about VAT levied on airline training. 'That is at odds with other personal training which is VAT-free,' he says.

To fill all those empty cockpits, Clarke wants to access untapped talent. Flipping through the company's brochures most students in crisp airline uniforms are white, male and highly likely to be from a middle class upbringing.

Clarke says that to take youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds, a solution is needed – governments must securitise loans for women or poorer students.

With a new owner in simulation experts L-3, CTC Aviation is gearing up for more growth in 2016.

Story and comments: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

KLM engineers sentenced in failed plot to smuggle cocaine hidden on aircraft



Three KLM engineers working on Schiphol-Oost hangars 11 and 14 and four other suspects were sentenced for trying to smuggle cocaine from the Antilles, concealed in hidden compartments in airplanes, in 2013 and 2014.

The suspects received prison sentences between of 1 and 2.5 years, with one case of 240 hours of community service and a conditionally suspended prison sentence, Het Parool reports.

The main suspect in this case is 57 year old John R. who worked in hangar 14. He coordinated the drug smuggling with an accomplice outside the airport, two engineers in hangar 11, contacts in the Antilles and a few of his relatives, according to the newspaper.

Using a secret code and copies or photos of maintenance schedules, the KLM engineers told their Antillean contacts in which planes to hide the drugs.

The engineers would then have plenty of time to remove the packages of cocaine from the planes, undisturbed while doing maintenance.

But every time they tried to get the drug smuggling going, something went wrong. 

Either too many witnesses or the men in the Antilles complaining about lack of money.

The Marechaussee, a police force working as a branch of the military, customs and FIOD easily managed to link the aircraft with the secret codes, but every time the planes landed without drugs.

By the time the suspects were arrested in 2014, not a single cocaine shipment was made.

Story:  http://www.nltimes.nl

Warrenton-Fauquier Airport (KHWY) drainage, cracks getting fixed




Some long needed improvements at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport will address a drainage problem and repair taxi lanes connecting to the runway.

Federal and state aviation grants are picking up $2,122,038 of the total project cost of $2,400,988. Fauquier County is providing the balance – $278,960 – with funds from the capital improvements plan budget.

The project was bid and two companies responded. At their Dec. 10 meeting, the supervisors voted unanimously without discussion to award the contract to Sargent Corporation, a construction company based in Ashland, Va.

“Work should start in the spring at the end of April. It's a 60-day project and will probably be finished in June,” said Dave Darrah, airport director.

Installation of new drain tile and an increase in the size of the retention pond should take care of drainage problems. Age and increased use caught up to the airport.

“The infrastructure is 60 years old before it was envisioned the airport would become as large as it is,”

At times, rainwater “can be running back into the hangars,” Darrah said. The repairs are necessary “so that water doesn't stand, but flows away from the hangars.”

The taxi lanes have cracks in the pavement.

The airport accommodates business and recreational flights, both planes and helicopters. It serves as a “reliever” airport for Dulles and Reagan airports.

On a “good day” there can be 100 to 150 takeoffs and landings, Darrah said. On a slow one, there may be 30 to 40. “Some are helicopter touch and goes and flights dropping off passengers and picking them up.”

Fauquier County acquired the airport in the early 1990s. It started as a grassy airstrip in the early 1950s or even earlier, Darrah said. 

County officials see the airport as a driver of economic development in the Midland area and have discussed improvements to it as a way to spur business growth. An investment in public water and sewer infrastructure is needed, however.

The area around the airport is zoned for industrial use and “we'd like to bring in the right kind of business. The economic development department sees it as the front door to the county, if you will,” Darrah said.

Candidates running for the Board of Supervisors this year spoke about the growth potential of airport area.

A study commissioned by the county and released in April cited the inadequacy of the current sewer and water systems and the need for an elevated storage tank to supply water to firefighters. On-site wells supply water not potable, or safe to drink.

The study identified potential funding sources and identified gains that could be realized from additional hangar rentals, fuel sales and corporate jet traffic, which pays higher rent rates and more for fuel.

There are in excess of 15,000 licensed private and commercial pilots in the Washington, D.C. area.

“All Warrenton-Fauquier Airport needs to do is capture a small portion of this market and it will be extremely success,” the Timmons Group study said.

Darrah said a new terminal that would function as a “welcome center” is envisioned. He said the airport could serve the vacationing crowd as well, serving those who want to visit the area's wineries and horse farms and competitions.

“We can be more than a hobby airport,” he said.

Story: http://www.fauquier.com