Friday, September 23, 2016

Cirrus SR22, N176CF: President Leath damaged Iowa State plane while flying in 2015

IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY: http://registry.faa.gov/N176CF

This undated photo provided by the Bloomington Normal Airport Authority shows a damaged wing of a Cirrus SR22 single engine plane at the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill. Iowa State University President Steven Leath caused "substantial damage" to the university airplane he was piloting when it made a hard landing at the Illinois airport last year — a costly incident kept quiet for 14 months.



This undated photo provided by the Bloomington Normal Airport Authority shows a damaged wing of a Cirrus SR22 single engine plane at the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill. Iowa State University President Steven Leath caused "substantial damage" to the university airplane he was piloting when it made a hard landing at the Illinois airport last year — a costly incident kept quiet for 14 months.



Iowa State President Steven Leath damaged a plane owned by the school while flying in July 2015 from an 11-day trip to North Carolina for both personal and university business, an Iowa State spokesperson confirmed Saturday. 

The school said Friday that Leath "encountered a microburst, a localized downdraft within a thunderstorm" while he was flying, and "as a result, he experienced a hard landing at the Bloomington, Illinois airport."

John McCarroll, executive director of University Relations, said Saturday that the trip from July 3-14, 2015, was to North Carolina and "involved donor contacts [and] some personal business."

Due to a tight travel schedule, Leath used the school's single-engine Cirrus SR22 to travel, McCarroll said. 

Leath holds FAA pilot certification for single-engine aircraft, according to the school. Leath has flown the single-engine plane several times, including for both personal and university purposes. 

The hard landing in Illinois, which was to refuel the plane, caused about $12,000 in damage, which was paid for by the university using discretionary funds — money earned through university investments, not state appropriations or tuition, McCarroll said.

McCarroll said the school decided it was "best" to just pay for the damage instead of filing an insurance claim.

Leath reimbursed the school $1,100 in November, 2015 for his trip that resulted in damage. He also reimbursed the school for three other trips, all to North Carolina, in 2015 and 2016. In all, the four trips resulted in Leath paying the school $4,637.50.

Reimbursements:

March 25-29, 2015 trip: Leath reimbursed $1,212.50 (invoice sent April 7, Leath paid April 8.)

May 12-17, 2015 trip: Leath reimbursed $1,162.50 (invoice sent Sept. 23, Leath paid Nov. 19.)

July 3-14, 2015 trip: Leath reimbursed $1,100.00 (invoice sent Nov. 18, Leath paid Nov. 19.)

Aug. 26-30, 2016 trip: Leath reimbursed $1,162.50 (invoice sent Sept. 2, Leath paid Sept. 9.)

Leath and his wife own property in Ashe County, North Carolina and his family owns and manages a Christmas tree farm in the county. Prior to becoming president at Iowa State, Leath was vice president for research at the University of North Carolina.

"Keep in mind, none of the trips in question using the Cirrus SR22 were strictly for personal reasons; each of them had university business purposes," McCarroll said. "The president however felt that because some personal time was also involved, he should reimburse the university for the aircraft use."

Iowa State employs three trained pilots who fly two planes owned by the university, but Leath has flown himself for several trips. Along with the Cirrus SR22, Iowa State also owns a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air.

Leath said in a statement to the FAA that he "encountered an extremely strong gust that lifted me and I quickly added power but still dropped hard hitting the right wingtip" and his "left wing flap caught the top of a runway light," according to the Associated Press.

An airport inspection found "substantial damage to both wings," debris on the runway from the broken light and skid marks, according to the AP. 

The trained university pilots were sent to pick up Leath and his wife, Janet, with the school's other airplane after the incident, McCarroll said.

The round trips to pick up Leath and his wife cost more than $2,200 and was paid for by the "Greater University Fund," according to the AP.

The AP reported that the university vice president who oversaw the school's flight program, which would have been Warren Madden, who is now retired, said he was never told about the incident.

Madden told the AP that university policy would bar Leath from personal use of university planes. He also said due to insurance and liability issues, Leath would never fly alone. The AP reporter informed Madden that Leath had flown alone.

McCarroll said he could not answer legal questions about if the trip would have violated rules, but added, "President Leath believes he has acted appropriately."

Iowa State lists a policy online to provide clarification regarding personal use and misuse of university property:

State law, specifically Section 721.2 of the Iowa Code, prohibits any state employee from using, or permitting any other person to use, property owned by the state or any subdivision or agency of the state for any private purpose or for personal gain to the detriment of the state. Violation of this statute is a serious misdemeanor.

While the university said the microburst caused the hard landing, the AP quoted experts that said "the incident appears to be a case of an inexperienced pilot making an error."

McCarroll said Friday he would not comment further about the experts interviewed by the AP, but noted that Leath has been flying for 10 years.

An original release, sent out by the school Friday afternoon, also included a summary of Iowa State's ongoing relationship with the City of Ames and the Iowa State University Flight Service.

Iowa State said they were releasing the information because of comments Leath made at his annual address on Sept. 14 about improvements to the Ames Municipal Airport. Iowa State is planning to cover $250,000 of the $4.15 million project, which includes a new terminal and hangar.

They also said several media inquiries and public records requests had been made. The AP published a story with more details Friday afternoon shortly after the release from Iowa State.

In addition to the release from Iowa State, Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter said in a statement he supports efforts by Iowa State to expand the airport.

"I fully support economic development efforts between our universities and their local communities," Rastetter said. "Partnerships such as the agreement between Iowa State University and the city of Ames on the continued development of the city’s airport are critical to help encourage growth."

Rastetter said he is aware of Leath flying the university-owned plane. Iowa State noted several times in their release that Board of Regents leadership was made aware of the effort to expand the Ames airport and the purchase of planes.

Iowa State also said Friday that the airplanes were not bought with taxpayer money. The Iowa State Foundation purchased a Beechcraft King Air and gifted it to the university. The Cirrus SR22, flown by Leath, was bought with unrestricted private funds managed by the ISU Foundation.

Source:   http://www.iowastatedaily.com

University President Steven Leath gives his annual address within the Great Hall of the Memorial Union on Sep. 14. 





AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University's president was returning from an 11-day personal trip to North Carolina when he damaged a small university-owned airplane in a rough landing, the school confirmed. 

President Steven Leath, a pilot, flew himself and his wife on July 3, 2015, in the university's Cirrus SR22 to Ashe County, North Carolina, where he owns a home and helps manage a family-owned Christmas tree farm.

While returning 11 days later, Leath caused "substantial damage" to the plane after he hit the runway with one wing and a runway light with the other upon landing in Bloomington, Illinois. Leath has blamed gusty conditions for the incident, but flight experts told The Associated Press it appears to have been pilot error.

University spokesman John McCarroll said the trip to North Carolina involved unspecified "donor contacts" as well as personal business for Leath. It wasn't clear why the Leaths were landing in Illinois. He said Leath reimbursed the university in November 2015 for part of the flight that wasn't business-related. The university paid for the $12,000 in repairs to the plane instead of filing an insurance claim because "we had the money," McCarroll said.

In addition, the university sent its other aircraft to pick up the Leaths in Bloomington at a cost of $2,200 that was billed to the "Greater University Fund," a pot of unrestricted donations that Leath controls.

Leath reimbursed the university a total of $3,500 for three other trips to North Carolina in which he used the plane, including one last month. In each case, the reimbursement paid was based on a formula created by ISU's flight program, McCarroll said.

The trips were either a mix of university and personal business or instances in which a business trip was scheduled before or after personal trips and Leath needed the flexibility of the school's plane to meet his official obligations, McCarroll said.

Still, Leath's routine use of a university aircraft for personal travel would appear to conflict with school policies and, possibly, with state law. Any public official who uses state-owned property for "any private purpose or for personal gain to the detriment of the state" is guilty of a serious misdemeanor. Noting that prohibition, university policy says employees cannot remove any kind of university property "for personal use from the buildings or grounds," even if it may seem to be of no value.

In addition, university policy requires employees to schedule their travel "in a manner that excludes consideration of personal gain." And policy of the Iowa Board of Regents, which governs the school, requires leaders such as Leath to "serve as role models and stewards of the institution's finances" and "promote, by personal example, ethical behavior among employees."

McCarroll said Leath did not inform the Iowa Board of Regents about the accident "immediately after" it happened, but that he informed Board President Bruce Rastetter at an unspecified later date.

Weeks after the accident, the board voted on Aug. 5, 2015 to extend Leath's contract through June 2020. The contract guarantees Leath his full annual salary of $525,000 if the board fires him without cause — a buyout that would be about $2 million today.

Rastetter issued a brief statement Friday saying he was aware of Leath's use of the plane: "He is a licensed pilot and can fly aircraft for which he is certified."

Source: http://www.mysanantonio.com


In this Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Iowa State President Steven Leath speaks he is officially installed as the university's 15th president during a ceremony in Ames, Iowa. Leath caused "substantial damage" to a university airplane he was piloting when it made a hard landing at an Illinois airport last year - a costly incident kept quiet for 14 months. Reports obtained by The Associated Press show both wings suffered damage after Leath failed to navigate windy conditions and hit the runway at the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill. The university confirmed the incident Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, after AP inquiries, saying it paid for $12,000 in repairs itself rather than file an insurance claim.



AMES — Iowa State University President Steven Leath, a licensed pilot certified to fly one of the two ISU-owned aircraft, on four occasions used the single-engine plane for trips “that were a combination of university business and personal business,” the university said in a statement Friday.

“Even though each of these trips had a component of university business associated with them, President Leath reimbursed the university for the costs of these trips,” read the statement, which was released in response to questions from the media following comments Leath made during his annual address Sept. 14.

The reimbursement was based on a predetermined formula developed by ISU Flight Service. ISU spokesman John McCarroll did not immediately provide the total cost of the four trips but said Leath reimbursed the university $4,637.

Details of the trips — including when and where they were, what type of business was involved and when Leath provided the reimbursements — were not available Friday afternoon.

According to the statement, Leath encountered a downdraft while flying the university’s Cirrus SR22 in July 2015. That resulted in a “hard landing” at the Bloomington, Illinois, airport and caused a wing flap to clip a runway light.

“While the aircraft remained airworthy, relevant repairs costing approximately $12,000 were subsequently made to the aircraft and were covered using non-general fund resources,” according to the university.

McCarroll said the $12,000 came from “university discretionary funds consisting of interest on earnings.”

No one was injured in the incident and Leath reported it to the control tower and to the Federal Aviation Administration.

ISU has owned and operated transportation aircraft since the 1950s, but officials say they’ve gotten questions about Leath’s use of the aircraft because he holds an FAA pilot certification and instrument rating.

University officials said he occasionally piloted the single-engine Cirrus SR22 for university business and for flight training required by the FAA and the university insurer.

Officials reported the foundation bought one of ISU’s aircraft and donated it to the university. ISU bought the other.

“No taxpayer money was used to acquire either aircraft,” according to the ISU release.

Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter on Friday released a statement affirming he’s aware of Leath’s use of the university plane.

He also issued a statement on ISU’s relationship with Ames over a $4.4 million Ames Municipal Airport development project that will cost the university hundreds of thousands of dollars.

ISU’s Flight Service is based at the airport.

“Partnerships such as the agreement between Iowa State University and the city of Ames on the continued development of the city’s airport are critical to help encourage growth,” Rastetter said.

Source:   http://globegazette.com

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