Friday, January 01, 2016

The ladder scandal at Bauchi Airport

The Nigerian aviation industry was scandalized on December 19, 2015 as passengers on an Aero Contractors flight to the Bauchi Airport had to disembark using a ladder, as no aircraft staircase was available for their use. Pictures of the embarrassing incident were beamed all over the world as they immediately went viral on the Internet, bringing great shame to the country.

It has since emerged that the passengers took a chartered flight from Abuja to attend a wedding in Bauchi, with the bridegroom in tow, but could not disembark as airport authorities said the aircraft staircase was faulty. The passengers reportedly rejected the offer of the airline to fly them back to Abuja and insisted on disembarking from the Boeing 737-500 aircraft by any means possible, which led to the use of a ladder, contrary to aviation regulations.

The furor generated by the incident in the country, and online, is not unexpected as it cast a great slur on our aviation industry and the entire country. The incident has since led to the slamming of a fine on the pilot and Aero Contractors Ltd., for allegedly contravening Nigeri­an Civil Aviation Authority Regulations Part 9 on Air Operators Certification and Administration. Part (b) of the regulation reportedly provides that “Each AOC holder shall arrange appropriate ground handling facilities at each airport used to ensure the safe servicing and loading of its flights.”

The airline was sanctioned in line with Part 20.2.3 (15) of the Civil Avia­tion Regulations. The airline, however, explained that its flight to Bauchi was approved by the Bauchi Airport authorities, which did not inform it that its aircraft staircase was faulty until it had landed at the airport. It also said that it allowed the use of the ladder due to pressure from the passengers, contrary to its wish and operational safety guidelines. The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), on its part, said it does not have operations in Bauchi. This fact, it said, is well known to Aero Contractors, which should have made private arrangements for disembarking the passengers. The Bauchi Airport management said it did not know that the staircase was faulty until the Aero Con­tractors flight had landed.

Beyond trading blames on this incident and the outcry against its posting on social media by a Kenyan journalist, however, Nigeria should see the development as a clarion call to look inwards and address the shortcomings in its aviation industry.

Good enough, Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation, has acted appropriately by setting up an investigation into the national embarrassment. The investigation is to determine the immediate and remote causes of the incident, and those charged with it have been mandated to develop measures that would prevent a recurrence of the unsafe and unacceptable procedure that exposed passengers to high risk of serious injury. This is in order.

Since the Bauchi affair, our aviation industry has witnessed another embarrassing incident which resulted in the grounding of a Turkish airliner at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. All of these go to show that our aviation sector is challenged. The supervisory authorities need to urgently sit up, if things are to change for the better.

The Bauchi State government, in particular, must take responsibility for its airport and ensure that it meets aviation safety standards. All states that are constructing new airports must do the same. A situation in which their facilities and operations are inconsistent with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations and the International Civil Aviation Organization Standards and Recommended Practices is unacceptable.

Aviation is a highly sensitive industry in which safety standards cannot be trifled with. We must not allow Nigerian aviation to be made a laughing stock at this time that we need to maximize our potentials in non-oil sectors of the economy.

Ultimately, the appropriate authorities must henceforth ensure that approvals for new airports are given with extreme caution and that the existing ones adhere to international best practices. There is no hiding place for incompetence and carelessness in the aviation industry.


New Year's Eve celebratory gunfire poses threats to small planes: Buchanan Field Airport (KCCR ), Concord, Contra Costa County, California

CONCORD, Calif. (KGO) -- It's a dangerous and illegal New Year's tradition in some Bay Area communities: celebratory gunfire at the stroke of midnight. In Concord, the bullets were going up just as a small plane was landing.

Amid the midnight revelry around the Buchanan Air Field in Concord, there were noises that sound very much like gunshots, just as a small plane was making its final approach for landing.

"You don't want to get hit by these things," said Roland Williams, a flight instructor.

The plane wasn't hit, but veteran pilots say it's a situation that could prove deadly.

"It can kill you. it can kill you because it hits you. It can kill you because it can disables you and you end up breaking the airplane, and it can damage the aircraft," said Williams.

Planes typically fly at 1,000 feet or lower around Buchanan, sometimes as low as 500 feet over the neighbrhood to the north, where residents say at least some of Thursday night's gunfire came from.

There were illegal fireworks, too. But those typically pose no danger to planes.

Ralph Neumeister is a flight instructor and former commercial airline pilot. He's not that worried about bullets.

"I'm probably more concerned about birds, drones or lasers," shared Neumeister.

Depending on the cartridge, scientists estimate a bullet fired straight up in the air can travel as high as 10,000 feet.

In California, discharging a firearm into the air is a felony.

Story, video and photos:

Pilot Robert Franklin, Aerial Advertising Services: Livermore Municipal Airport (KLVK), Alameda County, California

Pilot Robert Franklin is photographed in one of his hangars at the Livermore airport in Livermore, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015. Franklin has been flying around various parts of the Bay Area pulling an assortment of messages and advertisements for more than two decades. Most recently he has been paid to fly around Levi's Stadium with anti-Jed York messages at 49er games. 

LIVERMORE -- Years before the first airborne admonishment of San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York in November, pilot Robert Franklin took to the skies above the Oakland Coliseum with a stronger message for visiting quarterback Michael Vick, who had served prison time for his role in a notorious animal cruelty case:


He's flown two banners over Levi's Stadium, paid for by frustrated 49ers fans. The first stated that "JED YORK AND 49ERS SHOULD MUTUALLY PART WAYS." The second simply read: "HOLD JED ACCOUNTABLE." Both were riffs on what the 49ers CEO has said in rare public statements.

Franklin will be back in the Santa Clara skies on Sunday, when the team faces the St. Louis Rams to end its miserable season, but he doesn't know what the message will say.

"They haven't told me what they want this time," the 67-year-old pilot said of the group of young die-hard 49ers fans who hired him to fly the banners. "But they're on the schedule."

Franklin's Aerial Advertising Services has been taking to the skies to slowly troll stadiums and other high-visibility venues for decades, and while the majority of the time it's to give a big company's ad maximum exposure, he's seen his share of custom messages edgier than the usual "WILL YOU MARRY ME" or "HAPPY BIRTHDAY."

There's been corporate shaming -- he flew "DON'T BE EVIL" over the Googleplex when folks were urging the company to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of that organization's policies. And a private party once hired him to ridicule another party's privates.

"A woman was breaking up with her boyfriend and was really angry at him," Franklin said.

Franklin said he'll fly nearly any message with the exceptions of those containing racial bigotry or obscenities. He has turned down money to fly a graphic anti-abortion banner, and called the private parts slight "marginal," something he took under careful consideration.

"And you wouldn't believe the number of people that called in after it flew and asked if it was about them," he said.

Graham Grealish hatched the Levi's flyby plan with his pals in the fall after York -- who replaced Jim Harbaugh, the coach who'd led the team to its last Super Bowl -- kept silent following another dismal loss. Grealish said they're tossing around some ideas for Sunday's banner. He said the banners, circling the stadium 1,000 feet in the air, are the best way to make sure their message is delivered to the notoriously secretive CEO.

"It's so easy for him to ignore social media and ignore the press, but when he's in a box at a stadium that cost $1.3 billion to build and there's a banner basically calling you out, it's the only media so far that Jed can't ignore," Grealish said.

Franklin, a former robotics and software engineer, is a strong free speech advocate, and he considers his service a vital last-ditch mechanism for someone who wants to get a short message noticed. Folks love seeing an airplane chugging by with a banner trailing behind it and naturally want to see what sort of message could be so important to get such royal treatment.

"The 49ers have quite a podium and lots of media capability," Franklin said. "But for $1,000, the anti-York banner certainly got everybody's attention."

He added that the first such banner he flew, on Nov. 29, earned some chatter from a CHP plane high above him that had been alerted by stadium security to the presence of an unauthorized sign. Air traffic controllers advised concerned parties to contact them directly, and nothing came of it, but Franklin still "found it sort of worrisome."

"Here we have a policing agency, and they want to sort of abrogate people's right to free speech," he said.

The 49ers issued a statement Wednesday that said their only concern about banner tows is "life safety inside and around the stadium."

"As long as an aircraft has been cleared as safe, we have no interest in the nature of the advertising or message displayed," read the statement. "In addition, the city and the team have received complaints from residents about low-flying planes and the noise they create."

Franklin's work as an engineer and consultant for Fujitsu had him traveling all across the West Coast, so he started flying a Cessna 210 in the late 1980s to get around "at the same pace as a commercial airline but without the stress."

After losing his job in the dot-com bust and seeing résumé after résumé rejected in favor of younger candidates, Franklin looked into aerial opportunities. The Castro Valley resident with a wife and grown daughter bought the Livermore-based flying-sign company in 2002. Just months later it took a major hit from new post-9/11 restrictions on aerial ads at major sporting events. While professional football, baseball and NASCAR officials said at the time that they welcomed the restrictions in the name of national security, pilot organizations said from the get-go that it was merely a maneuver to stave off unwanted, unsponsored and most importantly unprofitable advertising.

"I flew around stadiums for 25 years, and I defy anyone to find one instance where there was a problem with national security," said Jim Perry, who owned Aerial Advertising Services before selling it to Franklin.

Franklin said he's not a football fan, but he appreciates the sentiment of the banners. But he's not averse to being an advertising mercenary for the 49ers, either.

"If the 49ers wanted to fly a banner that said 'JED IS A GREAT GUY,' they could pay me and we'd do it," he said. "We'd have two planes flying up there."

Story and photos:

Fatal accident occurred December 31, 2015 at Skydive Arizona, Eloy, Pinal County

ELOY, Ariz., Jan. 2, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A skydiving accident in Arizona claimed the life of a Salt Lake City man on New Years Eve.

According to a press release issued by the Eloy Police Department, officers were called to the scene of a skydiving accident, at 4900 N. Taylor Drive, Eloy, at 7:25 p.m.

When officers arrived they discovered Ronald Mazzola, 37, on the ground about 100 feet from the main landing area. Officers said bystanders were performing CPR on Mazzola before the Eloy Fire District arrived and continued life-saving efforts.

Mazzola was later pronounced dead on scene.

According to the release, Mazzola was an experienced skydiver with more than nine years of experience and 800 jumps, 40 of them in just the last six months.

Witnesses told officers Mazzola’s parachute malfunctioned at about 100 feet from the ground.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the Eloy Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Federal Aviation Authority.

For anyone wishing to help, the family has set up a GoFundMe account to help transport Mazzola’s body back to Utah.

ELOY, Ariz. — A Salt Lake City man is dead after a skydiving accident in Eloy, Ariz., on New Year’s Eve.

Ronald Mazzola Jr., 37, was skydiving at Skydive Arizona, 4900 N. Taylor Drive, when his parachute malfunctioned, according to a press release from Eloy Police.

A witness reported seeing Mazzola’s parachute collapse about 100 feet from the ground as Mazzola was descending, the release states.

Bystanders were performing CPR when officers arrived. When the Eloy Fire District arrived on scene, life-saving efforts continued but Mazzola was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mazzola was an experienced skydiver. The release states Mazzola had more than nine years of experience and participated in more than 800 jumps.

The parachute was turned over to the FAA for inspection.

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Eloy Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and the FAA.

ELOY, Ariz. — A Salt Lake City man died while skydiving in Arizona on Thursday his parachute collapsed about 100 feet from the ground, witnesses told police. 

About 7:25 p.m., the Eloy Police Department responded to the incident at Skydive Arizona, 4900 N. Taylor Drive, in Eloy. They found a man identified as Ronald Mazzola Jr., 37, lying on the ground about 100 feet from the main landing area.

Several people were performing CPR on him when police arrived. Emergency responders continued efforts to revive him, but Mazzola was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

An official cause of the uncontrolled fall hasn't been determined, but a witness described seeing Mazzola's parachute collapse about 100 feet from the ground during his descent. The parachute was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration for inspection.

Mazzola's cause of death was under investigation by the Eloy Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division and the Federal Aviation Administration. The Pinal County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy, according to police.

Investigators say Mazzola was an experienced skydiver, having participated in more than 800 jumps in the past nine years, with 40 jumps in the past six months.


TUCSON - A skydiver from Salt Lake City fell to his death at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, Ariz. at around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, New Year's Eve.

A witness said 37-year-old Ronald Mazzola Jr.’s parachute collapsed about 100 feet from the ground as he was descending.

Bystanders were performing CPR when first responders arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Friends said Mazzola was an experienced skydiver. He had nine years of experience and executed 800 jumps.

His death is under investigation.

Story and video:

Incidents occurred January 01, 2016 and December 25, 2015 near Logan International Airport (KBOS), Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts


A JetBlue flight spotted a drone as it approached Logan Airport this week.

This is the second time a drone has been spotted at the airport this week. 

At around 12 p.m. on Friday, a JetBlue flight reported seeing a drone as it was one mile northeast of the airport at around 800 feet. 

The flight landed safely. 

On Christmas day, an Air Canada flight crew spotted a drone as the plane approached the airport. The drone was approximately two miles from the runway at around 800 feet.

The FAA is investigating Friday's incident. 

Massport says it is illegal to fly a drone within five miles of the airport or over 400 feet in the air. 

Story and video:

Fatal accident occurred January 01, 2016 near Jerry's Skydiving Circus at Franklin Flying Field Airport (3FK), Franklin, Johnson County, Indiana

Teresa "Terrie" Woods

Terrie Headrick Woods. 
A Martinsville woman ringing in the New Year with a skydiving excursion with friends died from her injuries after something went wrong and she crashed into the ground in a field south of Franklin Flying Field.

Teresa "Terri" Woods, 54, died after the accident, which was reported at 11:43 a.m. Friday, said Johnson County Deputy Coroner David Lutz.

The accident occurred while Woods and some friends were skydiving from a plane based at Franklin Flying Field,  about 3 miles south of Franklin, according to Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox. He said Friday evening that it was his understanding Woods was an experienced skydiver.

The sheriff said he could not immediately confirm whether the fatal jump was connected to a commercial business, Jerry's Skydiving Circus, which is based at Franklin Flying Field. No one answered the business telephone late Friday afternoon, and no one replied to a message from The Indianapolis Star seeking comment.

Based on initial reports, Cox said, Woods was supposed to land at the airfield but hit the ground in a field south of the airport. He said it appears that Woods' parachute opened. However, Cox said, witnesses said Woods hit the ground very hard.

Woods "was in very bad shape," the sheriff said, when rescue personnel transported her from the scene to Johnson Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Woods was skydiving with two men when the accident occurred, according to a sheriff's department report. She was the last of the three to jump from the plane, which one of the men with her estimated was flying at an altitude of about 2,500 feet.

Daniel "Danny" Williams, 41, of Martinsville, told investigators he was the first to arrive at the scene where Woods landed, minutes after she struck the ground. Williams, who apparently had been on the ground while the others jumped, said he removed some of Woods' skydiving apparatus and clothing to check for vital signs and began administering chest compressions to the unconscious woman, the report said.

The first of the people with Woods to jump from the plane was Kerry Miller, 53, of Seymour. Miller told investigators he did not see the accident, the report said, because "he was dealing with his canopy not fully inflating."

Miller told investigators he had packed his own parachute "but was not sure if Terri Woods packed her own parachute," the report said.

David Crocco, 64, of New Palestine, was the next to jump and said Woods followed him out of the plane. The report said Crocco told investigators he wears a digital video camera when he jumps and thinks he captured the incident "up until impact."

The report does not say what the video showed or might have revealed about the accident.

Jeremy Daeger, 39, of Greenwood, who also was scheduled to jump with the group, told investigators he was on the plane during the entire incident. When pilot Greg Woods banked the plane "to verify the three skydivers had open chutes," the report said, Daeger said "he saw Terri's white reserve chute (secondary) open and inflated."

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the accident.

Woods is at least the third skydiver to be killed in an accident at Franklin Flying Field.

Experienced skydiver Donald Hauck, 50, of Greenfield, was killed May 18, 2014, when he made a maneuver about 100 feet from the ground and his parachute failed. It was the 103rd parachute jump for Hauck, who was parachuting from a plane operated by Jerry's Skydiving Circus.

Gary Zeigler, 56, of Columbus, another experienced skydiver and an Air Force veteran, was killed March 8, 1997, when he crashed to the ground beside a runway at Franklin Flying Field after his harness detached from his parachute when he was about 300 feet from the ground.

Story and photos:

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. -- A woman has died after a skydiving accident in Johnson County.

Johnson County Coroner Craig Lutz identified her as Teresa Woods, 54, of Martinsville. 

Woods was supposed to land at Franklin Flying Field, but instead came down in a farm field just south of the airport.

The coroner said it appears her parachute opened, so right now there is no clear answer as to what happened in the air to cause the rough landing.

Woods had been skydiving for years.

The business that was running her skydiving trip has been identified as Jerry's Skydiving Circus .

That same company was linked to a deadly skydiving accident back in 2014.

Story, video and photos:

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (Jan. 1, 2016) – A woman died after a Friday morning skydiving incident in Johnson County.

According to Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox, the woman landed hard around 11:40 a.m. and went to Johnson Memorial Hospital.

The plane flew out of Franklin Flying Field, and the victim landed in a farm field to the south.

Teresa Woods, 54, of Martinsville was “in very bad shape” when she was being taken to the hospital, according to Cox. The Johnson County Coroner confirmed she later succumbed to her injuries.

Woods, an NICU nurse, was the third to jump from the plane. The other two skydivers were not injured. Fellow skydiver Dave Crocco said she was a “skilled skydiver who had jumped more than 1,000 times.”

In May 2014, Donald Hauck died at Franklin Flying Field after performing a maneuver about 100 feet from the ground. Officials said his parachute did not recover and he took a hard landing. Witnesses attempted to help, but he was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Story and photo gallery:

Scotland ‘ferry flights’ claim 3 pilots lives a year

They are among the world’s most dangerous but least known flights – and take off from Scottish airports almost daily.

Pilots are ferrying single-engine light aircraft across the North Atlantic to new owners in Europe and America in a battle of wits against the elements.

It is estimated that around three a year on all Atlantic crossings die en route, often after miscalculating the weather.

Some 40 “ferry flights” a month use Wick Airport in Caithness as a staging post, around half involving single-engine planes, the others executive jets.

Others stop off in Stornoway, while Prestwick in Ayrshire has also been used.

Scottish airports are ideally suited because of their proximity to Iceland – the next in the series of short hops that limited-range propeller aircraft must make between mainland Europe and North America.

One of the main hazards is ice forming on the wings, causing them to lose their ability to provide the lift that keeps the plane in the air.

Such aircraft also don’t have pressurized cabins and have to stay at relatively low altitudes so often can’t fly over bad weather.

The cost of such flights, including hotels and the pilot’s return travel, can be as much as £13,000. However, they are viable, despite costing up to nearly half the value of a £30-40,000 plane, because the exchange rate can make them far cheaper to buy on one side of the Atlantic than the other.

Experts said there were no feasible alternatives. Transporting aircraft intact by air or sea is prohibitively expensive, and the idea of piggy-backing one on to a larger plane, Space Shuttle-style, is a non-starter.

Light aircraft can be dismantled and sent as freight, then reassembled, but they are said to never fly the same again.

Ferry flights are now a substantial part of Wick Airport’s business. Andrew Bruce, a director of Far North Aviation, which is based there, has built up the trade by offering services such as speedy refuelling and Customs clearance, and survival equipment hire.

He has even arranged for pilots to also hire or drop off the gear, which include immersion suits and life rafts, at Goose Bay in Canada.

He described ferry pilots as a “hardened” bunch: “They have seen a lot of the weather. They are ‘numbed’.

“If they think too much about what they are doing they would not be doing it.”

Story and comments:

Beverly Municipal Airport (KBVY) seeks bids for new restaurant

BEVERLY -- City officials are seeking ideas for a new restaurant at Beverly Regional Airport.

Though it was nearly condemned, a request for proposals is out for developers to rehabilitate a portion of Building 45, which once housed an eatery.

The restaurant is expected to accommodate between 50 and 100 visitors, according to the request for proposals. Submissions are due by 11 a.m. on Jan. 19.

The portion of Building 45 will be leased to a developer for 20 years.

Development will take place only inside, according to the request.

Mayor Michael Cahill said that the original plan was to fully renovate the building, but the costs "came in so high."

Instead, city Department of Public Services crews are going to do some upgrades to prepare it for the police department's Criminal Investigations Unit.

When that work on the building is complete, the portion that could be a restaurant will be ready for redevelopment.

"The airport commission believes it would be a real benefit to the operation there," the mayor said. "There was a restaurant in that space for many years and there is genuine interest."

City Council approved allocating $300,000 to put some work into the building back in September. At the time, Bryant Ayles, city finance director, said the building's foundation was in decent condition and "the bones of the building were in good shape" but that the building needed renovations and asbestos remediation.

The former has restaurant has been closed since Something Different Cafe left a few years ago.

Back when the restaurant was active, Cahill said he remembers families going to breakfast there and children enjoying watching planes take off.


Voices of Service: Former War College instructor piloted dangerous refueling missions

Don Bruce was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.

“When I was growing up, my brother would build model airplanes,” said Bruce, a Western Pennsylvania native. “I would always go out and try to fly them and crash them. He wasn’t too happy about that.”

Bruce, a Vietnam War veteran and former Air Force instructor at the U.S. Army War College, followed his passion for flight by getting into ROTC at Penn State University and later going into the Air Force to become a pilot. He graduated in 1961 and received pilot training at the Moody Air Force Base in Georgia from 1962 to 1963.

“I had to wait until April of ‘62 to go into active duty because they were selecting people to go on a quarterly basis and I got the fourth,” Bruce said. “There was a post office that I worked at until then.”

Bruce saw his dream through, becoming a co-pilot of a KC135, a refueling aircraft that aided fighters and bombers entering and exiting Vietnam. Bruce’s aircraft was mainly responsible for providing planes with fuel as they exited Vietnam.

“I was never actually in Vietnam,” Bruce said. “I flew over it many times, but I was never actually stationed in the country. We would refuel the fighters and bombers on the way out (of Vietnam).”

Bruce said the refueling assignments would usually be done in two- to three-month periods, during which he would be stationed at either Takhli or Don Mueang in Thailand. Otherwise, he would typically be stationed in Guam or Okinawa.

Bruce said the aerial refueling process required extensive training and, occasionally, a necessary disregard for the rules.

“There is a lot of training that goes into flying planes in formation at 20,000 feet,” Bruce said. “We had rules of engagement that said you could only fly so far north to pick up planes flying out of Vietnam. You could only go so low to avoid damage to your plane from ground fire. We regularly violated those rules because some planes coming out were practically out of fuel. We sometimes had to go low to pick them up, and sometimes we went more north than we were supposed to. It was always a question of whether or not the people on the ground were going to take a shot at us.

“Another problem was when we were coming back, we sometimes had to go to (higher altitudes) in order to pick our way through thunderstorms on the way home,” Bruce added. “So we would go in low and come out high.”

After Vietnam, Bruce stayed with the KC135 business, becoming an instructor pilot. He was primarily responsible for training pilots transitioning from fighter planes into four engine tanker aircrafts.

“Many of (the pilots) were unhappy because they were basically fighter pilots,” Bruce said. “I had one (pilot) who was very unhappy in a multiengine airplane; he wanted to be in a single. I got tired of it, so one day I got him in a flight simulator and put him in a situation with single engine and I told him to fly it. He was sweating. I came back about a half hour later and he was still trying to fly it. I never heard another word.”

The remaining years of Bruce’s career saw Bruce moving between several different bases and positions. He spent time as an ROTC instructor in Maryland.

In the late 1980s, Bruce became one of three team chiefs involved with the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACAP), or “doomsday plane,” an aircraft intended to serve as a survivable platform on which to conduct military operations in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States. The aircraft followed the president as a precautionary measure.

"I was the team chief of the battle staff on the 'doomsday plane,'" Bruce said. "I had about 20 people working for me - experts in their fields. We followed the president around and stayed in close proximity with him. If there was a nuclear attack, the president would come on board. We had to go everywhere he went; if he went to Europe, we went to Europe. We had different locations in the (United States) just to stay close to him. It was very interesting."

Bruce rounded out his involvement with the Air Force by returning to his home state and becoming an Air Force instructor at the U.S. Army War College in 1989. He retired in 1992.

“The war college was the last job I had," he said. "I lobbied to get that job because the only way to get back to PA was to get an army position because there is no Air Force base in PA. So I came back to retire here that way.

“I stay busy,” Bruce added. “It seems like I had more free time when I was working than I do now. I feel myself slowing down here and there, but I keep very busy.”

About the Series

The Sentinel salutes local Vietnam War veterans and participants with a year-long series of stories that will be published every Saturday in History.

Called “Voices of Service,” the weekly feature examines how the war shaped officers and enlisted personnel from every branch of the military in every phase of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

The Army Heritage Center Foundation will provide half the content for this series in keeping with its mission of “Telling the Army Story ... One Soldier at a Time.”

Story and photo gallery:

Tecnam P92 Eaglet, N112TE, Curtis Eads Flight School: Accident occurred January 01, 2016 at Hampton Roads Executive Airport (KPVG), Chesapeake, Virginia

Mid Atlantic Air Ventures Inc:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Richmond FSDO-21

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA094
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 01, 2016 in CHESAPEAKE, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/14/2016
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 reported that he was practicing touch-and-go landings in the airport traffic pattern. He made one trip in the airport traffic pattern and touched down on the runway. After touching down, he applied full power to take off and the airplane veered and banked to the left. The pilot further reported that the left wing impacted the ground when the airplane was about 20 to 30 feet above the ground. The airplane rotated around the wing and impacted the ground off the left side of the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, firewall, and both wings.

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

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's loss of directional control during takeoff which resulted in impact with the ground.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- A small plane has gone down at the Hampton Roads Executive Airport, Virginia State Police confirmed.

13News Now reporter Arrianee LeBeau reported that the nose of the plane is down in a grassy area, not far from the runway.

According to a witness, Steven Grobel, the crash took place around 2:45 p.m. 

Grobel stated that he was about to take off in his plane, when he saw another plane heading in his direction. He says the plane downed, hit the ground, then bounced back into the air about 20 feet.

Grobel adds that once the plane came back down, the wing hit the ground, which caused it to lose control and flip around. He says he rushed to check on the condition of the pilot who was responsive and didn't appear to have any visible injuries or blood.

An airport official says it appears no one was injured in the incident.

It's not clear at this time if the incident happened during takeoff or landing.

Based on the plane's registration number with the FAA, the aircraft is a Tecnam P92 Eaglet belonging to a company out of Martinsville, Virginia.


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Emergency crews are responding to a plane crash at the Hampton Roads Executive Airport in the 5100 block of West Military Highway in Chesapeake.

An investigation reveled that the plane was coming in for a landing and had a hand landing, that caused the plane to shoot 20 feet in the air. As the plane came back down, the left wing clipped the ground. 

The propeller was then destroyed by the ground causing the plane to spin around.

A witness on the scene ripped open the door and pulled the pilot out of the plane.

The pilot suffered minor injuries.

Story and video:

Chesapeake, Va. - Emergency teams responded to a plane crash at the Hampton Roads Executive Airport, according to State Police. 

Scott Saunders with the Chesapeake Fire Department says a small aircraft crashed around 3 p.m.

Story and video:

Billionaire Larry Ellison selling Island Air

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -   The state's no. 2 inter-island airline is up for sale.

Hawaii News Now has learned that billionaire Larry Ellison is in talks with an investment group to sell Island Air.

A second bid by former Hawaiian CEOs Bruce Nobles and Paul Casey was rejected by Ellison, a source familiar with the deal said. Casey is also a former Island Air CEO.

"I'm not surprised that Larry Ellison's people would be considering selling Island Air because their strategy did not work," said airline industry historian Peter Forman.

Ellison, who co-founded Oracle Corp., bought Island Air in 2013 to boost passenger traffic to the island of Lanai, which he owns. But since then, the carrier has lost about $40 million.

Earlier this year, Island Air cut its Kauai routes and slashed its payroll by about 20 percent. It also shelved plans to buy larger planes from Bombardier Aerospace.

Island Air currently has five, 64-seat ATR 72 turboprops, which experts said are too small to compete with dominant carrier Hawaiian Airlines.

"Do you want to get onto a cramped interior turboprop with highly limited carry on space or do you want to get on a comfortable jet," said Scott Hamilton, an airline industry analyst with Leeham Co. of Issaquah, Wash.

"Hawaiian is about as tough a competitor as you can imagine because not only do they have the reputation and on-time performance, they also have the frequency of flights," Forman added.

It's unclear how a deal could impact fares. But experts say with interisland fares at about $80 each way, there's room in the market for a lower-cost carrier.

Founded in 1980 as Princeville Airways, Island Air employs about 250 workers. It flies about 135 flights a week.

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Why the dream of the flying car hasn’t panned out

If you’re ever bothered by the blind spots in the typical car today, then you would hate to drive a flying car.

But a new Toyota patent offers a solution to a classic flying car problem — awful blind spots and a vehicle that’s too wide for roads, parking spaces and garages.

Flying cars are rare, but you can find a few in the wild. A handful of companies around the globe are developing them. A long list of challenges has held back flying cars since their initial creation almost a century ago. One problem is putting the wings on the side of the car, which blocks driver sight lines and makes the vehicle so wide that it’s difficult to park and drive on roads.

Toyota’s patent calls for stackable wings on top of a flying car.

“It’s a very innovative idea,” said Pete Schumacher, professor of aerodynamics at the University of North Dakota. “Will there be other problems? Yeah.”

Stacking wings makes them less efficient. Wings work because the pressure is higher below than above them, which creates lift. But the high pressure beneath the top wing on Toyota’s patent will interfere with the desired low pressure below the second highest wing.

“It’s incredibly inefficient,” said John Brown, a project manager at Carplane, a German company developing its own flying car. “And it may actually be too inefficient. You’d have to put it in a wind tunnel and see just how efficient it is.”

Early planes such as the Wright Flyer had two wings. But as materials become stronger, the bi-wing approach was abandoned because of the efficiency advantages of a single wing.

Toyota did not respond to requests for comment.

While automakers such as Toyota are exploring new mobility services, car analysts don’t expect flying cars to be on the market anytime soon.

“Flying cars are certainly an interesting concept, but are further away from realization than many of these concepts, for example autonomous vehicle sharing,” said Thilo Koslowski, an automobile analyst at Gartner, a technology research firm.

Toyota has long invested in research and development. In November, it announced plans to invest $1 billion over five years in artificial intelligence, which could prove invaluable as autonomous vehicles arise. It’s also bet on hydrogen fuel-cell cars as an alternative to internal combustion engines and once invested in Tesla Motors. Additionally, Toyota has ventured into nontraditional businesses such as home building.

There are other big challenges that would be issues for a flying car with wings on its roof. Melding two transportation forms — a car and a plane — creates problems.

“When I started out I thought, ‘pretty simple problem, an automobile has an engine, an airplane has an engine. An automobile has a body, an airplane has a body,’ ” said K.P. Rice, a flying car developer and retired Marine pilot who has been devoted to the field for 35 years. “In the end, it gets to be quite a problem.”

A car needs weight on its front and back wheels so that it can turn safely. But a plane needs its weight on its back wheels so it can take off and land safely.

Aircraft engines are air cooled, so they can’t sit in traffic without overheating, whereas car engines are water cooled, which adds weight that’s prohibitive to flying.

Flying cars are generally too wide for roads and can have stability issues while driving on highways because of crosswinds.

Rice is developing a flying car where the plane components detach and can be towed by the vehicle when driving on roads.

While work continues on the perfect form for a flying car, another huge issue comes up: price. Flying cars can cost 10 times as much as a traditional vehicle.

“One might argue that flight is the only solution to congestion,” said Roger Lanctot, an auto analyst at Strategy Analytics. “But I think we can safely call this a niche market.”

While Toyota’s patent seems to solve the parking problem for flying cars, a lot of other questions remain before these vehicles really get off the ground.

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Unarmed aviation police: We need guns • Officers say in case of active shooter, they are instructed to run and hide

CHICAGO (CNN) —Hundreds of police officers at one of the country's busiest airports say in the case of an active shooter, they are instructed to run and hide.

That's because these officers are unique among the nation's major airports: They don't carry guns.

Their badges, uniforms and vehicles all say "police." And they are certified police officers in the state of Illinois.

But these nearly 300 aviation police officers, also known as aviation security officers, are not allowed to carry guns at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports.

The officers who are armed are from the Chicago Police Department, which is the primary law enforcement agency at O'Hare and Midway.

Internal aviation department documents obtained through department sources state, "If evacuation is not possible: hide."

The documents advise locking doors, turning off lights and remaining quiet and calm.

"We must also ensure that unarmed security personnel ... do not attempt to become part of the response, but could be invaluable to the evacuation efforts," the documents said.

In addition, a training video shown to aviation police officers has the same instructions: "If evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the door."

That makes no sense, said aviation police officers interviewed by CNN.

"We're not trying to replace the Chicago police officers; we just want to have the tools to do the job like every other law enforcement agency in the country," said one officer who requested anonymity.

"We're nothing but casualties if you tell us to run and hide. And how can the public look at us if they see police officers running and hiding? That goes against the very oath we were sworn to that we took."

Matt Brandon, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union Local 73, which represents the aviation police officers, said he doesn't understand why the officers are prohibited from carrying guns.

"And that's amazing these men and women are sent to the Chicago police academy, and trained as police officers, and being a former police officer, I know your first instinct is to go to the problem -- not run away from the problem," Brandon said.

He said the union has been unable to get the aviation department to change the no gun policy, which dates to the early 1990s.

"They are the last resort to the airfield in many cases, and to have them unarmed is just, I think, it's ludicrous," he said.

Asked if this boiled down to a union issue, Brandon said he was willing to give up the aviation police officers as union members if it meant allowing them to carry guns.

"I want their safety as the first thing, and their ability to respond to threats is number two," he said.

Wayne Black, a Miami-based security expert, said it's absurd to deploy unarmed trained police officers at an airport.

"I've never heard of anything so crazy," Black said. "I mean, the concept in a post-9/11 world of having sworn law enforcement officers unarmed at an airport, not being able to take direct action -- I don't know what they are thinking."

"Who in their right mind would have sworn law enforcement officers wearing a sign on their back that says police and wearing a badge on their chest and being unarmed?" he asked.

Chief Richard Edgeworth, who oversees the aviation police officers, did not respond to multiple calls from CNN. After being approached by a CNN reporter outside his office, he briskly walked away, saying "no comment."

"We think the strategy in place is working," said Owen Kilmer, deputy communications director of the Chicago Aviation Department.

In a statement to CNN, Kilmer wrote that with "the current security structure in place, violent crime incidents at O'Hare and Midway airports are extremely low -- ensuring that the millions of passengers who fly through Chicago each year feel secure at the airports."

"The multilevel security approach used at O'Hare and Midway Airports has proven effective in stopping and preventing crime while creating a structure that allows for all our law enforcement officials to collaborate easily and effectively."

Kilmer wrote, "There are different security structures in place at major airports across the country, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach."

Citing "safety concerns," the aviation department would not respond to questions about its policy on active shooters.

And while the aviation department would not discuss staffing levels, the city's 2015 budget appropriation records show about 309 positions for aviation police officers and supervisors. The union says, due to vacancies, there are about 279 actively on the job.

The budget also shows 231 armed Chicago police officers and supervisors at O'Hare and Midway. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says that staffing level is sufficient. He also said arming or not arming aviation officers is not his department's issue.

"For whatever reason the governing agency over these officers decided not to arm them," he said.

He said, "The aviation security officers are designed to be a force multiplier."

A CNN survey of major airports shows, for the most part, similar staffing levels of armed police.

For example comparing the top three airports in the United States in terms of passenger volume, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the busiest, has 178 armed police and 21 nonsworn officers. The Atlanta airport declined to provide specific numbers on additional security, which includes unarmed aviation security personnel and private security guards.

However, Los Angeles International Airport, the second busiest, has 572 armed police and another 388 unarmed security personnel, an airport spokesman said.

Chicago's O'Hare, the third busiest, has budgeted 175 armed police, about 260 unarmed aviation police and about 170 private security, according to city records and union officials.

Other major U.S. airports, such as those in New York, Washington, Dallas-Fort Worth, Seattle and Phoenix, use unarmed security guards for added surveillance and other functions, but these guards are not sworn police officers, according to spokespersons for the airports.

Duane McGray, executive director of the Airport Law Enforcement Agencies Network, said, "All airports are required to do is provide sufficient police resources" and "the numbers vary airport to airport."

The gun issue is part of an ongoing dispute between the aviation police officers and Edgeworth. In September, the officers took a vote of no confidence in him.

The no confidence letter from the union states, "The overwhelming majority of Aviation Police Officers and this Union agree that Chief Edgeworth is incompetent as a leader of police, noncommunicative, ineffective and exerts control through coercion and fear in his position as chief overseeing public and personnel safety."

In a response to the union, Chicago Aviation Department Commissioner Ginger Evans wrote that Edgeworth has the "full confidence and trust" of the department and "has been a tireless advocate for the Safety and Security section throughout his tenure."

"Both Midway and O'Hare have exemplary safety and security records and are recognized as leaders in the aviation industry," Evans wrote.

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