Thursday, January 21, 2016

Former Pilot for Alaska Airlines Arrested on Federal Charges of Flying Passenger Aircraft while under the Influence of Alcohol

David Hans Arntson, a former Alaska Airlines pilot, has been arrested on federal charges accusing him of flying a passenger plane while drunk.

David Hans Arntson:   “I bet it’s for me” when he saw the drug tester at John Wayne Airport, according to court documents, which you can read above or by clicking here 

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California
Thursday, January 21, 2016

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities have arrested a former captain with Alaska Airlines on federal charges of piloting a plane with passengers while under the influence of alcohol.

David Hans Arntson, 60, a resident of Newport Beach, was arrested yesterday morning and was arraigned on the felony charge yesterday afternoon in federal court in Los Angeles.

Arntson was released on a $25,000 bond and was ordered to appear for an arraignment on February 10.

According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in United States District Court, Arntson was the pilot of two Alaska Airlines flights on June 20, 2014. The first flight was from San Diego International Airport to Portland, Oregon. He then flew a plane from Portland, Oregon, to John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

After landing at John Wayne Airport, Arntson was selected for random drug and alcohol testing by Alaska Airlines. A technician for Alaska Airlines performed two tests on Arntson and received results that the pilot had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.134 percent and 0.142 percent. After the technician informed Alaska Airlines of the test results, it removed Arntson from all safety-sensitive duties.

According to federal law, a person operating a “common carrier,” such as a commercial airliner, is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol when his or her blood alcohol content is 0.10 percent or higher.

Arntson’s co-pilot on the two flights on June 20 remembered seeing the drug tester when the plane landed at John Wayne Airport and recalled Arntson say “I bet it’s for me,” according to the complaint.

Following the June 20, 2014, incident, Arntson retired from Alaska Airlines.

“Those in command of passenger jets, or any other form of public transportation, have an obligation to serve the public in the safest and most responsible way possible,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “We cannot and will not tolerate those who violate the trust of their passengers by endangering lives.”

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The charge of operating a common carrier while under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

The investigation into Arntson was conducted by the United States Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General.


SEATTLE -- A former Alaska Airlines pilot is facing federal charges for allegedly piloting a commercial flight while under the influence of alcohol.

David Hans Arntson was arrested Wednesday at his California home and arraigned on the felony charge later that day. The 60-year-old pilot is accused of piloting two Alaska Airlines flights in June 2014 while under the influence, according to federal prosecutors.

On the day in question, Arntson flew from San Diego to Portland, and then from Portland to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. When he landed at John Wayne, the airline selected Arntson for a random drug and alcohol test.

Prosecutors say an airline technician performed two tests on Arntson, and both were over the legal limit. The pilot had a blood alcohol concentration of .134 and .142, according to prosecutors.

"According to federal law, a person operating a 'common carrier,' such as a commercial airliner, is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol when his or her blood alcohol content is 0.10 percent or higher," prosecutors said in a Thursday news release.

After failing the tests, Arntson was immediately removed from all safety-sensitive duties. He later retired from Alaska Airlines.

"Those in command of passenger jets, or any other form of public transportation, have an obligation to serve the public in the safest and most responsible way possible," United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in the news release. "We cannot and will not tolerate those who violate the trust of their passengers by endangering lives."

Alaska acknowledged the arrest in a Thursday evening statement.

"Alaska Airlines has an uncompromising commitment to safety and compliance and we put the safety of our passengers and our employees above all else. We have a zero tolerance policy for employees, including pilots, who fail alcohol and drug tests," the statement reads.

The charge of operating a common carrier while under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.


New European Airline Lobby Group Targets Airport Charges: New trade body, Airlines for Europe, brings together some unlikely bedfellows

An Air France Boeing 777 aircraft lands at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris. In a new thrust, Europe’s largest carriers have formed a new lobby group.

The Wall Street Journal
By Robert Wall and Daniel Michaels
Updated Jan. 20, 2016 1:11 p.m. ET

AMSTERDAM—Europe’s largest air carriers have formed a new lobby group in a move to sway government policy as the European Union considers far-reaching moves on issues from passenger-travel rights to airline ownership rules. What’s more, the group has a first target: airport costs.

The new trade body, called Airlines for Europe to parallel its U.S. counterparts’ association, Airlines for America, brings together some unlikely bedfellows. It includes former national carriers such as of Air France-KLM SA and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and their fierce upstart rivals Ryanair Holdings PLC and easyJet PLC, Europe’s biggest discount carriers. The network carriers and budget airlines were previously in rival trade bodies.

“All European airlines are invited to join,” Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said at the launch of A4E, as the group is called.

Europe’s airlines have often failed in their efforts to lobby European governments on issues from environmental regulations to passenger refunds in case of delayed flights. And airlines’ calls for Europe to streamline air-traffic management across the bloc to lower costs has foundered against opposition from EU member states.

European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc welcomed the establishment of the lobby group to help shape future aviation plans.

Airlines have long bemoaned that airports, which are often highly regulated by governments, are raising costs at a time the carriers are being forced to cut ticket prices amid stiff competition. That issue has now become the first campaign target of the new lobby group.

“While the airlines have reduced their fares, EU passengers continue to be fleeced by excessive airport charges,” the airlines said on Wednesday.

The airline group cited data that alleges costs at 21 of Europe’s largest airports have risen 80% since 2005, while airfares have declined 20% over that period. Passengers are paying EUR5.4 billion ($5.9 billion) more in airport charges now than a decade ago, they said.

Airports in the U.K., Switzerland and Germany have Europe’s highest per-passenger airport fees, they said.

“This shows a failure of regulation,” Air France-KLM Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac said.

Olivier Jankovec, director general of airport lobby group ACI Europe said the airlines were taking “a liberal and inaccurate swipe at our industry, while the airlines paint themselves as consumer champions.” Airlines aren't paying the full costs of the infrastructure they use, he said.

Mr. Jankovec said the airline lobbying push is a “tired call for even more regulation of airports (and) is just about boosting their profits or supporting their own lack of competitiveness.”

The carriers are calling on the EU to make changes in how airports can levy charges to lower costs.

The new lobby group will operate with a restricted mandate after an older trade body last year broke apart over sharp policy differences among its members.

Air France-KLM and Lufthansa had urged the previous association to take a strong protectionist stand against fast-growing Middle Eastern carriers such as Emirates Airline and Qatar Airways, which some European airlines accuse of being subsidized. The Mideast carriers deny the charge.

British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA and some others, seeking a more liberal approach, terminated their membership.

The new trade group members discussed whether to lobby on the Mideast carrier issue. Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, said the group agreed “to focus on areas where we have common ground.”

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said the airlines agree on 80% of the issues affecting 95% of consumer needs.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, last month spelled out plans to boost the competitiveness of the region’s airline industry, including seeking more far-reaching, air-traffic treaties with other countries including those in the Middle East. The proposal got an initial lukewarm response from airlines and pilots, who said it lacked specifics.

“Europe needs a clear plan to improve the competitiveness of aviation compared with the rest of the world,” Mr. Spohr said. Lowering costs across the supply chain is critical, he said.

Mr. O’Leary said airlines expect action from the European Union this year.

Original article can be found here:

Cirrus SR20, G-GCDC: Accident occurred January 20, 2016 at Swansea Airport, Fairwood Common, Swansea, UK

An airplane has crashed while attempting to land at Swansea Airport.

The incident is believed to have taken place between 3pm and 4pm yesterday.

Witnesses said that the privately-owned Cirrus SR20 had been coming in to land at the airport, when its pilot lost control and it ran off the apron, crashing into a stationary plane.

It is believed three people were on board the plane, but all were uninjured.

The Cirrus SR20, which is around 26 feet long, with a wingspan of around 38 feet, came to a stop crashing into one of the aircraft of the Cambrian Flying Club - a fully-licensed flying school based at Swansea Airport.

Cambrian Flying Club's operations manager Derek Clyne said he believed the damage to the Cirrus SR20 to be "quite extensive".

"It was a landing accident, a privately-owned airplane landed and the pilot lost control just as it touched down," said Mr. Clyne.

"It veered off across the apron and stopped by banging into one of our planes.

"There were three people on board and they were fine, which in incidents like this, that's what we care about."

The Cambrian Flying Club's Piper Tomahawk received very little in the way of damage as a result of the crash.

"We have six airplanes so it's no problem," said Mr. Clyne.

"The plane is still flyable, we have had an engineer out who said it's still fine to fly."

The Evening Post contacted the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in relation to the incident.

An AAIB spokesman said: "The AAIB is investigating the incident by correspondence."

Story and photos:

Incident occurred January 21, 2016 in Wayne County, New York

Wayne County, N.Y. - A small plane flying into Rochester experienced trouble and landed in a field in Wayne County Thursday.

The plane was traveling from Massachusetts to Rochester when it started having icing problems.

It landed safely in a field on Quaker Road.

There is no damage to the plane and no one was injured.


Messenger Post Media is en route to Wayne County, near Quaker Road where there are reports of a plane down on the road.

We are told the single engine, Cessna had some type of engine malfunction and was trying to make an emergency landing on one of the rural roads, coming out of Ontario County.

Dispatch at Rochester tower apparently lost contact with the aircraft for several minutes.

It appears the single-occupant plane has landed on Quaker Road.

There are various emergency crews at the scene. 


Northeast Airline's Stewart International Airport (KSWF) plans still up in the air

AJ Rossi, the man who would bring a new airline to an airport starved for passenger service, admits his enthusiasm for the project has perhaps overtaken his discretion.

“I didn’t want to sit in the bushes,’’ said Rossi in an interview. “I wanted people to get used to the idea we were bringing the Yellowbirds back.”

But the entrepreneur, whose LinkedIn profile lists a history of executive posts at now-defunct airlines, conceded his Volare Air Group’s announcement about its plans for Stewart International Airport were “vague” and “premature.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates Stewart, has had no comment on the plans.

Volare, a privately held Indiana corporation with addresses in Chicago and Clearwater, Fla., announced last week that it had selected Stewart as the operations hub for its revival of Northeast Airlines and had “cut teeth in moving this commitment to fruition” with the Port Authority.

Northeast dominated the Boston and New England markets until 1972, when it fell on hard times and merged with Delta Air Lines – and parked its fleet of distinctive yellow- and black-trimmed “Yellowbirds.”

Rossi, the president and CEO of Volare, explained that he couldn’t elaborate on his plans because the company is in the “middle of the acquisition of another carrier with a large fleet of equipment” and had signed a nondisclosure agreement.

“These are private negotiations,’’ said Rossi. “They’re not known on the street.”

Any other details, he continued, could reveal the identity of the carrier and put the deal at risk.

The purchase, however, would give Volare planes – it doesn’t own any now – and would move it toward securing U.S. Department of Transportation economic authority and Federal Aviation Administration certification to operate an airline. The DOT vets the finances of prospective carriers as a predicate for the FAA’s certification process.

“We don’t want to just bring passenger service to Stewart,’’ said Rossi. “We want to bring freight operations to Stewart as well.”

Volare’s air and ground freight arm is known as Yellow Freight and Cargo. Rossi acquired the name after the motor carrier morphed into YRC. Similarly, the U.S. Patent Office has approved his use of Northeast’s trademarks. 
(And, yes, yellow will be the signature color of both the passenger and freight services.)

Rossi declined to provide any details about Volare’s capitalization but said it had the money for the acquisition and hadn’t determined if it would need to raise more for operations.

He also declined to discuss Northeast’s prospective schedule at Stewart, suggesting it would first have some flights to honor as part of the pending acquisition.

But he added that he wants to capture the Hudson Valley market that travels to the New York City airports in search of more destinations and better fares.

“The industry could use some new competition and the public could use a break,’’ said Rossi.

Volare, which had also been considering the Niagara Falls International Airport for its Northeast hub, still has that airport “on the radar’’ for passenger service, Rossi said.

Its plans to relaunch another subsidiary, Grace Airways, from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport in Alabama, are on hold pending an evaluation of the market there. Volare wants to revive Grace, a former joint venture of Pan Am and the W.R. Grace Co., as an international carrier.

Douglas Hartmayer, a spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and Toni Herrara-Bast, a spokeswoman for the Birmingham airport, both described Volare’s inquiries as “very preliminary” and no different than the routine discussions they have with prospective carriers on a regular basis.

Rossi said he was hard-pressed to speculate on a “transitional timeline” for completing the acquisition, reaching an agreement with the Port Authority and starting operations at Stewart.

“We’re doing a walk-through (at Stewart) next week and we’ll start nail down the brass tacks, like ticket counter space, on this then,’’ said Rossi.


Cessna 150L, N17292: Accident occurred June 20, 2015 in Carthage, Ripley Township, Rush County, Indiana

Date: 20-JUN-15
Time: 16:00:00Z
Regis#: N17292
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 150
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Substantial
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Indianapolis FSDO-11
State: Indiana


Lockheed Martin F-16, US Air Force: Fatal accident occurred January 21, 2016 in Bagdad, Yavapai County, Arizona

Maj. Kao Ting-cheng (高鼎程) is seen is this undated file photograph. Kao was killed on Thursday, Jan. 21 after his F-16 fighter jet crashed in the state of Arizona while undergoing training near a U.S. air base, the R.O.C. Air Force said. 

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A Taiwanese pilot was killed on Thursday in the U.S. when his F-16 fighter jet crashed during a training flight near a U.S. air base in the state of Arizona, the R.O.C. Air Force has said.

The R.O.C. Air Force Command said Maj. Kao Ting-cheng (高鼎程) was conducting regular training when his serial number 93-0711 F-16 fighter attached to the Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix, Arizona went down for unknown reasons around 9 a.m. on Thursday.

The Air Force has arranged for Kao's family members in Taiwan to fly to the U.S. in the aftermath of the tragic incident, it noted.

The Air Force is also sending representatives to the Luke Air Force Base to assist investigations into the crash, it added.

Kao was a graduate of the R.O.C. Air Force Academy in 2007, who had logged 865 flying hours. He was training at the U.S. base as part of a Taiwan-U.S military cooperation project.

The Air Force's comment came after U.S. media reports revealed the crash occurred at about 8:45 a.m. in rugged terrain about 10 miles southwest of Bagdad, Yavapai County, Arizona.

Luke Air Base officials said the Taiwanese pilot was flying solo and was engaged in air-to-air combat training with an instructor before the crash.

Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke, said the pilot had been on a training program for the past six months at Luke, which is a major pilot-training base for the U.S. Air Force and foreign military services, according to U.S. media reports.

The Chinese-language Apple Daily quoted unidentified military sources as saying that Kao, 31, was a Miaoli native. After graduating from the academy, he was assigned to the Air Force's Chiayi-based 455th Tactical Fighter Wing.

He was chosen to join the F-16 training program due to his excellent performance in the fighter wing and his fluent English-language ability, sources said. His wife and two children moved to the U.S. with him for the training program.

US Works Closely with Air Force on Crash Probe

Meanwhile, the U.S.' top envoy to Taiwan, Kin Moy, issued a statement in the wake of the tragedy.

"I would like to express that our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the pilot who was involved in the plane crash in Arizona," said Moy, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official ties.

"We are monitoring the situation. AIT is in close coordination with the Ministry of National Defense and the Taiwan Air Force. AIT stands ready to offer assistance," he noted.

The F-16 training program for Taiwanese pilots has been conducted at Luke Air Force Base for over a decade since the U.S. approved the sale of 150 F-16A/B fighter jets to Taiwan in the 1990s.

According to the AIT, Taiwan maintains an F-16 training unit at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona so that Taiwanese pilots can maintain and improve their proficiency with the F-16 aircraft.

This training supports the Taiwan Relations Act, under which the U.S. makes defense equipment and services available to Taiwan to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability, the AIT said.

BAGDAD, AZ - The Air Force says an F-16 fighter has crashed in northwestern Arizona, and state and county agencies are sending aircraft and personnel to the area. 

The aircraft, assigned to the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base, crashed at 8:45 a.m., according to the Office of Public Affairs at AFB.

The condition of the pilot or the cause of crash was not immediately known because of the rugged terrain.

Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr says the department is sending troopers, a rescue helicopter and explosive ordinance and hazardous material teams.

Yavapai County sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn says the Sheriff's Office was contacted by the Air Force and sent a helicopter to the area.

Story and video:

An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet assigned to Luke Air Force Base crashed at approximately 8:45 a.m. Thursday northwest of the base near the town of Bagdad, Ariz.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

No other details, such as the nationality and condition of the pilot, were immediately available, said Luke spokeswoman Kiley Dougherty.

Wreckage from the crash had not been located by 11 a.m., said Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn. Both the Sheriff's Office and the Air Force had aircraft in the area searching for the downed plane, D'Evelyn said.

More details will be released when they become available, Dougherty said.

Some F-16s carry a pilot and a second crew member, but it was not immediately known whether the plane involved in the crash was carrying one or two crew members.

Luke trains both U.S. and allied country pilots in the F-16 and the F-35 Lightning II fighter jets.

Bagdad is a mining town located in the high desert of central Arizona approximately 100 miles northwest of Luke, which is in Glendale.

The townsite and nearby copper and molybdenum mine are owned by Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. Molybdenum is a mineral that's used to strengthen steel.

The town is home to approximately 2,500 people, including mine employees and their families, school district personnel and others, according to the town's website.


Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N550ER, Euro 2000 Inc: Incident occurred January 20, 2016 in Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida

Date: 20-JAN-16
Time: 17:40:00Z
Regis#: N550ER
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Orlando FSDO-15
State: Florida


EURO 2000 INC:

Sarasota County, Florida: Brothers arrested for aiming laser at sheriff's office helicopter

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested two brothers who aimed laser lights at the agency's helicopter while it patrolled near I-75 and Porter Road in Sarasota. Gary and Matthew Bennington are charged with Misuse of Laser Devices, a felony. This is not a harmless prank. Pilots are temporarily blinded in flight and a direct strike to the eye can cause permanent damage. 


Sarasota Sheriff's deputies arrested two brothers who aimed laser lights at the agency's helicopter while it patrolled near I-75 and Porter Road in Sarasota Wednesday night.

The sheriff's office say deputies Dave Bouffard and Stephen Schull were in flight around 11:30 p.m., when they noticed a green light hitting the aircraft. It happened several more times with both red and green lasers lighting up the cockpit simultaneously. Pilots were able to pinpoint the location to 2493 Andansian Lane.

The suspects were seen on thermal imaging in the back and side yard of the property, and each time they fired a laser the subjects would retreat around the east side of the house and re-enter through the front door.

Patrol units arrived at the house and spoke with 25-year-old Gary Bennington and 22-year-old Matthew Bennington. They initially denied involvement, but admitted to the crime after learning it was captured on video.

Deputies found both lasers on the back porch of the home.

The Benningtons are charged with one count each of Misuse of Laser Devices, which is a felony. Both also face marijuana charges after deputies found nearly four grams of pot in a bag and a large marijuana plant in Matthew's bedroom.

As you see on the video, when the lasers hit the camera on the bottom of the aircraft it causes a giant flash. The effect on the pilots is similar but with far greater consequences. It has been compared to being in a dark room with your eyes adjusted to the darkness and a camera flash goes off. A laser shining in the cockpit makes the pilot temporarily "flashblind" and it takes time to regain their sight. A direct strike to the eye by a laser can cause permanent damage.

Even though a laser projects a small, millimeter-sized dot close up, at longer distances the beam can be many inches across. When the beam hits the windscreen of a cockpit or the bubble of a helicopter, imperfections in and on the glass spread the light out even more, so much that the pilot cannot avoid it.

Laser light in the pilot's eyes causes glare, or the inability to see past the light. This is not a harmless prank and can be a federal crime. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration say there were 3,894 laser incidents in 2014 and that it is only because of the skill of the pilots that the crime hasn't caused an accident to date.

Story, photo and video:

Matthew Bennington

Gary Bennington

SARASOTA -- Two brothers are facing charges after authorities say they pointed their laser lights at the Sarasota Sheriff's Office helicopter while it was on patrol. Gary Bennington, 25, and Matthew Bennington, 22, are each charged with one felony charge of misuse of laser devices, as well as marijuana-related charges. 

At about 11:30 p.m., two deputies were in flight patrolling the area near Interstate 75 and Porter Road when they noticed a green light hitting the helicopter, according to a Sarasota County Sheriff's Office news release. It happened several times and the red and green laser lights lit up the cockpit simultaneously.

The pilots were able to pinpoint where the lights were coming from in the 2400 block of Andansian Lane. Using thermal imaging, deputies were able to see the suspects in the back and side yards of the home. Each time they aimed their lasers at the helicopter, they would escape back into the home through the front door.

Patrol deputies went to the home, and spoke with the Bennington brothers, who initially denied having pointed the lasers at the helicopter. After they learned that it was caught on video, they confessed, according to the sheriff's office. Both lasers were found in the home's porch.

In addition to the misuse of a laser charge, deputies found nearly four grams of marijuana in a bag and a large marijuana plant in Matthew Bennington's bedroom so they are also facing drug charges.

The sheriff's office released a video that shows how the lasers cause a giant flash when they hit the camera on the bottom of the helicopter.

"A laser shining in the cockpit makes the pilot temporarily 'flashblind' and it takes time to regain their sight," the sheriff's office statement said. "A direct strike to the eye by a laser can cause permanent damage."

Story, photos and comments:

British Airways Airbus A380, G-XLEA: Incident occurred January 20, 2016 at Miami International Airport (KMIA), Miami-Dade County, Florida

Date: 20-JAN-16
Time: 00:00:00Z
Regis#: GXLEA
Aircraft Make: AIRBUS
Aircraft Model: A380
Event Type: Incident
Damage: Unknown
Activity: Commercial
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Flight Number: BAW209
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Miami FSDO-19
State: Florida


SeaPort Air Postpones Air Service between Port Angeles & SeaTac

SeaPort Airlines of Portland, Oregon notified Port of Port Angeles staff late Tuesday that it is postponing scheduled air service from Port Angeles to SeaTac indefinitely due to a pilot shortage. Regularly scheduled air service from William R. Fairchild Airport to SeaTac International Airport was set to begin on March 1, 2016. 

SeaPort Airlines is also postponing their planned service from Moses Lake to Seattle and Portland. The airline announced late last week that it cancelled service in several states including California, Kansas and Missouri. 

The shortage of qualified airline pilots has been cited as a significant problem for SeaPort.  As of last Saturday, SeaPort had 17 pilots available, but the airline needed 54 to keep up its schedule, according to the Salina Journal.

There are multiple reasons for the shortage, but regional airlines such as SeaPort often raise the new Congressional rule that took effect in 2013 after the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in 2010 as a factor. It requires commercial pilots and co-pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight time, up from 250 hours. 

In addition to the 1,500 hour rule, many Vietnam-era pilots are retiring at the mandatory retirement age of 65, with too few students enrolling in the expensive training needed to fill those vacancies.  These factors decrease the supply of qualified pilots. Qualified pilots currently have their pick of available jobs and smaller airlines cannot compete with the compensation packages and signing bonuses offered by larger airlines.

Regularly scheduled air service at William R. Fairchild International Airport is one of the Port’s key targets in their current strategic plan. The Port of Port Angeles will continue to strive to restore air service to Port Angeles. The pilot shortage is a national problem that will require a national solution. The Port will be working with Representative Kilmer’s office to determine if and how they can help address the pilot shortage in order to re-establish commercial air service to Port Angeles.


Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros, N439DH, Redstar Airshows Inc: Incident occurred January 20, 2016 at Byron Airport (C83), Contra Costa County, California

Date: 21-JAN-16
Time: 00:48:00Z
Regis#: N439DH
Aircraft Model: L39
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Oakland FSDO-27
State: California



Wilton, Fairfield County, Connecticut: Police Department, Fire, K9, Community Emergency Response Teams Respond to Distress Signal

Teams from Wilton's police, fire, K9, CERT teams searched the New Canaan Rd. reservoir area after they were notified of a distress signal.

Connecticut State Police alerted the Wilton Police Department on Jan. 19 that they received a distress signal from what they thought might be a small aircraft, according to a police report.

Teams from Wilton’s police, fire, K9 and CERT teams searched the New Canaan Rd. area and the reservoir after they were notified of the distress signal.

A second distress alert was later received, triggering four police and three fire apparatus units to be called. A dive team deployed a boat into the reservoir. Twenty-three members of Wilton’s CERT team responded, along with nine additional fire personnel to search the area.

After three more hours of searching it was determined that the distress signals were being received from a Breitling watch. The watch has a distress signal that was being tested by Breitling.


Piper PA-28RT-201 Arrow IV, N2119N, JLinn Aviation Inc: Accident occurred January 19, 2016 at Airpark East Airport (1F7), Dallas, Texas

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA106 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in Terrell, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/05/2016
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28RT-201, registration: N2119N
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor reported that the private pilot receiving instruction was flying a simulated engine failure approach to an airport in gusty crosswind conditions. When the airplane approached 50 feet above the ground on final, the flight instructor called "go-around." He reported that the instructed pilot "simultaneously pulled back and went full throttle." The flight instructor stated that the airspeed was about 80 knots, and "the airplane fell straight to the ground" short of the runway. After the impact, the airplane bounced forward onto the runway, the left main landing gear collapsed, and the airplane departed the runway to the left about 550 feet from the runway threshold. The flight instructor reported that he verified that the throttle was full forward before the impact. A postaccident examination revealed substantial damage to the right wing. 

The flight instructor reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Facility Directory, trees were listed as an obstacle for the runway used. About the time of the accident, 7 nautical miles southeast of the airport, an automated weather observing system reported wind from 190 true at 13 knots, gusting to 21 knots. The tree line was located upwind and parallel to the airplane's final approach. 

The FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge describes effects of obstructions on wind. The handbook states, "It is especially important to be vigilant when flying in or out of airports that have large buildings or natural obstructions located near the runway." The handbook further states, "During the landing phase of flight, an aircraft may 'drop in' due to the turbulent air and be too low to clear obstacles during the approach."

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The private pilot's exceedance of the airplane's critical angle-of-attack during a go-around in gusting crosswind conditions, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and a collision with terrain short of the runway.


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Dallas FSDO-05 

The pilot of a small plane landed short of a runway in Rockwall County Tuesday morning.

According to a spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot of a Piper PA-28RT-201 Arrow IV was practicing go-around maneuvers at Airpark East Airport in Terrell at about 11 a.m.

Approximately one hour later, the aircraft lost lift and had a hard landing short of runway 13.

There is no information on injuries at this time.

United, Southwest buy 73 Boeing jets in blow to Bombardier

(Reuters) - United Airlines said on Thursday it will buy 40 small planes from Boeing Co., dealing a $3.2 billion blow to Bombardier Inc. hopes of landing a major customer for its fledgling CSeries program.

Separately, Southwest Airlines Co. said it had ordered 33 of Boeing's 737-800 aircraft, a deal it struck in December but announced on Thursday.

Reuters reported last week that Boeing was poised to snatch at least part of Chicago-based United's order for small jets that seat about 100 passengers.

Boeing 737-700s can seat 126 people and will be flown by United's pilots, reducing its reliance on contractors as a shortage of regional pilots looms in the United States.

Canada's Bombardier has not landed an order in more than a year for the CSeries, a new carbon-composite aircraft whose two models seat between 100 and 160 passengers and are equipped with fuel-efficent Pratt & Whitney engines.

The orders suggest "good market demand" for aircraft after sales fell last year, said Howard Rubel, an analyst at Jefferies in New York. It also shows airlines prefer fewer models in their fleets, making cockpits more familiar to pilots.

"Commonality works," Rubel said.

Reuters reported in October that Bombardier had offered the CSeries to Southwest, a long shot since the airline maintains an all-Boeing fleet.

The CSeries is due to enter service in 2016 after delays and amid cash problems at Bombardier. The plane maker did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman said this week the plane is "a top contender in several key campaigns."

Delta Air Lines Inc DAL.N on Tuesday said it was considering Bombardier's new aircraft.

Another competitor for the United order, Brazil's Embraer SA, declined to comment on the Boeing deal.

United is expected to buy more small jets because it lacks planes in the 100-seat niche, Cowen and Co analyst Helane Becker said in a research note.

United, the second-largest U.S. airline by capacity, likely paid well below half the $80.6 million catalog price for the Boeing 737-700s, industry sources said. The plane is being phased out in favor of a newer model, the 737 MAX, and United's jets are due to start entering its fleet in mid-2017.

Airlines typically enjoy discounts of 40 percent or more on aircraft. Bombardier has been reluctant to discount the CSeries, a new product that has yet to recover development and early manufacturing costs.

Boeing's 737-700 long ago recovered such costs, allowing greater discounts for sales that help fill the production schedule as it shifts to the MAX, due to make its first flight this year.

Bombardier has 243 firm orders for the CSeries, shy of its target of 300 orders by the time the plane enters service.

"If Bombardier were to win an order from United or Delta, it would be a significant program-legitimizing order and a major positive for the company," National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen wrote this week.


Delta McDonnell Douglas MD-88: Incident occurred January 19, 2016 in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee

Date: 19-JAN-16
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: DAL1324
Aircraft Model: MD88
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Minor
Damage: Minor
Flight Number: DAL1324
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Nashville FSDO-19
State: Tennessee


Flight attendant accused of phony bomb threats in North Dakota, Virginia threats

BISMARCK, N.D. — A flight attendant accused of making a phony bomb threat that forced a flight he was working to make an emergency landing in North Dakota is accused in a similar incident in Virginia.

Justin Cox-Sever, who was a SkyWest Airlines flight attendant from Tempe, Arizona, was charged last week in a Virginia federal court with making a bogus bomb threat that forced a SkyWest flight to Chicago to return to Charlottesville last July.

Cox-Sever doesn't have a lawyer for the Virginia case. His lawyer for the North Dakota case, Neil Fulton, declined to discuss the case in detail via email Thursday.

Cox-Sever, 22, was previously charged in a North Dakota federal court with disrupting a Sept. 9 SkyWest flight from Minneapolis to Dickinson that led to the temporary shutdown of the Dickinson airport after the plane landed. Prosecutors say he stuffed a bag with towels and reported it as a suspicious package making beeping noises, leading the pilot to declare an in-flight emergency.

FBI Special Agent Daniel Genck wrote in an affidavit that Cox-Sever admitted planting the bag on the North Dakota flight and fabricating the bomb threat in the Virginia case. Genck said Cox-Sever reported that someone had written a threat on a wall of the plane's bathroom, but that he later admitted that he wrote the threat himself after he recanted a claim of being extorted by someone threatening harm to his family.

Cox-Sever pleaded not guilty in the North Dakota case and is scheduled to stand trial next month on charges related to interfering with the operation of an airplane. He faces three similar counts in the Virginia case, which hasn't been scheduled for trial.

"For right now, the North Dakota charges are being taken care of first and then Virginia will go," said Brian McGinn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in the western district of Virginia.

Cox-Sever is no longer employed by SkyWest, though the airline won't say whether he was fired or left willingly. He is not allowed to fly without court approval while his cases proceed.


Piper Seminole PA44, N3047B, Frontier Flight Services, Inc: Incident occurred January 16, 2016 in Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon

Date: 18-JAN-16
Time: 18:00:00Z
Regis#: N3047B
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA44
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Portland FSDO-09
State: Oregon



Emerging use of drones raises insurance issues: Whenever new technologies develop, novel areas of legal liability follow

Attorneys Paul J. Bauer and Christopher D. Hawkins are members of Devine Millimet’s litigation practice.

As the use of drones becomes more common, new liabilities will emerge and insurance companies are sure to respond with insurance plans that protect drone manufacturers, programmers and operators from the financial pitfalls of litigation.

While the use of drones remains in its infancy and we do not yet know precisely how the insurance market will develop in this area, it is worthwhile to consider the potential areas of concern that will need to be addressed in such plans.

Drones have an infinite number of uses. Engineering firms and insurers may use them to perform inspections, government entities may use them to aid search and rescue missions, media companies may use them to offer unique coverage and delivery companies already plan to use them for more efficient deliveries. Such uses will lead to legal challenges as unmanned aircraft are flown over private space, record personal information and cause property damage.

While the end-user of a drone may be the person who would most obviously face liability for its use, owners, manufacturers, programmers and trainers/instructors will also find themselves susceptible should drone operation go awry.

Each entity involved in the creation and use of the drone will require tailored insurance policies to cover their individualized risks.

Numerous areas of law will be implicated by the use of drones – personal injury, property damage, privacy intrusion and nuisance, to name a few. There is legislation pending in many states that directly addresses drone-specific liabilities.

As illustrated by Conner Forrest’s March 2015 article, “12 Drone Disasters that Show Why the FAA Hates Drones,” published in TechRepublic, incidents involving drones are becoming frequent.

Drones have landed on the White House lawn, crashed into people’s faces while being used at promotional events, caused injuries to athletes and spectators and interfered with other aircraft. Such occurrences, all of which carry legal consequences, will further intensify in frequency, and owners, operators, manufacturers, programmers and trainers/instructors will need to hedge their legal exposure with insurance coverage.

There has also been concern expressed regarding the potential hijacking of drones. Just as computer systems can be remotely accessed and manipulated, drones are susceptible to similar hazards, and liability is certain to arise if such an event occurs.

There is uncertainty surrounding coverage for such situations under standard commercial general liability (CGL) policies. Many CGL policies exclude claims relating to use of aircraft, and it is unclear whether drones will be considered “aircraft” for such purposes.

Exclusions also exist for intentional conduct, meaning that any intentional privacy violations by drone operators will not be covered. Further, traditional professional liability policies for pilots were written prior to the advent of drones and only considered coverage for persons sitting in cockpits.

To fill this uncertainty gap, some insurance companies, such as AIG, have already begun offering insurance policies specific to the use of unmanned aircraft. Details of these policies are not expressly outlined. Rather, persons seeking coverage are directed to work with an agent to create a policy that meets their needs. Such coverage is purported to include language specifically drafted to address exposure related to drones, as well as liability based upon third party use, hijacking and electronic malfunctions. It is unclear whether such coverage will address privacy violations, trespassing and nuisance.

An insurance company specializing in drone insurance, Unmanned Risk Management, has also arisen to provide coverage, with an apparent focus on military, law enforcement, film production, search and rescue and agricultural uses. All policies purport to be written and covered by A to A++ Rated Aviation and Aerospace Insurance Companies.

Again, details regarding the coverage such policies entail is sparse. Another company, Aerial Pak, claims to focus on remote control aerial photography insurance, providing coverage for bodily and property damage, as well as damage to the aircraft and camera equipment.

Zurich Canada launched a new drone insurance product in April of 2015, enabling companies to minimize risk while taking advantage of the opportunities that drones provide. As Zurich recognized, “[u]sing a drone for any commercial purpose is considered an aviation activity and will therefore fall under the broad aviation exclusions of most general liability policies, should a drone cause damage or injury.”

The company plans to roll out its drone insurance package globally, based on demand and applicable regulations.

The insurance industry is sure to play a key role as drone use becomes more common. The means and methods employed by insurance companies in writing coverage for drone-related liabilities is still evolving, and this developing area requires careful monitoring.

Attorneys Paul J. Bauer and Christopher D. Hawkins are members of Devine Millimet’s litigation practice.

Original article can be found here: