Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Incident occurred March 05, 2016 in Lancaster Bay on Chemong lake

Snowmobiles sometimes break through the lake ice at this time of the year in the Kawarthas but this time it was an airplane.

A small two-seat airplane crashed through the ice in Lancaster Bay just north of Fowlers Corners on Saturday at around 4:30 p.m, Pam Donaldson reported online at UR Peterborough.

The pilot was not injured and the plane had minimal damage, Donaldson stated.

The plane was left overnight and fished out early Sunday morning with the help of some lake residents and their four-wheelers, Donaldson stated.

Original article can be found here: http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com

Bombardier C Series sales may be hurt by plane’s high-tech content, Delta says

Bombardier Inc. may be struggling to sell its C Series planes because of the high level of technology in the new narrowbody aircraft, the head of Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday.

“It’s highly engineered, which I think has been some of the challenges they’ve faced in marketing it, getting to a price point to get paid for that engineering,” president Ed Bastian told analysts at the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Industrials Conference in New York City.

“But it’s an aircraft that we think and we believe can make a big difference for the industry.”

The C Series is the first newly designed single-aisle plane in more than 15 years that Bombardier says delivers lower operating costs, environmental emissions and noise output than existing planes or those to be upgraded with new engines.

Delta is looking for a replacement for its aging small narrowbody fleet, including about 120 McDonnell Douglas MD-180s that are expected to retire over the next five years or so.

While the C Series “fits a need,” Bastian said price is a factor in whether the Atlanta-based carrier places an order for the 110- to 160-seat plane that is set to enter service by summer. Executives toured the C Series in December.

Bombardier spokeswoman Marianella de la Barrera said the C Series is now priced at a level that makes it competitive.

“We see it as the right mix of technology and it’s an aircraft that is positioning itself for the next 20 years,” she said.

Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu also told the conference that price was a big factor in the Montreal carrier’s recent decision to sign a letter of intent that includes a firm order for 45 of the larger CS300 planes, plus options for 30 more of the aircraft.

“We obtained a good deal,” he said. The airline has refused to disclose the purchase price, which analysts believe includes a deep discount off list prices.

The planes are scheduled to be introduced beginning in late 2019 or early 2020 once deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX planes wind down. The larger Bombardier C Series will replace 25 Embraer E-190s before they require costly maintenance overhauls.

However, Rovinescu said the airline is able to delay deliveries for new planes if market conditions at the time are weaker than forecast.

The C Series has received commitments for 678 planes, including 243 firm orders.

Original article can be found here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com

St. George businessman at center of scandal denies fraud charges

Jeremy Johnson 

St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson looks out his helicopter over Virgin River flood waters Dec. 21, 2010 during a search and rescue effort. 

SALT LAKE CITY --   A St. George businessman who made headlines as a helicopter-flying philanthropist before he became a key figure in an influence-peddling scandal that ensnared two former attorneys general stood before a jury to defend himself against fraud charges on Tuesday.

Jeremy Johnson, who is acting as his own attorney, denied that his online company lied to create shell companies after credit card companies blacklisted them over customer complaints.

He says I Works was honest and transparent as they dealt with a growing number of people asking for refunds.

"We did not hide or disclose the issues we were having and we worked hard to solve them," said Johnson, 40.

He said he was advised to start the new entities as he dealt with the credit card problems he called difficult and upsetting.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday after a month of testimony.

They say Johnson's Southern Utah company lured consumers into memberships for bogus government grants and other moneymaking schemes, then kept charging their credit cards.

So many people went to their credit card companies for refunds that those companies refused to work with I Works, something that could have put the Utah company out of business.

Johnson and other top managers created new companies in the names of their family and friends to dodge the blacklist, prosecutors said.

Johnson and his bookkeeper Scott Leavitt are each facing 86 charges, including fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. Top manager Randy Riddle is also facing 55 charges and representing himself.

The trial began after a five-year buildup that included mountains of evidence, allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and a rejected plea deal.

Johnson pushed to represent himself three times, saying the government was listening to conversations with his lawyers.

Before the charges were filed, Johnson donated generously to charities like a St. George home for boys who fled a polygamous group and used his personal helicopters to aid search-and-rescue efforts in southern Utah.

He made international headlines in January 2010 when he bought a plane to fly doctors and other critical supplies to Haiti after a devastating earthquake.

Johnson was arrested at a Phoenix airport in 2011, carrying more than $26,000 in cash and a one-way plane ticket to Costa Rica.

Two years later, Johnson dropped a bombshell about the state's top lawman, alleging that then-Attorney General John Swallow had arranged a deal to pay U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada to get rid of the investigation. Reid denies any part of the affair and has never been charged.

The accusation helped touch off a pay-to-play scandal that culminated in the arrest of Swallow and his predecessor, Mark Shurtleff. Prosecutors say the top lawmen accepted illicit gifts from Johnson, like vacations on his luxury houseboat and trips on his private jet, as part of a wide-ranging scheme where they traded favors and gifts with businessmen in trouble with regulators during their combined 13 years in office.

Both have pleaded not guilty and deny wrongdoing, and those allegations aren't a part of Johnson's fraud trial.

In addition to his federal fraud case, Johnson also faces a separate civil lawsuit in Las Vegas over his company's practices and Federal Elections Commission lawsuit over his political donations.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.thespectrum.com

I Works, Inc., et al: https://www.ftc.gov

Saab aircraft is for charter flights only

The  vice president and director of operations of Aviation Concepts Inc., which operates a Saab 340 aircraft, says it is an on-demand charter plane only with no scheduled service available to the general public. It also has no individual ticket sales available to the general public, Andrew Svoboda added in an email to Variety.

He said their aircraft, which can fly to Guam, Rota or Saipan, is operated in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Their aircraft, he added, started flying last month.

It was earlier reported that Marianas Hoppers was operating the Saab 340 aircraft, but Svoboda said Aviation Concepts does not own Marianas Hoppers, and “as far as anyone can tell there is only one Saab 340 aircraft in the islands that is operating and it is operated” by Aviation Concepts.

Svoboda said he has already asked Mark Michael, owner of Dive Rota, to remove the Marianas Hoppers advertisement from the Dive Rota website.

Svoboda said they are not authorized to advertise or sell tickets for their flight service.

In a separate email to Variety, Michael said he got information from Marianas Hoppers’ office on Guam and decided to put it on his website to promote the new airline and its services.

Michael said he has removed the advertisement upon Svoboda’s request.

Maryann Lizama, executive director of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, said she has met with officials of Aviation Concepts Inc. who expressed an interest in serving the CNMI public.

But she said the airline must comply with certain requirements first before it can fly commercially, adding that the company cannot advertise or sell tickets unless it has complied with those requirements.

Original article can be found here: http://www.mvariety.com

Pilot shortage could mean fewer flights at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (KROA)

ROANOKE (WSLS10) – Roanoke Valley natives may soon have fewer flight options when flying out of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport as the nation faces a possible pilot shortage in the near future. This stems from a generation of pilots retiring and new Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

“Starting in 2017, about 40-percent of the commercial airline pilots that are flying right now will be retiring in a five year span,” said Brad Boettcher, the Marketing Director at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

Boettcher told us the FAA changed the retirement age back in 2007 from age 60 to 65, because of the large baby boom generation. As all those pilots plan to leave, airlines are left to fill many positions.

“Lastly in 2009, the FAA came out with a new rule after an accident in New York that said a pilot must have 1,500 hours before they can have an airline pilot license,” said Jim Malloy, the Dean of Aeronautics at Liberty University.

Boettcher said the combination of these factors has led to this “the perfect storm” situation. He adds many major airlines, like Delta and United, are recruiting regional airline pilots, which is creating a lack of pilots to fly local flights. Then the pressure is on regional airlines to fill those open positions.

While Boettcher doesn’t expect airlines to terminate service, the airport is taking precautions.

“What we are trying to do right now, is we’re being very concerted about trying to work with the carriers to get large planes in,” said Boettcher. “If there is a shortage we’re already set up so, we’re we have those larger aircraft in place and keep the same number of seats going in and out.”

But, that could mean fewer flights. For now, only time will tell.

Story and video:  http://wsls.com

'Undocumented cash' case: Former Ryanair pilot claims he believed bag 'posed safety risk to aircraft'

Former Ryanair captain Mark Christensen

A former Ryanair pilot who quit his job after being demoted for refusing to carry bags he claims may have posed a security threat, said he was “flabbergasted” when a senior airline official told him the practice wasn’t uncommon.

Mark Christensen (41) told the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) today that he was left stunned when Peter Bellew, the budget airline’s former deputy director of flight operations, told him that the courier-type bags containing cash from the airline’s in-flight sales on its fleet of jets are “carried at times” on board without documentation.

This is despite strict aviation regulations requiring all bags and other cargo brought on board by airline staff be sealed and signed off on official documents, the tribunal heard.

Mr Christensen, who was a pilot with Ryanair for 17 years,  said he refused to bring the cash bags back to the airline’s Dublin hub on a flight from Manchester because he was ultimately responsible for the safety and security of the flight and its passengers and crew.

“I had no idea what the contents of the bag were. It could hold anything,” he said of the incident that occurred a week after the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity in New York City on September 18, 2014.

“In my opinion, it did pose a safety risk to the aircraft. It was an unacceptable risk,” he said, adding he was unable to access the bags for a visual inspection because they were sealed.

“To me I was just carrying out my normal duties in a prudent and responsible manner,” he said.

He described an ensuing investigation into the matter by Ryanair human resources deputy director Darrell Hughes as more of an “interrogation and ambush” which he felt was  “lopsided, unfair and impartial” in which the issue of the airline’s procedures on undocumented cargo was never addressed.

He testified that the subsequent disciplinary process in which he was demoted from the senior position of captain to first officer  – with a loss of basic pay of around €50,000 a year – as “completed unwarranted” and an “unacceptable sanction.”

He tendered his resignation in October 2014 and refused to retract it as requested by Mr Bellew, who has since gone on to the post of Chief Operations Officer for Malaysian Airlines, the tribunal heard.

“I firmly believe what I did was correct and I would still do it today,” he said.

Mr Christensen is now seeking six month’s pay in compensation from the airline, claiming he was constructively dismissed.

He is currently working as a pilot in China as a captain there but is commuting every month to be with his wife and three-year-old daughter who remain in Dublin.

Ryanair barrister Martin Heyden, SC, told the tribunal that he will produce evidence to show that there was documentation accompanying the cash bags.

The airline previously told the tribunal that Mr Christensen was uncooperative and that he refused to carry the bags before checking for documentation.

The hearing resumes tomorrow.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.independent.ie

I believe I can fly, says Malawian who built scrap metal helicopter

Malawian Felix Kambwiri sits in the cockpit of the helicopter he built out of scrap metal and fibreglass in his garage on February 19, 2016.

GOBEDE // It has never taken off, and could well be a death trap, but a home-made helicopter built in Malawi is drawing crowds captivated by its creator’s determination to succeed against all the odds.

Felix Kambwiri, 45, has spent the past four months building his dream machine out of scrap metal and fibreglass in his garage in the village of Gobede, 90 kilometres north of the capital, Lilongwe.

Clambering inside the one-seater cockpit, he swings the door closed, turns the key, pumps the pedals, and the 125-cubic centimetre second-hand engine roars into life as orange lights flash impressively.

The rotor blades, which nearly touch the workshop’s walls, rotate at a furious speed, as the whole chassis starts to shake violently – but take-off remains elusive.

“I would like just to fly for even five minutes to show that I am serious about this and that it is not a joke. This helicopter can fly," said Mr Kambwiri, a professional welder.

“Every day I receive many curious visitors who have heard about me."

He built the helicopter to his own design after failing to find any books to help fulfil his life’s passion.

But he has been warned that he should not undertake any test flights until the civil aviation authorities have completed safety checks.

“Police regularly come here to monitor progress and make sure I don’t fly without permission," said Mr Kambwiri, adding that he hoped to be airborne by June.

“I can understand their concern is about my safety, and that of people who might come in their hundreds on the day I fly the helicopter.

“I will not take risks. I will wait until I am ready. I cannot allow anyone to take the risk for fear of an accident."

The helicopter is painted white with red and blue stripes, and has plastic windows, landing skids and a second rotor blade on its tail.

Mr Kambwiri, who left school at 16, has spent about US$350 (Dh1,285) on the project, including $100 on its converted motorcycle engine, which he hopes to upgrade if a donor comes forward with extra funds.

“Although I did not go far with school, I have tried my best. I want to show the world that we Malawians can do something and are intelligent," he said.

“Some people coming here say I have gone mad, that this helicopter will kill me, or cannot fly because I am not educated.

“My imagination about building a helicopter grew when I began welding as a job," said the former tailor and radio repairman. Among those who come to inspect his progress are students from the local school who peer into the workshop as Mr Kambwiri and his team of assistants, including an electrician, tinker with wiring.

His ambitious plan dates back to when he was a boy and saw Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the president at the time, flying around Malawi to get to campaign rallies and to visit remote villages.

Mr Kambwiri, who is married and a father of seven children, also credits his enthusiasm for flight to watching war movies and listening to radio shows.

Despite initial concerns, his wife, Annes, said she supported his efforts.

“I was frightened when I first heard that my husband was developing a helicopter because he had never done it before," she said.

“Later I accepted it, because everything is possible through God."

Original article can be found here: http://www.thenational.ae

Loveland flights to Rockford resume May 23: Elite Airways will restart service at Fort Collins-Loveland Airport and possibly add another city

LOVELAND -- Elite Airways, the small airline that brought commercial service back to the Loveland airport last August, announced Tuesday that it would restart its service to the Rockford, Ill., airport in May.

Elite discontinued the route in January with the promise of resuming it in the spring. President John Pearsall said the airline would fly two round trips between the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport and Chicago-Rockford International Airport starting May 23.

On Mondays and Fridays, flights will arrive here at 9:15 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m. for the return to the Chicago-area airport.

The large gap between arrival and departure leaves time for a flight somewhere else, Pearsall said.

"That's the way we've designed that schedule. That airplane is going to do something else before going back to Rockford," he said.

Pearsall wouldn't say yet where that new destination might be. In the past, he has said Elite executives were looking at Mesa, Ariz., and Las Vegas, but on Tuesday he hinted that the airline might be offering a different city to Fort Collins-Loveland travelers.

"It could be one of those, but I doubt it," he said. "The coolest thing is that we're looking at another city."

One-way fares to Rockford will start at $139. The airline will be using its new 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700 airliners, Pearsall said, which can hold 20 more passengers than the CRJ200s that flew the route last year.

Original article can be found here: http://www.reporterherald.com

Air and Space Museum Gets Items from Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation

The San Diego Air and Space Museum announced Tuesday that it acquired a large collection of records from the Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation, which preserved the history of Vought Aircraft Cos.

Vought is the company responsible for one of the most identifiable U.S. aircraft used in World War II and the Korean War — the F4U Corsair. The single- engine propeller plane was known for its inverted gull wings.

The firm also manufactured the F8U Crusader, the A-7 Corsair II and was a major subcontractor.

According to the museum, the collection is the largest component of the surviving archive of the Vought Aircraft companies, assembled over 50 years. It spans the entire evolution of aeronautics, encompassing records well beyond those of Vought Aircraft, according to museum officials.

The collection includes a library and photographic collection — with hundreds of thousands of images — for virtually every aircraft designed or built around the world, from the earliest aircraft designs to gliders, helicopters, missiles, spacecraft and satellites. It also includes technical reference material.

One of the largest known privately held collections of aviation history, it’s kept in 500 storage containers on 30 pallets, according to the museum.

The Balboa Park facility also houses collections from Convair/General Dynamics, Ryan Aeronautical, and Rohr/Goodrich.

Original article can be found here: http://timesofsandiego.com

Cherry Capital Airport (KTVC) sees continued passenger growth: More passengers means more federal funding

Cherry Capital Airport Director Kevin Klein stands in the terminal.

TRAVERSE CITY — Passenger traffic continues to grow at Cherry Capital Airport.

The number of people who boarded commercial flights at the Traverse City airport jumped from 199,801 in 2014 to 214,684 in 2015, an increase of 7.4 percent. That's great news for the airport's funding situation.

"All of our federal funding is based on enplaning passengers," said Kevin Klein, airport director. "If you get on at your airport, you fund your airport."

The number of people who deplane, or get off an airplane at an airport, has no bearing on federal funding, he said.

Cherry Capital Airport currently receives about $1.8 million a year in federal funds.

The Traverse City airport's strong growth stems from airlines' acknowledgment of the growing demand for seats by adding flights to and from the airport.

August 2015 saw Cherry Capital's highest passenger traffic in history, Klein said.

About 60 percent of the airport's passenger movement involves leisure travelers. The other 40 percent mostly involves business.

"It may level out more in the wintertime," Klein said of the passenger balance.

Interlochen Center for the Arts students and their parents provide a healthy bump in traffic at the airport, Klein said. Traffic figures spike when students arrive for class terms and again when they leave, and when they travel the globe for auditions and performances.

Klein said he makes it a point to mention specific local sources of passenger traffic when he meets with carriers in his continued effort to bring more flights to the airport.

"When I present, I do a whole page about Interlochen," he said.

The National Cherry Festival, the Traverse City Film Festival and the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival also bring heavy spikes of passenger traffic to Traverse City. Klein said each horse entered in the equestrian festival brings with it five to seven airline passengers. The horses don't fly — they travel by highway. But their trainers, owners and others help boost human air traffic through Cherry Capital Airport.

Movie stars also contribute to the airport's annual passenger total.

"The Monday after the film festival is our busiest day of the year," Klein said.

January figures for airport activity showed that airline takeoffs and landings were up 14.9 percent from the same month in 2015. The number of passengers enplaning increased 4.3 percent to 12,293 people. Another 10,482 got off planes in January at Cherry Capital Airport, up 6.1 percent from January 2015.

Military takeoffs and landings fell from 1,040 in January 2015 to just 321 in January 2016. Military activity at Cherry Capital usually is mostly driven by U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Klein said, but traffic from the Grayling Army Airfield at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center also can contribute.

A Coast Guard spokesman said nothing unusual happened at the Traverse City station in January.

"Every day, there are guys out there training," said Lt. Cmdr. Pablo Smith, U.S. Coast Guard. "It was pretty much average for us."

Air taxi takeoffs and landings fell from 501 in January 2015 to 383 in January 2016.

"That's mainly charter aviation that will always cycle," Klein said.

Itinerant takeoffs and landings fell from 1,552 in January 2015 to 1,220 in January 2016. Klein said the itinerant classification refers to local small plane traffic mostly confined to nearby counties, and can vary widely with weather and other factors.

Cherry Capital Airport still has some open appointment times for frequent travelers interested in enrolling in the TSA Precheck program, which allows identified low-risk travelers a streamlined security screening process. Appointments are available through March 11. Visit www.identogo.com/TVC.aspx to view requirements and make an appointment.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.record-eagle.com

Celebrating addition of third flight on weekdays from Pocatello Regional Airport (KPIH)

Airport committee member John Alexander, left, in front, airport Manager David Allen and Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad cut a ribbon to celebrate the addition of a third daily flight on weekdays to Salt Lake City from Pocatello.

POCATELLO — The Pocatello Regional Airport held a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently to celebrate the addition of another flight from Pocatello to the Salt Lake City International Airport. The new flight is now the third weekday flight offered.

“One of the biggest benefits travelers will now have is over 300 inbound or outbound connecting opportunities at their disposal,” said Pocatello Regional Airport Manager David Allen in a press release. “Additionally, the new weekday flight represents a 46 percent increase in our available seats and weekly flights.”

With the new flight, the Pocatello airport now offers flights to Salt Lake at 7 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on weekdays. Weekday flights will now be arriving at 11:58 a.m., 5:50 p.m. and 10:45 p.m.

Each plane holds 50 passengers, and Sky West, a Delta connection service, operates all flights.

“We’ve had a lot of community support for the third flight,” said Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad. “It gives the citizens of the region more opportunities to fly for business or travel.”

Community members — many affiliated with the Pocatello Chiefs, the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce and the Chambers airport committee — traveled to St. George, Utah, to ask Sky West to add the third flight, according to Blad.

“I think, because of that, they decided to add the flight,” said Blad.

About 50,000 people flew through the Pocatello airport in 2015, according to Allen. The airport hopes to see those numbers grow with the addition of a new flight. Already the passenger loads for January and February are up by 7 percent. And on Wednesday, 111 people were scheduled to fly out of Pocatello in the 150 seats available for the day.

“The value of flying out of here is immense,” said John Alexander, chairman of the Pocatello-Chubbuck airport committee, and CEO of tech company Affinity. “What extra you do pay here, the parking alone at Salt Lake or Idaho Falls would cost more.”

Alexander said that as chairman, it is his job to educate the community about what a valuable resource the airport is.

“I’m a million-mile per year traveler so I know how important travel schedules and options are to businesses and to people,” said Alexander. “We want people to know that this airport is an affordable option and a safe option. If you’ve ever tried to drive to Salt Lake in the winter you know what I mean.”

Original article can be found here: http://biz.idahostatejournal.com

Fairchild 24R-46A, N77697, 88 Charlies LLC: Accident occurred January 30, 2016 in Palmyra, Jefferson County, Wisconsin

Date: 30-JAN-16
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N77697
Aircraft Make: FAIRCHILD
Aircraft Model: 24R
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Substantial
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13
State: Wisconsin


88 CHARLIES INC: http://registry.faa.gov/N77697

Fatal accident occurred March 07, 2016 in Kingston, Roane County, Tennessee

Date: 07-MAR-16
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: UNKN
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Fatal
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Nashville FSDO-19
State: Tennessee


Piper PA-32RT-300T Turbo Lance II, N788JC: Incident occurred March 07, 2016 at Tucson International Airport (KTUS), Pima County, Arizona

Date: 07-MAR-16
Time: 22:22:00Z
Regis#: N788JC
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA32RT
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07
State: Arizona



TUCSON, AZ - Four people on board a small plane are uninjured after their plane "belly lands" at Tucson International Airport.

According to the Tucson International Airport Twitter, the incident happened at 3:22 p.m.  The aircraft had to make an emergency belly landing because of landing gear issues.

Jessie Butler, spokesperson with TIA says the plane was already in Rocky Point when it began to experience landing gear problems and turned around to TIA.

No injuries were reported for the four people on board.

Story and video:  http://www.abc15.com

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Four people on board a small plane are uninjured after their plane "belly lands" at Tucson International Airport.

According to the Tucson International Airport Twitter, the incident happened at 3:22 p.m.  The aircraft had to make an emergency belly landing because of landing gear issues.

Jessie Butler, spokesperson with TIA says the plane was already in Rocky Point when it began to experience landing gear problems and turned around to TIA.

No injuries were reported for the four people on board.

Story and video:  http://www.kgun9.com

Want to be a JetBlue pilot? Here's your chance

JetBlue Airways is taking applications for 24 slots in a new program to train novice pilots to fly a passenger jet.

The airline, the busiest carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, said the program is the first of its kind at a large U.S. airline. The program will cost about $125,000 and take four years to complete. Graduates could wind up flying 100-seat passenger jets.

Warren Christie, JetBlue's senior vice president of safety and training, say the program won't replace the airline's traditional pipelines for pilots, many of whom come from smaller airlines. JetBlue hired more than 300 pilots last year, and a group of 30 new hires just started training last week, he said.

Applicants will be judged with tests measuring hand-eye coordination, multitasking, critical thinking and other skills. Those who survive the first cut will be interviewed.

There also will be a "personality assessment" but not psychological screening, Christie said. The debate over psychological screening has increased since a Germanwings pilot intentionally crashed a plane last year in France, killing 150 people.

JetBlue expects the first group of six prospects to begin training in late summer at the airline's training center in Orlando. JetBlue hired CAE, a maker of flight simulators, to provide the training. CAE has run similar programs for EasyJet and Ryanair in Europe and several airlines in Asia.

Christie believes the program will open the profession to more people. The trainees will meet all federal requirements before carrying passengers, he said.

"They will absolutely be as qualified as any other pilot that is operating a JetBlue aircraft," he said.

Taking a page from programs in Europe, the students will start training with other crew members in a cockpit or simulator much earlier than usual, according to JetBlue and CAE. Currently, some new U.S. pilots learn by dusting crops or toting advertising banners — experience that may bear little resemblance to working in an airliner cockpit.

The applicants will pay for their own training, and the cost is not much different from the amount that many aspiring pilots now spend to accumulate the 1,500 flight hours necessary for an airline pilot's license.

Christie said the students will be able to defray some of their costs by earning a salary as a CAE instructor for part of their training period. CAE described the salary as "competitive" without providing specifics.

Nick Leontidis, president of CAE's training business, said students who struggle will be flagged for remedial training and, failing that, expulsion. But washout rates in similar programs at other airlines have been "extremely low," he said.

"We believe this is going to be an important part of how airlines are going to create pilots in the future," Leontidis said.

The pilots' union at JetBlue pilots opposes the plan. Jim Bigham, chairman of the union's council, said JetBlue should instead hire pilots with experience at regional airlines who currently get passed over.

Bigham said he is not against training newcomers to the field, "but when they come out, I want them to go gain some real-world airline experience prior to becoming an apprentice at JetBlue."

Applications can be submitted at http://pilots.jetblue.com.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.sun-sentinel.com

Allegiant’s next Rickenbacker destination: Jacksonville

Jacksonville today becomes Allegiant Air’s eighth destination from Columbus’ Rickenbacker Airport and its fifth in Florida.

Tickets are scheduled to go on sale today on the airline’s website, allegiantair.com, with fares starting at $47 one way.

Flights will start May 25 with the seasonal service scheduled for Wednesdays and Saturdays through Aug. 13.

Since starting service at Rickenbacker four years ago, Allegiant has grown steadily with a mix of year-round and seasonal routes from the former Air Force base. The airline typically flies between two and five times a week to warm-weather destinations and specializes in vacation packages.

Its January traffic was up 38.5 percent at the airport, based on a 35.7 percent increase in flights. It served 11,265 passengers in January, the most recent month for which figures are available.

That’s not a large number compared with the major airlines that fly at Port Columbus. The smallest of the major carriers at Port Columbus — United — carried 67,878 passengers in January. But Allegiant’s numbers are significant for Rickenbacker, which for years had only a handful of seasonal and charter passenger flights.

Like most of the other airports Allegiant flies to from Rickenbacker, the Jacksonville International Airport is not served nonstop by any other carrier in Columbus.

Fort Lauderdale is its only destination currently served by another carrier, with nonstop flights from Southwest Airlines from Port Columbus.

The Jacksonville area was last served with nonstop service from Columbus by Skybus Airlines, when it briefly flew to St. Augustine before Skybus ceased operations in 2008.

“Jacksonville is a popular destination for Ohio travelers, and we are thrilled that Allegiant will be offering the first and only nonstop flight from Columbus to Jacksonville from Rickenbacker,” said Elaine Roberts, president and CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. “Allegiant continues to add more destinations to the already impressive list of vacation spots and we expect the new Jacksonville route to yield positive results as well.”

Michael Boyd, president of Colorado-based aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International, said Allegiant “creates their own traffic. There’s not a huge demand for service to Jacksonville, but they promote low fares and get people who otherwise wouldn’t travel at all to buy vacation packages and take a trip.”

Original article can be found here:  http://www.dispatch.com

United States Air Force Seeks to Enlarge Australian Footprint: Pacific commander says U.S. aims to expand its rotation of aircraft into a more frequent presence

The Wall Street Journal
By Rob Taylor
March 8, 2016 5:10 a.m. ET

CANBERRA, Australia—Russia is increasingly flexing its air muscle in Asia, the commander of the U.S. Air Force in the Pacific said, potentially adding to the strategic complexity for the U.S. in a region where it is already jostling with China.

The U.S. plans to expand its rotation of bombers and refueling aircraft in Australia into a more frequent presence, Gen. Lori Robinson said Tuesday, much as U.S. Marines have done in the country’s vast northern tropics.

Russia has eased back on long-range air patrols near European nations—which sparked alarm in 2014, sending NATO-nation fighter jets scrambling more than 150 times—but its reconnaissance aircraft are now appearing more frequently over Asia, Gen. Robinson said. The Russian navy has also been expanding its regional presence.

“We have seen Russian long-range aviation come through the Pacific, circumnavigating Japan and circumnavigating Guam,” she told reporters in the Australian capital Canberra. She added that flying through international airspace, like sailing through international waters, is Russia’s right as a nation.

“That’s Russia’s to do,” Gen. Robinson said.

Russia stopped regular patrols of the Pacific Ocean region after the breakup of the Soviet Union, but has begun to reassert its strategic presence under President Vladimir Putin. Russian warships have sailed toward the U.S. coast and into the South Pacific in recent years, while Moscow has worked to secure refueling arrangements for its long-range bombers.

The Russian Ministry of Defense didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday, a national holiday in Russia.

The U.S. has been asserting this “freedom of navigation” itself, sending ships and planes near Chinese-built artificial islands in the South China Sea as a challenge to Beijing’s maritime claims. Chinese officials have cited those patrols in accusing the U.S. of militarizing the region—an echo of an accusation the U.S. has leveled at China.

While saying that sailing or flying through areas claimed by China does increase the risk of a military “miscalculation,” Gen. Robinson declared that the U.S. “would encourage anybody in the region and around the world to fly and sail in international airspace in accordance to international rules.”

Australia, like Japan a key U.S. ally in the region, hasn’t sent its ships on any freedom-of-navigation operations through the South China Sea, but its naval aircraft do regularly fly through the region—though at a greater distance from the artificial islands.

In a defense blueprint released Feb. 24 by conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Australia unveiled details of a planned 10-year, $140 billion military expansion, saying it would strengthen its U.S. alliance. It also urged Beijing to be more forthcoming about its security intentions in the South China Sea, saying they would have a “major impact” on the stability of the Pacific and Indian Ocean region in coming decades.

Gen. Robinson said the U.S. is discussing rotating aircraft and crews through Australian bases in Darwin and Tindal, in the country’s north, as Washington looks to expand its military footprint.

“It would be useful to train across the spectrum of capability,” she said. As to whether that means B-1 supersonic bombers and B-52 strategic bombers, “we are still working through the details.”

The bomber issue is a sensitive one in Australia, where many worry that an increased U.S. military presence could make the country more of a military target. A senior U.S. defense official last year sparked a political furor in Australia by saying the U.S. intended to shift B-1 bombers there in response to China’s construction of military runways in the South China Sea.

The U.S. has been gradually ramping up the number of Marines rotating through Darwin since President  Barack Obama announced plans in 2011 to eventually station 2,500 there for six months a year.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.wsj.com

Allegiant adds flights from Akron-Canton to Orlando Sanford; introductory fare is $39 one way

GREEN, Ohio – Allegiant Air, the fast-growing, low-cost carrier that serves popular tourist destinations, will start flying between the Akron-Canton Airport and Orlando in May.

The twice-weekly flight – with an introductory rate as low as $39 one way – comes as good news to officials at CAK, who learned late last year that Southwest Airlines would discontinue its nonstop flight to Orlando, as well as several other Florida cities, starting in early April.

"Orlando is our top leisure destination, so we are thrilled that Allegiant will offer nonstop flights to families who prefer to spend their time at the theme park, not at a connecting hub," said airport president and CEO Rick McQueen, in a statement.

Allegiant – known for its cheap fares, high fees and older airplanes – frequently flies into smaller, secondary airports. In central Florida, the airline uses Orlando Sanford International Airport, which is a fraction of the size of Orlando International Airport.

Orlando Sanford is about 25 miles north of downtown Orlando and 45 miles northeast of Disney's Magic Kingdom.

The flight will be offered on Thursdays and Sundays, starting Thursday, May 19. The introductory $39 rate, available on limited flights, must be purchased by Monday, March 14, for travel through Sunday, Nov. 6.

The new Orlando route will be the sixth Allegiant destination from Akron-Canton.  Headquartered in Las Vegas, the airline launched service from CAK last May.

The airline also is adding capacity to two existing Akron-Canton routes. Seasonal service to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport resumes in early April and runs through mid-November, with flights three times a week during peak summer travel. Service to Myrtle Beach, which runs May through September, also expands to three times a week during the busy summer season.

The airline also serves Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers-Punta Gorda and St. Petersburg-Clearwater from Akron-Canton.

The Orlando addition at Akron-Canton was part of a larger announcement from Allegiant this morning, which will start 22 new routes this spring. Among the other additions: Toledo to Myrtle Beach and Columbus Rickenbacker to Jacksonville, Florida.

As part of the announcement, Allegiant is giving away free flights to the first 22 seats purchased on each of the 22 new routes, including Akron-Canton to Orlando. The airline, as part of its "$1 Million Summer" campaign, will give a refund for the first 22 seats purchased, based on the timestamp of the transaction. For information: allegiant.com.

Original article can be found here: http://www.cleveland.com