Sunday, April 24, 2016

Maule M-7-235B Super Rocket, N367FS: Accident occurred April 24, 2016 in Littleton, Halifax County, North Carolina


NTSB Identification: ERA16LA181
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 24, 2016 in Littleton, NC
Aircraft: MAULE M 7-235B, registration: N367FS
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 24, 2016, about 1500 eastern daylight time, an amphibious Maule M7 235-B, N367FS, was substantially damaged while attempting to land on a lake near Littleton, North Carolina. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed the lake around 1445. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot/owner and the flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, he owned the airplane for three weeks, and had performed about 30 water landings. He performed a preflight inspection, noted the tiedown ropes were tight, but did not find any other anomalies with the airplane. During the takeoff, the pilot noticed that the airplane was veering "severely" to the left; however, he continued the takeoff. The flight was unremarkable, and the pilot returned to the lake to land the airplane. The pilot performed a "normal" landing; however, when the airplane touched down, it veered to the left, nosed over, and came to rest in the water. The pilot and passengers egressed without incident.

According to a passenger, the airplane departed the lake and it was a "smooth" flight. When they returned to the lake to land, the "rear of the floats touched [the water] followed by a small hop."

According to a witness who was on the lake at the time of the accident, the airplane approached the lake "hot" and "hit the water hard." He watched the airplane bounce about 10 feet into the air and then impact the water again. Then, the wing tip struck the water and the airplane nosed over.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was manufactured in 2005, was registered to the pilot in April 2016. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-540 series engine. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, the most recent annual inspection was completed on March 2, 2016, and at that time, the airplane had accumulated 1,090.8 hours of total time.

According to the pilot, he held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land and single-engine sea. His most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on April 20, 2016. He reported 1,900 hours of flight experience, of which, 25 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

A postaccident examination of the airframe, by an FAA inspector, revealed that the bottom of the left float skin was partially separated along a rivet line. In addition, the left float was bent in a positive direction, about 20 degrees. The wings, rudder, and fuselage were substantially damaged in the accident sequence. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all control surfaces and the four landing gear tires were in the retracted position.

Sections of the left float skin were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. The fracture surfaces were examined visually and exhibited a rough texture with a dull luster. No evidence was noted of corrosion on the fracture surfaces. Overall, the fracture surfaces were consistent with failure from overstress on a thin-walled structure.

GASTON LAKE — A small plane with three people onboard rolled three times while trying to land on Lake Gaston Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

Officials said the aircraft—a 2005 Maule 235 single engine plane—was piloted by Paul Heaton Jr. Authorities said Heaton regularly lands the aircraft on Gaston Lake without incident. 

Heaton Jr. and two passengers onboard were not hurt in the accident, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash. No additional information has been released.

Original article can be found here:

LITTLETON, N.C. (WTVD) --  A small plane with three people on board flipped over after landing on Lake Gaston in Littleton on Sunday, according to the FAA.

It was a float plane and it happened around 3:30 p.m. Highway Patrol said Paul Heaton of Roanoke Rapids was piloting the aircraft.

Heaton says he and the other two passengers are doing fine. They were flying locally to take scenic pictures. He says the landing was normal but there appeared to be a failure with the left pontoon.

The plane rolled over 3 times, according to troopers.

Heaton is still working with the FAA to figure out what happened.

The plane was removed from the lake and the the FAA is investigating.

Original article can be found here:

Stolp Acroduster II, N380JA : Fatal accident occurred April 24, 2016 near Oakhill Airpark (SC82), Greenville County, South Carolina


NTSB Identification: ERA16FA168 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 24, 2016 in Belton, SC
Aircraft: RYSKAMP BRUCE A ACRODUSTER, registration: N380JA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 24, 2016, about 1745 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Acroduster, N380JA, operated by a private individual, was destroyed after impacting terrain while maneuvering near Belton, South Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Oakhill Airpark (SC82), Belton, South Carolina, around 1645. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the two seat, tail-wheel, bi-plane was owned by the pilot, and issued an airworthiness certificate on April 21, 2013. It was equipped with a Continental Motors Inc. IO-360 series, 210-horsepower engine, and driven by a two-blade McCauley constant-speed propeller.

According to a witness at SC82, the pilot taxied the airplane to the approach end of runway 28, performed an engine run up, which included "cycling the [propeller]" and then departed without incident. Approximately 30 minutes later, the witness heard the airplane return to the airport. The airplane completed two aborted landings to runway 28, and then made a left turn to reenter the traffic pattern. While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, he heard the airplane propeller pitch change to a "low pitch, high rpm sound."

Another witness reported that the airplane was on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, when the engine "sputtered," and "cut out" several times. The airplane then banked to the left, and impacted "the ground nose first."

The main wreckage was located in a hay field about 1,225 feet abeam the centerpoint of the runway, at an elevation of 796 feet above mean sea level. The airplane impacted the field and came to rest on a 158 degree heading. All components of the airplane were located in the vicinity of the main wreckage. The left wings and fuselage were consumed by fire. The right wing and empennage were partially consumed by fire. Control continuity was confirmed from the flight controls in the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.

The engine was removed from the airframe for further examination. Crankshaft and valve train continuity, and piston movement were confirmed by rotating the crankshaft. The top spark plugs were removed. Their electrodes were intact and dark gray in color. Internal examination of all cylinders with a boroscope was performed with no anomalies noted. Both magnetos were impact separated and exhibited thermal damage when disassembled. The propeller governor remained attached to the engine. The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft, one blade was bent aft approximately 45 degrees, and the other blade remained straight.

The propeller and propeller governor were removed and retained for further examination.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single engine land. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on March 3, 2016. At that time he reported 420 hours of total flight time, of which, 28 hours were in the previous 90 days. In addition, the pilot held a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate that was issued on May 13, 2013.

According to airplane maintenance logs, the airplane had a total time of about 24.7 hours of flight time. In addition, a condition inspection was performed on the airplane by the pilot/owner on April 10, 2016, at a total time of 22.9 hours.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email,  and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

BELTON, S.C. —The Greenville County coroner released the name of a pilot who was killed in a fiery single-engine plane crash Sunday. 

Bruce Ryskamp, 62, was killed in the crash around 5:30 p.m. Sunday after the plane went down in a field adjacent to Oak Hill park on Aerona Road in Belton, the coroner said. 

Witnesses reported the engine stalled, according to the coroner. 

Willie McAbee lives near the air strip and said he saw Ryskamp take off.

"He turned left back toward my house, and I heard the engine sputter," McAbee told WYFF. "I heard the engine sputter again, and then the airplane completely stalled."

McAbee said he saw the plan plunge straight to the ground in a field behind his house.

"I jumped in my truck and I ran down there as fast I could," McAbee said. "The airplane was already in flames. I couldn't have helped him."

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration spent much of Monday at the crash site.

Heidi Moats, an air safety investigator with the NTSB, said Ryskamp was flying a home-built aircraft known as an Air Duster 2. 

"We look into the man, the machine and the environment," Moats told WYFF.

Moats said investigators will examine maintenance records, the pilot's flying experience and environmental conditions at the time of the crash.

"Pulling records takes time. Examining things takes time," Moats said. "If I find anything that needs to be taken to a lab, that takes time."

Moats said a preliminary report is expected in 10 days, but the final one could take a year to complete.

Officials said Dunklin Fire Department extinguished the fire that followed the crash.

Ryskamp was pronounced dead at the scene, the coroner said. Ryskamp was the only person in the plane at the time of the crash, the coroner said. 

Officials said they are not sure where the plane began its flight.

The cause of death is under investigation, the coroner said. 

A man died Sunday evening when his small airplane crashed in a large, grassy field in southern Greenville County, the Coroner’s Office said.

Residents reported the plane crash about 5:30 p.m. Sunday off Oak Hill Road, the Sheriff’s Office said. Deputies, firefighters, and EMS responded to the area.

The pilot, who was the lone occupant, was pronounced dead at the scene, Deputy Coroner Kent Dill said.

Mary Black said her parents live on the property and she lives across the road. She said her children and husband saw the plane spiral to the ground. Her husband and father tried to help the man.

“The plane was engulfed in flames and it was just so hot they couldn’t get close enough to do anything,” Black said.

Firefighters extinguished the fire, Dill said.

Black said her family was familiar with the pilot of the plane. He lived in the area and regularly used a small, private airport nearby. She said he built the plane himself.

The Coroner’s Office has not released the identity of the man.

Local authorities will work with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board on the investigation, Dill said.

Original article can be found here:

BELTON, S.C. —The coroner said one person was found dead after what a witness said was a fiery plane crash in Greenville County.

A deputy with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office confirmed the plane crash happened on Oak Hill Road in Belton around 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Greenville County Coroner Kent Dill responded to the crash and said one person was found dead at the scene.

Dill said the initial call came in as the plane went down with one person on board.

Official said they are just beginning to document the scene and they are not sure where the plane began its flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration was called to the scene, officials said.

Officials said Dunklin and South Greenville Fire departments are working the scene along with the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

A witness at the scene told WYFF News 4 the plane was engulfed in flames.

Original article can be found here:

GREENVILLE CO., SC (WSPA) – One person has died after a small plane crashed in southern Greenville County.

According to the FAA, the plane was a single-engine amateur-built Acroduster plane which crashed in a pasture while attempting to land at Oakhill Airpark.

There was only one person on the plane when it went down near Oak Hill Road around 5:30pm, according to the Greenville County Coroner and the Sheriff’s Office.

Mary Black, a witness at the scene says her father and husband saw the plane spiral down and crash into a field.

“The plane was engulfed in flames and it was just so hot they couldn’t get close enough to do anything,” said Black.

The plane was on fire when firefighters from the Dunklin Fire Department arrived. The NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here:

BELTON, SC (FOX Carolina) - Authorities are investigating a fatal Greenville County plane crash on Sunday night.

Just before 6 p.m., the coroner said he was en route to the scene on Oak Hill Road after receiving a call about a victim entrapped in a small plane that crashed.

Witnesses said they saw a plane spiraling down into a field before catching fire.

Coroner Kent Dill said one person was found deceased at the scene, believed to be the only occupant of the aircraft. He said there was a fire after the crash, which firefighters extinguished.

Dill described it as a small plane, but said specifics about the aircraft were unknown at this time.

They are working to notify the victim's family about the crash. Officials are unsure at this time of the plane's destination.

Original article can be found here:

GREENVILLE CO., SC (WSPA) – One person has died after a small plane crashed in southern Greenville County.

According to the FAA, the plane was a single-engine amateur-built Acroduster plane which crashed in a pasture while attempting to land at Oakhill Airpark.

There was only one person on the plane when it went down near Oak Hill Road around 5:30pm, according to the Greenville County Coroner and the Sheriff’s Office.

Firefighters from the Dunklin Fire Department were on scene. The NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here:

Forest ranger documents Adirondack plane crash sites

In this April 3, 2016 photo, Scott Van Laer photographs pieces of a Cessna 207 that crashed into an Adirondack mountainside in 1970 in New York. The New York forest ranger is documenting dozens of plane crash sites in the Adirondack Mountains with plans for a book for fellow “wreck chasers” and hikers.

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Hidden among the rugged mountains, spruce thickets and mossy bogs of New York's 6-million-acre Adirondack Park lie the remnants of dozens of planes that have met their doom over the decades.

They include single-engine private planes, military jets and commercial aircraft. Some are well-known, like the Air Force B-47 bomber that crashed into Wright Peak in 1962, leaving wreckage visited by hikers to this day. Others have nearly vanished, leaving little but scraps of canvas and rusted steel beneath ferns and fallen trees.

Forest Ranger Scott Van Laer has made it his mission to tell their stories. He's an aviation archaeologist, also known as a "wreck chaser." What started as a work assignment to update a list of crash sites has become an off-duty obsession involving hundreds of hours poring over Federal Aviation Administration and military crash records, interviewing old-timers, networking on web message boards and hiking to remote crash sites.

"This is one of the first planes I looked for," Van Laer said as he bushwhacked through dense woods and beaver marsh on a recent Sunday in search of a Cessna 207 "Skywagon" that crashed in 1970 in the Jay Mountain range of the northeastern Adirondacks. "Turns out I looked totally on the wrong mountain. That's because the crash list was put together by a ranger in the '80s before GPS. It wasn't precise."

This time, Van Laer was accompanied by local resident Jim Beaton, who had visited the site soon after the crash. Beaton led the way to the white and yellow shards of fuselage, wings and tail scattered through the swath of forest where Harvey Shaw, a former Air Force pilot, crashed in heavy fog and died. Van Laer documented the site with photographs and GPS readings.

In addition to cataloging crash sites for the Department of Environmental Conservation, Van Laer is writing a book about Adirondack plane crashes, which he expects to publish next year. He has documented more than 200 crashes in the region, with wreckage remaining in the woods from about 50. He has visited about two dozen sites. Some, long forgotten in remote areas, took multiple trips to find.

"One I'm still looking for is a Connecticut National Guard plane that went down in the Moose River Plains in 1956," he said. "The pilot dragged himself for 36 hours with a broken leg until some loggers saved him."

Some sites hold military history. One is on Blue Ridge in the central Adirondacks, where a U.S. Army C-46 transport plane crashed in 1944 during a night training mission, killing the three people on board. Despite an intense search, the wreckage wasn't found until nearly a year later by someone searching for a different lost aircraft.

"A group of wreck chasers found it about 15 years ago and put a plaque on the wing and hung a flag," Van Laer said. "Now a few people go to it every year."

As he searches for sites, Van Laer often seeks out surviving relatives to see if they want to visit the wrecks. In 2014, he led a pilot's son to wreckage of a Cherokee 140 on Iroquois Mountain on the 45th anniversary of the crash. "That one was celebratory because his father survived," he said.

One wreck remains a mystery. The twin-engine jet of an Atlanta developer crashed shortly after takeoff from Burlington, Vermont, in January 1971. A search ranging from the eastern Adirondacks to the Vermont side of Lake Champlain was fruitless. The jet and five men on board are still missing.

After Van Laer happened to meet the pilot's daughter on a wreck-chasing message board, he organized a search in Lake Champlain in 2014 involving state police divers and private contractors with a mini submarine. He helped family members organize another private search last year.

"That one's been tough," Van Laer said. "I really want to help bring closure to the family."

The pilot's niece, Barbara Nikitas, of Beverly Hills, California, said Van Laer is a godsend for a family that longs for answers after 45 years.

"It's been wonderful to have his support and knowledge," said Nikitas, 59. "Not knowing what happened has always been very devastating to us."

Original article can be found here:

Downed chopper report spurs big search

LANSING — Police and firefighters rushed to an area south of Lansing Municipal Airport Saturday when Lynwood police received a report at 11:22 a.m. that a gyrocopter had crashed.

All terrain vehicles, the Lake County Sheriff's Police helicopter and even a small drone joined in the search as police and firefighters fanned out into cornfields and woods, searching for an hour before the pilot and gyrocopter were found safe back at the airport.

The gyrocopter pilot had been performing a maneuver known as an auto rotation, which may have made it appear he was losing power and crashing, according to Sheriff's Deputy Chief of Police Dan Murchek. The maneuver basically consists of turning off the power to the rotors and letting airflow drive them around, providing lift.

"Sometimes when they do that it will look like they are going down," Murchek said.

The Lake County Sheriff's helicopter was at the airport for a "touch a truck" day being put on by Lansing Police, so it quickly joined in the search.

Original article can be found here:

Council gives OK for Icon Aircraft water pact

VACAVILLE — A water purchase agreement between the city and Icon Aircraft for supplies to fill a man-made lake allowing the manufacturer to test aquatic takeoff and landing of its Light Sport Aircraft won Vacaville City Council approval Tuesday.

Council members did not comment on the pact.

City Manager Laura Kuhn will complete negotiations for the agreement. Cost of the water has not yet been determined.

Untreated surface water from Lake Berryessa would be used, with delivery from the Putah South Canal less than 1,000 feet from the lake, a city staff report said.

Using the city’s treated drinking water system would be costly and contrary to Vacaville’s conservation goals, the report said.

The lake, which will have a capacity of about 75 acre-feet, is proposed to be initially filled and periodically replenished with Lake Berryessa water.

An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, or the amount of water needed to cover one acre with water a foot deep. This is enough water to serve two California families for a year, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Original article can be found here:

Vacaville considers water pact with Icon Aircraft 

VACAVILLE — A water purchase agreement between the city and Icon Aircraft for supplies to fill a man-made lake allowing the manufacturer to test aquatic takeoff and landing of its Light Sport Aircraft goes before Vacaville City Council members Tuesday.

“City staff and Icon representatives have discussed potential deal points of such an agreement, but a formal agreement has not been negotiated and executed,” a staff report said.

The staff recommends City Manager Laura Kuhn be directed to complete negotiations.

Cost of the water has not yet been determined.

Untreated surface water from Lake Berryessa would be used, with delivery from the Putah South Canal less than 1,000 feet from the lake, the city staff report said.

Using the city’s treated drinking water system would be costly and contrary to Vacaville’s conservation goals, the city staff report said.

The lake, which will have a capacity of about 75 acre-feet, is proposed to be initially filled and periodically replenished with Lake Berryessa water.

An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, or the amount of water needed to cover one acre with water a foot deep. This is enough water to serve two California families for a year, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

City Council members meet at 6 p.m. in the council chamber at 650 Merchant St.

Original article can be found here:

Boeing innovations: Sometimes lucrative, sometimes a bust

The Boeing Co. is turning 100 on July 15. Throughout the year, The Daily Herald is covering the people, airplanes and moments that define the Boeing century.

Mechanic Austin Ballard examines a spark plug as he works on the engines of a Boeing 247D at the Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field in Everett on Tuesday. The Boeing 247 is considered the first modern airliner.

EVERETT — Austin Ballard steadied himself on a wooden ladder and threaded a cable capped with a tiny camera lens into a cylinder on one of the Boeing 247's engines. With his eyes on the display screen at his side, he guided the camera around the hollow space. He pushed a propeller blade, shifting the cylinder's piston.

“I'm glad it's your last flight, ol' gal,” the mechanic said to the airplane, which first flew in 1933.

The all-metal, twin-engine plane is in fine shape for the short hop Tuesday from Paine Field to Boeing Field in Seattle, where the Museum of Flight plans to put it on permanent display. Its days on the air-show circuit are long gone, though, he said.

The plane, dubbed “City of Renton,” hasn't flown since 1976. For the past 10 years, museum volunteers and workers, including Ballard, have been restoring the sleek airplane for display in a museum. The Boeing 247 is widely considered the first modern airliner. It was not the last time Boeing changed how people travel or how passenger airplanes are built.

All new airplanes introduce some new technology, but not every one changes the industry. In different ways, Boeing's 247, 307, 707, 747, 767 and 787 each fundamentally changed commercial aerospace. They improved on and found new applications for existing technologies and introduced their own innovations. But technological innovation does not always bring profits. Some of Boeing's most innovative airplanes have been money-losers.

Boeing 247: The first modern airliner

It started with a crash.

On the morning of March 31, 1931, Transcontinental and Western Air Flight 599 took off from Kansas City, Missouri, headed for Wichita, the first stop on the way to Los Angeles. Six passengers and two pilots crowded into the Fokker F.10 trimotor. Like nearly all commercial planes of the day, it was loud, slow and made of wood, metal and fabric held together with struts, braces and glue.

About an hour into the flight, the Fokker's left wing snapped. The plane plunged into an open field. Everyone on board died, including University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. The 43-year-old Rockne was already a national hero and had been traveling to Hollywood, where Universal Pictures was making a movie about him, “The Spirit of Notre Dame.”

The crash grabbed headlines across the country. It also effectively ended the era of wood-framed passenger planes. But the only all-metal plane available at the time, the Ford Trimotor, was slow and expensive to run.

In Seattle, Boeing engineers came up with a design that was unlike any prior airplane: Boeing Model 247. The struts, braces and glue were gone. It was made by riveting panels to a metal frame — the same as modern jetliners.

It looked like it was built for speed, but it had been designed around passengers, with room for 10 and a lavatory. Boeing engineers studied the size and needs of the average flyer.

“Passenger requirements were the starting points,” the industry magazine Aviation reported in its April 1933 edition.

The 247 was cheaper to maintain, and bigger and faster — much faster — than any other passenger plane in the air. Instantly, it set a new standard for the propeller era and cemented the place of design features still in use today, including wings held in place with an internal frame.

In Seattle, 15,000 people turned out to get the first public look at the 247 at the United Air Lines hangar at Boeing Field.

United had ordered 60 of the planes. The air carrier was part of the conglomerate formed in the late 1920s by Boeing and engine maker Pratt & Whitney.

Other airlines wanted the new 247, too. But Boeing would not deliver any plane to the competition before United had its 60. So the competition went to other airplane makers. In California, Douglas Aircraft learned from the 247's shortcomings and developed the DC-2. When it first flew in 1934, the 247 was suddenly obsolete. Douglas followed with the DC-3, which dominated the commercial market.

Boeing sold only 75 of the first modern airliner.

Boeing 307: Flying higher

The 1930s were rough for Boeing. Boeing's conglomerate, United Aircraft and Transport Corp., was busted up by Congress, which passed antitrust legislation in 1934 that said airplane makers can't own airlines. The company slashed its workforce from more than 1,700 that year to 613 in 1935. The crackdown prompted founder Bill Boeing to quit the industry altogether.

That year, “everything seemed to be going backward. Everything,” wrote Harold Mansfield, head of Boeing public relations at the time, in his memoir, “Vision: The Story of Boeing.”

The company lost money during much of the '30s and depended on federal contracts to keep going. Faced with so much uncertainty, Boeing production workers joined the Machinists union. The engineers formed their own union in the early 1940s.

Boeing couldn't compete head-to-head with the DC-2 and DC-3, so the company leapt past Douglas with the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, the first pressurized passenger plane.

Before the 307, planes were not pressurized and had to fly relatively low to the ground, where they were buffeted by turbulence and weather. Boeing engineers figured out how to regulate the airplane's cabin pressure, allowing it to smoothly increase and decrease as the Stratoliner climbed or descended.

“That was the key breakthrough,” said Mike Lavelle, an aviation historian and former Boeing employee.

The plane could cruise 20,000 feet above sea level, making for a smoother and faster ride. Few orders came in, though.

The 307 was designed for long routes, but most airlines flew short routes, due to the technological limitations of the era's planes. While airlines had little interest in the Stratoliner, Boeing couldn't make B-17 bombers fast enough for the U.S. military, Lavelle said.

Boeing stopped making 307s in favor of warplane production. In the end, Boeing only built 10 307 Stratoliners, including one for eccentric billionaire and aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, who helped finance and design the revolutionary airplane.

Boeing put what it learned about pressurization into its B-29 Superfortress, which helped defeat Japan.

Boeing 707: The Jet Age

World War II might have killed the Stratoliner, but it positioned Boeing to dominate the Jet Age.

After the war, the idea of jetliners grabbed Boeing engineers' imaginations. Boeing exec George Schairer told Aviation Week in 1954: “We couldn't restrain some of our people from making design layouts at home at night.”

The company considered several designs before settling on what became the Boeing 707. The sweptwing, four-engine jetliner would forever change how people travel and would make the world a bit smaller.

Boeing wasn't the first airplane maker to introduce a jetliner. British, Canadian, French and Soviet jets flew first. But Boeing turned its tardiness to an advantage. It used lessons learned by those earlier jets to improve the 707. Those lessons included two de Havilland Comets that broke up in flight — the consequence of the industry's ignorance of the physical stresses that high-altitude jet travel puts on an airplane.

The 707 was “aimed at re-establishing the company at the top of the commercial market in the jet age,” Aviation Week reporter Richard Sweeney wrote in 1958.

The genius of the 707 is that Boeing engineers harnessed the new technologies so airlines could make money.

The 707 introduced the Jet Age, outselling all competitors. Boeing brought jet travel to smaller markets with the 727 in 1963.

Boeing 747: Shrinking the world

The world got a lot smaller in the late 1960s after the Boeing 747 made long-haul flying possible. The powerful four-engine airplane connected far-flung cities.

“It brought in a whole new passenger experience,” said Scott Hamilton, an aviation industry consultant and owner of Leeham Co. in Issaquah.

The plane introduced the powerful and efficient high-bypass-ratio turbofan jet engines, which eclipsed anything else at the time.

Speaking at Boeing's 50th anniversary in July 1966, Pan Am CEO Juan Trippe called the plane “a bold and gigantic venture in the best tradition of American industry.”

It would be “a great new weapon for peace,” he said. “There can be no atom bomb potentially more powerful than the air tourist, charged with curiosity, enthusiasm and good will, who can roam the four corners of the world, meeting in friendship and understanding the people of other nations and races.”

Boeing 767: Pioneering twinjet travel

In the 1970s, big four- and three-engine jetliners dominated international travel. Regulators did not allow two-engine airliners — or twinjets — to fly more than 60 minutes from the nearest airport, in case one engine failed. That rule meant much of the world was off-limits for twinjets.

In the late 1970s, Boeing began developing its first twin-aisle twinjet, the 767, as well as the single-aisle 757. The planes took advantage of improved aerodynamics and bigger, more efficient jet engines.

As airlines started using 767s in the early 1980s, the aviation industry was starting to reconsider the need for airplanes with three or four engines, which are more expensive to maintain than twinjets. Aviation regulators tapped the 767 to prove that twinjets could safely fly long-haul and transoceanic routes.

The plane proved the case, and regulators doubled how far twinjets could fly from the nearest airport. By the end of the decade, 767s dominated transatlantic flights.

The 767 started to undo airlines' hub-and-spoke flight system. Airlines could now afford more direct flights, skipping hub airports. The hub-and-spoke system still dominates, but air travel continues to evolve away from it.

Boeing 787: Evolving technology

The super-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner has continued the assault on hub-and-spoke systems begun by the 767. Airlines have used the 787 to open dozens of long routes.

The 787 has proven that a big commercial jetliner can be made from composite material, which had been used in smaller amounts for decades. Most of its efficiency, though, comes from new engines from Rolls Royce and GE. Lessons learned from the plane will mean greater weight savings in future airplane designs.

While the 787 is a money-maker for airlines, Boeing has lost more than $32 billion in building and selling the first 363 Dreamliners. Many industry watchers are skeptical Boeing will recoup the full cost of the airplane's development. Company execs remain optimistic.

It wouldn't be the first time Boeing lost money on a technological leap. Revolutionary designs don't guarantee commercial success. Indeed, Boeing has made the most money off the 737 and 777 — great designs, but not revolutionary.

Innovation timeline

March 31, 1931: TWA Flight 599 crashes, effectively ending the era of wood-framed passenger planes.

Feb. 8, 1933: Boeing 247 first flight.

July 1, 1933: Douglas DC-1, precursor to the DC-2, first flight.

May 11, 1934: Douglas DC-2 first flight.

June 12, 1934: The Air Mail Act is signed into law, forcing Boeing to break its ties to United Air Lines and Pratt & Whitney.

Dec. 17, 1935: Douglas DC-3 first flight.

Dec. 31, 1938: Boeing 307 first flight.

Sept. 1, 1939: Germany invades Poland, starting World War II in Europe.

Dec. 7, 1941: Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, drawing the U.S. into the war.

May 20, 1952: Boeing begins building Model 367-80 (“Dash 80”), precursor to the 707.

Aug. 7, 1955: Boeing test pilot A.M. “Tex” Johnston does two barrel rolls in the Dash 80 over Lake Washington.

Sept. 28, 1956: Founder Bill Boeing dies.

Oct. 28, 1957: First Boeing 707 rolls out of Renton plant.

Feb. 9, 1967: Boeing 747 first flight.

Sept. 26, 1981: Boeing 767 first flight.

May 1985: TWA gets federal approval to fly Boeing 767s on transatlantic routes.

Dec. 15, 2009: Boeing 787 first flight.

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Fred Kelly hit with tragedy, then glory once again late in life

Starting an airline was no easy matter. There was little past experience to learn from and they were dealing with new technology — the “airoplane” — that was very unreliable and even dangerous. But there’s always been something about aviation that captures the heart of adventurous people. Fred Warren Kelly was one of them.

After winning the 110-meter high hurdles at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, followed by a track meet where the distraction of seeing his first airplane cost him the race against Jim Thorpe, Fred was hooked.

But it wasn’t just pilots. Mechanics and other ground personnel also fell in love with the flying business. To them it wasn’t just a job — it was a calling. They put their hearts and souls into building a huge new industry. The world would never be the same — and America led the charge.

Flying in the early days was a freewheeling enterprise. Western’s first route between L.A. and Salt Lake City with a stop in Vegas generally followed the snaking Union Pacific railroad tracks. “The gleam of the rails were the early day radio beams that guided the flyers,” Fred said. “In bad weather, the pilots even made it a strict rule to follow the right-hand side of the track to avoid collisions with the opposite bound airplane.

“Arrangements were made with ranchers, railroad clerks and others to phone in weather information. The Union Pacific Railroad cooperatively offered the use of its phone boxes along the track.”

Landing in the desert to use those phones was no big deal. On one flight, Kelly and another pilot spotted a sheepherder with his flock in a field near Milford, Utah. “I could see his stove burning,” Fred continued, “and I knew those guys were famous for their sourdough biscuits, so we just set down in the field and had lunch with him.”

On another occasion, his passenger was Bebe Daniels — a top movie star of those times. During the flight, he saw Jimmy James flying in the opposite direction, and he knew that Jimmy always wanted to meet Bebe, so he signaled for them to land.

They did, and out in the open desert the two pilots and Bebe had a nice half-hour chat, jumped back into their planes and took off in opposite directions — both arriving a half-hour late.

Both pilots reported “headwinds!”

During those early open-cockpit years, Western “only” had 13 forced landings due to mechanical problems — but “a lot more” due to weather. “We couldn’t get any medals for forced landings,” Fred said, “because the mechanics were too good.” — They even worked on the Spirit of St. Louis when Charles Lindbergh visited Western’s home base Vail Field in 1927, while on an aviation publicity tour of America after his historic solo flight across the Atlantic.

Lindy also visited Boise.

Despite the mishaps, Western was doing well and turning a profit. By 1930, they were flying bigger and better planes, though on some routes they were still flying mail in open-cockpit planes — and carrying the occasional brave passenger.

But for the L.A. to San Francisco route, they introduced the big canvas-covered Fokker F-32 — a spectacular new passenger aircraft that carried 32 passengers. It was the most luxurious plane in the world at that time — but it didn’t last.

Four engines were mounted under the wing — two on each side, aligned front and back in single pods. The engines turned out to be under-powered and the front engines overheated the back ones. The F-32 was a colossal failure and scrapped after only two years. One of the planes ended up as a gas station on Wilshire Boulevard in L.A.

The F-32 was quickly followed by the all-metal Boeing 247D 10-passenger aircraft. Western’s open-cockpit days were over.

As the Great Depression grew worse, Western almost went under. Pressure from the U.S. Post Office forced them to merge with Transcontinental Air Transport to form Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). It was an unholy alliance and soon fell apart. TWA continued flying — taking most of Western best routes — leaving Western with only its original L.A. to Salt Lake run plus San Diego.

Many Western employees joined TWA — but not Fred Kelly. He wasn’t about to leave the company he helped put on the map.

Fred was a top-notch pilot and an excellent instructor and they made him chief pilot. He loved night flying and instrument flying — which at that time was still rudimentary. When certain instrument flying techniques hadn’t been devised yet, he devised them — including the “race track” holding pattern. (Pilots will know what that is.)

Fred admitted that he didn’t know if he was first with that idea or not, but “I never heard of it before,” he said.

He took his job seriously but remained ever the prankster. Once he led a group of Salt Lake pilots on a familiarization trip to Ketchum in Sun Valley that turned out to be a romp. “I was sitting in the back with some of the boys and we were razzing the boys in the cockpit. I guess they got a little tired of it, so they locked the cockpit door.”

The pilots in the cabin pulled the pins out of the door hinges and then told them on the intercom that there was a problem in the back. As soon as they came to check it out, the door fell of the hinges. “We really gave them a horselaugh!”

Throughout the ’30s, the company continued to grow their route system by acquiring other small carriers. One of them was National Parks Airways in 1937, which extended Western’s Salt Lake service north to Great Falls, with stops at Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Butte and Helena.

NPA originally flew single-engine Fokker Super Universal aircraft that carried six passengers in a cabin while the pilot sat in an open cockpit. Later, they switched to 247s — which joined Western fleet of newer model 247Ds, Douglas DC-2s and DC-3s after the buyout.

The merger virtually doubled Western’s route system, and linked Idaho and Montana with single-carrier service to Los Angeles and other major cities, making commercial aviation an everyday part of life in the region.

When World War II broke out, Western was assigned to fly men and material to Alaska, using the company’s DC-3s — designated C-47s by the Army Air Corps. It was called “Operation Sourdough,” and Fred was in charge. It was tough duty.

“Airports were still dirt strips,” he said. “There were no radio navigation facilities. Sleeping bags aboard the planes gave pilots slim hope of catching up on sleep… Gasoline hoses snapped like glass. Altimeters would be off a thousand feet either way.” The cold would cause the compass fluid to seal the instruments “as though encased in a Jell-O pudding.”

After the war, Fred suffered a slight heart pain. He flew for a short while, and then asked to be grounded. “I didn’t want to fly with a heart condition,” he said. “Doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me but my heart still hurt.” He was assigned public relations duty, talking before civic groups and even appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show.

In 1950, he took a leave of absence and tried several other jobs but returned to Western the following year and was assigned security work. Becoming increasingly discouraged, Fred submitted his resignation only to face harder times ahead:

His only son Fred Jr. was killed in a car accident, then his wife Marie died of smoke inhalation when their home in Glendale, Calif., caught fire. And his dog was hit by a car. He retired before airlines offered pensions and Fred had to sell his house and ended up living in Shady Acres Trailer Park in Long Beach, Calif., and sold shoes, sox and ladies hosiery for a living.

In 1964, his old company found him and invited him to come and visit. He was 74 and still standing erect and proud. There was a warm twinkle in his eye and a boyish, almost shy smile lighting up his face when he talked about the old days.

Western gave him a modest pension and for two years he toured America from Washington, D.C., to Hawaii on a paid publicity assignment. In Honolulu, he met Nadine, widow of his Olympics teammate Duke Kahanamoku.

Fred Kelly died in Applegate, Ore., near his old flying buddy Al DeGarmo in Florence on May 7, 1974. He was 82. His funeral was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif., and the Church of the Wee Heather was packed with airline people.

Fred was very proud when his biography appeared in two parts in the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society. “When you gonna write Part Three?” he’d ask with a twinkle in his eye.

Part Three is a never-ending story written around the world by those in aviation who follow in the footsteps of flyers like Fred Kelly and the thousands of other early birds who led the way.

Original article can be found here:

Development of land near Carson Airport (KCXP) could take off again

A long vacant parcel of land west of the Carson City Airport that was previously considered for development may be back in play.

Preliminary plans for an RV resort comprising 215 RV spaces, a check-in office and store, and possible casino, restaurant, fitness center, club house, playground, putting green and manager’s residence has been submitted to the Carson City’s planning division for major project review.

The proposed park is on land at the end of Mark Way, between Hot Springs Road to the south, Arrowhead Drive to the north and Goni Road and the airport to the east.

This isn’t the first idea floated for the property.

In 2003, then owner Don Langson proposed a huge, $50 million auto mall there when the state of Nevada committed to doing the U.S. 395 bypass.

When that idea failed, Langson proposed an RV park and 9-hole golf course, which didn’t materialize, either.

In 2006, when the freeway bypass was built, Ames Construction, the contractor, paid Langson to take dirt excavated from the road project onto the land.

Now the property is owned by Western Insurance Co. and Roger Shaheen, the applicant on the major project review, is in negotiations to buy it.

“We submitted it to get some ideas for a variety of reasons, but it is so preliminary until Roger closes escrow,” said Michael Bennett, Carson City location principal with engineering consultant Lumos & Associates, the applicant’s representative.

The development came up on the agenda of the Carson City Airport Authority’s April 20 meeting.

Steve Tackes, authority counsel, attended the RV park proposal’s review because the authority is being asked for its official position on the project due to its proximity to the airport.

The airport’s main objection is to ponds now included in the design because the water would attract migratory birds, endangering planes taking off and landing at the nearby airport.

Tackes also wanted to make sure the project would come with an avigation easement, which places limits on land use to protect the airspace.

Tackes said he had understood the site couldn’t be built on because of the dirt put on it during the bypass construction.

“I would not agree with that,” said Bennett. “We should be able to construct on it.”

Bennett said the concern is when soil is added to a site, it has to be properly packed down in order not to create what’s called an uncontrolled fill.

According to the major project review document, the park would include 18,500 square feet of building area, 739,772 square feet of landscape area and 614,066 square feet of paved area.

Water usage is estimated at 32,000 gallons daily at full occupancy for the RVs and 15,000 a day for possible accessory uses which includes a club house, casino and pool.

It would require one tree per 400 square feet or 465 trees and six shrubs per tree or 2,790 shrubs.

The land is zoned tourist commercial, which would mean an RV tenant could stay for up to 30 days, unless the developer obtains a special use permit for longer durations.

Original article can be found here: