Monday, April 25, 2016

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N43576: Fatal accident occurred April 25, 2016 near Boone Inc Airport (NC14), Watauga County, North Carolina

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper; McKinney, Texas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N43576

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Boone, NC
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N43576
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 25, 2016, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N43576, was destroyed after a collision with trees and terrain while conducting a go-around at Boone Inc. Airport (NC14), Boone, North Carolina. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. The rear seat passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned, and the personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from NC14 about 1255.

According to a witness at the approach end of runway 31, his attention was drawn to the airplane because it was "very fast" as it approached the airport for landing. The airplane disappeared from his view and shortly after, he saw a plume of smoke on the adjacent golf course. Another witness, who was in a house on a hill on the right side of the departure end of runway 31, stated that the airplane was climbing out and the left wing was low when it collided with a pine tree. She said that the airplane seemed as if it was attempting to gain altitude but collided with another pine tree before impacting the golf course. Witnesses on the golf course reported that they watched the airplane climb and stated that it was "bobbling" up and down before hitting the top of a stand of pine trees. The airplane nosed down and impacted the golf course; a postimpact fire ensued. The witnesses on the golf course saw two occupants exit the airplane and assisted them before the local authorities arrived. Neither the pilot or the surviving passenger could recall the events of the accident flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 68, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate issued July 2, 2015, with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the pilot's application for that medical certificate, he reported 604 total hours of flight experience. The pilot could not recall his flight experience and his logbook was not recovered; therefore, his total flight experience at the time of the accident and his experience in the accident airplane make and model could not be determined.

The pilot-rated passenger, age 44, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a private pilot certificate with ratings for multi-engine land, and an FAA second-class medical certificate with no noted limitations. On the pilot-rated passenger's most recent application for a FAA medical certificate, he reported a total flight experience of 2,600 hours. The pilot-rated passenger succumbed to his injuries 34 days after the accident, and his logbook was not recovered; therefore, his total flight experience at the time of the accident could not be determined.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-engine airplane was manufactured in 1974 and was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5 engine equipped with a Hartzell HC-C2YK-1, controllable-pitch propeller. A review of maintenance logbook records showed an annual inspection was completed on June 16, 2015, at a recorded airframe total time of 7,718.5 hours and an engine total time of 4,073 hours. Further review of the airplane records revealed that the engine was overhauled on August 27, 1992. The last maintenance was performed on January 31, 2016, at which time the engine had accumulated about 2,255 hours since overhaul.

The airplane was owned by the pilot and based at NC14.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1255, the recorded weather at Watauga County Hospital Heliport (TNB), Boone, North Carolina, about 1 mile north of the accident site, included wind from 330° at 4 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 6,000 ft above ground level, temperature 21°C, dew point 6°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The airport's runway was oriented on 13°/31° and measured 2,700 ft in length and 40 ft in width. The runway surface was asphalt and there were 25 ft trees about 150 ft from the runway 31 departure end.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially impacted a stand of 75-ft-tall pine trees. Parts of the left wing and freshly cut branches were observed throughout the stand of pine trees. A wreckage path extended from the trees, continued on a magnetic heading about 310° and extended about 126 ft to the main wreckage, which came to rest on a golf course. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the rudder and vertical stabilizer, and the left and right stabilators. The outboard section of the left wing was fragmented along the wreckage path. The right wing was located with the main fuselage and it was consumed by fire. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit, cabin, and baggage area. The instrument panel and avionics were destroyed by fire. No useful information was obtained from the instrumentation or avionics equipment. The engine control levers were not attached to the quadrant and were impact and fire damaged.

Both control yokes were impact separated, broken and fire damaged. The T-bar with aileron sprocket and chain were examined. The aileron and stabilator cables were attached. The rudder pedals were pushed forward against the forward bulkhead. The firewall was severely impact damaged. The engine mount was attached to the firewall, and the engine was attached to the mount. The nose landing gear was attached to the mount. The nose gear steering rods were bent and impact separated from the steering horn.

The flap control handle and bracket were attached to the fuselage floor and exhibited a flaps-retracted position. The flap operating torque tube was attached to its location in the fuselage and was also in the retracted position. The fuel selector valve was located and the selector valve arm was positioned in the right tip tank detent position. The fuel selector displayed impact and fire damage and the internal fuel filter was melted. All switches and circuit breakers were impact and fire damaged.

Examination of the empennage revealed that the vertical fin with left and right stabilator sections was attached by the floor pan of the fuselage and impact and fire damaged. The rudder was attached to the vertical stabilizer at its hinge points. The rudder sector control cables were attached. Movement was noted going forward to the cabin area. The rudder trim position could not be determined. The stabilator control cables and trim control cables were attached and traced forward to the cabin area. Control cable continuity was traced forward to the flight control "T"-bar assembly. All cables exhibited postimpact fire damage.

The left wing was separated from the fuselage. Both fuel tanks were breached and destroyed. All lower wing skins were destroyed by ground fire. The flap was attached at the inboard end. The outboard section was impact and fire damaged. The aileron was destroyed. The aileron control sector was bent and twisted. Both aileron cables were attached. Cable continuity was traced to the control chains in the forward cabin area. The left main landing gear assembly was attached to the main wing spar and fire damaged. The stall warning vane was destroyed.

The right main landing gear was destroyed by postimpact fire. The right flap and aileron were destroyed by impact and fire. The primary and balance cables were attached. Control cable continuity was traced through all cable breaks from tension overload to the forward cabin area. Both cables were found attached to the aileron control chain.

The engine remained attached to the firewall by the upper engine mount tubes. The upper mount tubes were impact damaged and the lower tubes were separated.

The engine was removed, suspended from a lift, and partially disassembled to facilitate the examination. The propeller was removed and the engine was rotated using a tool inserted in the vacuum pump drive pad. Continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were confirmed at all six cylinders. The interiors of the cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted.

The fuel injector servo was impact separated from the engine and was fire and impact damaged. The fuel inlet screen was removed; it was fire damaged and a small amount of debris was observed inside. The fuel regulator section was disassembled and the rubber diaphragms were fire damaged.

The flow divider remained attached to the engine. The unit was partially disassembled and no debris was observed in the interior. The engine-driven fuel pump remained attached to the engine and was fire damaged. Both magnetos remained attached to the engine and were heavily fire damaged. The upper spark plugs exhibited light gray coloration and undamaged electrodes. The lower spark plugs were a combination of Champion REM38E and REM40E. The lower spark plugs exhibited undamaged electrodes. The Nos. 3, 5 and 6 spark plug electrodes exhibited gray coloration.

The Nos. 1, 2 and 4 electrodes were oil contaminated. The ignition harness was destroyed by fire. The starter and alternator remained attached to the engine and were impact damaged. The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine and was fire damaged. The drive coupling was partially melted and the pump could not be rotated by hand. The pump was partially disassembled and the carbon rotor and vanes were intact.

Oil was observed in the engine. The oil dipstick indicated about 9 quarts. The engine oil filter media was charred. No debris was observed between the folds of the filter media. The oil coolers remained attached to the engine cooling baffles. The left oil cooler was fire and impact damaged. The right oil cooler was undamaged. The oil cooler hoses were destroyed by fire.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 8, "Approaches and Landings," states, "To land within a short-field or a confined area, the pilot must have precise, positive control of the rate of descent and airspeed to produce an approach that clears any obstacles, result in little or no floating during the round out, and permit the airplane to be stopped in the shortest possible distance."

The handbook defines a stabilized approach as one that "permits the airplane to reach the desired touchdown point at an airspeed that results in minimum floating just before touchdown; in essence, a semi-stalled condition. To accomplish this, it is essential that both the descent angle and the airspeed be accurately controlled."

The handbook further describes the characteristics of a stabilized short field landing approach, stating:

[Short-field landing] procedures generally involve the use of full flaps and the final approach started from an altitude of at least 500 feet higher than the touchdown area.

An excessive amount of airspeed could result in touchdown too far down the runway threshold or an after-landing roll that exceeds the available landing area.

The handbook further states that go-arounds, or rejected landings, should be performed whenever landing conditions are not satisfactory. It also states,

The go-around maneuver is not inherently dangerous in itself. It becomes dangerous only when delayed unduly or executed improperly. Delay in initiating the go-around normally stems from two sources:

1. Landing expectancy or set – the anticipatory belief that conditions are not as threatening as they are and that the approach is surely terminated with a safe landing,

2. Pride – the mistaken belief that the act of going around is an admission of failure – failure to execute the approach properly. The improper execution of the go-around maneuver stems from a lack of familiarity with the three cardinal principles of the procedure: power, attitude, and configuration.

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Boone, NC
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N43576
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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 25, 2016, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N43576, was destroyed after a collision with trees, terrain and post-crash fire in Boone, North Carolina. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. The rear seat passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was originating at the time of the accident from Boone Inc. Airport (NC14), Boone, North Carolina.

According to a witness at the approach end of runway 31, he stated that the airplane was approaching at a high rate of speed prior to landing. He said that he did not see the airplane touchdown, but shortly after he saw a plume of smoke on a golf course. Another witness that was in a house on a hill on the right side of the departure end of runway 31, stated that when she saw the airplane, the left wing was low and it collided with a pine tree. She said that the airplane seemed as if it was attempting to gain altitude but collided with another pine tree before descending and "crashing into the golf course." Witnesses on the golf course reported that they watched the airplane climbout; they stated that the airplane was "bobbling" up and down before hitting the top of a stand of pine trees. The airplane nosed down and collided on the golf course before bursting into flames. The witnesses on the golf course observed the occupants exit the airplane and assisted them before the local authorities arrived.

Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane initially impacted a stand of 75-foot-tall pine trees. Parts of the left wing and fresh cut branches were observed throughout the stand of pine trees. The airplane continued on the wreckage path until it came to rest on a golf course. The debris path was orientated on a magnetic heading of about 310 degrees and extended about 126 ft. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the rudder and vertical stabilizer, the left and right horizontal elevator. The outboard section of the left wing was fragmented along the wreckage path. The right wing was located with the main fuselage and it was consumed by fire. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit, cabin, and baggage area. The instrument panel and avionics were destroyed by fire. The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 1255, surface weather observation for NC14, about .50 miles northwest of the accident site, included wind from 330 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 statute miles. The temperature was 21 degrees Celsius (C), the dew point was 6 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.11 inches of mercury.





Steven Cox Berry, 43, of Banner Elk succumbed to injuries suffered in the April 25 plane crash on the Boone Golf Course. Berry is the second fatality registered in the plane crash that also took the life of former State Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chappell, 69, of Boone.

The lone survivor is now John Field Worsley II, 68, of Lenoir. Although Worsley’s condition was initially described as critical by Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford, hospital staff at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is not allowed to release information pertaining to Berry’s status because Worsley is a “no-information patient.”

The plane crash occurred just before 1 p.m. on Monday, April 25. The plane took off from the nearby Boone Airport and immediately went into distress, according to witnesses playing golf. The plane clipped the tops of trees before crashing onto the course and bursting into flames.

A friend of the Berry family created a GoFundMe.com page a month ago to help pay for medical expenses. Throughout the past few weeks, Steve’s wife, Annette, posted updates on Berry’s severe condition.

Yesterday evening, the sixth update was posted: “It is with great sadness to tell you Steve passed yesterday. Arrangements are being finalized and will be posted shortly. Please continue to pray for Annette and their families.”

Click here to view the GoFundMe.com page.





Retired Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chappell. Chappell was killed in a plane crash in Boone.










BOONE, N.C. —  A retired North Carolina state trooper was killed in a plane crash Monday in Boone. 

Ben Chappell, 69, of Boone died at the scene of the crash.

The two other occupants were John Field Worsley II, 68, of Lenoir and Steven Cox Berry, 43, of Banner Elk.

They were in critical condition Monday.

Officials said the Piper PA-32 crashed on a golf course west-northwest of Runway 13 at Boone Airport in North Carolina.

Witnesses scrambled to get to the downed plane as flames quickly engulfed much the aircraft in the middle of one of the fairways at the Boone Golf Club. 

Golfers like Bud Russell, a local minister, and his son, who works in law enforcement, tried to get those on board away from the fire.

"They clipped a couple of pine trees, and we knew they were going down, and it exploded on impact,” Russell said. “It was fully enflamed at that time and the two guys had barely gotten out and we continued to coach them to get them away from the plane."

Two medical helicopters landed feet away from the crash to airlift Worsley and Berry. One was flown to Winston-Salem and the other to Johnson City. 

A physician’s assistant was on his lunch break when he saw the plane touch down at the Boone airport and take off immediately.

"He came in really fast like a touch-and-go and came back up, and I was like, that was fast for coming into the little airstrip over there," Matt Baldwin said.


The Boone Police Department will be conducting the initial investigation; however the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be responding to conduct further investigation.

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





BOONE, NC (WBTV) - One person was killed when a small plane carrying three people crashed on a golf course in Boone Monday afternoon, the Boone Police Department says. 

The incident happened around 1 p.m. at the Boone Golf Club, located on Fairway Drive near Deerfield Road. It appears the golf course is not far from the Boone Inc Airport, off of Bamboo Road. Officials say the small plane took off from the airport just moments before the crash.

Several Boone neighbors heard the crash.

"It was a loud crash. It sounded pretty close, like right outside, when we heard it," said Jacob Wooldridge.

Witnesses on the golf course say the plane appeared be in trouble and clipped the tops of some trees and before crashing onto the course. Two witnesses turned into rescuers, police say, and were able to pull two people out of the plane. A third person on the plane did not survive.

Boone police officials say several people know the man who died. At this point, they are not releasing the identities of any of the passengers.

The plane, which caught on fire, was heavily damaged when it crashed.

Mike Howell heard the crash as he was leaving the nearby hospital. He says he rushed over to see if the rescue workers needed any help.

"Being a pilot myself, and a firefighter, I knew if there was something I could do to help, I would do it," Howell said.

Howell shot video of the rescue workers clearing the crash site. He says he has never seen anything like the explosions from the plane after it had crashed.

"The fireman you saw in the video was going up to it before the second explosion happened," Howell said. "The first one the flames went over the trees. It was big, big flames."

One survivor was flown to Winston-Salem and the other to Johnson City. They both are suffering from severe burns.

Police say the man who died is a local and his name will not be released until family has been notified.

"We are very saddened by this loss and extend our condolences to the family," Boone police said Monday evening. "We hope and pray that the survivors will be OK but serious injuries were sustained."

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be responding to conduct further investigation.

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



UPDATE: Boone Police Department officers confirmed that one person died and two people were injured in a plane crash at the Boone Golf Club in Boone, N.C. Monday afternoon. 

According to a BPD news release, Boone Police, Boone Fire, The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded to the golf course just before 1 p.m. in reference to the crash.

Police said a small plane took off from the Boone Airport moments before the crash.

Witnesses on the golf course said the plane appeared to be in distress and clipped the tops of trees, before crashing on the golf course.

According to the release, two witnesses were able to assist two victims in the crash. The third person on the plane did not survive.

One crash victim was flown to Winston-Salem for treatment, while the other victim was flown to Johnson City Medical Center.

Police said the man who died is a local resident, but his name has not yet been released as extended family members have not all been notified.

“We are very saddened by this loss and extend our condolences to the family,” Boone Police said to the release. “We hope and pray that the survivors will be ok, but serious injuries were sustained.”

Boone Police will be conducting the initial investigation, but the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be responding to investigate the crash.

According to the release, the High Country Chaplain Service all responded to the scene.

UPDATE: Boone Police Department officials will hold a news briefing concerning the plane crash at 4:15 p.m. at the Boone Golf Club in Boone, N.C., according to a news release.

No other information was released.

BOONE, N.C. (AP) – Three people are getting hospital care after a small plane crashed near a golf course in the North Carolina mountains.

Police in the town of Boone said the plane crashed early Monday afternoon near the Boone Golf Club.

Police say in a prepared statement that three people aboard the aircraft were transported to area hospitals.

Sgt. Matt Stevens says the names or conditions of the victims aren’t yet known.

Story and video:  http://wjhl.com

























BOONE — A local man is dead and two people were airlifted after a single-engine plane crashed into the Boone Golf Course at about 1 p.m. April 25.

The aircraft crashed moments after takeoff from the Boone airport, police said. The plane skimmed a line of trees at the course and then came down, landing near the fifth hole. The first 911 call came in at 12:56 p.m.

Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford confirmed that one man died in the crash and that the other two passengers, both men, were flown in “very serious” condition to Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City, Tenn., and Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.

Speaking at a 4:15 p.m. press conference, Crawford said that immediate family members had been notified but that officials were not yet releasing the names of the victims pending notification of extended family members.

“The man who did not survive is a local resident; he is actually a friend to many in the community,” Crawford said at the conference. “We are very saddened by this loss and extend our condolences to the family.

“We hope and pray that the survivors will be OK,” he added, “but serious injuries were sustained.”

Crawford noted that “two witnesses turned into rescuers and were able to assist two victims from the plane crash.”

Bud Russell and his son Preston Russell — a Watauga sheriff’s deputy who was off duty — were golfing near the 14th hole at Boone Golf Course when they witnessed the plane come down.

“The plane came out of the Boone airport, didn’t get enough height and struck some trees,” Preston Russell said. “It took a nose dive and crashed into the golf course and was fully engulfed in flames.”

Added Bud Russell, “It just seemed to be having mechanical trouble, it was kind of bouncing coming up through there — it was struggling, and it was really low. We could tell it was having trouble before it ever hit the trees.”

The Boone Fire Department extinguished flames at the plane wreckage; the plane reportedly exploded upon impact with the ground, Crawford said.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to Boone to conduct an investigation of the cause of the crash, Crawford said.

The tail number of the plane burned off in the fire from the crash, and no flight plan had been filed, Boone Police Capt. Andy Le Beau said.

Boone Police, Boone Fire Department, Watauga Medics, Watauga Rescue Squad, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the State Highway Patrol responded to the incident.

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

Combat Air Museum goes high-tech in latest project for World War I plane: De Havilland plane to be on display for pancake feed on Saturday

Huw Thomas, an associate professor at The University of Kansas, installs a replica engine that he made off of three 3-D printers onto the back of an 80 percent-scale World War I aircraft Wednesday at the Combat Air Museum, 7016 S.E. Forbes Ave.



As volunteers at Topeka’s Combat Air Museum can attest, necessity is the mother of invention, particularly when it comes to finding parts for its replica World War I aircraft.

In past years, museum volunteers like Gene Howerter would use pieces of wood, rope, metal, Elmer’s glue and spray paint to replicate engine parts that weren’t readily available for the vintage planes the museum acquired.

Some of the re-creations came close to replicating the actual parts — like an engine Howerter designed for a World War I plane hanging from the museum’s rafters that was so realistic, visitors were overheard commenting on its authenticity.

About a year ago, the museum acquired an 80 percent replica of a De Havilland 2 World War I fighter plane.

A rear-mounted engine was missing off the plane, however, and museum officials asked Howerter if he would be interested in putting together another replica engine.

Howerter, who is 75, declined, saying it was “too much work.”

But all was not lost.

Huw Thomas, a native of Wales and an associate professor of industrial design at the University of Kansas, took on the project.

Instead of designing the De Havilland’s engine with repurposed parts, the way Howerter and others had done in the past, Thomas turned to modern technology, using three separate 3-D printers to design the Gnome rotary engine for the vintage plane.

Dozens of parts — some large, some small — were made by the 3-D printers, which put layer upon layer of a fine material to make the finished product.

The 3-D printers made the engine parts from the same material as Lego bricks, and Thomas used a substance similar to super glue to bond the pieces together.

On Wednesday, the 3-D replica rotary engine was fitted with a resin propeller and placed onto the back of the De Havilland 2 aircraft. The replica engine was about 3 feet across and 14 inches wide, and weighed only a few pounds.

Starting this coming Wednesday, visitors will get to see the engine when the De Havilland is lifted to its place among other aircraft suspended from the rafters of the museum’s main hangar at the Topeka Regional Airport, 7016 S.E. Forbes Ave.

“We got the De Havilland in 2015,” said Dave Murray, a member of the museum’s board of directors who assisted Thomas in fastening the replica engine onto the airplane. “But we were waiting to hang it because we didn’t have an engine on it.”

Thomas did his work for the museum at no charge — though the museum will compensate him for materials.

He used two LulzBot TAZ 5 3-D printers at KU. Because it was taking so long to print off the pieces, he bought the same style of 3-D printer for himself, doing most of the printing from his home.

“It took about 400 hours to print the engine,” he said, noting each of the engine’s nine cylinders were made in two halves, each taking about 14 hours to print. “It probably took about 60 hours to design the computer model.”

Thomas was able to track down a copy of the engine’s service manual from 1915, which he used designing the various pieces to the same 80 percent scale of the plane itself.

A Lewis machine gun, which the pilot could fire from the cockpit, still needs to be added to the front of the De Havilland, and Thomas is now busy at work designing the gun for another 3-D print job.

Thomas said he first got connected with the museum when he approached officials about doing photography for virtual tours of its nearly 40 aircraft. The virtual tour then would be placed on the Combat Air Museum’s website, www.combatairmuseum.org.

While he was working on the virtual tour project, Thomas found out that the museum needed someone to make an engine for the De Havilland plane, which was donated by the Dawn Patrol, a group of military plane enthusiasts from Liberty, Mo.

In November 2015, Thomas started the project, completing it in mid-April.

And now, just three days before the Combat Air Museum hosts its biggest fundraiser — a Celebrity Pancake Feed from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 30, at the museum’s main hangar — the plane will be suspended from the rafters for visitors to see.

With Thomas’ attention to detail, this engine likely will pass the eye test from the museum’s visitors, who come from across the United States and around the world.

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

Airbus Gains New Financing Ally in U.S.: Building in the U.S. will allow some of the plane maker’s customers to tap the Export-Import Bank

An A320 under construction at the Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala. The company’s first aircraft from the facility will be delivered Monday.



The Wall Street Journal
By Doug Cameron and Robert Wall
Updated April 24, 2016 10:31 p.m. ET


Airbus Group SE will open itself up to financing from an unlikely source when the first jet is delivered Monday from its new factory in Alabama: the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

The government-owned bank’s guarantees have helped finance hundreds of Boeing Co. jets over the years. Airbus has used similar European agencies to help its sales, but now building aircraft in the U.S. will allow some of the European plane maker’s customers to tap Ex-Im for the first time.

The first aircraft delivered from the new Airbus plant in Mobile are destined for JetBlue Airways Corp. and American Airlines Group Inc., which like other U.S. carriers are barred from receiving European export-credit support because of global trade rules.

But Airbus hasn’t ruled out using the factory to build planes for export, and those sales would be eligible for U.S. help.

“If an Airbus plane from Mobile had 50% U.S. content, we’d finance 50%,” Fred Hochberg, Ex-Im’s chairman, said in an interview.

Airbus said for now all its jet deliveries from Mobile are to North American customers. “If we were to sell a Mobile-assembled aircraft to an international carrier, it could be eligible for some level of Exim financing,” an Airbus spokeswoman said.

Building jetliners in Boeing’s backyard is Airbus’s highest-profile move yet to bolster its presence in the U.S. The plane maker is betting its jetliner business with U.S. carriers will benefit from a domestic presence.

Airbus has invested around $600 million in the new factory, which is expected to produce four of its single-aisle jets a month by the end of 2017. The company opened a similar facility in Tianjin, China, in 2008.

A side benefit could be access to U.S. government financing.

Boeing has led a lobbying battle to keep Ex-Im open, claiming it is at a competitive disadvantage to Airbus without access to comparable U.S. financing. Despite the bank’s reopening in December after a six-month closure, Boeing’s customers are still stymied by an on-going political fight that has left the bank unable to approve deals over $10 million.

“It’s premature to speculate on the hypothetical,” use of the bank by Airbus, said a Boeing spokesman.

Critics of the bank said any move by the bank to back Airbus sales could backfire.

“Certainly, lawmakers are going to be asking, ‘What in the world is going on?’ ” said Dan Holler at Heritage Action for America, a conservative-leaning think tank.

During the height of the financial crisis, export-credit agencies backed as much as 30% of plane deliveries. The total has retreated to less than 10% last year as commercial lending has become easily available.

Mr. Hochberg said that even though the use of Ex-Im for aircraft deals has shrunk in recent years, its value rises when alternatives dry up.

Aerospace accounted for almost half of Ex-Im’s business in fiscal 2015, and Mr. Hochberg has steered it into other areas including satellites, rocket launches and business jets.

The next step is to expand its role in aircraft services. Ex-Im has held talks with Gogo Inc. about supporting the Chicago-based onboard Wi-Fi provider’s sales to overseas airlines.

“An Ex-Im guarantee goes a long way,” said Varvara Alva, Gogo’s treasurer.

Ex-Im is considering providing financing support for airplane repairs such as work Deutsche Lufthansa AG ’s technical unit undertakes in Puerto Rico. Lufthansa said the offer is of interest, though not applicable immediately since the work it currently performs there is for U.S. airlines.

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

David Lace: Longtime Fairbanks pilot retires after 42 years

Newly retired pilot David Lace is pictured. 



FAIRBANKS — David Lace just traded 42 years of “windshield time” with wheels up for windshield time with wheels on the ground

The longtime pilot retired last week. Per tradition, fire trucks shot arcs of water over the giant cargo airplane after his final journey from Nome to Anchorage.

“I was emotional,” he admitted. “But at the same time, it was good to end a career with no hits, no errors, no fouls, no violations.”

He retired because the law requires him to step down from flying big airplanes at age 65.

Lace can hardly remember when he didn’t love flying.

He was 16 years old and working part time as a technician at the University of Alaska Fairbanks arctic biology lab when he discovered the university’s flight club, operated through Tanana Air Taxi.

“Those days, it cost $12 an hour to rent an airplane with fuel,” he said. “I learned how to fly through that program and I really liked flying.”

It wasn’t an overreaching passion, it just was so much fun.

“I liked it so much, I went into partnership with a graduate stunt and we bought our own airplane, a little Taylorcraft. We used that all over the state. I had a great time flying that little airplane.”

In 1974, Alaska International Air added a C-130 Hercules to their fleet. A Hercules is a transport aircraft, which can ferry large cargo.

The airline company invited Lace to travel to the Lower 48 and earn a flight engineer rating. He took the three-month course in Seattle and went right to work. He was 23 years old.

He flew the Hercules for about 10 years.

“During that time,” he said. “I flew internationally — Far East, Middle East, Africa, all over Europe, along with North Slope flying. There was a lot of exploration going on at the North Slope.”

Retiring pilot David Lace gets a special salute on his final landing in Anchorage. 


The Hercules, he said, was instrumental in getting the Alaska pipeline built, because it could not have happened without first building a road to Prudhoe Bay. Part of Lace’s job was helping set up camps north of the Yukon River, Coldfoot, Dietrich, Franklin Bluffs and Prudhoe Bay. All the units used at those camps are designed to fit inside a Hercules for transport, he said.

“We flew in Caterpillar tractors, bulldozers,” he said. “We flew everything in so they could start hauling gravel and building the road. Then the pipeline started.”

“It wouldn’t have happened without AIH, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Because pipeline construction was held up for a period of time during Alaska Native Claim Settlement discussions, AIH turned its attention overseas.

“It forced us into the international market,” Lace said. “We ended up flying from Botswana to England.”

When pipeline work began, the international work also continued.

Lace became a captain in the Hercules. Then, he became a captain in the 737.

Without listing all the details of how it evolved here, the next big step was when MarkAir launched. Lace worked as a pilot for MarkAir for many years, as the company competed with Alaska Airlines. But after expanding outside Alaska, in the early 1990s, MarkAir eventually went out of business.

“Then I went to New York and flew 747s for Atlas,” Lace said. “Flying around the world, hauling freight.”

Meanwhile, his wife, Chris, stayed home raising son Aaron and working at the University of Alaska.

“It was tough on her,” Lace said. “There I was, sipping coffee in Italy and she would call from Fairbanks and the plumbing wasn’t working.”

“I was gone and she had to hold down the fort,” he said. “It was not easy. Chris was a big part of me being able to do what I did.”

Realizing he needed to make a change, he quit and then began working as an FAA Air Carrier Inspector.

“I inspected foreign carriers, like Air France, Lufthansa, special charters through Russia,” he said. “It was a pretty active airport (in Fairbanks) in those days. Of course, we’ve lost all that.”

Recognizing his special expertise, the FAA used Lace as what they refer to as “a national resource on the DC6 and old vintage aircraft,” he said. “I would travel out of Fairbanks and go to Miami, Texas, Wyoming and inspect or do check rides on vintage aircraft.”

“They didn’t want to keep all the inspectors qualified in the old airplanes, so they used me, because of my background,” he said.

He loved the work, but it definitely interfered with his family life.

“I’ve been gone a lot,” he said. “I’ve missed birthdays, anniversaries. It is one of those job, 24/7. They don’t always tell you that when you sign up.”

Still, he is going to miss it.

He also worked as operations director for Northern Air Cargo/Northern Air Fuel.

When he retired last week, he was training pilots to fly big planes.

“I would do full check-ins, line checks, simulator check rides. I was a designated examiner the last two or three years,” he said. “FAA trusted me to administer check rides and issue certificates to pilots. I didn’t take that lightly. I appreciated their trust in me.”

He has so many memories, so many stories to tell, none of which we have room for in this column.

He recalled working briefly at Everts Air Cargo in Fairbanks.

“This is a great aviation family,” he said. “I gave flight engineer tickets to two guys at Evert’s when I worked there. Many years later, I gave them their captain certificate at Northern Air Cargo. That’s like, wow, cool.”

Lace isn’t sure what his flying future will be. Once pilots reach the age of 65, they are no longer allowed to legally fly planes carrying nine passengers or more.

“I never planned on getting to go this far,” he said. “Really, I’m just kind of reeling from the fact that one day, I’m okay to fly and the next day, I’m not. How crazy is that?”

He recalled sitting around with a bunch of pilots back in 1974, drinking beers. They all predicted when they might retire from aviation. Lace predicted his own retirement in the year 2011. That was way past when the rest of them planned to retire, and he got started long before they did. Since he planned to outlast them all, they dubbed him “The Last of the Storytellers.”

“That was my title,” he recalled. “I said, that means I can tell these stories. Yeah you can, they said, but nobody is going to believe them.”

“I’m going to miss the camaraderie of flying around with someone half my age,” said Lace. “I have a diversity of people from all walks of life and age.”

Sitting in a cockpit with a person leads to great conversations sometimes, he said.

He even has a favorite.

“I’ve worked with many different companies, but I have never been with a more agreeable bunch of pilots than the guys at Northern Air Cargo,” he said. “They are absolute great guys to work with. They passed Sandbox 101 in kindergarten with flying colors.”

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