Sunday, May 1, 2016

Video of Woodburn fire from plane shows unique perspective

You can imagine in the 25-years David Richards has been a private pilot, he has had quite a few bird-eye-view encounters.

So, he knew the increasingly dark cloud of smoke he spotted Saturday morning in Woodburn was worth a detour.

"We were coming home past the Woodburn Factory Outlets and I saw a smudge of smoke ahead and I said -- what's that? Let's go look at it," Richards told KATU News.

Richards, alongside his neighbor, circled around with their phone recording and watched as the plume grew. Cell phone video Richards posted on Facebook shows the smoke getting thicker and the fire growing stronger as it engulfs an RV approximately 1500 ft. below on Pacific Highway in Woodburn.

"You're a long ways away from it but what's very interesting is you can see the progression of fire pretty quickly and it went from a very small smudge to something very major in probably less than two to three minutes," Richards continued.

Richards, a high school shop teacher, says he is now sharing his story and his video, in hopes of inspiring future small plane pilots.

"We evangelize our sport because if more people could see what we see from the air, I think we would have more people interested in flying around in little airplanes," he said.

Standing in his hanger, surrounded by planes he built himself, Richards says he hopes to pass along his passion of planes -- not just piloting but of the unique perspective that comes with being able to look down at something that can incite panic on the ground and awe in the air.

Story and video:  http://katu.com

Despite criticism, 'Alaska Aircrash Investigations' is a must-see for pilots



The Smithsonian Channel has now aired its new program “Alaska Aircrash Investigations,” spotlighting the work of the National Transportation Safety Board.

After negative pre-broadcast controversy stemming from U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and the Alaska Tourism Industry Association, viewers can now to come to their own conclusions about the documentary program’s relevance and sensitivity to its subject.

The episodes cover accidents that occurred in 2015, including both air taxi, commuter and general aviation operations. The camera crews were embedded with the NTSB as much as possible to take viewers through the initial investigation process. A narrator provides valuable context, graphics illustrate technical discoveries, the investigators explain what they are doing and, when permitted, interviews were conducted with family and friends of deceased pilots.

The NTSB has four regional offices, but Alaska is the only state with its own office, staffed by five investigators. According to the agency’s databases, the Last Frontier averaged 99 accidents annually since 2005, including the particularly devastating years of 2013, when 35 people were killed, and 2015, when 21 people lost their lives. In both those years there were high-profile crashes involving air taxis and commuters that gained national attention.

For Executive Producer Isaac Holub of Lucky 8 Productions, it was not the statistics that made the state the best setting for the program.

"Actually, we chose to create a show around the NTSB, not around accidents in Alaska," he explained recently via email. "Smithsonian Channel produces a lot of aviation-themed series, partially due to their association with the National Air and Space Museum.  The NTSB has the responsibility for promoting safety in American aviation, but it has often been overlooked.  Alaska's challenging conditions, and it dependency on aviation makes it a natural environment to show the NTSB at work."

Revealing to viewers how complex an investigator’s job can be is a key part of "Alaska Aircrash Investigations." There is not only the difficulty of physically getting to some crash sites but also, as evident in accidents in Trapper Creek and Knik Arm, the sensitivity crucial when interacting on-site with the public.

When asked how people involved in the crashes or encountered near the sites were made aware of the filming, Holub explained, “Every person on camera was informed by the production crew and by the NTSB staff that this production was for broadcast on Smithsonian Channel. We take these permissions very seriously, and we do not film anyone under false pretenses.”

In several of the episodes, studio interviews were also conducted with family and friends who spoke movingly about the pilots.

“As for the interview process: in most cases NTSB investigators would make the first approach to passengers or family members,” Holub wrote. “If the passengers or family members were willing, the producers would contact each participant, describe the show and have them sign a release form which clearly stated that the filming was for broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel. Some of the family members were willing, even eager, to talk further about the investigation, and in those cases, time was set aside for a more in-depth interview.”

It is the hands-on science and physics used by the investigation team that viewers will likely find most interesting. As revealed in the show, using what the NTSB refers to as the "Party System," the investigations include specialists from the airframe and engine manufacturers when analyzing the wreckage. Certain avionics equipment is shipped to Washington, D.C. for analysis and medical personnel, human performance investigators, meteorologists and air traffic control specialists will contribute if needed. Local representatives from the FAA, which is legally mandated to be a party system member, also may participate.

The efforts of all these individuals combine under the lead NTSB investigator, who builds a case to determine probable cause. The slow, precise detective work to get to that point might appear dull to viewers accustomed to the excesses of reality television, but is rarely in the public eye even though the final reports are available online.

“We are not on the shiny side of aviation,” NTSB Alaska region Chief Clint Johnson acknowledges in the program, and several of the investigators discuss the heavy responsibility of speaking to family members on “their most difficult day." 

But as “Alaska Aircrash Investigations” makes clear, the work of the NTSB is the only way people will ever know what went wrong and -- especially in aviation-dependent Alaska -- an effective way of bringing positive change to the flying environment.

“The NTSB is an independent federal agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents, and we all take that responsibility very seriously,” Johnson said recently. “We are committed to transparency, and this project is living proof of that. Simply put, if this show keeps just one person from having an accident in the future, then we have done our job, and our efforts have been a success.”  

Original article can be found here: https://www.adn.com

Pittsfield Municipal Airport (KPSF) Study Group Continues To Pry Into Westwood Leases




PITTSFIELD, Mass. — PERC President Jay Anderson doesn't think the development of the Westwood Center at Pittsfield Municipal Airport would have happened without FAA approval.

But the only correspondence with the Federal Aviation Agency is a letter disapproving of the leases. Now, a study group is worried that the city could ultimately be on the hook to pay the FAA back for some 30 years worth of leases. The issue was first brought up in March.

In the research so far, it seems there are two federal programs that should have gotten leasing funds on seven parcels.

The city purchased five acres of property abutting airport land and the airport put forth 25 acres of land for the center. The city developed the 30 acres for $506,000 with Community Development Block Grant funding and about $75,000 estimated as the airport's contribution via land value.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development administers the CDBG program and requires all income generated to be used for eligible projects. In 1984, the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. was formed to receive the lease revenue and use it for CDBG activities such as business loans and grants.

However, the FAA also requires that all revenue generated from airport property needs to go back to the airport. 

"They want all of your revenues going back into aeronautical use," Airport Commission Chairman Chris Pedersen said. 

At the time, an agreement was reached with the Airport Commission that 15 percent of the leases — equivalent to its  portion of the development — goes back to the airport and 85 percent goes to PERC. The business park generates around $20,000 each year, with $3,000 going to the city for the airport and $17,000 going to PERC.

"[The leases] were all properly executed. They were all signed off by the Pittsfield Airport Commission," Anderson said. 

Pedersen said those 25 acres were purchased by the FAA and in order to construct the park, the FAA would have had to declare the land was excess and could be developed. But the only documentation he can find is a letter from 1986 from the FAA saying it did not approve.

"It seems as if either another deal was struck or it was ignored," Pedersen said. 

Pedersen says now that the leases have come to light, officials know there has been non-compliance with the grant assurances, they need to find a resolution. Anderson, however, says he doesn't believe the airport is out of compliance because if city, state and federal officials at the time went through the trouble of creating PERC and developing the land, it doesn't make much sense that the FAA approval was never sought. 

"I find it odd that somebody would go this far without approvals," he said.

Former City Councilor Jonathan Lothrop said moving forward, compliance could be a simple fix. Right now the airport is being subsidized by the city so simply creating a "Westwood leases" budget line and funded at the total amount of the leases would be enough of an accounting process to satisfy the FAA requirement on how the revenue is being used. Another option could be to sell the park to pay the FAA back for the land. 

But, that doesn't resolve the threat of being audited and being forced to pay 30 years worth of leases, which is the fear of members on the research committee.

"We've opened up this issue and we have to have a solid foundation moving forward," said Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers. 

Lothrop, however, reminded the group that had the park never been developed, there wouldn't have been any income. Not only is $20,000 or so generated through the land leases, the companies built buildings that are now taxed, generating an estimated $75,000 worth of tax revenue. 

"We've created jobs. We've created tax revenue. And we've created revenue for the Airport Commission," Lothrop said.

In the future, Pedersen said the accounting would be smoother if an enterprise fund was created. Right now that $3,000 goes into city coffers and then is allocated back. Each year, the city supplies supplemental funding to keeping the airport afloat. 

While the enterprise fund is fairly irrelevant because of the city's contribution, Pedersen said his goal is to make the airport "revenue positive" and a designed airport enterprise account would be vital. 

While the leases at the business park had been a center of conversation multiple times during the research phase, the group is continuing to look at raising fees and analyzing the long-term debt. Ward 4 City Councilor Christopher Connell said he'd like to see other models of management be looked at — including leasing the entire operation to a private company.

"That takes us out of the mix and we would only have to worry about the long-term debt," Connell said, adding that a private company would be "more aggressive" in seeking revenue.

Pedersen responded that even if the management was outsourced — as it had been in the past — there is still a require that there is an Airport Commission and the property maintenance would likely still be on the city's shoulders. The airport is managed and maintained by a two-man crew. Lyon Aviation is the fixed-based operator which handles billing and the fuel services. 

Connell is also looking at trying to get other communities to chip in for the cost since not all traffic is coming and going for Pittsfield. But, there is nothing to bring those communities to the table nor a way to track where the passengers are going or spending money. He added if not, the city should raise the landing and fuel fees to increase revenues.

Airports are competitive when it comes to revenues so pricing too high could cause more harm than good.

"You might push your business away by increasing," Assistant Airport Manager Brian Spencer said.

Michael Lyon of Lyon Aviation said the local fuel tax charge could go up modestly without harming the business too much. But if all of the fees go up, it could drive traffic away. He said he'd like to see a full proposal of fees before agreeing to raise any prices.

Connell also questioned the cost of maintaining a number of pieces of equipment. The airport is eligible to receive free equipment from military surpluses, including forklifts, sport utility vehicles or parts. 

"The cost to repair and maintain some of these vehicles, especially military grade, can be very expensive," Connell said.

Spencer said he is "mechanically inclined" and can maintain the equipment. He said all of the pieces have purposes, such as using the forklift to move tables and boulders. A Hummer SUV was picked up because it has high clearance and is more durable to use for fence inspections that the prior pickup trucks that were getting damaged during the rounds.

"If I use it once throughout the year and it didn't cost us anything but oil, why not?" Spencer said, adding that it makes the work more efficient and the equipment is required to stay on site for only a year. "I'm not just saving the airport money. I'm saving the city money."

Spencer said he can't "buy things for the city" but there are some city vehicles that are used at the airport. For example, if the transmission blows on the "snow fighter" used at the airport, he can get the surplus to fix it so the city doesn't have to. 

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

Aeronca Champ 7AC, N85510: Incident occurred April 30, 2016 at Dillant-Hopkins Airport (KEEN), Keene, Cheshire County, New Hampshire

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA174
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Keene, NH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/26/2017
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 7AC, registration: N85510
Injuries: 2 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.

The sport pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane had completed one touch-and-go landing uneventfully on a 6,201-ft-long, 100-ft-wide asphalt runway. During the second landing, the tailwheel began to "shimmy." Rather than apply forward control stick pressure to reduce weight on the tailwheel and alleviate the shimmy, the pilot held the control stick fully aft as the airplane departed the left side of the runway and impacted an approach path indicator light. Examination of the tailwheel locking mechanism revealed that it was worn and had unlocked during touchdown. The pilot should have been able to compensate for a tailwheel shimmy at touchdown by reducing the weight on the tailwheel. The condition of the tailwheel locking mechanism should have been checked during the last annual inspection; however, it is possible that the locking mechanism could have worn further during the 7 months between the most recent inspection and the accident flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The disengagement of the tailwheel locking mechanism during the landing roll due to wear, and a subsequent loss of directional control. Contributing was the pilot's inadequate remedial action, which resulted in a runway excursion.

On April 30, 2015, about 1615 eastern daylight time, an American Champion Aircraft 7AC, N85510, was substantially damaged while landing at Dillant-Hopkins Airport (EEN), Keene, New Hampshire. The sport pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was privately owned and operated. The personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from EEN about 1610.

The sport pilot reported that he had completed one touch-and-go landing uneventfully at EEN and was planning a second landing to a full stop. He performed a three-point touchdown on runway 2, a 6,201-foot-long, 100-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The pilot added that during the touchdown, he held the control stick completely aft, when the tailwheel began to "shimmy" and the airplane departed the left side of the runway. The airplane traveled over grass and impacted an approach light indicator, before coming to rest upright. The pilot further stated that the tailwheel on that particular model was supposed to remain locked during landing, but had unlocked at touchdown.

The sport pilot had accumulated a total flight experience of 115 hours; of which, 85 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. He had flown 2.5 hours during the 90-day period preceding accident, and those hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The two-seat tandem, high-wing, tailwheel airplane was manufactured in 1946. It was powered by a Continental Motors, C-85, 85-horsepower engine. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on September 19, 2015. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 3,715 total hours of operation. The engine had accumulated 2,345 total hours of operation; of which, 545 hours were since its last major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 7 hours from the time of the last annual inspection, until the accident.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed damage to the fuselage and right wing. The inspector also observed that the tailwheel locking mechanism appeared worn. The inspector added that the condition of the tailwheel locking mechanism should have been checked during the last annual inspection, but that the locking mechanism could have worn during the 7-month period from the time of the most recent annual inspection, until the accident.

The recorded weather at EEN, at 1615, included wind from 210 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, and clear sky.

http://registry.faa.gov/N85510

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA174
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Keene, NH
Aircraft: AMERICAN CHAMPION AIRCRAFT 7AC, registration: N85510
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On April 30, 2015, about 1615 eastern daylight time, an American Champion Aircraft 7AC, N85510, was substantially damaged while landing at Dillant-Hopkins Airport (EEN), Keene, New Hampshire. The sport pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from EEN about 1610.

The sport pilot reported that he had completed one touch-and-go landing uneventfully at EEN and was planning a second landing to a full stop. He performed a three-point touchdown on runway 2, a 6,201-foot-long, 100-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The sport pilot added that during the touchdown, he held the control stick completely aft, when the tailwheel began to shimmy and the airplane departed the left side of the runway. The airplane traveled over grass and impacted an approach light indicator, before coming to rest upright. The sport pilot further stated that the tailwheel on that particular model was supposed to remain locked during landing, but had unlocked at touchdown.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed damage to the fuselage and right wing. The inspector also observed that the tailwheel locking mechanism appeared worn.

The recorded weather at EEN, at 1615, included wind from 210 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, and clear sky.

Monadnock Aviation manager Chris DeLaVergne relays information at the site of a small plane crash at Dillant-Hopkins Airport in Swanzey on Saturday afternoon. A strong crosswind during landing is thought to be the reason for the crash. Neither the pilot nor a passenger was injured, but the small plane was damaged.
~


NORTH SWANZEY — A small plane had a rough — and likely expensive — landing at the Keene Dillant-Hopkins Airport Saturday afternoon.

Keene Fire Chief Mark F. Howard said the single-engine recreational aircraft was coming in from the south to land at the airport when it went off the west side of the main runway.

Two people were on the plane, but no injuries were reported, he said.

However, the plane took down at least five lights along the runway, which caused damage to the aircraft, he said.

He said airport staff were contacting the Federal Aviation Administration to report the crash.

Chris De LaVergne, a manager with Monadnock Aviation, said the plane sustained moderate damage, but it would be hard to determine if it was salvageable until a mechanic looked at it.

He said he couldn’t release information about who owns the plane, which was company policy.

Airport Manager John G. “Jack” Wozmak, in a phone message left Saturday evening, referred all inquires about the crash to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crash was reported at 4:30 p.m.; members of the Keene and Swanzey fire departments responded to the scene.

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

Chopper shock: Couple gets $60K bill for 25-minute air evacuation • North Country woman went into labor and needed trip to hospital, but with heavy price to bear



Albany --  Leigh Campbell got quite a shock in the predawn hours of April 3: Twenty-seven weeks pregnant, his wife Heather went into early labor.

The couple, who live in Ray Brook in Essex County, rushed to the hospital in nearby Saranac Lake. But because that facility lacks a neonatal intensive care unit, their midwife called for a helicopter to bring Heather to the nearest open bed across Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vt.

They avoided a premature birth — at press time, Heather remained in the hospital waiting to bring her baby to term.

But the second set of shocks came two days later with the realization that the helicopter bill was $59,999 and Heather's insurance carrier would only cover about $370 for the 25-minute flight.

The service provided by the helicopter company, LifeNet, was "out of network" and therefore not covered in her health insurance policy.

Large bills for out-of-network services aren't uncommon, and have long been a source of contention between insurance companies and their customers.

There's an added twist, said Campbell, who began researching the air ambulance industry after receiving the bill.

Because they describe themselves as air carriers, the companies claim they aren't subject to price restrictions. When it comes to aviation, federal regulation takes precedence over state rules. And the federal government deregulated airline rates in the late 1970s.

Each day, Campbell, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, has been driving back and forth from his job as a graphic designer in the Adirondacks to the hospital in Burlington.

Now, with the stress of the lengthy commute, the 31-year-old worries about his wife's health. And then there's the nearly $60,000 helicopter bill.



LifeNet is a subsidiary of the Englewood, Colo.-based Air Methods, whose representatives didn't respond to phone calls or emails late last week.

The company has been the subject of several critical stories in national media that have made note of its prices, and its tendency to pursue payments through bill collectors or legal action.

Its home page describes its personnel as "Defenders of Tomorrow" dedicated to "quality of care to patients & safety in aviation." The page also lists the company's stock price on the NASDAQ exchange.

LifeNet is a relative newcomer to the North Country, arriving in the Watertown area several years ago to fill a void that opened when the nearby Fort Drum Army base stopped providing free emergency helicopter airlifts.

There had been a program at Fort Drum known as Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic, but it was moved in 2007 to Fort Lewis in Washington state.

Air Methods has operated elsewhere in New York, sometimes drawing controversy.

One patient, New Paltz lawyer Diana L. Kidd, countersued the company after it brought legal action to collect a $36,646 bill for flying her from Catskill to the Westchester Medical Center following a motorcycle accident.

According to press reports, Kidd contended that a regular ambulance would have gotten her there in less than the 115 minutes she said she was billed for. Kidd couldn't be reached on Friday.

The Campbells' bill breaks out the charges into mileage — 51 miles for $23,062 — and the "Helicopter Rotor Base," for $36,936.

Transport to a major hospital from deep in the North Country can be daunting, given the distances.

"It's in the middle of the Adirondacks," remarked Eileen Mowrey, spokeswoman for Saranac Lake's Adirondack Medical Center, where the Campbells first went.

She wasn't commenting specifically on the Campbells, but explained that people in an emergency such as theirs need to use whatever option is available at the time.

The area has a volunteer group of paramedics who can fly with services such as State Police helicopters but those weren't available that morning.

Driving from Saranac Lake to Burlington, a 71-mile road trip, takes about two hours.

However, individuals familiar with rescue services noted that getting a helicopter in the air from its base near Watertown, then flying 112 miles to Saranac Lake, loading it and traveling on to Burlington can take close to two hours as well.

State and health insurance officials said the Campbells have several avenues they can pursue.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, provides an extra level of potential appeals regarding charges racked up from non-participating providers.

And state Health Plan Association spokeswoman Leslie Moran noted that since last year, consumers in New York can use an independent arbitrator to appeal payment issues for out of network charges.

While not commenting on the Campbells or Air Methods, she also wondered if such services sit purely in the aviation rather than health care category.

"They are putting themselves out there as medical transport," she noted.

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

Mooney M20F Executive 21, N3386X; accident occurred May 01, 2016 near Air Park-Dallas Airport (F69), Dallas, Texas -Kathryn's Report

http://registry.faa.gov/N3386X 

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA218
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 01, 2016 in Plano, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/14/2016
Aircraft: MOONEY M20, registration: N3386X
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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

The pilot reported that when he aborted the landing due to gusty wind conditions, the airplane drifted to the left of the runway and impacted a fence. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings. 

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

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the aborted landing in gusty wind conditions, which resulted in a collision with a fence.




PLANO, TX -- A small plane made an emergency landing in a Plano yard late Sunday morning. 

According to the Plano police department, the incident happened around 11:23 a.m. in the 1900 block of Airpark Lane.  

The scene is near Air Park-Dallas Airport.

The plane crashed through a fence and came to rest in a yard.  

There were no reported injuries.

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





The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating why a plane made a hard landing in a backyard in Plano Sunday.

The FAA says a Mooney M20 was traveling from Lubbock to Air Park-Dallas Airport in Collin County.

The Texas Department of Public safety says the pilot, realizing he was coming in too fast for landing attempted a touch and go, but instead veered to the left.

DPS troopers say the plane went through a fence and came to a stop in a backyard in the 6300 block of Douglas Street.

Neither the pilot, his passenger or anyone outside the plane was injured. The FAA is investigating.

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

Debate on size of Millville Municipal Airport (KMIV) historic area takes off



MILLVILLE – The Millville Municipal Airport’s historic preservation district may shrink in the near future under pressures to open key areas for development while cutting maintenance costs for the Delaware River and Bay Authority.

Whether the idea becomes a reality relies in part on political finesse, since the city and the authority can’t move alone. The issue draws in the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, which set the boundaries for the district and approved it.

The city and the authority also want the Millville Army Air Field Museum’s support, or at least its neutrality. It was the museum that sought historic status for a portion of the airport in order to support its mission to preserve the airfield’s wartime legacy.

One very visible impact of a downsized historic district boundaries would be the demolition —  or, much more unlikely, removal — of the “Q hangar.” The Q hangar is in a fenced off area between the Dallas Airmotive property and a modern hangar last leased by Boeing for helicopter remanufacturing.

The Q hangar was built in the early 1940s when the airfield opened as the nation’s first U.S. Army air defense base. Like its contemporaries, it is in bad shape after 75 years. However, historic district rules prevent demolition of structures within the district that otherwise could be condemned.



The DRBA, which operates the airport under a long-term lease with the city, already has held talks with city officials about the idea.

DRBA spokesman James Salmon said 75 percent of airport properties are in the designated historic area.

“Many of them are in poor condition and require significant resources to maintain — resources that could otherwise be used for other development initiatives,” Salmon said. “We understand and value the need to preserve history, but we also want to unlock development opportunities at Millville.

"Currently, the historic district includes both sides of Peterson Street," he added. "We'd like to see the district reduced with Peterson Street as a border."

Mayor Michael Santiago and City Commissioner Joseph Sooy indicated support for the proposal during a rambling discussion of the situation at the April meeting of the city’s Industrial Commission.



The City Commission has not addressed the issue publicly, yet. It may wait to do so until the Industrial Commission puts itself on the record about the proposal.

“The historic property there is really killing us,” Santiago told Industrial Commission members.

Sooy, likewise, said the hangar “doesn’t make sense economically” and takes up a useful parcel of land.

Santiago said he had just asked a representative of the Governor’s Office for support on the issue. “So, we’ll wait for a response,” he said.

Museum President Chuck Wyble recently said the Q hangar undeniably is “in deplorable” condition.

“The fact that it is still standing has been a mystery to us, frankly,” he said.

Still, Wyble said, museum officials are cautious about being seen taking sides. The museum recognizes that the district places financial and operating burdens on the DRBA and the city.

“We certainly recognize the importance of the historic district,” Wyble said. “We certainly recognize the DRBA being liable and responsible for all these buildings that, for the most part, were temporary buildings. No one expected them to be up 75 years later.

“We are sensitive to the DRBA having the liability and the responsibility of that, and we’ll rely on their prognosis of what to do with that building,” he added. “We don’t have any dog in that fight. We basically officially have to remain neutral because we don’t have any resources to help out with it.”

Wyble also stressed that the museum originally envisioned a much smaller historic district. State officials drew the boundaries.

“The museum, to us, the most historical building and the most important building on the airport is the Green hangar, Number 8,” Wyble said. “We were looking into doing a capital campaign to help restore that building — not so much the Q hangar.”



The Green hangar’s name reflects its original green siding. The hangar, also built during the war, is empty but there is considerable interest in its restoration in the public and private sectors. A study done about nine years ago estimated it would take about $2.3 million to restore it.

“The Green hangar geographically is the most important historical structure that we want to secure,” Wyble said. “The Q hangar is not available to the public. You have to be actually on the tarmac, if you will, which means either a pilot or have permission to be on the grounds.”

Wyble said the Green hangar has gotten attention from Monte Motorsport, a company leasing part of the Dallas Airmotive.

“I’ve actually spoken to one of the people that works there,” Wyble said. “And they are looking into, which is music to the museum’s ears, purchasing or obtaining that Green hangar. And the museum has offered to get involved, only because we may be able to help them move along with the historic restoration and we may be able to apply for grants and that type of thing.”

In early 2004, two barracks and a small hangar were razed and left cleared. That was while the historic district was only a proposal.

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

WWII-era plane to touch down in North Platte

Bomber last in the area about 10 years ago; visitors can climb aboard aircraft

A poster with the photo of a B17G Aluminum Overcast World War II bomber advertises the upcoming event on Tuesday at North Platte Regional Airport. Tours and rides may be purchased on this historic aircraft.
~


World War II airplane aficionados can look forward to a local visit from a B17G Aluminum Overcast bomber on Tuesday, May 3, at North Platte Regional Airport.

Tim Liewer, local chapter president of the Experimental Aircraft Association, is coordinating the event.

“The purpose of this event is to honor, respect and educate people about the sacrifices made in WWII,” Liewer said.

The Experimental Aircraft Association is a nonprofit group that helps bring historic aircraft to North Platte.

“The last time this airplane came to North Platte about 10 years ago, a woman came out with a cigar box and pay stubs as Rosie the Riveter,” Liewer said. “She was paid 50 cents an hour.”

Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, a nickname for American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies.

Local resident Ed Martens was a captain on a B17.

“He was 21 and was the old man on the plane,” Liewer said. “His plane caught fire on a mission over Germany. His crew bailed out and he was the last man on the ship.”

Martens stayed with the plane when the fire went out and flew solo to France, Liewer said. His crew spent the rest of the year in a prison camp.

The public will have several options to enter and view the B17 on Tuesday. Ground tours will take place from 2-5 p.m. Cost for the ground tours is $10 for individuals; children 8 years and younger with a paid adult enter free. Families can enter the plane for $20, while veterans and active military may tour for free.

There is another interesting option between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. for those who would like to experience a flight. The cost for EAA members is $435 and for the general public $475, which includes a one-year membership in the EAA.

“The funds are basically break-even to maintain the airplane,” Liewer said. “The funds raised will pay for 400 gallons of fuel that will be purchased from Trego Aviation.”

Liewer, of Hershey, has been interested in aircraft since he was 19 years old. He is also a pilot.

“I restore antique airplanes,” Liewer said. “My wife and I flew a WWII Stearman around the World Trade Center and I flew that airplane from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

For more information, call Liewer at 530-6547; to pre-book a flight for Tuesday’s event, go to the EAA website at B17.org.

Liewer said a retired farmer from Kansas booked a ride on the plane on Tuesday as well.

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

Airlines Find It Hard To Recruit Pilots: Shortage hurts regional airports such as Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport (KLAW); enplanements up

Airline trends and the consequences of congressional demands on training have combined to make it more difficult to recruit pilots to regional markets and that is hampering facilities such as Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport.

Airport Director Barbara McNally said she found the report received at an air service development conference to be especially applicable to Lawton-Fort Sill, where the airport's governing board has worked hard in recent years to keep communication lines open with American Eagle, the carrier that links Lawton to Dallas-Fort Worth via daily flights.

Members of the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority have been pushing for additional flights to and from the airport, pointing to strong passenger levels, especially on weekends. McNally and the board also noted that enplanements (the number of passengers boarding flights in Lawton) were up in March, with more passengers in March 2016 than the airport has recorded since March 2012.

McNally said she has been told Lawton's load factors are so good American Eagle doesn't expect any changes in flights.

But, the number of flights are based on more than load factors. There also is the simple availability of flights and the pilots to fly them. McNally said the regional pilot issue, discussed at a conference she attended in late March, was especially interesting because of its focus on markets such as Lawton-Fort Sill.

Airport officials at Lawton and other regional facilities have long decried the problems of maintaining sufficient flights and major carriers have said the problem is caused, in part, by an inability to recruit and keep pilots to handle flights in regional markets.

McNally said part of the issue can be traced to changes implemented by the U.S. Congress in the aftermath of an airline crash in 2009 in New York. The crash of Colgan Air Flight 2407 was found to be inadequate response by the flight crew to a stall. The crash, which killed everyone on board and one person on the ground, led to the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act, which increased regulations governing pilot training.

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

LaSill Aviation Withdraws Its Request To Be Released From Lease: Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport (KLAW), Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma

LaSill Aviation has withdrawn its request to be released from its contract as the fixed base operator for Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport.

The owners of LaSill Aviation made their initial request in early March as the airport's governing board debated a decision to ban large aircraft, or "heavies," from landing at the airport as a means of preserving a runway that has begun to show signs of serious deterioration in some areas. 

Members of the Lawton Metropolitan Area Airport Authority agreed on a split vote to give Airport Director Barbara McNally the authority to make exceptions, but said heavies no longer would be allowed to routinely land at the airport. The decision affects chartered commercial jets as well as large military transport flights, which have made arrangements to land at other airports. The decision does not affect military training flights, general aviation or commercial flights by the airport's carrier, American Eagle.

That ruling by the airport authority prompted LaSill's decision, with officials saying last month that without military transport traffic "LaSill cannot remain a financially sound business." In a letter dated March 10, the firm asked to be released from its contract effective June 1 and had asked for a rate reduction for its remaining time in operation. As the fixed base operator, LaSill sells fuel to aircraft that land and take off from the airport, and officials there said heavy aircraft provided much of their business. Losing those aircraft as customers would have an impact on revenues, they said.

In a letter dated March 24, LaSill Aviation withdrew its initial request to end its lease, a request the airport authority acknowledged at its April 26 meeting. Without going into details, co-owner William Tipton said the firm has learned "of some new factors in regards to the runway problems and heavy military aircraft issues." The owners asked to rescind the request for release from the lease until they have had a chance to evaluate those factors and noted they would "notify you as soon as we have all the new facts and can determine if being released from our current leases are still the only option."

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