Thursday, May 5, 2016

Daleville-based aviation training company undergoes foreign certification process

Shane Labrie, program manager at Concord XXI U.S.A. Inc. Aviation Training, talks about the company's advanced flight simulator at the facility on Thursday.

DALEVILLE -- An international company based in Daleville that trains pilots, flight engineers and maintenance technicians on Russian Mi-17 helicopter simulators is in the process of obtaining foreign certification.

Concord XXI USA, located on Robert C. Barnes Drive, moved toward completion of a foreign certification this week through the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), via the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine. According to the website for EASA, which is headquartered in Germany, the agency provides specific regulatory and executive tasks in civil aviation safety and environmental protection for more than 30 countries.

Eric Huppert, president of the company, said a team from Ukraine spent much of the week inspecting Concord XXI’s facilities and overlooking syllabi and the Level D-equivalent, Full Flight simulators for the Russian Mi-17. The certification process is expected to be completed on Saturday.

Huppert said EASA is the equivalent to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in the countries EASA represent. He said the certification will allow Concord XXI to appeal to entities that require a training facility to have a foreign certification before training a company’s contractors.

Retired from the U.S. Air Force, Huppert said he founded Concord XXI in 2010 after he recognized the need to train pilots on the Russian aircraft the way training is done in the west, instead of the old Soviet style of training. He said the company is now training all American Air Force advisors who train the military in Afghanistan.

“The new certification allows us to show those others who require a certification other than FAA certification that they can train at our facility,” Huppert said.

“We’ve trained, in addition to the U.S. Army and Air Force, the Colombians, Peru, Malaysians, and others on Russian helicopters. We are working toward training some Sri Lankans soon.”

Concord XXI Vice President Edward Shulman said the EASA certification process began about six months before the physical inspection of the Daleville facility this week. He said Concord XXI has already trained more than 2,000 pilots, most of whom are NATO members.

Concord XXI USA program manager Shane Labrie said EASA is a significant accomplishment, giving the company all approvals possible for any agency to scrutinize.

“We’ve trained with the U.S. Air Force, Army and U.S. government agencies, but on the civilian side, this opens up more opportunities,” he said.

“We’re one of the only instrument-capable Mi-17 training facilities in the world, and the only one of its kind in the U.S.”

Original article can be found here:

Live Oaks Hit By Crashing Plane Might Not Survive: Cessna 421B Golden Eagle, N3372Q, accident occurred April 26, 2016 in Foley, Baldwin County, Alabama

FOLEY, AL- Two massive Live Oak trees damaged during a plane crash in Foley last week might not survive the extensive damage. 

The pilot escaped the burning plane with only a cut on his hand, but the oaks, which have been on the property for more than a century, are in rough shape.

A certified master arborist tells News 5 the beautiful trees could be saved if treatment starts soon. Treating the trees could cost as much as $10,000.

The owner of the property where the trees are located says he does not want to cut them down or bulldoze them. Adam Bond says he’ll do what it takes to bring the trees back to health.

The FAA is investigating the plane crash. The investigation could take months.

Story and video:

Date: 26-APR-16
Time: 20:00:00Z
Regis#: N3372Q
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 421
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: Minor
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Alabama


Aerial mosquito spraying resumes in St. Tammany following fatal plane crash: Beech 65-A90-1 King Air, St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement, N7MC, accident occurred April 19, 2016 at Slidell Airport (KASD), St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

LACOMBE-  With spring-like weather at its peak, it's a challenge for Joanna Parr to wrangle her 19-month-old when outdoors.

But she's had to take on that feat because of mosquitos.

"It's hard with the little ones because they want to go outside and he can't go outside and play, we've got to bring him inside," she said, "He's getting lots of bites."

She said the increase in her Lacombe neighborhood has been noticeable over the past two weeks, when the parish spray plane has not been flying.

Mosquito Control says that's, on one hand, due to the loss of their large plane, and two esteemed pilots, in a heartbreaking crash.  But St. Tammany Mosquito Abatement Director Chuck Palmisano said it's mostly because, "The populations are not that high right now.  They're relatively low. But light traps indicated an increase in certain areas across the parish so we did conduct an aerial operation Tuesday night in south Slidell and also Lacombe. Tonight, we're going to go aerially in the Mandeville area."

Ground and preventative efforts haven't missed a beat though, and as the bug-riddled summer months creep closer, leaders have a plan to keep the aerial attack active.

"We're going to utilize this plane as much as we can, also, we've been talking with a couple of aerial spray contractors, looking to maybe engage their service at least until the time we get another airplane and put it in service," said Palmisano.

Even though Mosquito Control says its operation is on track, they still need the public to do their part.

Palmisano said, "Encouragement to survey your yards, see if you might have artificial things breeding mosquitos and if you're in a really mosquito prone area, use repellent."

The operations plan has Parr looking forward to fewer bite-filled afternoons outdoors.

Mosquito Control hopes to have its replacement plan purchased and in operation by the Fall.

Story and video: ST TAMMANY PARISH 


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Baton Rouge FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA158
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 19, 2016 in Slidell, LA
Aircraft: BEECH 65 A90 1, registration: N7MC
Injuries: 2 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 19, 2016, about 2115 central daylight time, a Beech 65-A90-1 airplane, N7MC, collided with towers suspending high power transmission lines, while attempting to land at the Slidell Municipal Airport (KASD), Slidell, Louisiana. Both pilots were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District as a public use flight. Night visual meteorological condition prevailed for the flight, which operated on a visual flight rules flight plan. The local flight originated about 2000.

After completing a planned mosquito abatement aerial application flight, the accident pilots radioed their intentions to land at KASD. A company airplane was also in the area and flew the GPS approach to runway 18 for practice, while the accident airplane flew a visual pattern. When the pilots of the other company airplane radioed that they had crossed the GPS approach's final approach fix, the accident pilots radioed that they were on a left base and were number one to land at the airport. Seconds later, the company pilots of the other airplane saw an arc of electricity followed shortly by a plume of fire from the ground. The accident pilots could not be reached on the radio, and emergency responders were contacted.

The airplane was located in a marsh about 0.6 nautical miles north-northwest of approach end of runway 18. The initial point of impact was damage to two towers suspending high power transmission lines. These two towers were between 70-80 feet tall and were located 200 yards north of the main wreckage. The airplane's left wing tip and a portion of the aerial applicant tank were found near the towers.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 2053, an automated weather reporting facility located at KASD reported a calm wind, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 68° F, dew point 64° F, and a barometric pressure of 30.09 inches.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KAUS) adding non-stop flights to Guadalajara

Non-stop flights to Guadalajara, Mexico, are on the way to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Volaris, a low-cost airline, will begin service Aug. 7, airport officials said.

Flights will run three days a week – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays – departing Austin at 1:20 p.m. and arriving at the Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Guadalajara International Airport at 3:28 p.m.

The return flight will operate the same three days, departing Guadalajara at 9:33 a.m. and arriving in Austin at 11:50 a.m.

Volaris said it will be using a 179-seat Airbus A320 aircraft for the new air service.

Original article can be found here:

Hawaiian Airlines Seeks to Fast Track Tokyo to Kona, Honolulu Route

Hawaiian Airlines is pushing to have its application to provide split services between Honolulu, Kona, and Haneda Airport in Tokoyo, Japan approved.

The company’s request went to the United States Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox.

On Thursday afternoon, the company announced that it filed a motion on Wednesday noting that its the only applicant for the single available night-time frequency to serve Haneda Airport that will be available to United States airlines when a February 2016 agreement between the U.S. government and Japan takes effect later this year.

“It is long-standing DOT practice to grant an airline route when no other airlines are competing for the same limited opportunity,” said Mark Dunkerley, president and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Airlines. “When you couple the lack of other applicants with our demonstrated knowledge of the Japanese market, it is clear that granting Hawaiian the right to operate this lone night-time slot from Haneda to Kona and Honolulu is in the best interest of the United States and the traveling public.”

Honolulu and Kona service would be the second Haeda route operated by Hawaiian. The flights would join Honolulu to Haneda daily service that began in November 2010.

In the filed motion, Hawaiian pledged to initiate service to Honolulu four times a week once the amendment takes effect, along with service from Haneda to Kona three times a week.

Governor David Ige, Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation have supported the expansion.

Original article can be found here:

JetBlue Returns To Nashville International Airport (KBNA)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - JetBlue airlines celebrated its return to the Nashville International Airport.

Airline officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony after a brief press conference. The ticketing station was also decorated with blue balloons.

They marked its return with the arrival of the first JetBlue plane that rolled into BNA Thursday.

JetBlue will operate nonstop service to Boston and Fort Lauderdale.

Officials said in addition to the non-stop flights on board the new aircraft, they will also offer free wi-fi, in-flight TV and snacks.

Story and video:

Loved ones to host 'Spring Fling' in memory of crash victim: Lancair IV-P, Art Sign Company, N401PT, fatal accident occurred January 30, 2016 at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport (KABY), Albany, Dougherty County, Georgia

On Saturday, the loved ones of Brittany Kerfoot will host a family-fun event for the community in her honor.

Albany, GA — On Saturday, the loved ones of Brittany Kerfoot will host a family-fun event for the community in her honor.

Brittany's Spring Fling will be held at the Chehaw Park stage from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The event in memory of Brittany Kerfoot, one of the three victims killed in the plane crash at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport in January.

Hannah Sholar- Owens, one of the organizers of the event and Kerfoot's best friend, said that the entire event began from the passion Kerfoot had for children. Sholar-Owens said Kerfoot visited Chehaw on a field trip with her students back in November when she picked up on something that she couldn't let go.

"They didn't have any handicap accessible toys, or area, or toddler equipment. So we took it upon ourselves to talk with Chehaw about adding that equipment in her memory" said Sholar-Owens.

The proceeds from the spring fling will go to the Brittany Kerfoot Memorial Playground Project. The goal is to raise money to bring a handicap-accessible and toddler area to the playground at Chehaw, as well as refurbish the tiles at the entrance. Tiles will be sold that children can put their handprints in and will be placed into the new entrance.

"This cause is actually going to help the whole community. This is something that we definitely need and it's an area where anybody can come. Brittany loved children and she made a huge impact on over 300 children's lives just that she personally taught," said Sholar-Owens.

There will be a cornhole tournament, live music, bounce houses, food and more. There is a $5 entrance fee, $3 parking fee and a $15 cooler fee (no glass allowed). Children under 12 are free.

The opening ceremony and live music will kick off at noon. Children's activities are from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Original article can be found here:

Art Sign Company:  

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Atlanta FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA097

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 30, 2016 in Albany, GA
Aircraft: BROOK AARON D LANCAIR IV P, registration: N401PT
Injuries: 3 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 January 30, 2016, at 1445 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair IV-P, N401PT, operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport (ABY), in Albany, Georgia. The commercial pilot, pilot rated passenger and one additional passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Witness reports indicated that the airplane taxied to the beginning of runway 22 at ABY, and lifted off within the first 1,000 feet of the 6,601 foot-long runway. The airplane began to bank sharply immediately after takeoff, and reached a 90-degree bank as it climbed to treetop height. The witness was not certain if the bank was to the right or left; however, the airplane then began to pitch downward and descend, while maintaining the 90 degree bank until it struck the ground.

A witness located about a quarter mile north of the accident site reported that the airplane sounded "normal" until shortly before impact, when the engine noise became louder.

The airplane impacted a grass field about 1,900 feet down the runway, and 280 feet to the right of the runway centerline. The wreckage path extended from the initial impact ground scar along a heading of 270 degrees, and was 170 feet long. A position light with green lens fragments and the right winglet were among the debris found closest to the initial impact scar. Both wings were separated from the fuselage at their root, and were fragmented along the wreckage path. The left wing tip and winglet were found about 130 feet along the wreckage path. The main wreckage area included the empennage, which was largely intact, with severe fire and impact damage forward of the rear seats. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were fractured about mid-span with the outboard portion displaced forward. The elevator trim tab was found slightly trailing edge down. The rudder trim tab was found slightly trailing edge right. The engine mounting structural tubes were fractured and the engine was found inverted. The propeller hub separated from the engine flange, and one of the three blades separated from the hub. All three blades exhibited some bending in the aft direction from about mid-span outward, and each had showed some amount of twisting deformation.

The engine power turbine blades were intact and exhibited slight bending at their tips and rub marks at their roots. The engine casing was displaced and twisted, and the engine could not be turned by hand at the starter or the propeller shafts. After removal of the planetary gear system, the propeller shaft turned easily and did not exhibit any evidence of twisting.

Examination of the airframe revealed that the main landing gear were retracted, however the position of the nose landing gear could not be determined. The position of the flaps could not be determined. Pitch control continuity was confirmed from the elevator though push-pull tubes to the aft cabin area. The elevator moved freely. Rudder control continuity was confirmed from the rudder through a push-pull tube to the cable and bell crank assembly in the empennage. The rudder was free to move, however both cables exhibited binding as a result of fire damage. Both ailerons had separated from their respective wings and were found fractured and fire damaged. Both cockpit control sticks remained connected to their control tubes, however continuity from those tubes to the remainder of the control components could not be confirmed due to impact and fire damage.

A portable global positioning system receiver was recovered from the accident site and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder laboratory for examination.

A witness reported that as the occupants embarked, the pilot/owner was seated in the left front seat, and the pilot rated passenger was seated in the right front seat. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot reported 1,000 hours of flight experience at the time of his most recent third-class medical examination which was performed on January 20, 2015.The pilot rated passenger held airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates, and he reported 6,750 flight hours of experience at the time of his most recent FAA second-class medical examination, which was performed on July 8, 2015.

According to FAA records, the airplane was equipped with a Walter 601 series turboprop engine and issued an experimental airworthiness certificate in April 2002. It was purchased by the pilot on December 10, 2015. Initial review of maintenance logbooks revealed that the most recent condition inspections of the airframe and engine occurred on October 29, 2015, and both were found to be in satisfactory condition.

Allegiant Airlines, Airbus A319-100, N301NV: Incident occurred May 05, 2016 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Fla. (WSVN) -- A flight heading to an airport in Pittsburgh was diverted to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport due to severe turbulence.

According to Allegiant Airlines, flight G4-7001, a charter plane, had departed from the Punta Cana International Airport and was headed to Pittsburgh International Airport when it hit severe turbulence and injured three passengers and four crew members, at approximately 1:37 p.m. After reports of severe injuries and turbulence surfaced, the plane was diverted to FLL.

The flight landed safely in Fort Lauderdale at 2:43 p.m. Emergency medical personnel met the plane and tended to the passengers and crew.

A total of seven people were hurt, including four flight attendants and three passengers. Five of these people had to be taken to the hospital. Some suffered minor injuries while others had to be taken to the hospital to get checked out.

"Those injuries range from bruises to lacerations, facial fractures and head injuries. The most serious is one of the flight attendants. However, none of the injuries are life-threatening," said Mike Jachles of the Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue.

There were 137 passengers and 6 crew on board.

Passengers who were not injured were cleared through customs. Allegiant Airlines is currently working to accommodate all passengers and develop a plan for getting them safely to their original destination, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Story and video:

Middle Tennessee State University dedicates flight simulator building

MURFREESBORO — Middle Tennessee State University officials formally dedicated a Murfreesboro Municipal Airport building that houses the university's flight simulators on Thursday.

The university's Flight Simulator Building has been used by Department of Aviation students since the university's four simulators were moved from another hangar at the airport in January, said Wendy Beckman, the department's interim chair.

The $700,000, 3,600 square-foot facility also houses a 20-person classroom and six briefing rooms and allows students to quickly test what they've learned, Beckman said.

"It's great because they can be in class and then come out here and do what they need to do," Beckman said.

The simulators were moved from a separate airplane hangar at the municipal airport along Memorial Boulevard. The hangar is now used by the department's maintenance management program, Beckman said.

Dozens attended the dedications ceremony and ribbon cutting at the facility at the airport on Thursday.

MTSU President Sidney McPhee said the facility strengthened the university's aerospace program that already had top-notch faculty, airplanes and technology.

"This is really state-of-the-art equipment in this facility," McPhee said at the dedication.

The university's four simulators — a CRJ turbofan, a Frasca Been 1900, a DA-40 and a Frasca 142 — are used by all professional pilot students during their time at MTSU, according to a news release.

About 675 students are enrolled in the aerospace department with concentrations including flight dispatch, technology, professional pilot, administration and unmanned aircraft system operations, the release stated.

Original article can be found here:

Beech A36 Bonanza, Prime Logic Inc., N5471G: Incident occurred May 05, 2016 at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (KJAN), Jackson, Mississippi


Date: 05-MAY-16
Time: 17:20:00Z
Regis#: N5471G
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 36
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Personal
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Jackson FSDO-31
State: Mississippi


No injuries are being reported after landing gear collapsed as a single-engine plane landed at Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.

Federal Aviation spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the nose gear collapse happened about 12:10 p.m. Thursday when the Beechcraft Bonanza landed.

FAA records show the plane is registered to Prime Logic Inc., a Tupelo business. Arthur Dillon, an employee with Prime Logic, said the only person on board was Shannon Dillon, the company's owner and pilot of the plane. Arthur Dillon says Shannon Dillon was not injured.

The runway was closed until the aircraft could be removed.

A spokeswoman for the airport did not return calls seeking comment Thursday afternoon.

Bergen says the FAA is investigating.

Original article can be found here:

JACKSON, Miss. —Landing gear collapsed after a single-engine plane landed at Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport, closing a runway for a time.

Federal Aviation spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the collapse happened about 12:10 p.m. Thursday when the Beechcraft Bonanza landed.

The runway was closed until the aircraft could be removed. A spokeswoman for the airport wasn't immediately answering questions about the accident or whether anyone has been injured.

FAA records show the plane is registered to Prime Logic Inc., a Tupelo business. Calls to the business weren't answered Thursday.

Bergen says the FAA is investigating.

Original article can be found here:

New flights lift Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (KSTS) travel 39% in April

Airline passenger traffic at Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport soared 39 percent last month, largely thanks to new routes, according to a new report.

The number of passengers has been rising every month since January 2015, primarily due to the increase in flight activity, according to officials at the county-run facility on May 5. Last year, an average of five airline flights departed daily, compared with almost seven in April.

Alaska Airlines, currently Santa Rosa’s only commercial carrier, started a daily route between Santa Rosa and Orange County on March 16. Also added were a third flight to Los Angeles and a second flight to Seattle.

The number of travelers through the airport is set to increase even more when the Allegiant Air starts service as Sonoma County’s second airline on May 19. The airline is beginning with flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Total airline passengers through the north Santa Rosa airport in April were 25,585, compared with 18,393 a year before, according to the report.

The number of passengers arriving in and departing from Santa Rosa so far this year increased 31.2 percent to 89,477 from 68,184 in the first four months of last year. The load factor — how full the seats were on each plane — was 78 percent, up 1.3 percent for the year, so the airport saw a slight increase in ridership as well.

In April, there were 206 arrivals and 206 departures.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna 310F, N6770X, Lashbrook Inc: Fatal accident occurred May 05, 2016 at North Little Rock Municipal Airport (KORK), North Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Little Rock FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA172
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 05, 2016 in North Little Rock, AR
Aircraft: CESSNA 310F, registration: N6770X
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 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 May 5, 2016, about 1331 central daylight time, a Cessna model 310F twin-engine airplane, N6770X, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control near the North Little Rock Municipal Airport (ORK), North Little Rock, Arkansas. A postimpact fire ensued. The airline transport pilot (ATP) applicant sustained serious injuries. The pilot examiner was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Lashbrook Inc. under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed for the local area flight that was originating at the time of the accident.

The accident occurred during an ATP checkride that was being administered by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated pilot examiner. According to available radar track data, at 1329:43 (hhmm:ss), the accident airplane appeared on radar shortly after departing from runway 5 and did not subsequently climb above 800 feet msl. The airplane continued on a northeast heading of 050 degrees for approximately 24 seconds before it entered a left turn to a southwest heading of 225 degrees. The 175 degree left turn took about 29 seconds to complete and had a turn radius of about 1/3 mile. The turn rate averaged about 6 degrees per second during the left turn. After completing the left turn, the airplane continued to the southwest, on a ground track toward runway 17, while maintaining 800 feet msl, until the final recorded radar point at 1330:56. The final radar data point was located about 1/3 mile northeast of the runway 17 displaced threshold.

Preliminary performance calculations, based on available radar data, indicated that the airplane initially maintained a calculated true airspeed of 85-96 knots during the upwind leg from runway 5; however, the calculated true airspeed decreased from 96 knots to 84 knots during the left turn to the southwest. During the final 20 seconds of recorded radar data, the calculated true airspeed further decreased from 84 knots to 79 knots. According to airplane manufacturer documentation, the minimum controllable airspeed (Vmc) for the accident airplane was 70 knots (80 mph), the single-engine best angle-of-climb (Vxse) was 83 knots (95 mph), and the single-engine best rate-of-climb (Vyse) was 97 knots (111 mph).

A witness photographed the airplane shortly before it impacted the ground. According to the associated file metadata, the photo was captured at 1330:59. At that time, the airplane was observed in a left wing low, 45-degree bank, in a slightly nose low attitude. Additional review of the photograph established the airplane was on a southerly heading and was at or below treetop level.

A surveillance camera partially captured the accident impact sequence. The surveillance camera's field-of-view was aligned to the southwest and primarily focused on an industrial yard that was located about 450 feet east of the initial impact point. At 1331:00.35 (, the accident airplane appeared in the upper right corner of the field-of-view; however, the airplane was partially obscured by a tree that was positioned between the camera and the initial impact point. At 1331:00.54, a fire/explosion emerged and continued to grow, over a period of about 2.6 seconds, as the impact sequence progressed from right-to-left in the field-of-view. At 1331:02.35, the left engine emerged from the central explosion, tumbling away from the main wreckage, and came to rest in an open field about 1331:07.35. A ground fire was observed along the debris path and the associated smoke plumes appeared to drift toward the southeast. There was a power interruption to the surveillance camera, between 1331:15.78 and 1337:35.72. When the footage resumed, a majority of the ground fire had subsided; however, the main wreckage remained on fire. There was a second power interruption, between 1337:55.76 and 1342:44.66. After the footage resumed, the fire at the main wreckage had been extinguished by responding fire department personnel.

Following the accident, several fire department personnel spoke with the ATP applicant concerning the accident flight. When asked what had occurred during the flight, the ATP applicant told the fire department personnel that the left engine had experienced a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The ATP applicant further stated that, following the loss of left engine power, the examiner took over airplane control and was attempting to fly the airplane back to the airport when the accident occurred.

The ATP applicant was not interviewed by the NTSB or the FAA before the release of this preliminary report. Although attempts were made to interview the ATP applicant at the hospital, his on-going medical treatment precluded an interview or his providing a written statement.

The ATP applicant was a captain with the Air National Guard and typically flew four-engine turboprop Lockheed C-130 airplanes. The ATP applicant also held a FAA commercial pilot certificate with single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. His application for the ATP certificate, dated May 4, 2016, listed a total flight time of 950 hours, of which 612 hours were accumulated in multiengine airplanes. The pilot examiner held a FAA ATP certificate with single-engine land, single-engine sea, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot examiner also held a flight instructor certificate with single-engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. According to a FAA medical application, dated July 24, 2015, the pilot examiner had accumulated 12,257 hours of flight time.

At 1253, about 38 minutes before the accident, an automated surface observing system located at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field (LIT), about 7.5 miles south of the accident site, reported the following weather conditions: wind 320 degrees true at 13 knots, gusting 19 knots; surface visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 25,000 feet agl; temperature 24 degrees Celsius, dew point 5 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of mercury.

At 1353, about 22 minutes after the accident, the LIT automated surface observing system reported the wind 340 degrees true at 7 knots, surface visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 4,500 feet agl, temperature 25 degrees Celsius, dew point 5 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.99 inches of mercury.

A Cessna 310F that crashed during takeoff at the North Little Rock Municipal Airport on Thursday, killing a passenger, was piloted by an Air National Guardsman seeking the highest-level pilot's license, officials said Friday.

A report released by the North Little Rock police Friday identifies the passenger killed as 56-year-old Doyle G. Reynolds of Jefferson and the pilot as Daniel Shure, 30, of Benton, Wash.

Reynolds was an examiner along for the pilot's "check ride," the final test in the process of receiving an air transportation pilot's license from the Federal Aviation Administration, said airport Director Clay Rogers.

Shure reportedly walked away from the crash and was taken to a local hospital in unknown condition Thursday.

An Air Force spokesman at the Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville said in an email that the pilot was an Air National Guardsman.

"As far as we know, he is currently not performing Guard duties and has no affiliation with Little Rock Air Force Base," the spokesman said, referring additional questions to the airport.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Administration arrived on the scene around 8:30 a.m. Friday.

An NTSB spokesman in Washington, D.C., said the on-scene team led by investigator Todd Fox will remain in North Little Rock through Sunday documenting the path of debris, taking photographs and speaking with witnesses.

Both the plane's engines and propellers will be taken to examine whether they functioned properly or not, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

A preliminary accident report will take about two weeks to be released, Knudson said, but investigators are unlikely to speculate on the cause of the accident until the release of a full report, which takes about a year.

Harry Barrett, the owner of Barrett Aviation at the North Little Rock airport, said Reynolds was known to people who worked at the airport for years, though it had been a while since he was known to do "check rides" there.

"ATP is like the doctorate of aviation," Barrett said, referring to the certification the pilot was seeking at the time of the crash. The certification is required to become a commercial airline pilot.

A Cessna 310 sitting in Barrett's shop, which he said was similar to the 1961 model that crashed, was about the size of a small truck and sat six, with room for two at the controls.

Barrett said he had heard from another witness that the airplane dipped to the left before crashing, indicating trouble with one of the engines.

"Those airplanes are kept up and the mechanics inspected every year; in this case, every 100 hours," Barrett said. "It was a very capable aircraft."

At the airport's administration office, Rogers said the pilots who regularly fly at the airport were taking the accident in stride. It was the first fatality in his five years as director, he said.

"Pilots and the people that love aviation know the risks," Rogers said. "That thrill is part of the appeal."

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An airplane crashed at the North Little Rock Municipal Airport on Thursday, killing one, officials say. 

The North Little Rock Fire Department  said the plane was local and took off from the North Little Rock Municipal Airport. It then attempted to land at the same airport, approached low, nearly missed some nearby water tanks, missed the airstrip, struck a fence and eventually crashed in a nearby field.

One of the airplane's two pilots died in the crash, and the other was hospitalized with injuries that are not life threatening, according to the North Little Rock Fire Department. 

"It's a wonder anyone walked away from this. I don't even understand how anyone walked away from this. That pilot is extremely lucky," said Fire Chief John Flasterer when talking about the surviving pilot.

Flasterer said the surviving pilot walked away from the plane's wreckage after the crash. 

Fire personnel extinguished flames on the crashed aircraft within five to 10 minutes. The initial call about the crash came in at 1:32 p.m., officials said. Fire personnel were conducting training exercises nearby when the call came in, according to Flasterer. 

The airport did not sustain any additional damage from the crash, and although the facility closed briefly, it has since reopened. 

Flasterer said the last "serious" crash at the North Little Rock Municipal Airport took place around 20 years ago. 

The North Little Rock Fire Department declined to identify either pilot and said they were working to notify family members of the dead pilot. 

The plane that crashed was a Cessna 310F, according to an eyewitness. 

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Emergency officials tell Channel 7 News one person is dead and another is injured after a small plane crashed at the North Little Rock airport.

A witness tells us it happened at approximately 1:30 Thursday afternoon at the airport on Remount Road. According to North Little Rock police, the plane initially took off from the North Little Rock airport then crashed on the airport grounds near the Central Arkansas Water facility.

North Little Rock police say the Cessna 310 twin engine plane caught fire after it crashed. The flames reportedly got close to a fuel tank by the water facility.

Police say two people were on board the aircraft. The second person on the aircraft was taken to a local hospital with injuries and burns. A spokesman for the North Little Rock Fire Department says the person's injuries don't seem to be life-threatening.

The identities of the pilot and passenger are unknown.

North Little Rock airport operations were briefly interrupted due to the crash, but planes are again taking off and landing at the airport.

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — Emergency responders are on the scene of a small plane crash at North Little Rock Municipal Airport.

The Cessna 310 plane crash did not hit a fuel tank, but the flames spread close to it.  Two people were reported to have been on the plane: one is dead and the other was transported to a hospital.

The plane was local and took off from the NLR airport initially. It crashed on the outskirts of the airport, near the NLR water department

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Original article can be found here:

NORTH LITTLE ROCK —One person is dead following a plane crash at the municipal airport in North Little Rock.

City spokesman Nathan Hamilton said one person died and a second person was hospitalized with unknown injuries when a Cessna 310F crashed about 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police told reporters at the scene that after the plane crashed it hit a fuel tank by the Central Arkansas Water facility and firefighters were called to the scene.

A police spokesman did not immediately return a phone call to The Associated Press.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was destroyed and that the FAA will begin an investigation that will be led by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Original article can be found here:

Montana, Feds Make Deal on Use of Firefighting Helicopters: Helicopters were barred last year from responding to fires in national forests and BLM land

HELENA — Montana and federal officials have made a deal that will allow the state’s five firefighting helicopters to respond to some blazes on federal lands, after they were barred from doing so last year as fires raging across the West led to equipment shortages.

The agreement allows the retrofitted Vietnam-era helicopters to be used when lives are at risk or when the governor declares a state of emergency, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation spokesman John Grassy said Thursday.

Additional details about the deal, which was finalized this week, will be released during Gov. Steve Bullock’s fire briefing in Butte Friday.

“There will be state aircraft flying on federal fires this summer,” Grassy said.

The helicopters were barred last year from responding to fires in national forests and U.S. Bureau of Land Management land because federal standards require they use smaller buckets to scoop water. The issue sparked tension between state and federal officials with a shortage of resources available to fight blazes during an active fire season last year across the West.

The five modified Bell UH-1H helicopters have increased power that enables them to carry 324-gallon buckets. However, U.S. Forest Service policy, developed after helicopter crashes in the past, requires aircraft of that type to carry water-scooping buckets 100 gallons smaller.

The issue is specific to Montana’s helicopters and not any other state’s aircraft of equipment, Forest Service officials previously said.

The helicopters also respond to fires on state or private lands burning in Montana, and the state refused to decrease the size of the buckets because that would reduce the aircraft’s effectiveness, DNRC officials said at the time.

Discussions between Bullock and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department the Forest Service is under, led to a federal inspection of the state’s aviation program last summer. The program was deemed safe in September, when the fire season was dying down, leaving the sides to negotiate how to broaden federal standards to allow the helicopters’ use.

“We have had six months of negotiations where we pushed them and they pushed us,” State Forester Bob Harrington told the state Environmental Quality Council on Wednesday.

Officials with the Department of Agriculture did not have immediate comment Thursday.

Original article can be found here:

Amazon Partners with Atlas Air Worldwide for Cargo Services: Agreement includes lease of 20 Boeing 767 freighters to retail giant

The latest deal, this one with Atlas Air, signals the seriousness and scope of Amazon’s intention to go big in logistics, as its fast-growing shipment needs exceed the capacity of traditional carriers such as UPS and FedEx. 
A Boeing 767 arrives at Boeing Field ferrying parcels for UPS. Amazon is venturing into same territory and will lease 20 cargo planes from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, a deal that doubles the size of the tech and retail giant’s emerging air force. will lease 20 cargo planes from Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, a deal that will double the size of the tech and retail giant’s emerging air force and could give it a sizable stake in a second air-freight company.

The move comes just a few months after Amazon struck a similar deal with Air Cargo Transport Services Group (ATSG).

The latest deal signals the seriousness and scope of Amazon’s intention to go big in logistics, as its fast-growing shipment needs exceed the capacity of traditional carriers such as UPS and FedEx.

The strengthening of its transportation capabilities is all the more urgent as Amazon bets on quasi-immediate delivery services to edge out brick-and-mortar retailers and other online competitors.

Amazon’s sales grew an eye-popping 28 percent in the first quarter, to $29.1 billion. Its shipping costs grew at an even faster clip of 42 percent to $3.3 billion.

In an earnings call last week, Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said the reason for the company’s logistic forays is to “serve our customers faster and faster delivery speeds.” Amazon doesn’t intend to replace its existing logistics partners FedEx and UPS, just to complement them, he said.

These are “great partners, have been and will continue to be for the future. But we see opportunities where we need to add additional capacity and we’re filling those voids,” Olsavsky said.

However, a senior air-cargo business executive familiar with discussions inside Amazon’s burgeoning air-cargo unit thinks its longer game may involve building a substantial domestic network that could carry not just its packages but those of others.

In particular, said the executive, who asked not to be identified because he is involved in aircraft-purchase negotiations with parties involved, said it could carry cargo for European freight carrier DHL, a global rival of FedEx and UPS and the largest customer of both ATSG and Atlas.

On an earnings conference call Thursday, Atlas CEO William Flynn said “DHL is very supportive of this transaction.”

An Amazon spokeswoman says the aircraft will be used to support one- and two-day delivery for the rapidly expanding Prime membership. The service costs $99 a year and offers shipping and other perks.

In a news release, Atlas Air said it would operate the 767-300 aircraft for Amazon. The deal also gives Amazon an option to acquire up to a fifth of Atlas’ common shares over five years at $37.50 per share. Half of those warrants were awarded to Amazon at the signing of the deal, Atlas executives said in an earnings call. The rest will be awarded when the program is fully ramped up.

Amazon would also get the right to buy an additional 10 percent of the shares over seven years at the same price if it increases its business with Atlas beyond the 20 aircraft.

The 10-year leases will begin this year and ramp up to full service in 2018. Amazon gets a nonvoting observer seat on Atlas’ board. If it chooses to convert its warrants into 10 percent ownership of the stock, it would gain the right to appoint a director, Atlas executives said. Amazon is expected to represent a big portion of the company’s earnings going forward, they said.

“We are excited to begin a strategic long-term relationship with Amazon to support the continuing expansion of its e-commerce business and to enhance its customer delivery capabilities,” CEO Flynn said in a statement. “We appreciate Amazon’s confidence in our capabilities, global scale and operating excellence.”

On the earnings call,Flynn said the air-cargo company operates 21 Boeing 767 freighters and plans to add 20 more 767-300s specifically for Amazon.

He said New York-based Atlas has already acquired a number of used commercial 767 passenger jets that it will convert to freighters and that it is well along in its quest to procure the rest of the 20 jets.

“We are buying them and then converting them,” Flynn said.

The slow conversion process could potentially prove a bottleneck, because only two facilities in the world are licensed by Boeing to do 767 conversions.

One is operated by Bedek, a unit of Israel Aerospace Industries in Tel Aviv. Boeing operates the other one, in Singapore, in partnership with aircraft-maintenance firm ST Aero.

The senior air-cargo executive said a top Atlas technical executive was in Singapore this week trying to finalize a conversion contract with Boeing.

And he said Boeing is far along in an approval process to open a second 767 conversion line, either at its maintenance joint venture with China Eastern Airlines in Shanghai or at Evergreen Aviation Technologies in Taipei, Taiwan.

Even with extra capacity, it would still be a challenge for the conversion shops to deliver 20 more 767 freighters beyond their prior commitments by the end of 2018, the executive said

Boeing had no immediate comment.

On the earnings call, Flynn said, “We feel very confident about our ability to deliver the converted aircraft to Amazon based on the schedule we’ve agreed with them.”

Amazon has built some flexibility into the deal. It’s leasing the 20 aircraft from Atlas initially for 10 years while contracting with Atlas to operate them — providing the pilots, maintenance and insurance — for just seven years, extendible to 10.

If Atlas’ operational performance were to fall short or prove expensive, Amazon after seven years could keep the aircraft but have another company operate them — or potentially form its own airline and operate the planes itself.

When completed, these 767 converted freighters cost about $300,000 to $325,000 per month to lease, according to people in the air-cargo business.

Flynn said Atlas will add pilots to fly the additional 20 jets and in the past quarter accelerated its pilot-training program in Miami to prepare for the fleet expansion.

In another possible wrinkle, the Atlas pilots, along with those at the other Amazon carrier, ATSG, are in intense labor negotiations.

The pilots at both companies are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters airline affiliate, Local 1224, and have been stalled in negotiations.

ATSG pilots have been negotiating for an amended contract for more than two years. Atlas pilots have filed for federal mediation.

Pilots at both carriers are conducting a strike vote this week, though an actual strike is unlikely to happen before further protracted negotiation.

Local 1224 President Daniel Wells, a pilot with Atlas, said both Atlas and ATSG are losing pilots through attrition because of what they think are poor contracts.

Wells said that despite the confidence expressed by Flynn, Atlas won’t find it easy to recruit more pilots.

Atlas shares jumped 27 percent for the day after news of the Amazon deal, closing at $48.66.

Original article can be found here: Inc. announced plans Thursday to double its fleet of jets for domestic package deliveries through a deal with Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. that marks its second investment this year in an air cargo airline.

Atlas Air’s shares rose 26% to $48.39 in midday trading as Amazon edged down 0.6% to $666.90.

The move, which includes the lease of 20 Boeing Co. 767 freights to Amazon, comes after the tech company made a similar agreement in March, when it said it planned to shuttle merchandise around the U.S. using as many as 20 767s from Air Transport Services Group.

News of that deal sent the Air Transport Services’ stock soaring 24% at the time.

Atlas Air Worldwide also said it granted Amazon warrants to acquire up to a 30% stake in the company at a price of $37.50 a share, after the issuance of Atlas Air’s common stock. Amazon could acquire 20% over five years and then an additional 10% over seven years.

Atlas Air said Thursday that Amazon can take a seat on its board when Amazon exercises warrants for an initial 10% sake in the air cargo operator.

Similarly, the online retailer had said in March it would work to secure warrants giving it almost 20% of Air Transport Services equity and a board seat. Those warrants were priced at $9.73 per share over five years.

The agreement with Atlas air Worldwide includes operation of 20 Boeing Co. 767 freighters for Amazon by Atlas subsidiary Atlas Air Inc. The operation of the freighters with crew, maintenance and insurance will last for seven years. Atlas Air said Amazon agreed to a so-called dry leasing by its Titan Aviation leasing unit, which have a term of 10 years. In a dry lease agreement, only the plane is given.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of world-wide operations, said the agreement would “support package delivery to the rapidly growing number of Prime members who love ultrafast delivery.”

The agreement is expected to begin in the second half of the year and continue to ramp up through 2018.

The Seattle retailer has taken steps to reduce its reliance on carriers such as United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. It has built a ground network of couriers and new warehouses near or within urban centers for faster and cheaper delivery.

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that Amazon was seeking aircraft from companies including Atlas Air and Air Transport Services.

Atlas Air, which reported better-than-expected earnings on Thursday, said the partnership with Amazon would add to its earnings and cash flows over time.

In the first quarter, Atlas said it earned $471,000, or 2 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $29.2 million, or $1.17 a share. Excluding items, Atlas Air said it earned 31 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters projected 25 cents a share.

Revenue fell to $418.6 million from $444.8 million. Analysts expected $420 million.

Original article can be found here: