Saturday, May 7, 2016

Beech G35 Bonanza, N4401D: Fatal accident occurred May 07, 2016 in Surprise, Maricopa County, Arizona

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA102
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 07, 2016 in Suprise, AZ
Aircraft: BEECH G35, registration: N4401D
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 07, 2016, about 1655 mountain standard time, a Beechcraft G35 Bonanza airplane, N4401D, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a reported loss of engine power near Surprise, Arizona. The flight instructor was fatally injured and the private pilot sustained serious injuries. The flight was being operated as a maintenance check/instructional flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Glendale Municipal Airport (GEU), Glendale, Arizona about 1630.

A witness who observed the airplane descending over a parking lot stated that the airplane appeared "low, slow, and quiet." The airplane then disappeared behind a building, and subsequently impacted a green belt in a residential area. Multiple residents close to the accident site heard the sound of impact and alerted first responders.

The flight instructor, who also held a mechanic's certificate, was asked to complete a maintenance flight after the airplane had recently been serviced. He elected to use the accident flight to provide instruction to the private pilot who requested a checkout in the airplane. 

Review of preliminary radar data indicated that the airplane made one circuit in the airport traffic pattern before departing the airport to the northeast. About 10 miles north of GEU, the airplane made a 180 degree right turn followed by a 270 degree left turn, and subsequently entered a constant descent which continued to the last radar return, located about .15 miles southeast from the accident site. 

The initial impact point (IIP) was identified by several broken tree branches on a eucalyptus tree, about 30 feet above ground level. The airplane continued intact from the IIP along a 242 degree magnetic heading for about 100 feet before impacting a large pine tree. The wings and empennage then separated from the fuselage, which came to rest inverted about 30 feet from the pine tree. All the major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

A detailed examination of the engine and airframe are pending.

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

Peoria resident Josh Merrill, shown in an undated photo, likely saved his passenger and dozens of people on the ground by his actions prior to the crash of his small plane in Surprise May 7. Merrill was killed in the incident.

GLENDALE, Ariz - It was his split-second decision-making that likely saved dozens of people on the ground as well as his passenger on board.

Joshua Merrill’s family spoke for the first time to ABC15 about the crash that claimed his life May 7.

"He soloed at 16 and got his private pilot's license at 17,’ said Al Merrill, Joshua’s father, also a long-time commercial pilot.

Al said flying was in the family's blood.

'I taught him, if he ever did, when he was flying, to always look for a place to land. You never know when something is going to happen,” said Merrill.

Joshua was a third-generation pilot. On May 7, the C-35 he was piloting lost power and crashed in a Surprise neighborhood.

He was killed, but his passenger, Michael Fox, survived.

While Joshua flew planes, he preferred to work on them. He was a mechanic by trade and enjoyed being hands-on.

His family said he was meticulous and detailed. That's just who he was.

“I'm going to miss being able to talk to him about literally anything,” his father said.

Merrill said investigators told him they are inspecting throttle components of the plane to try and piece together what happened prior to the crash.

The official caused is under investigation.

Josh Merrill was the pilot of the small plane that crashed in Surprise May 7, 2016.

SURPRISE, Ariz. - When a small plane went down in a Surprise neighborhood on Saturday, neighbors couldn’t believe it: The aircraft hadn’t crashed into a house, car or person.

But they didn’t know the pilot, 31-year-old Josh Merrill.

Merrill, tragically, was killed in the crash. His friend and passenger 32-year-old Michael Fox was the sole survivor.

“You have very few choices, and they have to be made right, and they have to be made immediately,” said Jim Tilmon, an aviation expert and CEO of the Tilmon Group.

We shared information given to us by Fox’s family about what happened in the flight’s final moments.

“Seconds, we're talking about that makes a considerable difference,” Tilmon told 12 News when asked about crash landings.

Family members told 12 News the plane lost all power and Merrill, an experienced pilot and airplane mechanic, had just 45 seconds to figure out where to make a crash landing with nothing but houses and busy streets below.

What Merrill did next, Tilmon says could only have been done by exceptionally skilled pilot.

Fox’ family says Merrill spotted the nearest greenbelt in a neighborhood near 14000 West Fire Mesa Trail and on the way down, flew the fuselage of the aircraft between two trees, severing the aircraft’s wings.

Pictures from the scene show the wings sliced off from the plane.

“That of course gives him the opportunity to dump the fuel with the wings,” said Tilmon,

This lessened the plane’s chances of exploding and causing more damage.

While Tilmon didn’t know Merrill personally, he believes without a doubt – his quick thinking actions saved his friend’s life and lives of countless others.

“I imagine he was not shouting at that passenger. He was simply saying, ‘Brace yourself, we're going in.' Sounds like that type of guy,” said Tilmon, “I don’t know him. He's my hero today.”

Fox remains in the hospital, but according a family member, he has been upgraded from critical to serious condition.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.

Story and video:

Michael Fox was seriously injured in a small plane crash in Surprise, Arizona Saturday, May 7, 2016.

SURPRISE, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) -  A Peoria resident aboard a plane that crashed in Surprise Saturday evening has died during surgery, Surprise Police Sgt. Norm Owens said.

Joshua Merrill, of Peoria, was 31 years old.  

The other person in the plane, Michael Fox, 32, of Glendale, remains in serious condition.

He has been moved into an Intensive Care Unit, where remains under close observation, Owens said 

The single-engine 1956 Beech G35 aircraft came down around 5 p.m. Saturday in the Sun Village senior citizen community. That's just south of the intersection of Litchfield and Bell roads. 

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board continue to assist the Surprise Police Department in the investigation.

In a statement, Owens said:

"The men and women of the Surprise Police Department are keeping Mr. Fox, his family, and his friends, in their thoughts and prayers. Additionally, we are continuing to pray for Mr. Fox to have a full recovery from his injuries. The Surprise Police are also keeping Mr. Merrill's family and friends in our thoughts and prayers as they go through this most difficult time of mourning."  

Original article can be found here:

SURPRISE, Ariz. -  Surprise Police say that one person was killed in Saturday's plane crash while another remains in intensive care.  They have identified the two people inside the plane.

Police say 31-year-old Joshua Merrill of Peoria was killed in the crash.  They say 32-year-old Michael Fox of Glendale was seriously hurt and is in intensive care on Sunday. 

Neighbors in the Northwest Valley were in shock on Saturday after a plane crash landed in their neighborhood earlier this evening.  Fox 10’s Danielle Miller was at the scene of the crash. 

"Everyone was just in shock, ran out, setting like this in this village it's not real," said Tom Hannon, who lives in the community . 

Tom Hannon and many of his neighbors are in disbelief tonight by what's happened in their quiet community. 

Surprise police say this single-engine plane crash landed in this green belt area of the Sun Village neighborhood near Litchfield Road and Bell Road around 5:00 pm Saturday. 

The plane came in from the east. 

“It just sounded like loud gunshots, we ran out and here it was, a plane, unbelievable," said Hannon. 

Police say the pilot and only passenger were taken to the hospital, one by ambulance and one by air.

"There's not a lot of open fields, like places to I don't know, land a plane, I guess,” said Kelly Murphy-who also lives in the community. “This is one of our biggest fields I guess we have here, other than the open strip and golf course, and I guess he could have been trying to aim for that, but this is probably one of the biggest places and best places he could have landed."  

Investigators are now on scene trying to determine what caused the plane to go down.  Police also tell us the plane luckily didn't hit any homes or people in the area.

“For him to not hit anything, I mean he hit a tree, but for him to not hit anything else that's absolutely mind blowing and to have all of this open, like wow," Murphy said. 

Original article can be found here:

SURPRISE, AZ - Two people have been hospitalized after a small plane crashed in a residential area Saturday afternoon.

Surprise police said a Beech 35 Bonanza plane crashed inside Sun Village, a planned community near N. Bell and W. Litchfield roads, around 5 p.m.

Residents praised the pilot's skill to land the aircraft in an open area, avoiding homes just a few feet away.

“You never think you’re going to have a plane land in your back yard," said Jean Steinken.

Both the pilot and sole passenger were alert when first responders arrived, said Sgt. Norm Owens with the Surprise Police Department. 

“I saw him scoot out of the plane on his fanny, and the other one was laying down," Petty said. 

The pilot and a passenger were taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. Both suffered serious injuries, according to the Surprise Fire Department.

Neighbors rushed outside their homes when they heard the impact, just steps away from where they live.

“I said, 'My Lord, what was that? The loudest boom!” said Sue Petty. 

"A lot of our snowbirds have left for the season, so we were real lucky because this park is usually real full of people out here with their animals," said Delilah Smart.

No one on the ground was hurt and no homes were hit as the plane crashed, authorities said.

“The hand of God had to help them set that plane down because you can see it’s turned upside down and it’s broken into several pieces," Petty said. 

Looking at the wreckage, she can’t help but get emotional knowing two people were inside.

“We just hope and pray that they’re both well," Petty said.

The pilot and passenger have not been identified, and authorities have not released the tail number of the plane.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Story and video:

SURPRISE, Ariz. - Police said a small blue and white single-engine plane crashed into a greenbelt area inside Sun Village, a gated community for adults 55 and older in Surprise. 

No homes were hit or damaged when the plane crashed around 5 p.m. on Saturday, according to officers. 

Sue Petty lives in the area and is stunned that no homes were hit.

“It’s bad, but I said it had to be the Hand of God that put that plane down where it did," Petty said, "because it could’ve took out no telling how many homes with people in it.”

Surprise police Sergeant Norman Owens said two people were inside the Beech 35 Bonanza plane when it exploded into the ground, between trees.

“We are very fortunate that it only collided into the trees, and we’re looking at the injuries only to the pilot and his copilot or the passenger,” Owens said.

The plane, coming from the east, authorities said, miraculously missed every home in its path. Homes filled with people living in the retirement community near Bell Road and Grand Avenue.

I came running out of a lady’s house and she didn’t hear it," Petty said. "But I thought, man, you ought to be deaf if you didn’t hear it."

Firefighters said two people were taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries -- the pilot and the only passenger. One was taken by ground, the other by air.

No traffic delays are expected in the area. 

Community members said they're praying for the crash victims' recovery.

Story and video:

The pilot and sole passenger of a small plane were taken to hospitals Saturday evening after crash landing into the greenbelt of a senior community in Surprise, a police official said.

No homes were struck and no bystanders injured when the single-engine plane went down over Sun Village, an active adult community near Litchfield and Bell roads, said Sgt. Norman Owens, a Surprise Police Department spokesman.

The plane, a Beech 35 Bonanza, crashed under unknown circumstances around 4:20 p.m., according to Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman.

Owens said the plane flew in from the east and hit the tops of some trees outside the Sun Village community before crashing in a "rather small" greenbelt next to some trees and a house. He said it was too early in the investigation to know if the pilot tried to intentionally evade structures.

The pilot and passenger were taken to area hospitals, one by ground and the other by air, Owens said. Both were listed in serious condition Saturday evening.

Trevor Williams, of Glendale, and his girlfriend were inside a nearby gift shop when they heard sirens and other commotion. They went outside to check it out and stumbled upon the crash scene.

His girlfriend, JoAnne Baum, snapped a photo of the site and posted it on twitter.

Williams said firefighters were tending to two men -- one on a stretcher and the other, who was in a neck brace and on his feet.

He said it was "amazing" that the plane crashed where it did and not into any number of nearby homes and businesses.

"I, along with my girlfriend JoAnne, we were obviously thankful," he said.

Gregor said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board would be investigating the crash.

Original article can be found here:

Stinson 108-2, N8068K, Stinson Adventure Inc: Accident occurred May 06, 2016 at Clermont County Airport (I69), Batavia, Ohio

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cincinnati, Ohio

Stinson Adventure Inc:

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA221
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 06, 2016 in Batavia, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2016
Aircraft: STINSON 108, registration: N8068K
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 of the tailwheel equipped airplane reported that during the landing touch down in gusty wind conditions, a gust of wind lifted the left wing. He further reported that he advanced the throttle to abort the landing, and the airplane drifted to the right of the runway. The main wheels touched down on the grass, and the airplane abruptly stopped and nosed over. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage and left lift strut.

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

A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located about 10 miles to the west, revealed that, about 23 minutes after the accident the wind was reported as 330 degrees true at 13 knots, and visibility 10 statute miles. The airplane was landing on runway 4.

As a safety recommendation, the pilot reported that this accident may have been prevented with more flight time in the airplane type, and that his feet may have been pushing on the toe brakes.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during landing, which resulted in a runway excursion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's incorrect brake application during the runway excursion, which resulted in a nose over.

BATAVIA TOWNSHIP, Ohio —A strong crosswind caused a pilot to lose control of a small aircraft on a Clermont County runway, causing the plane to flip, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The incident happened around 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Clermont County Airport in Batavia Township.

Officials said the pilot lost control of a 1947 Stinson 108-2 aircraft, traveled off the right side of the runway and struck a taxiway light. The plane came to rest on its top.

The pilot was the only occupant of the plane. Officials said he was not injured.

Original article can be found here:

Cape Air flights at Ogdensburg International Airport (KOGS) canceled for two months this summer for terminal, runway work

OGDENSBURG -- Expansion at the Ogdensburg International Airport will force the closure of the runway and the suspension of Cape Air flights for two months this summer.

Beginning June 27 and running through Aug. 27, the single runway will be closed to commercial operations including Cape Air flights while the terminal undergoes reconstruction and renovation.

General aircraft operations, such as those conducted by airport-based aircraft, can proceed, but pilots would be wise to keep abreast of developments.

The runway, taxiways and the terminal will completely shut down from Aug. 15 to 22 while the runway and taxiway extensions, which are under construction now, are tied in to the end of the existing runway length.

But Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade Davis is hoping that the runway tie-in can be done sooner than that, so the airport can return to near-normal operations more quickly.

“Construction is going six days a week. Everything is on track, on budget and actually ahead of schedule,” Davis said.

The other major part of the runway extension project is the rerouting of State Rt. 68 to the east to make room for the longer runway, and there, “everything is going well,” Davis said.

Marcy Excavation Services of Frankfort, the road contractor, “has been grading and the sub-base is almost ready,” he said. During the work, the OBPA has officially had possession of that part of the road, and one of the final steps will be for the state Department of Transportation “to take possession of the road from OBPA.”

On the airfield, the date that construction is due to be completely finished is Sept. 30. By then, the 5,200-foot runway will have 1,200 feet added onto the eastern end, bringing the total length to 6,400 feet in order to allow larger commercial aircraft to take off and land there. The taxiways, which parallel the runway, will also be extended to match the new runway length and will be widened. And the airport apron, where the planes pull up and park at the terminal building, will be enlarged.

The whole cost of the airport improvements, excluding the terminal and parking lot improvements, will come to $25.6 million, the majority of which comes from the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The terminal construction will get about $750,000 from the state Empire State Development agency, which Davis said will come in the form of reimbursements to OBPA “to offset the costs associated with baggage claim improvements” in the terminal.

Everything else in the terminal and parking lot projects – an estimated $6.9 million – “is OBPA expense, what OBPA will have invested in this project,” he said.

Davis said he is pleased and impressed with the speed with which the project has come together.

“Something like this would normally take 10 years,” considering the tall hurdles that have to be cleared with any DOT or FAA project. “But this will be two years, and that’s a testament to staff, our representatives in Albany and Washington all pulling together to get this done ASAP. This will be a game-changer for the regional economy.”

Original article can be found here:

Eurocopter AS 350 B2 AStar, N94TH, Temsco Helicopters Inc: Fatal accident occurred May 06, 2016 in Skagway, Alaska


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Juneau FSDO-05

NTSB Identification: ANC16FA023
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, May 06, 2016 in Skagway, AK
Aircraft: AIRBUS AS350, registration: N94TH
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On May 6, 2016, about 1855 Alaska daylight time, an Airbus AS350B2 helicopter, N94TH, collided with snow-covered terrain while en route to Skagway, Alaska, about 4 miles southeast of Skagway. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to, and operated by, Temsco Helicopters, Inc., Ketchikan, Alaska, as a day, visual flight rules (VFR) flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on-demand charter flight. Marginal visual meteorological conditions were reported on the Denver Glacier at the time of the accident, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight originated from the operator's heliport in Skagway, about 1840.

During an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on May 9, the operator reported that the pilot departed from the operator's heliport to drop off one passenger and 12 dogs at a remote dog sledding camp situated on the Denver Glacier. The pilot dropped off the single passenger and the 12 dogs and departed to return to the heliport with the dog crates onboard the helicopter. The helicopter flew towards the previously used aerial return route to the southwest, and then the helicopter turned and flew to the north. Visibility was reported for the previously used aerial return route as about 1/4 mile, and to the north of the dog sledding camp visibility was reported as about 1/2 mile. 

The helicopter was classified as overdue by the operator and a second company helicopter departed from the heliport at Skagway to check on the status of the overdue helicopter. The second helicopter aircrew discovered the overdue helicopter resting on its left side with the tailboom separated in steep mountainous terrain in close proximity to a frozen glacial lake, about 2 miles northeast of the dog sledding camp. 

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the main rotor system, the fuselage, the tailboom, and the tail rotor system. 

On May 8, the NTSB IIC, along with an additional NTSB investigator, an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration's Juneau Flight Standards District Office, and a representative from Temsco Helicopters traveled to the accident scene. The wreckage was recovered and transported to a secure facility for future examination of the airframe and engine.

The closest official weather observation station is located at the Skagway Airport (AGY), about 4 miles to the northwest of the accident site. At 1853, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, and stated in part: Wind 210 degrees (true) at 19 knots, gusting to 28 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, few clouds at 8,000 feet; temperature 53 degrees F; dew point 37 degrees F; altimeter 29.81 inHg.

AIRCRAFT:   Eurocopter (Airbus) AS350/B2 N94TH, s/n: 2548

ENGINE:     Turbo Mecca
APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

ENGINE:   4,218.6

AIRFRAME:    10,279.5

N94TH Maintenance Sheet & Component Times

OTHER EQUIPMENT:   Pop out floats.

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  Crashed into a glacier in windy conditions.

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:   Heavy impact damage to airframe. Engine ingested debris. Rotors all damaged. Tail boom damaged.

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:        Juneau, Alaska

REMARKS:    Aircraft is locked in a storage container. Must have an appointment to inspect.    

Read more here:

Chris Maggio and Becky Silvers Mull pose for a photo after dropping off supplies to Upper Dewey Lake in preparation for Kate and John Harmon’s wedding last fall. 

On May 6, Skagway lost a piece of its heart.

It was a loss felt round the valley, echoing off mountain caps with rockslides and rainbows that could only be described as resistance to the pain and celebration of a life cut too short.

Longtime Temso Helicopter Inc. pilot and beloved Skagway resident Christoper Maggio, 59, died after his helicopter crashed near Denver Glacier during a supply run return from Alaska Icefield Expedition’s’ sled dog camp. At 7 p.m., when his arrival back to Temsco’s base was overdue, management made the decision to send a helicopter to search for him. His crashed helicopter was found at 8 p.m. by a fellow Temsco pilot.

Alaska State Trooper Ryan Anderson said the cause and time of the crash remains unknown but is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board personnel.

NTSB Aviation Accident Investigator Mike Hodges said the Airbus AS350B2 helicopter impacpted the terrain under unknown circumstances, and the wreckage is in the process of being recovered. While a complete report of the crash could take up to a year and a half, he said a preliminary report will be available on their website within five to 10 days.

“We want to do a methodical and in-depth investigation of the man, the machine and environment,” he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted of the crash and sent assistance from Sitka at 8:26 p.m. Search and rescue confirmed only Maggio was on board. His body was recovered by the Skagway Fire Department and was sent to the medical examiner in Anchorage for an autopsy.

Temsco Vice President of Tours and Marketing Tim McDonnell said Maggio had worked for the company for more than 20 years. The loss of a pilot and friend has hurt the Temsco family as much as it has the community of Skagway.

“We’re just going through this thing as best as we can,” McDonnell said. “We share the mourning as well. It’s a great loss to both the community and to the company.”

News of Maggio’s death sent waves of grief throughout the valley. Facebook feeds were flooded with memories and photos, each one highlighting a kind heart, glowing smile and his love for flying.

In 1997, Maggio rescued a pilot and passenger from a Haines Airways crash that took the lives of four others.  As reported in the Juneau Empire, Maggio and Ben Tatone arrived just outside of Burro Creek in just seven minutes, sending emergency floats to the survivors. They guided rescue boats to the women who were then brought back to shore. He was quoted as saying he wished they could have done more.

He was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 with his inclusion in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database, listing him as a pilot who has exceeded the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the FAA.

Maggio had a love for antique cars, music, his family and his partner Denise Caposey.

He was a former Skagway School Board member and an active member of the Skagway Arts Council. He taught a ukulele workshop at the school for three years and was known for his musical talents.

But of all the things he was known for, he was known most for his great smile and infectious kindness.

On a personal note, I saw Maggio on Friday. As he drove past, we smiled and waved. I can’t say I knew him well, but he always had kind words for the paper and a smile to share, accompanied by a twinkling eye revealing his love and light. His death has created a well of grief for all who knew him, if only by a few passing phrases and smiles.

Grief in Skagway is similar to love in Skagway. It is strong and loud and all at once. It is all encompassing and filled with emotion. In a way, grief in Skagway is love. It is a love for the community, love for family, love for each other and love for a man who will never be forgotten.

A celebration of life will be held in Maggio’s memory today from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Temsco Helicopters on the Ore Dock. All are welcome to attend.

Last Friday, rainbows welcomed Maggio into the sky. Last Saturday, boulders fell from the mountain, crushing a considerable section of train track. The valley mourned the loss of one of its own, and Skagway did too.

A Skagway helicopter pilot if dead following a crash outside Skagway on Friday evening. The pilot was 59-year-old Christopher Maggio of Skagway. Maggio was the only person on board. 

According to an Alaska State Trooper report, the U.S. Coast Guard contacted troopers Friday evening around 8:30 to report that a helicopter had gone down near the upper portion of the Denver Glacier, six miles east of Skagway.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Sitka to locate the crash site and confirmed the pilot was deceased. Skagway Search and Rescue recovered Maggio on Saturday afternoon. Maggio’s remains will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for an autopsy. Next of kin have been notified.

This is the second Southeast helicopter crash this week.

Tim DeSpain is a public information officer for the troopers. He said Saturday that the helicopter was returning to the Skagway base from the glacier dog camp after dropping off supplies when it went down.

The National Weather Service called for cloudy, windy conditions Friday afternoon and evening. Wind gusts were estimated at around 40 miles per hour. The cause of the crash is unknown.

According to Joe Vicks, Temsco’s senior vice president, the pilot was overdue from his supply drop as of 7 p.m. Friday. He said another Temsco helicopter was launched at 7:12 p.m. from Skagway and at 8 p.m. the aircraft was located and the Coast Guard notified.  Rescue efforts were then coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard and local fire and rescue teams.

The National Transportation Safety Board has started an investigation into the cause of the crash.

Vicks stated that “Temsco will not speculate or release any details regarding the cause of the incident until authorized to do so by the NTSB.”

“The entire Temsco family is deeply saddened by this tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers go to the family and loved ones of our pilot,” Vicks said.

As the summer tourist season gears up, helicopters are busy flying gear, guides and sled dogs to summer glacier camps. An Era helicopter crashed on the Norris Glacier outside Juneau on Thursday, injuring the pilot. Both the Norris and Denver glaciers serve as seasonal basecamps for different sled dog tour companies.

Original article can be found here:

A pilot was killed when his helicopter crashed near a glacier in Skagway, the Alaska State Troopers reported late Friday.

The Coast Guard in Juneau contacted troopers to report the crash at 8:26 p.m. Friday near the upper portion of Denver Glacier, the report said.  

The pilot’s name has not been released, pending notification of family.

The recovery of the pilot's body was in progress Saturday morning, with local authorities in Skagway conducting the effort, said Tim DeSpain, a troopers spokesperson.

The helicopter belonged to TEMSCO, he said. The company offers charters and tours in Southeast Alaska.

DeSpain said the helicopter was returning from a TEMSCO dog camp on the Juneau Icefield, he said.

“I’m pretty sure he was dropping off supplies, not people,” said DeSpain, referring to the pilot.

TEMSCO could not immediately be reached. 

Original article can be found here:

ANCHORAGE – A pilot was killed after their helicopter crashed on the Denver Glacier in Skagway Friday, Alaska State Troopers report.

A spokesman from U.S.Coast Guard Sector Juneau said local flight command reported the helicopter was overdue, leading them to launch a helicopter with crew from Sitka to conduct a search. The USCG said the downed helicopter was located at roughly 10:40 p.m., and a single crew member was lowered to investigate the site.

The USCG contacted troopers about the crash after they verified the pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, was dead, an online dispatch said. The crew was unable to retrieve the pilot’s body due to conditions at the time, according to the Coast Guard, so Skagway Search and Rescue was contacted. They were dropped off at a nearby campsite by Temsco Helicopters Friday night and made plans to retrieve the body Saturday, troopers said.

The identity of the pilot is being withheld until their family can be notified.

Original article can be found here:

A Skagway pilot was killed after a helicopter crashed near Denver Glacier early Friday evening.

The pilot’s identity has yet to be released to the public.

Alaska State Trooper Ryan Anderson said the helicopter went down on its way back from TEMSCO’s dog camp located on the Juneau Icefield. Time and cause of the crash remains unknown and will fall under the National Transportation Safety Board’s jurisdiction.

According to Anderson, a second helicopter was sent looking for the first and found the crash near the Denver Glacier. The US Coast Guard was alerted and sent assistance from Sitka on Friday at 8:26 p.m.

Search and rescue was deployed and confirmed that there were no survivors and only the pilot on board.

Officials caught 'totally off guard' by Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (KIWA) director resignation

Plans to find a new leader for Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport are forming after Executive Director and CEO Jane Morris suddenly announced her resignation last week.

The regional airport's governing board — which includes officials from Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Apache Junction and the Gila River Indian Community — likely will select an interim director at a May 17 meeting, according to chairwoman and Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams.

A Republic review of board-member emails indicated Deputy Director Brian O’Neill is a probable candidate.

A formal search for a permanent director is expected to follow, though officials haven’t determined a timeline or scope for the recruitment effort, Williams said.

Morris, 56, submitted a letter of resignation April 28 after more than three years with the airport, saying she planned to focus on “time with my family and family business matters” after stepping down June 2. An airport spokesman said Morris declined to elaborate beyond her initial statement.

The notice she gave was much shorter than that of her predecessor, Lynn Kusy, who announced in September 2012 he would leave in March 2013. The national search that followed led to the selection of Morris, whose 28-year career with Phoenix had included work on aviation projects such as the PHX Sky Train and two airport master plans.

Kusy's nearly 20-year run saw the painstaking process of converting east Mesa's former Williams Air Force Base into a public airport.

Morris was charged with elevating Gateway further, positioning it to eventually serve as a reliever for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

That meant keeping existing airlines and the airport’s business community content; managing relationships with Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus and Chandler-Gilbert Community College; addressing traffic and parking challenges; and exploring and financing expansion opportunities on the fledgling airport’s east side.

“I am so very proud of the Gateway Airport Team and the accomplishments of individuals, work groups, departments and project teams,” Morris said in an email informing employees of her decision to leave. “This position has been one of the highlights of my professional career.”

Williams said Morris’ resignation caught her "totally off guard,” a sentiment echoed by other airport officials.

Although a handful of setbacks marked the beginning of Morris’ tenure — the departure of Frontier and Spirit airlines, for instance, making Allegiant Air Gateway’s only commercial carrier — Gateway continued to add destinations and draw passengers under her leadership.

In 2015, the airport served more than 1.3 million passengers, a 4 percent increase over 2014. An economic-impact study prepared by a research institute at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business found the airport supported more than 10,000 jobs.

“I think she really brought (Gateway) into this century,” Williams said. “I'm very pleased at the job she's done and sad to see her go.”

Other board members credited Morris with boosting professionalism at the airport and deftly managing a diverse and committed staff.

“It’s not that we didn’t have professionalism before, but it’s definitely gone up a couple of notches,” Gilbert Mayor and board Vice Chair John Lewis said. “There were some cases where she needed to make some changes and bring in some new team members, and she did a great job with good hires and … preparing for the future.”

Mesa Mayor John Giles, too, said “one of her legacies will be the creation of a strong organization.

“This is a critical position in our community. Gateway as a resource is one of the crown jewels of the area," Giles said.

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Arizona Department of Transportation names Pinal Airpark (KMZJ) state’s ‘Airport of the Year’

RED ROCK — For many years, Pinal Airpark was an isolated facility in the middle of the desert between Eloy and Tucson best known for the many mothballed jetliners stored there.

It served as a base for large aircraft overhauls. No public flights took place, and no one was allowed in under a long-standing lease with one tenant.

Today, efforts to revitalize the southern Pinal, county-owned facility are paying off. A new lease, grant funding and collaboration among several agencies have provided Pinal Airpark with the opportunity to reinvent itself. 

Significant work has been accomplished to improve the facility, including runway rehabilitation and adopting a master plan, all with the goal of becoming more accessible for public use. 

For these efforts, the Arizona Department of Transportation has named Pinal Airpark the 2016 Airport of the Year.

The award, presented to the airport’s director and staff at the Arizona Airports Association spring conference last week in Flagstaff, recognizes Pinal Airpark’s work to overcome challenges that include not meeting assurances required to receive Federal Aviation Administration grants because it leased an entire public airport to one tenant.

“Pinal Airpark was closed off from the public for many years, if not decades, due to an exclusive lease that put it in noncompliance with the FAA,” said Michael Klein, ADOT Aeronautics Group manager. “The county’s recent efforts to bring the airpark into compliance with FAA assurance requirements show a remarkable commitment on their part.”

The Airport of the Year award also recognizes Pinal Airpark for dramatically improving its runway and taxiway pavement from a poor condition that affected the airport’s eligibility for federal and state grant funds for capital improvements.

Over the past several years, Pinal County made the commitment to turn the airport around. In turn, ADOT’s Aeronautics Group made the commitment to support that effort.  

“It gave us a lot of life,” Pinal Airpark Director Jim Petty said. “All the elements needed for this effort fell into place after many years of not being able to address and cure the issues. It took county leadership, new ownership of the tenant company that held the lease, many hours of negotiation and the guidance of the FAA and ADOT Aeronautics.”

The airpark received approximately $2 million from ADOT Aeronautics through the State Aviation Fund and about $400,000 from Pinal County for runway rehabilitation and major pavement upgrades. Those improvements dramatically increased its pavement condition score, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rating system used by ADOT Aeronautics. The score is crucial to increasing air traffic and public use of the airport.

The airport is now in the process of re-establishing its eligibility for FAA funds, after receiving none for decades.

As general aviation increases at the once desolate airpark, it still holds on to some of its past. It continues to be a commercial aircraft storage facility that provides maintenance and repair while drawing in tourists to a boneyard for planes laid to rest, their parts repurposed.   

“One of the things I want to do is preserve as much of the airport’s past as possible,” Petty said. “I want people to learn about and appreciate this airport’s glory years, as a place where pilots were trained for World War II and the Korean conflict.”

The 83 facilities identified in ADOT’s system of airports vary in size and serve different functions. The total economic impact of this system is about $58 billion annually, according to ADOT research. ADOT works with 65 of the 83 airports throughout the federal and state grant process as part of its Airport Development Program.

ADOT’s Aeronautics Group accepts applications and nominations for the Airport of the Year. The Aeronautics Group looks at accomplishments in community relations, management, maintenance, programs and innovation.

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Food meets flight at North Kingstown Chamber event: Providence Jet Center • Quonset State Airport (KOQU), North Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island

On May 12, food lovers will have the opportunity to let their taste buds soar while they observe the jet center at a local airfield for the first time.

In conjunction with the state Airport Corporation, North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce will host its annual “A Taste of NK Chamber” from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Providence Jet Center, 150 Airport St., near Quonset State Airport.

The event kicks off the Chamber’s annual Restaurant Week, which runs from May 16-22. The rain date is May 15. Fourteen restaurants will offer food samples inside the Jet Center’s 20,000-square-foot hangar, which normally houses high-end private jets and maintenance equipment.

“We are looking forward to the community attending this event and seeing how neat the hangar is and what a great asset it is to our community,” North Kingstown Chamber Executive Director Kristin Urbach said in an interview.

It will be the first time the Jet Center is opened to the public. The state Airport Corporation opened it in 2007, next door to its former terminal along Quonset Airport’s runway.

Jet Center Airport Manager Dave Lucas said many people in North Kingstown and beyond don’t realize Quonset is a public-use airport, so this event was an an opportunity to showcase what Quonset airport offers.

Quonset Airport is the most successful of the four general aviation airports operated under the state Airport Corporation’s umbrella. According to the corporation’s 2016 Economic Impact Analysis report, Quonset generates the most income ($68.4 million), gross state product ($129.5 million), output ($151.9 million) and taxes ($2.87 million). The airport employs more than 1,000 people, 55 specific to the Jet Center, Lucas said – the rest work for the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Army National Guard.

Lucas said 30,000 flight operations occur there annually.

In addition to the main waiting area near the entrance, the terminal houses a lounge for pilots and crew and a planning room with two computer work stations for pilots to prepare for future trips.

The hangar, which the old facility did not have, can house up to eight aircraft at one time. Lucas said small high-end planes, such as the Cessna Citation and Cirrus – a popular model for private owners – could be stored at the hangar and have light maintenance performed before and after flights.

Prepping the planes with food also is a regular client request, Lucas said, and the Jet Center works with local vendors who cater such jobs.

Along with taking care of the runways and taxiways, Lucas said the Jet Center helps crews find hotel accomodations for extended stays. Lucas also hopes to work with the Chamber to begin programs to teach children about aviation.

“We also want to show what kinds of careers these kids can have in aviation,” he said. “It’s not just the pilot. There’s airport operations; there’s fixed-based operations and maintenance. Air traffic controls, military options. All of that is right here and can all be seen.”

Statue performer group TEN31 Productions, a fixture at Waterfire in Providence, will be on hand with a bronze sea captain and a butterfly to tie into the event’s theme “From land to air to sea, let your taste buds soar by sampling food from Chamber member chefs and restaurants,” Urbach said.

Participating restaurants are: Oak Hill Tavern, 565 Tower Hill Road, North Kingstown; Tate’s Italian Kitchen, 64 Brown St., Wickford; Shayna’s Place, 45 Brown St., Wickford; Seven Moons, 6900 Post Road, North Kingstown; Great Harvest Bread, 6670 Post Road, North Kingstown; Inside Scoop, 30 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown; Pier Pizza, 6667 Post Road, North Kingstown; Providence Coal Fired Pizza, 6105 Post Road, North Kingstown; The Coast Guard House, 40 Ocean Road, Narragansett; Sonoma Bistro & Wine Bar, 7366 Post Road, North Kingstown; Brewed Awakenings, 60 South County Commons Way, Wakefield; Anti Villain Ale Company, Providence; Gooseneck Vineyards of Wickford; and Exeter Job Corps, 162 Main St., Exeter.

Weather permitting, the Jet Center’s portal doors will be open during the event, with parked jets serving as a backdrop, Urbach said.

Tickets cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of the event. To purchase tickets, call 295-5566 or visit

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