Thursday, May 12, 2016

Captain Doron: Vacuum System Failure and Bonanza 440 Hotel

Beech V35B Bonanza, N440H, fatal accident occurred May 03, 2016 in Syosset, Nassau County, New York.
David C. Berube
 January 27, 1950 - May 3, 2016

David C. Berube:

FAA Flight Standards District Office:FAA Farmingdale FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA176
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, May 03, 2016 in Syosset, NY
Aircraft: BEECH V35B, registration: N440H
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 May 3, 2016, at 1542 eastern daylight time, a Beech V35B, N440H, operated by a private individual, was destroyed during an in-flight breakup and collision with terrain near Syosset, New York. The certificated airline transport pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Robertson Field (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut. The flight originated from Grand Strand Airport (CRE), North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, about 1240.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was in radio contact with ATC about 1530 and the airplane was level at 7,000 feet. At that time, the pilot reported to the controller that the airplane had experienced a failure of the vacuum system and associated gyroscopic instruments. The pilot added that the flight was currently operating in visual flight rules (VFR) on top of clouds and he planned to continue VFR to his destination airport. Subsequently, the airplane re-entered IMC and the pilot reported losing control of the airplane in addition to losing more instrument functionality. Radio and radar contact was lost with the airplane at 1542.

The wreckage impacted a populated area consisting of residences, fields and wooded terrain. A debris path extended approximately .4 miles on a magnetic course about 010 degrees. The outboard section of the right ruddervator, remaining right ruddervator, and sections of the interior overhead panel were located at the beginning of the debris path. The fuselage, outboard section of the left wing, left ruddervator and right wing were located about 400 feet further along the debris path. The inboard left wing was located about another 400 feet further and the engine and instrument panel were located at the end of the debris path.

The outboard left wing separated near the aileron/flap junction and exhibited paint transfer consistent with right ruddervator contact. The left aileron separated and fractured into two sections. The left inboard wing remained attached to the carry-through spar and the spar caps displayed deformation damage in an upward direction. The left flap remained attached to the inboard left wing section. The right wing separated near the root and approximately 8 gallons of fuel remained in the right wing. The right flap remained attached to the right wing along with an approximate 15-inch section of inboard right aileron. The right ruddervator separated and the left ruddervator remained attached to the tailcone. Measurement of the elevator trim jackscrew corresponded to an approximate 10-degree tab up (nose down) trim setting. Due to multiple separations and cabin fragmentation, flight control continuity could not be verified; however, all recovered flight control cables exhibited broomstraw separation, consistent with overstress.

The propeller separated from the engine at crankcase and the engine came to rest inverted, buried in a 3-foot crater. One propeller blade had separated from the hub while the other two propeller blades remained attached. All three propeller blades exhibited scoring and bending. The crankshaft could not be rotated due to front engine case damage; however, borescope inspection of all six cylinders did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. Both magnetos sustained impact damage and could not be tested. The top spark plugs were removed from the Nos. 1, 3, and 5 cylinders for examination, and the bottom spark plugs were removed from the Nos. 2, 4, and 6 cylinders for examination. Their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. The engine driven fuel pump remained attached and its drive coupling was intact. When the drive coupling was rotated by hand, the engine driven fuel pump shaft rotated. The fuel metering unit and manifold valve also sustained impact damage.

The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine and was retained for examination at the NTSB Materials Laboratory. A panel-mounted GPS was removed from the instrument panel and also retained for data download at the NTSB Recorders Laboratory.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land. He also held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on September 3, 2014. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 4,000 hours.

The six-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, serial number D-9464, was manufactured in 1973. It was powered by a Continental IO-520, 285-horsepower engine, equipped with a three-blade constant-speed McCauley propeller.

Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, was located about 8 miles southeast of the accident site. The recorded weather at FRG, at 1553, was: wind from 040 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 4 miles in mist; broken ceiling at 800 feet; overcast ceiling at 1,200 feet; temperature 11 degrees C; dew point 9 degrees C; altimeter 29.81 inches of mercury.

National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator Robert Gretz is investigating the Beech V35B Bonanza crash that occurred on Long Island on May 3, 2016.

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

Claims Fly at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE) Over Default, Asset Sale

Richard Storfer attorney with Rice Pugatch Robinson Storfer & Cohen in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale-based Aero Toy Store sells luxury to jetsetters, but a lawsuit playing out in Broward Circuit Court suggests it used a low-down tactic to avoid paying its mortgage.

Litigation over the aircraft dealer's mortgage on a hangar at the city-owned Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport spawned claims the company sold assets at a deep discount to avoid repaying a $10 million real estate bill.

The case morphed into two pending actions: A multimillion-dollar foreclosure battle complicated by related claims of a fraudulent asset transfer, plus a bid for a declaratory judgment to prevent redevelopment that would shut down an airport access route. The litigation pits successor lender CPC Finance II LLC against a company linked to airport property manager Sheltair.

The suit also names the city as a defendant and Free Trade Ltd., an affiliate of Sheltair's predecessor, as a nominal party.

CPC Finance claims it purchased the debt on a mortgage to Aero Toy Store, which operated out of an industrial building at the airport. Aero had a long-term lease as a fixed-base operator, or FBO, providing flight services. CPC Finance said Aero defaulted on its mortgage, then maneuvered to avoid the consequences by reportedly selling about $15 million worth of assets for $2 million to Sheltair FXE Northside LLC.

CPC contends the sale was a fraudulent transfer to dodge creditors and give Sheltair greater control of the airport's FBO business.

"Sheltair's motive is to take over the FBO, which they've done," CPC Finance attorney Richard Storfer of Rice Pugatch Robinson Storfer & Cohen in Fort Lauderdale told the Daily Business Review.

Michael Moskowitz of Moskowitz Mandell Salim & Simowitz represents Sheltair FXE. He filed an objection to CPC's plan to subpoena Aero documents, arguing the financial discovery was premature and CPC had not proven it was entitled to the information. He obtained an extension giving Sheltair until June 2 to respond to CPC's initial discovery requests and interrogatories.

Sheltair is a major developer of aviation-related properties and operates 17 FBOs. The company developed nearly 3.5 million square feet of aviation space at 12 airports in Florida, Georgia and New York, according to court documents. It's been a tenant for nearly 40 years at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, where it holds eight city leases.

As Aero's successor, it moved to take over a long-term city lease and promised the city a $25 million investment to redevelop the site, build on two neighboring parcels, attract large national tenants and create jobs with average salaries around $75,000.

CBRE Inc. sent a letter of intent to the airport manager with a cover showing Sheltair Aviation planned to create 158,000 square feet of hangar space in eight buildings, 32,000 square feet of office and retail space and a 9,500-square-foot terminal with aircraft parking aprons, taxiways and parking lots.

"Sheltair currently has tenants, such as Banyan and BurgerFi, lined up to lease space once their new hangars are constructed," according to the CBRE memo filed as a court exhibit. "Additionally BurgerFi will be relocating their corporate headquarters from North Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale."

Based on Sheltair's promise of a substantial financial outlaw, the city awarded the company a 30-year lease in November.

But CPC Finance suggests the underlying deal was a ruse and asked Broward Circuit Judge Jack Tuter to wipe out the transaction and provide declaratory and injunctive relief. The lawsuit contends Sheltair never intended to pay the mortgage or bring in major tenants.

"Aero Toy Store had a very valuable operation at the airport that Sheltair is now the beneficiary of," Storfer said. "The point is there will be a significant deficiency owed to my client, and Aero will have no means to pay it because they've sold off all their assets."

CPC Finance claims it will suffer if the redevelopment plans move forward, claiming Aero affiliate Free Trade Ltd. controls a taxiway on city land that serves as the main access to the former Aero hangar. Sheltair's proposal would close that access point, devaluing the former Aero hangar, CPC argues.

A hearing on motions from Sheltair and the city to dismiss the case is set for June 15.

Edward Dion of Nabors Giblin & Nickerson in Fort Lauderdale represents the city, and Jacob Horowitz of Goren Cherof Doody & Ezrol represents Free Trade Ltd.

Original article can be found here:

Suburban O’Hare Commission Keeps Aviation Experts On

WIth two reports on O’Hare Airport flight operations complete, Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm JDA Aviation Solutions’ contract with the Suburban O’Hare Commission (SOC) is complete.

SOC commissioners approved their intent to enter into a new contract with JDA on Tuesday.

When JDA was initially hired, its contract was for $220,000. Tuesday, SOC chairman and Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said he could not provide a firm cost of the extended contract as it was still being written. He said a new contract would likely be approved within the next two weeks.

JDA issued an extensive report last fall on flight operations at O’Hare. It made recommendations on everything from flight path trajectories to rotating runways during overnight “Fly Quiet” program hours.

Last Friday, a recommended Chicago Dept. of Aviation Fly Quiet runway rotation plan was approved by the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) and sent on to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials (see story on page 4A).

That rotation plan could be implemented as early as June if FAA officials approve, Johnson said.

Johnson said the aviation consulting firm would be kept on to monitor the new Fly Quiet runway rotation as it rolls out for two, 12-week trial periods through January. JDA would collect data from the aviation department on a regular basis through the first six months, recommend adjustments as it is implemented and issue a report evaluating the runway rotation program early next year.

JDA has been working on the runway rotation plan alongside Chicago Dept. of Aviation consultants for the last six months, Johnson said.

SOC initially hired JDA to study airport operations in early 2015. Their initial report was released late last year making 20 recommendations for changes in O’Hare flight operations. Earlier this month, JDA released a report analyzing the proposed runway rotation plan’s expected effects on O’Hare noise.

Discussing the runway rotation plan at Tuesday’s Elk Grove Village Board meeting, Johnson said runway rotation will not eliminate airport noise from O’Hare for Elk Grove residents. He said the goal was just to minimize noise.

Johnson, who has waged several political wars with Chicago officials over airport expansion plans and has been strongly critical of both Rahm Emanuel and Richard Daley administration officials, had nothing but praise for new Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans. He said he has had good lines of communication with Evans and said she has been receptive to SOC proposals in a way past aviation commissioners were not.

Original article can be found here:

Fatal accident occurred May 12, 2016 in Lincoln County, Nevada

Date: 12-MAY-16 
Time: 17:50:00Z
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: Fatal
Damage: Substantial
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Las Vegas FSDO-19
State: Nevada


The sheriff in Lincoln County, Nevada, confirmed Friday that a licensed pilot with a St. George address was killed in the desert east of Alamo, Nevada, during an experimental aircraft flight Thursday.

Kevin Walter Eaton, 58, died shortly before 10:30 a.m. local time (11:30 in St. George) while piloting a single-seat gyrocopter in the area of Delamar Dry Lake, known popularly as Texas Dry Lake because it resembles the state of Texas from the air, Sheriff Kerry Lee said.

The lake was once used as an emergency landing strip for the experimental X-15 plane during the early 1960s and is still a location where the Air Force conducts military exercises. Eaton and a resident from the Salt Lake area had hauled the gyrocopter to the area from St. George in a trailer, Lee said.

“It was for recreating purposes,” Lee said.

“(The witness) called and said his friend had crashed in a small helicopter,” Lee said. “The victim had gone up about 100 feet when the witness said he heard a ‘pop,’ and the gyrocopter came straight down to the ground.”

Lee said he notified Eaton’s wife in St. George on Thursday and had been in further contact with the family Friday morning. Eaton’s driver’s license also listed a St. George address.

An investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration arrived at the scene following the crash and a National Transportation Safety Board investigator was en route, but the federal officials called off the investigation into the cause of the crash after determining that the experimental craft didn’t have a tail number and wasn’t licensed, Lee said.

Eaton was a certified pilot, however, so the FAA asked for an autopsy. The Clark County Coroner’s Office completed the autopsy Friday morning, except for a report on whether any alcohol or other controlled substances were detected, which could take weeks to complete, Lee said.

“I imagine that’s the main thing they’ll be looking at,” he said. “Nothing else looked out of the ordinary for what you’d expect at that type of a scene. … Normally we wouldn’t do a toxicology report, but the FAA asked for it.”

Original article can be found here:

LAS VEGAS — Authorities say a pilot is dead after the crash of a small single-seat helicopter in a remote Nevada canyon about 75 miles north of Las Vegas.

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee tells The Associated Press a friend of the pilot witnessed the crash and summoned authorities about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Lee says the witness reported hearing an unusual "pop" sound before the experimental-style aircraft plunged to the ground about 12 miles east of Highway 93 off Alamo Canyon Road.

The sheriff says it appeared the pilot was from St. George, Utah. His name wasn't immediately made public.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor in Hawthorne, Calif., said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Original article can be found here:

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, N1114A, Flanagan Enterprises (Nevada) Inc: Accident occurred May 12, 2016 near Lodi Airport (1O3), San Joaquin County, California

Flanagan Enterprises (Nevada) Inc:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Oakland FSDO-27

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA107
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 12, 2016 in Acampo, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 208B, registration: N1114A
Injuries: 1 Minor, 17 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 12, 2016, about 1413 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 208B, N1114A, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Acampo, California. The airplane was registered to Flanagan Enterprises (Nevada) INC., and operated by the Parachute Center under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries and his 17 passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the skydiving flight. The local flight originated about 1 minute prior to the accident.

The pilot reported that following takeoff from runway 26, he made a right turn and continued his climb for the skydive drop, however, while passing through 1,000 feet above ground level (agl), the engine lost power. The pilot initiated a turn toward the airport, however, realized he was unable to make it, and landed in an open field. During the landing roll, the airplane exited the field, crossed a road, impacted a truck, continued into a vineyard, and nosed over.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the fuselage and left wing were structurally damaged. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Sebastian Alvarez was on board a skydiving plane that crashed Thursday in San Joaquin County.

ACAMPO, Calif. (KCRA) —One of the survivors of a skydiving plane crash on Thursday near Acampo said he was stunned that all 18 people on board were able to walk away.

"It was so unreal. It was, like, wow! Better than a movie," said Sebastian Alvarez.

Alavarez said he was seated next to the pilot, as the single engine Cessna took off from the Lodi Airport.

He said the plane's engine appeared to lose power shortly after takeoff.

"We all knew that we were going down," he said.

Alvarez watched through the windshield as the plane touched down in a hay field, rolled across a road and under some power lines, then clipped a grape vine wire in a vineyard and flipped over.

"I waited for the impact. I stopped looking and clunk, the impact. So I feel the pah-pah," he said.

As the passengers and the pilot hung upside down in their seat belts, they worried the worst might be yet to come.

"I knew that if he can put the plane in the ground, then we have the second big chance is the fire that can kill us," he said.

But there was no fire.

All the people on board were able to climb out safely.

The only reported injury was the pilot's bloody nose.

"When you get out of the plane and you see people, all of them walking and talking and alive, conscious, and then you look at the plane, it's like, 'Did this just happen?' I should be dead, or I should be burned, or I should be broken," he said.

The plane's wreckage remained in the vineyard off Jahant Road on Friday.

Passersby stopped to take pictures and marvel at the passengers' luck.

Jack Gladish said he knows the pilot, whom he identified as Greg.

He said he was amazed the pilot was able to control the plane as much as he did with only the wheel brakes to slow it.

"Since the engine failed, he didn't have reverse on his prop. The (propeller) can go backwards and stop him. He didn't have that. So he was along for the ride," Gladish said.

Ian Flanagan, president of Flanagan Enterprises, confirmed his company owns the plane but said Parachute Center skydiving school is responsible for the maintenance.

Bill Dawes, owner of the skydiving school, said he is confident the plane's service history is up to date.

"There's no issue as far as the paperwork is concerned. There's no issue as far as the airplane is concerned. The issue is why it stopped running," he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to investigate the cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here:

Dramatic video from onboard a small plane as it made an emergency landing near Lodi. 

The plane had 17 skydivers onboard, and fortunately, none were injured in the crash.

The video shows how moments after takeoff, there appears to be a problem. The plane had to make an emergency landing, ended up clipping a truck and flipped over.

See video:

Federal investigators are looking into the crash of a tightly packed skydiving plane carrying 18 people that landed upside down in an Acampo vineyard on Thursday – a review that likely will include a look at maintenance records and weight and balance calculations on the plane.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway said Friday that the operator of the airplane is responsible for removing the damaged aircraft from the field to a hanger or other location for inspection.

“The NTSB, along with other parties to the investigation, which may include the FAA and the engine manufacturer, may go to the aircraft’s ultimate re-location for examination,” said Holloway.

No date has been scheduled for NTSB inspection, but Holloway suspects it will happen next week.

“At this point it is under investigation,” said Holloway. “Once we have access to the aircraft, we will conduct the physical examination of the aircraft.”

No passengers were hurt in the crash into the vineyard near the Lodi Parachute Center in San Joaquin County. The pilot suffered a “minor injury,” according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. A skydiving center official described the injury as a bloody nose.

The crash occurred about 2 p.m. Thursday in a field just east of Highway 99 between Galt and Lodi.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said the plane was a single-engine Cessna 208. The plane experienced engine trouble right after takeoff. The pilot tried to return to the airport but clipped a vehicle on approach, spokesman Ian Gregor wrote in an email.

The FAA cannot provide details until the NTSB concludes its work and releases its findings. However, FAA officials say they and the NTSB look at whether the pilot was qualified to fly a particular aircraft, the pilot’s medical record, weather conditions, the maintenance log of the aircraft and weight and balance calculations.

The plane, a single-engine, turbo-prop Cessna 208B, typically has up to 14 seats, according to a description of the craft on the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association website and other aviation sites. FAA officials did not respond to a Bee question Friday about whether they were looking into whether the plane was overcrowded.

The crash occurred near the Lodi Airport, which has a skydiving center. William Dause, who operates the skydiving center at the airport, said he believes the plane flipped when it clipped a grapevine wire on approach.

“The wire caused it to flip on its back,” he said.

Dause said the pilot suffered a bloody nose.

The Cessna is owned by Flanagan Enterprises Inc., a company in Zephyr Cove, Nev., according to the aviation administration’s registry. The registry also shows that the company owns about 12 planes. Dause of the Lodi center said he rents the plane from Flanagan Enterprises.

A plane owned by Flanagan Enterprises and operated by a company called Skydive Salt Lake was involved in a crash that killed nine people in 2001 in Utah, according to National Transportation Safety Board records. The records indicate the group was returning from a skydiving trip. The plane crashed into water while descending over the Great Salt Lake near Lake Point.

A number of patrons of the Lodi skydiving center have died in recent years while skydiving. A skydiver fell to his death in February after his parachute malfunctioned. And in February 2009, two elite skydivers were killed when their parachutes tangled.

Read more here:

A skydiving plane carrying 17 people landed upside down in a vineyard near a parachuting center in San Joaquin County, but no passengers were hurt, emergency responders said.

The pilot suffered a “minor injury,” according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. A skydiving center official described it as a bloody nose.

The crash occurred Thursday at about 2 p.m. in a field just east of Highway 99 between Galt and Lodi. Denton Armstrong of American Medical Response, a first responder company out of Stockton, said no one was transported to hospitals.

“We made it on scene and the aircraft was upside down in a field,” he said. “It was a confirmed crash. We didn’t transport anybody. Our ambulance and fire department has left.”

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said the plane was a single-engine Cessna 208. The plane experienced engine trouble right after taking off, and the pilot tried to return to the airport but may have clipped a car on approach, spokesman Ian Gregor wrote in an email.

The crash occurred near the Lodi Airport, which has a skydiving center. William Dause, who operates the skydiving center, said the plane, however, flipped over when it clipped a grapevine wire on approach. “The wires caused it to flip on its back,” he said.

Dause said the pilot suffered a bloody nose.

The Cessna plane is owned by Flanagan Enterprises Inc, a company in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, according to the aviation administration’s registry. The registry also shows that the company owns about 12 planes. Dause of the Lodi center said he rents the plane from Flanagan Enterprises.

A plane owned by Flanagan Enterprises and operated by a company called Skydive Salt Lake was involved in a crash that killed nine people in 2001 in Utah, according to National Transportation Safety Board records. The records indicate the group was returning from a skydiving trip. The plane crashed into water while descending over the Great Salt Lake near Lake Point, Utah.

Original article can be found here:

5:00 p.m. UPDATE: The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash that happened around 2:15 p.m. on Thursday.  The pilot had reported engine trouble in the single-engine Cessna 208 shortly after takeoff, and attempted a landing. The plane landed upside down, but not before clipping a nearby truck.

“Unbelievable. I think—it’s a brand-new truck and I was more worried about hurting the truck and didn’t think really what could have happened. Scary,” said the truck’s owner Cindy Martin.

3:30 p.m. UPDATE: The pilot has suffered minor injuries, but the rest of the passengers are OK.  The plane clipped a Toyota Tacoma during its landing. None of the 17 passengers on board were injured.

ACAMPO (CBS13) – Authorities are responding to a plane crash in San Joaquin County Thursday afternoon.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office confirms the crash happened near the Skydive Lodi Parachute Center along the 4000 block of E. Jahant Road. An FAA official says a Cessna 208B with the tail number N1114A, confirmed to be a skydiving plane, was involved in the crash. The plane either made a hard landing or crashed, the official said.

Story and video:

Crews have responded to a skydiving plane that attempted an emergency landing in Acampo Thursday.  The landing was reported just after 2 p.m. 

The plane experienced engine trouble right after taking off, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman with the FAA.  The pilot tried to return to the airport in Acampo but clipped a car on approach. The plane then landed upside-down near the airport.

The plane is a Cessna 208B that had 17 passengers on board at the time of the landing, Gregor said.  None of the passengers have reported injuries, Gregor said. The pilot, however, suffered a minor injury.

Story and photo gallery:

ACAMPO (CBS13) — A skydiving plane carrying more than a dozen people crashed near Lodi, but only the pilot of the plane that landed upside down was injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration is saying just minutes after takeoff, the pilot had engine problems, turning what was supposed to be a thrilling skydiving adventure turned into a very different wild ride.

“It was loud, and like any other crash a lot of commotion,” said Kevin Conklin. “Heard the crash and looked behind me and over the top of the grapevine. Was a plane cartwheeling within 200 feet of me.”

He was at work welding when he looked up to see what was happening.

“We ran over there but the skydivers were on their feet getting each other out,” he said. “Pilot was the last one out, but he was a little bloodied, but everyone made it; pretty amazing.”

The single-engine Cessna 208 took off from Lodi Municipal Airport with 17 excited thrill seekers on board and one pilot. That pilot tried to return to the airport, but couldn’t make it. As he started to drop, the plane actually clipped the truck Cindy Martin and her husband were driving in.

“I saw a plane heading right for us. And I told my husband that planes gonna hit us,” she said. “It clipped the back end of our vehicle and then went across and flipped out in the vineyard.”

Passengers were visibly shaken, but walked off unscatherd.

Parachute center owner Bill Dause says he doesn’t know what went wrong and that his plane was well-maintained and in the sport for quite some time.

“Everyone’s fine, so I’m pleased with that, it could have been quite the tragedy,” he said. “We have no idea why it stopped running, look into quite a new airplane,a lot of upgrades on it.”

What’s even more amazing is that half of the passengers went back up in the air within 15 to 20 minutes of getting back.

Story and video:

LODI — A skydiving plane had a hard landing just after takeoff early Thursday afternoon in Lodi.

The incident was first reported by the CHP shortly after 2 p.m.

The FAA confirmed to FOX40 that there were 17 people on board at the time of the hard landing. Only the pilot suffered a minor injury.

Investigators say the plane had engine trouble shortly after takeoff and tried to turn around and land again, but it clipped a car on the approach. The plane ultimately landed upside down.

Story and photo gallery:

LODI, Calif. (KCRA) —A skydiving plane hit a truck and flipped upside down during a crash landing Thursday afternoon near the Lodi airport. 

Seventeen people were in the aircraft when it crashed near Jahant Road. No injuries were reported and nobody was taken to the hospital.

Cindy Martin said the plane clipped her husband's pickup truck during the crash landing.

"I saw a plane coming down right at us. And I told my husband, 'That plane is going to hit us,'" she said. "Sure enough, it came right at us and clipped our back end enough to just really feel a good bump, and then it went out into the vineyard and flipped over."  The California Highway Patrol and the San Joaquin Sheriff's Office are investigating.

Story, video and photo gallery:

Allegiant buys more Airbus 319 aircraft: Airline moving toward standardized fleet

Allegiant Travel Co., corporate parent of Allegiant Air, is taking another step toward its long-term transition to an all Airbus fleet.

The Las Vegas-based company on Thursday said it has signed an agreement to acquire four additional Airbus A319 aircraft from low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific of the Philippines. Allegiant said the aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2017 and 2018.

“By the end of 2016, Allegiant will be a majority Airbus carrier, as measured by available seat miles,” said Jude Bricker, Allegiant Travel chief operating officer, in a news release.

Allegiant serves The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids with direct flights to Las Vegas, Orlando Sanford, Phoenix-Mesa, St. Petersburg/Tampa and Punta Gorda/Fort Myers. The airline also offers seasonal nonstop service to Los Angeles.

Allegiant will have 33 Airbus aircraft in its fleet by the end of this year, consisting of 16 Airbus A320s and 17 Airbus A319s. The company said it anticipates making additional purchases of Airbus aircraft when there are opportunities.

Allegiant will have a total of 85 aircraft in service at the end of the current year. The company has been flying a mixture of aircraft, including McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and Boeing 757s.

Original article can be found here:

Flight students experience ‘ultimate freedom’ in the sky

Flight instructor Dale Klevgard, left, and student pilot Brad Honish explain the process for pre-flight inspection of a Cessna 172 near the runway at Black River Area Airport.

Brad Honish of Warrens is working to get his private pilot’s license. He was up in the air Saturday with flight instructor Dale Klevgard as he gets closer to marking the feat of flying solo for the first time.

When Dale Klevgard gets into an airplane, he appreciates what the trip represents.

It’s not simply getting from point A to point B – it’s also about how the world is limitless from the air.

“I think ultimate freedom is the way to describe it, because now you have the ability to escape the planet, basically. It’s like when you get off the ground, all your cares disappear,” said Klevgard, a Jackson County resident and flight instructor. “You have the capability of getting in an airplane and flying any place in the county, almost any place in the world, almost without any restrictions whatsoever.

“It just opens up a whole new world, if you will, of possibilities.”

Klevgard got his first experience with the wonder of flying when he was a youngster taking a trip to Germany in 1960 with his family to visit his father who was in the Army. The family went from Chicago to the east coast and flew over the ocean before landing in Europe.

But it was what happened on the flight and the one back that sealed Klevgard’s future in flying.

A flight attendant came back and took Klevgard and his sister to the cockpit of the four-engine aircraft. They came back on a Boeing 747, one of the first jets that were flying, and also got a tour of the cockpit and received a pair of junior pilot wings and a model airplane after they got off the flight.

“I think it was probably just the way we were treated that really piqued my interest in flying,” said Klevgard, who got his pilot’s license in 1978 and was certified as an instructor in 1980. “I’ve had it ever since.”

Klevgard has a little more than 8,000 hours of flying experience, over half of which is as an instructor. He’s mentored more than 125 students during his time living out west and back in Wisconsin, including three Western Wisconsin men who currently are learning about flying and aircraft.

Derek Ahl of Jackson County already has hit a milestone in his flying study by completing a solo flight in late April. Two others – Brad Honish of Warrens and Jeff Casper of Merrillan – are quickly on their way to marking the same feat and going on to get their private pilot licenses.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to fly,” said Honish, a 2005 Tomah High School graduate. “I thought it would end up being a retirement thing, but then my wife got me flying lessons for Christmas.”

The three men venture to Black River Area Airport just outside Black River Falls to conduct their training with Klevgard, where he also serves as assistant director of the airport. Many new students are eager but must face some fear and anxiety as they try flying for the first time.

“I think for some people, it’s probably overcoming the unknowns,” said Klevgard, who was named a regional flight instructor of the year while living out west. “I think, for me, it was probably that I had read so much and I knew so much about airplanes that it was finally moving the controls.

“It’s always been a challenge. Anyone who wants to learn to fly, I want to be able to share that with them. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”

First tasks before heading into an airplane with an instructor involve a complete and thorough inspection of the airplane and first lessons deal with basic airplane control, learning to fly straight and level, inclines and descent.

From there, more advanced lessons include turning around points, steeper turns and stall recoveries – what to do when plans don’t go quite right and their associated emergency procedures.

Flight instruction sometimes can involve the surprise of an instructor, like Klevgard, turning off engine power to give the student the opportunity to show their knowledge of how to handle the situation.

It only comes when Klevgard is confident in his students, he said.

“You’ve got to know your stuff,” Casper said. “He wouldn’t do it if he knew you couldn’t recover.”

Before cross-country flying training comes takeoffs, landings and eventually hitting the point of controlling the plane alone – an exciting milestone.

“It’s not difficult at all – almost any person could learn to fly an airplane,” Klevgard said. “I’ve taught students from as early as 14 to as old as 79 years old.

“For a lot of people, too, they just have never completed the training, and it’s still in that bucket list and they can go on and achieve that in the later stages of life.”

Honish and Klevgard were out at the airport Saturday morning getting flying hours in, and the two took their positions in the front seats of the 1976 Cessna 172, where both have controls and go through the required checks together before getting off the ground.

“Alright, we’ll go and do a run-up,” Honish said as the plane sat off to the side of the runway. Then, he broadcasts to other pilots to let them know he’ll be taking to the air, and over to the runway.

“I’m gonna make my radio call here, and we can take off,” he said. “Alright, here we go.”

Then, in the air.

“Let’s go up to 2,500 feet,” Klevgard said. “Now, it’s getting a little bumpy.”

The pair went to their usual training spot above Alma Center and Hixton to conduct some turns and other technique training before heading back toward the airport and runway to make a landing.

There was another radio call to let any air traffic know their location, and then some discussion about the approach.

“We’ll probably come right into the crosswind,” Honish said.

Honish made the descent, landed smoothly and taxied the plane back over to the side of the runway before making post-flight checks.

He’ll soon be completing his first solo flight – hopefully this coming weekend, Klevgard said. Then will come the cross-country testing stages for at least a minimum of 40 hours of flying to get the private pilot’s license.

Then, like Klevgard, he’ll be able to take a plane instead of a vehicle for trips if he chooses and experience travel from the sky.

“Trips that seem a long way, you can take an airplane and you get there a lot faster,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

“I’m just excited to go flying.”

Original article can be found here:

The eye of the storm: Building a new plane to take on Airbus would be a huge risk for Boeing

Boeing's factory at Everett, near Seattle, is the largest building in the world, as befits the world’s biggest planemaker. From within its cavernous halls a new passenger jet emerges every working day. After an empty fuselage enters at one end of the factory, it can take as little as a month for some models to emerge as a working aircraft at the other end. Still, Boeing’s lead in the field of commercial airliners, which looked almost unassailable a decade ago, is under threat from Airbus.

Since 2012 the European firm has won more orders than Boeing, and may eventually outpace it in annual deliveries. For Boeing, which celebrates its centenary this year, staying ahead of a competitor which has been in business for less than half that time is a matter of pride as much as it is a commercial imperative.

One option under consideration at Boeing is to build a new plane for the “middle of the market”, to replace its ageing 757. An aircraft that would carry between 220 and 280 passengers on routes up to 5,000 miles would plug a gap in its fleet, between short-haul narrow-body jets and wide-bodied planes for long-haul travel. But Boeing should be wary of the risks involved. Airbus has outclimbed its American counterpart largely because Boeing made such a mess of developing another new plane, the 787 Dreamliner, a long-haul jet that entered service in 2011.

The Dreamliner program, announced in 2003, was supposed to cost $6 billion and see the plane take to the air in 2008. The final bill was closer to $32 billion; and the 787 arrived three years late, the result of a combination of technical failures and supply-chain snafus. With engineers, designers and other resources diverted into getting the Dreamliner aloft, plans for the rest of its fleet were delayed.

That gave Airbus an opportunity to take a lead in narrow-bodied jets. Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’s A320 family of planes typically carry 120-200 passengers on shorter hops of up to 3,000 miles. These planes are the biggest sellers at both firms. Two-thirds of the planes delivered by Boeing last year and nearly four-fifths of Airbus’s were narrow-bodies.

In 2010 Airbus took Boeing by surprise with the announcement that it would update its A320 with new engines and tweaks to its design, making it 20% more fuel-efficient than previous models. Preoccupied with the 787, Boeing was slow to respond with its own revamp, the 737MAX. Airbus now has 5,479 orders for its family of A320neo planes, the first of which entered service this year. Boeing has just over 3,000 orders for its new plane, the 737MAX, which is not destined for first delivery until next year.

Boeing’s troubles with the 787 also helped Airbus in the market for wide-bodied jets. Boeing remains ahead of Airbus, with 1,357 orders for its fleet compared with 1,267 for Airbus’s range. Although the pair sell far fewer of them, wide-bodied planes bring handsome rewards. Some 80% of Boeing’s revenues came from wide-bodies in 2014, though they account for just a third of production by number of planes. The delays and cost overruns of the Dreamliner programme mean that, although it is selling well, it is not profitable and a write-down is likely. There have been knock-on effects: a new variant of Boeing’s 777, the 777X, is not due until 2020, giving Airbus’s A350 time to win orders.

Analysts think Boeing’s engineers have enough to do until 2020 revamping the 737 and 777 successfully, without other distractions, says Jason Gursky of Citi, a bank. And the damage inflicted by the 787 will make Boeing think twice about designing a new plane to sit between its long- and short-haul models. Airbus’s experience with the A380 superjumbo, developed at huge expense but not yet with enough orders to justify its existence, offers another warning. It is also unclear that the market will be big enough to justify a new plane: some airlines are already ordering long-range versions of Airbus’s A321neo or smaller versions of the A330 to plug the gap. (Putting a new engine on the plane, a much less risky option, is impossible with the 757, because the airframe is too old to accommodate new fuel-efficient engines.)

Cutting aside

Other routes to boosting Boeing’s market share lie open. Cost reduction is one. Airbus out-competes Boeing by using a fifth fewer employees to build each plane. So Boeing is slimming. In March the firm said it would cut the workforce in its commercial-jet division by 10%—a loss of 8,000 jobs—and investors are demanding more. Machines are replacing manpower: robots rather than humans now rivet together and seal the wings for the 737 and 777.

Changing working practices will improve productivity too, says Walter Odisho, Boeing’s vice-president for manufacturing. Moving production lines of the sort seen in car factories are being rolled out by the planemaker in Seattle. And to save time workers spend walking round the factory floor, employees are being given hand-held computers and automated trollies, so they can communicate with their managers and get the tools they need without stepping off the production line.

The planemaker says that it is unlikely for several years to take a firm decision on whether to proceed with a new plane. But Boeing has two overriding instincts: developing new planes and beating Airbus. It will need to resist the first for a while in order to do the second.

Original article can be found here:

Judge orders Chicago to allow Southwest pilots billboard at Midway

Southwest Airlines pilots who want to air their grievances over stagnant wages on a billboard at Midway Airport may do so, a federal judge ruled Saturday. 

The Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association recently filed a lawsuit against the city of Chicago saying officials' refusal to allow a billboard at Midway in advance of the airline's May 18 shareholders meeting in Chicago was an unconstitutional restriction on their First Amendment rights.

While the city says its decision to ban the billboard was based on guidelines enacted last summer that preclude the display of "all political and public issue advertising" at O'Hare and Midway airports, the pilots union said it was told the ad was banned because the city found it "offensive" and worried that airline officials would disapprove.

The pilots' lawsuit sought a temporary restraining order to allow the pilots to display the ad. On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ordered the city to allow the ad to be displayed.

In her ruling, Kendall said she would entertain a stay of the order for 12 hours if the city wanted to appeal. A city spokesman said he could not provide comment.

The billboard depicts a uniformed pilot holding a sign that reads "Shareholder returns: $3.1 billion; Pilot raises: $0" beside a legend welcoming Southwest shareholders to Chicago. The ad was rejected twice by the Chicago Department of Aviation, once in a subtly modified version, according to the suit.

In arguing against the union, lawyers for the city said they consistently enforced the ban on political advertising over the last year.

The guidelines were enacted after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in 2014 bought billboard space at O'Hare International Airport to protest Air France's treatment of monkeys. They are designed to avoid any advertising "that is offensive or controversial," to "maximize revenue for supporting airport operations," and to avoid the implication that the city or the Chicago Department of Aviation "endorses (any) … message displayed," lawyers for the city wrote in a response to the lawsuit.

"Contrary to SWAPA's assertions, its proposed advertisement advocating for raises for its member pilots was not rejected by the Chicago Department of Aviation because of disagreement with SWAPA's viewpoint," according to the city's response.

The pilots say they have not had an "acceptable" contract since 2012 and have not had a raise since 2011. They are in federal mediation with the airline's management. They plan to protest at the shareholders meeting Wednesday.

CHICAGO (CN) — Chicago's refusal to run an ad in Midway Airport that "respectfully" shows Southwest shareholders earned $3 billion while pilots received no raises violates the First Amendment, the Southwest pilots' union claims.

Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association (SWAPA), the airlines' pilot union, says the City of Chicago violated its First Amendment rights by blocking its proposed advertisement from running in Midway International Airport ahead of the May 18, 2016, meeting of Southwest shareholders in Chicago.

The advertisement states, "The Pilots of SWAPA welcome our shareholders to Chicago," and shows a pilot holding a sign showing that shareholders returns were $3.1 billion, while pilots received $0 in raises.

"As is apparent, the ad thus respectfully welcomed Southwest's shareholders to Chicago for their annual meeting, but suggested that, given Southwest's over $3.1 billion in shareholder returns, the airline's pilots should be given a raise," according to a lawsuit SWAPA filed Tuesday in Northern Illinois Federal Court.

Chicago's Midway Airport is a regional hub for Southwest Airlines.

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) rejected the ad, allegedly claiming it is "disparaging" of Southwest, a characterization the pilots' union vigorously denies.

"In rejecting the ad, the CDA admitted that one of the key reasons that it would not allow such speech was that Southwest might find it objectionable," the complaint states. "That sort of viewpoint discrimination based on the content of SWAPA's speech is not a valid reason to restrict speech in any forum, much less a designated public forum like the ad-space at issue here, which has historically been open to wide-ranging speech on a number of issues including public issue and political speech." (Emphasis in original.)

The pilots' union claims it is unconstitutional for the CDA, a department of the City of Chicago, to reject the ad because it expresses the political opinion of a trade union.

"Southwest previously let SWAPA itself run advertisements when it painted Southwest Airlines in a positive light," the lawsuit states. "The restrictions regarding 'political,' 'public issue,' and 'disparaging' advertisements in the CDA's written guidelines are unconstitutionally vague, particularly in light of its actual practice."

The union is represented by Stephen A. Yokich with Dowd, Bloch, Bennett, Cervone, Auerbach & Yokich in Chicago, and also by James M. Wagstaffe with Kerr & Wagstaffe in San Francisco.

CDA Deputy Commissioner of Communications Owen Kilmer said in an emailed statement that the agency properly rejected the pilots' proposed ad.

"Ads that are political, concern a public issue or are disparaging, are not permitted," Kilmer said.

The CDA told the union that it may apply for a permit to allow members to distribute literature or demonstrate in designated areas, according to Kilmer, but the union declined to apply.

Southwest spokesperson Chris Mainz said the company has no comment on the lawsuit.  

Original article can be found here: