Sunday, May 22, 2016

University of Mississippi Medical Center unveils Columbus-based helicopter

Jay Langford shows his daughter, River Langford, 3, the pilot's seat in AirCare 3, a helicopter that the University of Mississippi Medical Center is basing in Lowndes County. The helicopter was unveiled at Airbus on Thursday.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center on Thursday unveiled its newest transport helicopter -- AirCare 3 -- at Airbus Helicopters in Columbus. 

AirCare 3, which was built by Airbus, began operations out of the Golden Triangle on April 1. It is UMMC's third transport helicopter. 

The helicopter does not just transport patients to UMMC in Jackson, said Sam Marshall, operations manager for helicopter transport at both the Meridian base and the new base in Columbus. It it designed to provide critical care for patients in rural areas of the state, only transporting those patients to Jackson if necessary. 

Not every rural hospital can afford to have the newest drugs or equipment that doesn't need to be used often, Marshall said. AirCare 3 has equipment and drugs that many hospitals don't so patients can get care even when they're miles from Jackson's medical center, according to Marshall. 

"Everything that our emergency center ... can do, our guys can do," he said. 

Those "guys" include crews with a critical care nurse and a critical care paramedic, as well as medical professionals with 90 days of training specifically for performing procedures and administering drugs to patients while in the back of a helicopter, Marshall said.  

Marshall added that keeping the patient in the area is a primary goal and that the helicopters will not take patients to UMMC if there's a better medical option closer to home.  

"If we can keep the patient in this area, that's exactly what we're going to do," he said. 

Since it began operating in the Golden Triangle in April, AirCare 3 has been used at least 40 times. 

At the unveiling, several people cut the ribbon for the helicopter, including 11-year-old Abby Williams of Mathiston. Last November, Abby had a brain tumor removed at UMMC. The next month she was transported back to UMMC via the helicopter based in Meridian when she began having seizures which doctors now think were a side effect of the surgery. 

Abby's mother, Melinda Williams, spoke at the new helicopter's unveiling. She praised the helicopter for being able to fly in bad weather and the crew for helping her daughter. 

"The crew is amazing," she said. "Not only are they knowledgeable and take care of the patients, but they take care of the families, too."

Original article can be found here:

Czech SportCruiser, Santa Monica Flyers Inc., N1111X: Accident occurred May 22, 2016 at Santa Monica Municipal Airport (KSMO), Los Angeles County, California


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA El Segundo (Los Angeles) FSDO-23

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA115
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 22, 2016 in Santa Monica, CA
Injuries: 1 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 have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 22, 2016, at 1332 Pacific daylight time, a Czech Aircraft Works SPOL SRO, Sportcruiser, N1111X, departed the runway after a loss of engine power during takeoff from Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Santa Monica, California. The light-sport airplane was registered to, and operated by, Santa Monica Flyers, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The student pilot was not injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local flight departed Santa Monica at 1330. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The student pilot had just completed two uneventful takeoffs and landings while remaining within the traffic pattern. As he approached the hold short line for runway 21 in preparation for his third takeoff, an airplane in the traffic pattern declared an emergency, and tower controllers temporarily suspended all takeoffs. The pilot remained in the airplane with the engine still running at idle. While waiting, he monitored the engine's cylinder head temperatures and intermittently increased the engine speed to keep the engine cool.

After holding short for 20 minutes the student pilot was given a takeoff clearance. The takeoff roll and initial climb were uneventful, however, once the airplane reached an altitude of about 500 ft agl, the engine began to lose power, and the airplane began descending. The pilot stated that he did not have sufficient altitude to perform trouble shooting steps, and immediately rolled the airplane into an 180-degree right turn for a landing back on runway 3. The airplane became realigned with the runway centerline about midfield, and after touchdown the pilot applied full brake pressure, but was unable to slow the airplane down sufficiently. The airplane passed through northeast run-up area taxiway, and departed the elevated section of the runway, dropping down onto the airport perimeter road 10 ft below.

Both the nose and main landing gear struck the curb, and the airplane came to rest on a grassy knoll within the airport perimeter, about 180 ft beyond the threshold of runway 21. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall and lower fuselage structure during the accident sequence, and both wings, along with their integral fuel tanks, were intact and undamaged.

At 1:34 PM Santa Monica Fire Department was notified of a single engine private aircraft crash, at the east end of the Santa Monica Airport Runway.

4 Engines, a Ladder Truck, a Hazardous Materials Unit, and a Chief Officer responded. The first arriving unit found the aircraft of the end of the runway, fairly intact, with no ensuing fire.

The pilot was out, and uninjured. Santa Monica Fire Units remained on scene, along with Santa Monica Police, awaiting an NTSA representative, to investigate the cause of the crash. --Dale Hillock, Public Affairs Officer, Santa Monica Fire Department.

Santa Monica airport is controversial. Many neighbors who want to shut down the century old airfield, complain that in case of such events, the runway is just too close to housing.

It has been said that no U.S. airport is as close to housing as Santa Monica airport. Historically, dense housing was constructed near the airport hurriedly in the 1940's, to house wartime employees of Douglas Aircraft.

After World War II ended, Douglas continued to produce DC-3's and DC-10's at Santa Monica's Cloverfield, until the company merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1970. Santa Monica's largest employer folded shop and moved to St. Louis, leaving high density housing right next to the 227 acre airport.

Small plane aviation periodically produces crashes. Noise and crashes equal a local political movement to permanently close the airport, and turn it into a park.

Original article can be found here:

Spirit Airlines Passenger Cited For Assault: Denver International Airport (KDEN), Colorado

DENVER (CBS4)– A Spirit Airlines passenger was cited after allegedly striking a crew member while boarding a flight at Denver International Airport on Sunday afternoon.

The man was cited by Denver police for disturbing the peace and assault.

The man boarded a Spirit Airlines flight with a child in a car seat. Police told CBS4 when directed toward the seat compatible with the child seat, he refused to move, started shouting and would not get off the plane.

That’s when he allegedly struck a crew member in the back.

Officers responded and the man walked off the plane with the child. He was not detained but cited for his behavior.

Spirit Airlines did not issue the man another ticket and the plane departed DIA without him.

The man has not been identified.

Original article can be found here:

STOL CH750, N925PS: Accident occurred May 22, 2016 at Lawrenceburg-Lawrence County Airport (2M2), Tennessee

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Lawrenceburg, TN
Accident Number: ERA16LA191
Date & Time: 05/22/2016, 1330 CDT
Registration: N925PS
Aircraft: SIKES Zenith CH750 STOL
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 22, 2016, about 1330 central daylight time, a Sikes Zenith CH-750 STOL, N925PS, was destroyed during collision with trees and terrain after takeoff from Lawrence County Airport (2M2), Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The sport pilot and passenger were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

In an interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, the pilot reported that it was the airplane's first test flight. He stated that after liftoff, he applied right rudder to maintain runway heading, but the airplane continued to the left. As he applied more right rudder, the severity of the turn increased. The airplane departed the left side of the runway and airport property, and struck trees and terrain before it came to rest.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He did not possess an FAA medical certificate, nor was he required to. The pilot reported 40 total hours of flight experience, which he accrued while training for his pilot certificate. A review of his pilot logbook by the FAA inspector revealed that the pilot had not flown in the nearly 12 months prior to the accident flight.

The pilot held no other FAA certificates. Specifically, he did not hold a repairman certificate for the accident airplane.

The two-seat, single-engine, high-wing airplane was manufactured in 2016 and was equipped with a Continental O-200 series engine. Examination of maintenance logbooks for the airplane revealed only two entries; the condition inspection signed by the pilot and an airworthiness inspection signed by an FAA designated airworthiness representative. The airplane's most recent condition inspection was completed March 16, 2016. The hobbs meter displayed 4.1 total aircraft hours at the accident site.

There were no other articles or documents offered or found with regard to the construction of the airplane. There was no construction plan/log, no manufacturer's flight testing instructions or flight testing data, and no flight test plan. There was no additional pilot program for the testing of the airplane. There was no weight and balance data and neither was there taxi-testing data. No operator's checklist was found in the wreckage.

Examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector revealed that the rudder control cables had been rigged backward.

Aircraft History

FAA inspectors conducted lengthy, detailed interviews with the pilot/owner, his colleagues, and mechanics who had performed work on the airplane during its construction, who learned that the airplane was purchased partially assembled from its original owner.

Approximately 13 months prior to the accident flight, a maintenance facility had performed a considerable amount of construction and modification on the airplane, including "installation" of the rudder. After that, the pilot/owner decided that the work performed did not meet his liking or the kit specifications, and undid or modified the work performed by the maintenance facility. It could not be determined who performed the most recent work on the rudder and rudder control system prior to the accident flight.


This AC's purpose was the following:

"(1) To make amateur-built/ultralight aircraft pilots aware that test flying an aircraft is a critical undertaking, which should be approached with thorough planning, skill, and common sense."

"(2) To provide recommendations and suggestions that can be combined with other sources on test flying (e.g., the aircraft plan/kit manufacturer's flight testing instructions, other flight testing data). This will assist the amateur/ultralight owner to develop a detailed flight test plan, tailored for their aircraft and resources."

The advisory circular provided guidance on preparing a plan for each phase of the amateur-built airplane's production. The areas for which guidance was provided included preparing for the airworthiness inspection, weight and balance, taxi test, flight testing, and emergency procedures. The suggested flight testing regimen was separated into 10-hour segments for the 40-plus hour flight testing requirement.

Suggested guidelines for the experience level of the test pilot for the recently-completed amateur-built airplane were also provided. Among the guidelines, was the following:

"A minimum of 50 recent takeoffs and landings in a conventional (tail wheel aircraft) if the aircraft to be tested is a tail dragger."

"If appropriate, have logged a minimum of 10 tail wheel take-off and landings within the past 30 days."

According to FAA Order 8130.2H, Airworthiness Certification of Products and Articles,

"An experimental aircraft builder certificated as a repairman for this aircraft under 65.104, or an appropriately rated FAA-certificated mechanic, may perform the condition inspection required by these operating limitations." 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification:  Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 40 hours (Total, all aircraft), 4 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: SIKES
Registration: N925PS
Model/Series: Zenith CH750 STOL
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 75-8805
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/16/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4.1 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Conintental
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-200
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMRC, 681 ft msl
Observation Time: 1315 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 11°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 6°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 40°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lawrenceburg, TN (2M2)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lawrenceburg, TN (2M2)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1330 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 936 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5003 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.234444, -87.258056 (est)

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA191
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 22, 2016 in Lawrenceburg, TN
Aircraft: SIKES Zenith CH750 STOL, registration: N925PS
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 22, 2016, about 1330 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Zenith CH-750 STOL, N925PS, was destroyed during collision with trees and terrain after takeoff from Lawrence County Airport (2M2), Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The sport pilot/owner/builder and a passenger were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91.

In an interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, the pilot reported this was the first flight for the airplane. He stated that after liftoff, he applied right rudder to maintain runway heading, but the airplane continued to the left. As he applied more right rudder, the severity of the turn increased. The airplane departed the left side of the runway, the airport property, and struck trees and terrain before it came to rest.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a sport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He did not possess an FAA medical certificate. The pilot reported 40 total hours of flight experience, which he accrued while training for his pilot certificate.

The two-seat, single-engine, high-wing airplane was manufactured in 2016 and was equipped with a Continental O-200 series engine. The maintenance logbooks for the airplane were not immediately available, but the airplane's most recent condition inspection was completed March 16, 2016. The hobbs meter displayed 4.1 total aircraft hours at the accident site.

Examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector revealed that the rudder was 180-degrees out of rig. A right-pedal application resulted in a left-rudder input and vice-versa.


A single-engine plane crashed just feet away from the Lawrenceburg-Lawrence County Airport, sending two people to the hospital.

Sunday was the first day in a year of working on the plane that it was finally going to take off.

Unfortunately, something went terribly wrong, and the plane crashed just feet from the runway.

James Fleeman, who has been flying for more than 50 years, was there along with several others watching at the airport.

"We don't know what happened," Fleeman said.

The pilot, Phil Sikes, and his friend were testing out the new plane.

Fleeman said the plane appeared to be about 50 feet up in the air before it came crashing down into a field just outside the barbwire fencing surrounding the airport.

"We got a boat cutter, cut the fence, and one of the pieces flew right into my nose. I was bleeding," he said.

Fleeman said Sikes was stuck in the plane while his passenger was walking around.

"I think he's gonna be all right," Fleeman said.

The FAA and the NTSB will be investigating the cause of the crash.

Story and video:

A small aircraft has crashed after takeoff from the Lawrenceburg-Lawrence County Airport.

The incident happened when the plane crashed into a field upon departure around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities with the Federal Aviation Administration said the STOL CH750 aircraft had two people on board.

Their identities had not been released. No word had been given on any possible injuries.

The crash was being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Original article can be found here:

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. - A small aircraft has crashed after takeoff from the Lawrenceburg-Lawrence County Airport.

The incident happened when the plane crashed into a field upon departure around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities with the Federal Aviation Administration said the STOL CH750  aircraft had two people on board.

Their identities had not been released. No word had been given on any possible injuries.

The crash was being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.  

Original article can be found here:

Businesses prepare for wave of travelers from daily Chicago flights: Director of Aviation says flights to and from Chicago will put the Mahoning Valley back on the map

VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna has finally received federal approval for daily flights from Youngstown to Chicago.

The approval came in a letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday. Aerodynamics Incorporated (ADI) will begin offering the flights to Chicago O’Hare on July 1.

Director of Aviation Dan Dickten says flights to and from Chicago will put the Mahoning Valley back on the map.

“It puts our community back in touch with the rest of the world.”

Not only will there be more travel options without having to drive to the Pittsburgh or Cleveland airports, but the flights will also help the local economy.

Dickten says over the past few years, Allegiant flights only traveled to a few vacation spots. With flights to Chicago, people from all over the world will be able to travel to the Youngstown area to visit or for business.

“It brings people into our own community where they’re spending their dollars here instead of spending them on vacation down in Florida. It will help our economic well-being quite a bit.”

Local businesses have already been preparing for the influx of travelers. Several hotels are popping up near the Eastwood Mall complex in Niles, just 15 minutes away from the airport.

Cafaro Company’s Joe Bell says the hotels are for accommodating more visitors.

“Folks in the hotel industry have already been saying there’s a need for additional rooms for business travelers, and we have determined there’s a need for meeting space for business travelers. Hence, we’re in the process of developing the Eastwood Event Center.”

He also says local businesses are working together to make the area more visitor-friendly.

“There’s been discussions with a local golf club owner who wants to run a shuttle service between the golf clubs and Eastwood Mall where business travelers could stop and get a meal or do some shopping if they need to.”

Flight tickets will be on sale starting next week on ADI’s website.

Original article can be found here:

Incident occurred May 22, 2016 at Wilmington International Airport (KILM), New Hanover County, North Carolina

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - There was an emergency landing at Wilmington International Airport around 4 p.m. Sunday. 

A woman reportedly went into cardiac arrest on board, according to Deputy Director Gary Broughton.

She was conscious and talking as EMS took her off the plane.

She was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

The plane was a Boeing 767-300 aircraft with LAN Airlines from Ecuador.

Flight LNE538 departed from Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport headed towards John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.

Original article can be found here:

WILMINGTON — A plane en route to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York made an emergency landing at Wilmington International Airport just before 4 p.m. Sunday.

The LAN Airlines plane traveling from Ecuador was diverted to ILM after a 90-year-old female passenger reportedly suffered from a possible cardiac arrest, Gary Broughton, the deputy director of ILM, said.

Broughton said the woman was talking with emergency medical services as they got her off the aircraft, and she had been transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Original article can be found here:

Investigators Find Pilot Chute Hole in Deadly Perrine Bridge BASE Jump

TWIN FALLS • A Canadian woman who died BASE jumping off the Perrine Bridge last week packed her own parachute prior to the fatal jump, and investigators discovered a hole in her pilot chute and a broken zipper on her harness.

Kristin Renee Czyz, 34, of Calgary died May 13 when her parachute failed to open on her fifth jump of the day. Witnesses in boats near the bridge pulled Czyz from the Snake River, started CPR and called 911. They met emergency responders at the docks at Centennial Waterfront Park where the woman was pronounced dead.

The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and closed the case as an accident, spokeswoman Lori Stewart said.

Sean Chuma, a local BASE instructor and a witness to the incident, told investigators it appeared only Czyz’s pilot chute deployed, Stewart said. Chuma also helped a deputy inspect the parachute.

“They discovered a hole in the netting of the pilot chute and a broken zipper on the right side of the harness,” Stewart said Friday. “This seemed to be consistent with a witness that stated it appeared the bridle was caught on something.”

A pilot chute is a smaller parachute that’s used to draw the main parachute out of its pack. The bridle connects the pilot chute to the main parachute.

Investigators found Czyz packed her own chute prior to the deadly jump, Stewart said. But it is unknown who the chute belonged to.

Original article can be found here:

Of Leland Snow

Leland Snow

By NORMAN ROZEFF, Valley Morning Star 

Part I: Coming of Age in the Valley

When the December 2015 Texas Monthly magazine ran an article, that was mainly about Leland Snow, in its business column titled “Great Planes,” I immediately knew that I had been derelict in not writing about this gentleman sooner. The fact was that his good friend and Harlingen associate Bob Anderson had brought Leland’s story to me several years ago, and I had put it on the back burner. Leland had even sent me a copy of his biography titled Putting Dreams to Flight after I had contacted him some years ago.

Henry Snow was Leland’s father. Although Henry E. Snow was a native of Vernon, Texas, the Snow family had come to the Lower Rio Grande Valley by May 1910. His father, Elbert C. Snow, had taken up farming in the Donna area. Henry likely had graduated college by the time that he served in World War I, for he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 315th Engineers.

The Snows would be residing in Brownsville at least by late 1927. At age 31 Henry had married Arkansas-born Carrie Beth Sewell. By April 1930 he was working as a civil engineer in Brownsville, owned a home at 2013 Jefferson, and had fathered MaryHelen, age 1 ½. Beth, besides being a mother, was also a piano teacher. Beth was in Brownsville when she gave birth to her first son, Henry Leland Snow, who came into this world on May 31, 1930.
By 1935 the Snows had moved to the farming community of Santa Rosa where Henry continued his vocation as a supervisory civil engineer.

The Snows were still residing in that town in April 1940 when son George E. Snow was born. By this time MaryHelen was 11 and in the 5th grade and 9-year-old Leland was in the 3rd grade. Perhaps to obtain better educational opportunities the family moved to Harlingen by 1942 and then resided in the two-story residence at 401 W. Buchanan Avenue for many years.

In the early 1940s Henry was superintendent of operations in the area for the Federal Work Projects Administration (WPA), a program known for improving infrastructure while providing hard-to-find employment.

In 1944, now with three children in the family, Henry was simply an engineer.

In 1946 he would commute to McAllen to continue his employment in his specialty.

In 1948 Henry established his own engineering firm in downtown Harlingen with an office in the Professional Arts Build. He was the principal of Snow Engineering Company at 112 ½ W. Jackson in 1949. He was, however, to die the following year on February 5, 1950, a month before his 54th birthday.

Leland had been graduated from Harlingen High School in 1947. Besides being in the National Honor Society, he was in the Shop Club and had taken part in theatrical productions produced by the Masque and Wig Club.

At age 15 he began working at the Harlingen airport in exchange for flying lessons. He received his pilot’s license at age 16 and soon started flying crop dusters to earn money. His fascination with flying had begun at an early age. At age 6 he had already made up his mind to be a pilot. At 9 he was building balsa wood and tissue paper models with wing spans taller than he was.

Just after graduating high school Leeland learned of an Aeronca plane that had been torn apart by winds in a bad storm. He purchased the wreck for $200, repaired it, and was able to fly it to College Station.

Leland attended Texas A&M, was graduated in 1952, and then went on to graduate school studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin from which he was graduated in 1953. In 1953 he was a member of the aeronautical club sponsored by the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, a member of the Theta Xi social fraternity and the Rio Grande Valley Club.

Once while home for the summer while attending college, Leland borrowed a transit from his father, surveyed, and laid out a farm to market road which later would become a main highway.

In his senior year, Leland returned to his Harlingen home and immediately began drawing up plans to build a purposed agricultural application airplane superior to any presently in use. He envisioned it with wings attached to the base of the fuselage thereby providing it greater stability. Leland used his mother’s car as collateral that enabled him to borrow $1200 from a Harlingen bank in 1951.

He used the family garage at 401 Buchanan to begin plane construction. With his S-1 completed in 1953, and needing to earn a living, Leland used his plane for crop dusting farms in the Harlingen area. He flew out of Harvey Richards Field, once the municipal airport of Harlingen and now the Harlingen Country Club golf course in Palm Valley. Running out of money after the current Valley ag scene was over, he then flew a crop duster to Nicaragua and began treating crops there. He returned in early December ferrying the plane to the Brownsville entry point in early December 1953.

Leland had a neighbor’s son living next door at 405 W. Buchanan by 1948. This teenager was intrigued about the activities being conducted in his neighbor’s garage and soon would be spending many hours there. The young lad of 15 was Robert Vann Anderson, the son of William C. and Ola Anderson.

Mr. Anderson was a member of a well-known Harlingen family. William, during his Harlingen High School years, was athletically gifted. He would go on to study at the University of Texas in Austin. Anderson, who first owned Andy’s Confectionery Store at 123 W. Jackson, then went on to create Andy’s Drive Inn at 220-22 E. Jackson and Wings (formerly the Manhattan) Grill at 206 W. Jackson.

He served as a City Commissioner 1939-53. On November 27, 1956 the city dedicated Fire Station No. 3 at 2112 North Commerce Street near the north end of Commerce Street as the W. C. “Bill” Anderson Fire Station in recognition of his long service to the community. This station would be closed in 1993 when the Grimes station was erected, and the Anderson personnel were shifted to that station. The former site is currently Aguilar’s Salvage Store.

Robert would grow up to have a long storied career as a lawman, over time filling positions from city patrolman to Border Patrol and U. S. Marshall and an arm’s length list of law enforcement positions in between those noted here. His story, too, would be well worth recording.

Robert would one day write memories of his teenage days working with his neighbor Leland. For that we are indebted, and I present the following verbatim from Robert’s notes regarding his mentor.

“ I would go into his dining room as a young wild-eyed teen and stand by him as he was trying to figure out which design that he was thinking about would be the best,the slide on his slide rule almost smoking as it was moving so fast back and forth. I watched as he first designed the plane as a ‘pusher’ and then on to the design that he chose to be the best.

“We then went out to the garage behind the house, cleared off the existing work bench that was there, and he began to draw with a pencil the shape of the ribs onto the work bench. He then went to a carpenter shop where he bought a board and had it cut into 3/8 inch stringers. He tacked these as guides along the outer edge of the design that he had drawn on the workbench, bought a small can of powdered weldwood glue, added water to it in a small container, and began forming the stringers into the shape of the pattern, tacked thin pieces of plywood that we cut with tin snips, onto each junction of the stringers, glued them in place, and tacked it on with small nails. This is how we made all the ribs for the S1 model.

“When Leland had finished making the wingwalks out of plywood, he took them outside the garage, laid them down in the grass and began boring holes with a brace and bit into the wood to lighten them. He didn’t even have any power tools then, only hand ones such as one hacksaw that we used to cut the wooden stringers into their correct lengths, one pair of tin snips that was used to cut the gussets out of the thin plywood, one hammer, and one brace and bit. Pieces of the stringer were used to stir the glue.

“One time when I was flying in a J3Cub and was approaching the airport to land, I passed right over the top of Leland going down the highway in his mother’s 1952 Chevy, and I noticed that he had his left arm out the window with his hand moving up and down in the air as if he was studying the wind affect on controls of a plane.

“As Leland stood in his dining room while he was drawing up his plans, he would comment that he was as physically worn out at the end of the day as if he had been digging ditches all day.

“One time while preparing to go flying he was giving the craft a preflight inspection. When he grabbed one of the ailerons it fell off in his hand. That was just one of the many incidents that he lucked out on, again.”

Original article can be found here:

Part II: Bob Anderson’s Leland Snow memories continued

“He was also quite a joker like the time that he painted an upper classmate’s toilet seat with varnish. Once we neighborhood “Goons” were playing football under the screened upper porch of his house when he dumped a whole trash can full of water on us from the porch. Still another time he approached us goons and began to hit what we thought was his eyeball with a pencil. Turns out the “Click. Click. Click.” was against his new glass contacts.

While Leland was in the process of “dusting” for a friend, he was needing to wear eyeglasses for his vision. He also needed to wear goggles because he was dusting with powder in an open-cockpit plane. He solved the problem by taking the lenses out of the eyeglass frame and sticking them into the inside corner of the goggles.

During this period of time I was working for a crop duster, Roy McCardle who was also a good friend of Leland. Roy was teaching me to fly in lieu of paying me for the hourly work. Roy and Leland went down to Nicaragua several times, and Roy recounted this incident to me. He and Leland had taken off at daybreak to dust fields across a large water lake that harbored fresh water sharks. Roy looked over at Leland’s plane to then observe Leland standing outside the plane while holding on to a strut. And putting the gas cap back on. It had come loose at takeoff. Because of his prior experience when a similar incident had occurred while he was spraying cabbage, Leland knew that the plane wouldn’t make it across the lake with fuel spewing out the uncapped tank so that is why he found it necessary to put the cap back on.

While Leland was conducting the FAA test for the landing gear of his newly designed S2 aircraft, the wingwalks, cockpit, and hopper were loaded with 50 lb. sacks of powder to a maximum of 2500 lbs. then raised to the ceiling of the hanger by a larch winch and released. Upon hitting the floor the right gear strut broke at the weld allowing the right wing to slam into the floor and become all twisted. If that was a hair-raising incident so was the following. This was the same wing that flew off later while he was testing G stresses for the FAA. The left wing sheared during a steep dive. Leland had to bail out. This was difficult with the plane spinning so tightly. ( It turns out the design had been miscalculated when Leland misplaced a decimal point in his slide rule calculations. From that time on Leland always double-checked his numbers.)

In one of the tests for the FAA, he flew right in front of the investigators about two feet off the ground with both hands up over his head waving at everyone.”

Such an escapade was nothing new for Leland who had an earlier history of adventurous actions as Anderson was to recall. “Leland (once) stated that when his high school graduating class had a party on Boca Chica Beach, he and a buddy flew the old J2 Cub to the party, hung a rope between the landing gears like a trapeze and took turns swinging on the “trapeze” while dragging one another in the water as they flew back and forth in front of their classmates on the beach.

One time when Leland was in college he bought a new war-surplus Harley 45 motorcycle still in its wooden crate. He assembled it in his garage.

He rode this cycle to and from school. One time while at home for the weekend a large rainstorm came up, but he needed to be back at school at a certain time. He took off on the cycle but later returned soaked to the bone. He then proceeded to put on goggles and a raincoat backwards and took off again, only to return home when the bad storm continued and his goggles filled with water. He later found a ride back to school.

During this time, I was in high school and taking a leather working class, so his mother asked me if I could make him a wide belt with back support to help in those long rides back and forth to school. She instructed me to tool the name “Zip” in the middle of the belt and tool a design around it. I gladly did this as he was my “hero”.

Leland and his partners in his Piper Cub (J2) used to fly every chance that they had. During one period they would look for a field of melons, load up the plane, and fly around looking for tractor drivers and field workers to bomb with the melons.

Bored with just flying around they bought a surplus parachute and began taking turns jumping out of the their plane. Of course, they learned to repack the parachute themselves. Leland says they even got so crazy that they started jumping at night. One night Leland landed in a cotton field, repacked the chute, and jumped again, but the chute almost didn’t open because he had repacked it with a cotton stalk stuck inside it. Still that parachuting experience saved him when he had to bail out of his radial engine S-2A when its wing flew off during the “G” test in 1957 that he conducting for the government.

One day Leland showed me a government letter that had come that day in the mail. He was ordered to report to Wright Patterson Air Base to begin his military time. He had been graduated a second lieutenant. He had however asked for and received a deferment in order to work on his plane. Later he was to receive another letter ordering him to report to the Edwards Air force Base. Again he was given a deferment and no more orders were to follow.”

Bob Anderson concluded his reminiscences with the following: “The depth of the influence that Leland had on every part of my life will never be known but will always be greatly appreciated. What a Man! I will always cherish the memories of knowing this dearly loved man, Leland Snow.”

Leland was later to write : “My first employee was my next door neighbor’s boy. He was about 14. maybe 15 I paid him 25 cents an hour to help me make wing ribs for the first S-1 airplane that I was building in my garage in 1951. In those years that’s what kids made working in bowling alleys or washing dishes in a restaurant. I had a rib jig attached to my workbench in my garage. It was fairly easy work, nailing the 1/4-inch square strips of spruce to the jig, and then gluing the truss structure to the top and bottom contours. Just a big model airplane. The boy’s name was Bobby Anderson.”

Original article can be found here:

Part III: Developing a world class company

Leland had begun working on the design of his S1 aerial application plane in 1951 while still attending Texas A&M. At that time pilots were still flying Stearman bi-planes and J-3 Cubs that had been converted as best possible to apply agricultural chemicals. Being underpowered and not particularly safe in an emergency, they were risky to operate. In 1954 Leland, listed as an engineer in the telephone directory, continued to live with his widowed mother.

By 1956 he had set up the Snow Aeronautical Company, manufacturers, at 2 ½ miles West State Highway 83, Harlingen.

When, in 1955, he had designed his advanced S 2 model applicator, he needed working capital to advance his dream. It was not forthcoming in the Valley, but chance would have it that in Olney, Texas, a small community about 45 miles south of Wichita Falls, not only was capital to be made available to him but also a manufacturing location.

Olney during WWII had been the site of U.S. Navy bomber pilot school with its sizable airfield. As an oil and ranching town it was susceptible to economic ups and downs.

The local business leaders sought something more stable, found what they liked in Snow, and advanced him funds to pursue his dream.

Snow’s two partially finished planes were moved in five cattle trucks to Olney in January 1958. The existing facilities at the Municipal Airport would suffice to commence Snow’s aircraft production. In the summer of 1958 Snow’s S-2B was certified and two orders for it soon followed. As saying goes, “The rest is history.” By 1965, 300 of Snow’s aircraft had been manufactured and delivered. Early on Snow designed six basic designs. He considered the best to be the Air Tractor completed in 1972, but this was to be only the beginning, for he would design nearly 30 aircraft overall.

The company’s upward rise would be interrupted by a customer lawsuit over a crash unrelated to wing design. Snow was forced to take on two partners to avoid closure. The partners in turn forced a sale in 1965 to Rockwell-Standard, later to become Rockwell International involved with space programs. Snow was made a Rockwell vice president but was unhappy, especially when the Olney plant was closed in 1970. Leland resigned from Rockwell and by 1972 having designed a new ag plane launched Air Tractor. The name Air Tractor Inc. came into being when Snow acquired it from a defunct manufacturer. Two years later saw the new plane roll off the production line in a new facility in Olney. The 147,000 square foot manufacturing facility would eventually be capable of producing a plane every two working days.

Ag Tractor aircraft are used primarily for spraying, seeding, fertilization, mosquito control, cleaning up oil spills, and firefighting work. Some planes have been utilized for drug eradication in South America. A very unusual modification was instituted in 2008. Named the Air Truck AT-802U the Air Tractor manufactured airplane was designed as a two seater armored light attack plane. It was outfitted with 12.7 mm GAU-19A three barrel Gatlin guns, MK-62 rocket launchers and MK-82 bombs.

One thing was for sure, it costs considerably less than other military aircraft and, being able to fly at lower speed (210 mph maximum) and altitude, may be better adapted to certain combat conditions.

After the Rockwell era, Leland was concerned about the people of Olney. He never again wanted to see the trauma of closure and abandonment in the community. In 2008 Snow made sure that this would never happen a second time. In 2008 he sold Air Tractor to its employees. The employees took up the baton and the challenge. In the years 2012 and 2013 the company produced 180 aircraft a year.

Snow received numerous aviation and industry awards during his career. In 2000 he was inducted into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2005, Air Tractor received the Better Business Bureau International Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. Snow was a generous financial supporter of the National Agricultural Aviation Association and its programs for pilot safety and drift minimization. He and his wife Nan also supported the arts in Wichita Falls and had been long-time sponsors of the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra. He enjoyed listening to classical music and playing the piano.

Snow sought to be physically fit and took up running. He became so adept that he even ran in three marathons after age 65. He logged more than 17,000 miles of running since 1990. At age 80 on February 20, 2011, while jogging near his Wichita Falls home Leland died.

The company that he had founded had become the world’s leading manufacturer of agricultural and firefighting aircraft, and Snow was actively involved in engineering and management of the company until his death.

This son of Harlingen made his hometown proud. As his Wichita Falls obituary stated, “He will be remembered for his quiet kind nature, dogged determination, and generosity to people and causes he cared for.”

Original article can be found here:

Oklahoma landowners register private airstrips to keep wind farms at bay

Rooster Barn Regional. Logues International Airport. Condit Regional Airport.

An airport boom is underway in southwest Oklahoma. But don't expect to be in long security lines or grab a coffee while you wait for a flight.

These are airstrips registered with the Federal Aviation Administration for private use. Most are turf runways mowed out of a pasture. Some even have a wind sock. But they have no lights or other nighttime warnings.

The rush to register airstrips is part of the fallout from a state law passed last year that put in siting regulations on wind turbines. Senate Bill 808 said the turbines had to be at least 1.5 nautical miles — 9,100 feet — from a school, hospital or airport. The law went into effect in November.

Rural landowners who don't want wind developments nearby are using the law to push the turbines back. Privately, some wind industry representatives accuse them of blocking wind farms with what they call "shamports."

More than two dozen private air strips have been certified by the FAA so this year. At least 15 of them are near Marlow in Stephens County.

NextEra Energy Resources plans a 120-turbine project in Stephens and Grady counties. The Rush Springs project is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Further north, NextEra is building an expansion to the Minco wind farm in Canadian and Caddo counties. The company declined repeated requests for comment.

Lynn Logue, a Marlow resident who registered Logues International Airport in February, said he understands both sides of the wind development issue. But he wanted to protect his property value. Logue, who isn't a pilot, said he has several neighbors who feel the same way. 

"I still think Oklahoma is a beautiful spot," Logue said. "I just don't particularly care to be looking at that kind of thing. Unfortunately, its really put neighbor against neighbor. I hate to see that kind of deal go that way. If I had some land that I didn't live on and I wanted them, I'd feel it's my right to put it on there. I see both sides."

Logue said he's got about 210 acres at his place four miles northeast of Marlow. The turf runway he put in is 80 feet wide by 1,300 feet long. He didn't gave the name much thought, although his friends joked he should call it Logues Un-International Airport.

Aaron Bratcher, who recently registered Bratcher Private Airstrip near Marlow, said some of landowners now applying for airstrips have had them for many years. His father had a pilot's license, and neighbors used the family's airstrip for crop dusting planes, he said. Bratcher has 520 acres, but he is upset about a substation for a wind project going in near his house.

"I think my dad had it registered until about 2005, and it's always been maintained,” Bratcher said of the airstrip. “I didn't just rush out and create this.”

Safety concerns

For its part, the FAA said its main concern is safety. It doesn't ask applicants why they want to register a private airstrip.

“Our process looks at any effects the airstrip would have on existing airports and, if applicable, whether it would affect any controlled airspace in the area,” FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said in an email. “We probably wouldn't approve an airfield that would interfere with the flight paths for a major airport, for example. We have no say over land use itself. That's a local zoning question.”

The Oklahoman cross-referenced airstrip applicants with a list of pilot licenses. Just a few of the 30 applicants for private airstrips this year have pilot licenses, according to FAA data.

Among them is Raymond Rust, who has been a pilot since 1960. He and his son have three airplanes. Rust registered the Rush Springs Airstrip in February.

“We've had it out here for a while, but we wanted to register it to keep them away from the airstrip,” Rust said of wind turbines planned nearby. “A man from the FAA came out to inspect it to make sure it's safe. Once it's registered, it shows up on all the flying maps, GPS and section maps.”

You'd have a hard time getting Jerry Condit in a plane. He's only been up one time, and it took some whiskey, he said. Condit said his grandson helped with the FAA applications for two airstrips, Rooster Barn Regional and Condit Regional Airport near Foster in Garvin County.

Condit said a wind developer sent a letter offering to lease 40 to 100 acres of his land, but he wanted no part of it. Condit has about 1,200 acres near Foster. He's got oil leases and several pipelines crossing his property.

“With those wind turbines, their contract is about 40-something pages long, and it's written in there that you can't do this or can't do that on your own place,” Condit said. “If I own my own place, I want to do exactly what I want to on it, and I don't want their turbines. If anybody wants them, I'm all for it, but I just don't want them.”

Condit said he used to have fighting roosters before they were outlawed, so he named one of the airstrips Rooster Barn Regional.

“You've just got to put a wind sock up. That's the way I understood it,” Condit said. “I don't even like to fly. I've only ever been in an airplane but one time. Scared to death. If it hadn't been for a fifth of whiskey, I probably would have had a heart attack. I was in the back seat.”

Land rush

SB 808 has created another land rush in Oklahoma, only this time it's a race to register wind developments. Rules adopted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in March spell out how wind developers are supposed to notify the public of planned developments.

Commission officials said if landowners can get private airstrips registered with the FAA before wind developers begin the notification process for new projects, then their 1.5-nautical-mile setback will prevail. But landowners can't apply for an airstrip — and get its setback — after the developer has notified county commissioners and placed a public notice in local newspapers.

Wind industry representatives said the law has accelerated the development process. The typical wind farm can take up to four years to develop, but the law has meant developers are now applying for FAA turbine permits months and sometimes years before they plan to build a project or even have a signed power purchase agreement.

The Corporation Commission has no siting authority for individual wind turbines, although the commission is responsible for making sure developers post the surety bonds needed for future decommissioning of wind turbines.

WindWaste, a group formed by Claremore businessman Frank Robson, pushed for SB 808 last year.

“The airport, school and other setback requirements of the statute provide a minimal measure of safety to the people of Oklahoma from the previously unhindered placement of large industrial wind turbines,” said Rick Mosier with WindWaste and the Oklahoma Property Rights Association. “These setbacks were agreed to by the wind industry and other interested parties. We cannot speculate on what others' impetus may have been behind any increase in applications for private airports.”

The Wind Coalition, which represents the wind industry, said the provision in the siting law on private airstrips needs to be revisited.

“This well-meaning law, intended to protect pilots, is being abused and is actually creating risk to pilots by naming airstrips that may never be formally constructed or maintained,” the Wind Coalition said in a statement. “Ultimately, this abuse is costly to local taxpayers as it prevents community investment and denies schools and local governments the opportunity to grow their tax base.

“The Legislature's intent was to ensure legitimate airstrips have agreed-upon setbacks; however, the reality of the legislation has not matched the measure's intent.”

Original article can be found here: