Friday, May 27, 2016

$4.3M center aims to draw international flights: Austin Straubel International Airport (KGRB), Green Bay, Wisconsin

Kathryn's Report: http://www.kathrynsreport.com

ASHWAUBENON - Local, state and federal officials said Friday’s opening of a $4.3 million international arrivals terminal at Green Bay Austin Straubel International Airport will boost the airport’s long-term economic impact.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility gives agents a dedicated location for processing charter flight passengers and international travelers for whom Austin Straubel Airport serves as the initial point of entry into the country. Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said local officials spent five years lobbying federal agencies to fund the project.

“We really do truly appreciate the significant efforts that came forward to make this project a success,” Streckenbach said.

Customs officers now occupy the former airport fire station building following extensive upgrades to the building, parking lot and tarmac. About $3 million of the project cost was funded by the federal government. The remaining $1.3 million came from the state and county.

Airport Director Tom Miller said Customs officers previously worked in the airport’s terminal building, where it was difficult to process charter flights that account for much of the airport’s international travel.

“It didn’t provide them the security or space they needed to operate efficiently,” Miller said.

International flights into Austin Straubel are primarily private and corporate aircraft. Officials are optimistic the new facility will help expand international traffic.

He said the new building will enable more secure operations and more capacity to handle international operations whether it be Canadian pilots flying into the country for EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh or the Green Bay Packers’ return from a game in England.

“Customs has already agreed that if the Packers play a game in England, they could return straight here rather than have to stop at another entry point,” Miller said.

Now that the facility is built, local officials will continue to push for federal funding to hire five more Customs officers at the airport. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said she’s introduced legislation to fund the positions.

“One challenge facing Austin Straubel Airport is the need for additional Customs and Border Protection officers to meet the growing customs demand and help expand international service,” Baldwin said.

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

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, N1345B, registered to PT-17 Inc and operated by the American Airpower Museum: Fatal accident occurred May 27, 2016 in New York, New York

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/15/2017
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

The World War II-era fighter airplane was part of a three-ship formation performing a photo shoot. About 1,000 ft above the water, the pilot of the accident airplane made a distress call to air traffic control, stating that he had "smoke," and he subsequently ditched the airplane. The airplane landed on the water and subsequently sank. Another pilot in the formation reported that the canopy was partially open before the ditching. The pilot was unable to egress the airplane and drowned.

Examination of the engine revealed evidence of internal seizure. Damage to the inside of the crankcase prevented the removal of cylinders and disassembly of the engine. Oil and metallic fragments were found inside the engine's supercharger. Although the supercharger may have failed as the initiating event, the reason for the engine failure could not be determined due to the excessive internal damage to the engine.

Examination of the pilot's seat belt/shoulder harness restraints and canopy operation, including a functional test of the jettison T-handle, did not reveal evidence of any in-flight anomaly or failure. Although the airplane's operating instructions called for the pilot to jettison the canopy before ditching, the pilot did not do so, and was subsequently unable to fully open the canopy and egress the airplane as it sank.

Toxicology testing revealed diphenhydramine, an impairing medication that causes sedation, altered mood, and impaired cognitive and psychomotor performance in blood and urine specimens. However, the level of diphenhydramine in blood was too low to quantify and therefore any effects from it likely did not contribute to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A catastrophic engine failure of undetermined origin, which resulted in a total loss of engine power and subsequent ditching. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to jettison the canopy before ditching, which resulted in his inability to egress the airplane as it sank.


Bill Gordon


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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Registered Owner: PT-17 Inc
Operator: American Airpower Museum

http://registry.faa.gov/N1345B 



NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 27, 2016, about 1930 eastern daylight time, a Republic P-47D, N1345B, ditched in the Hudson River near New York, New York, following a total loss of engine power. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The experimental, exhibition-category airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the American Airpower Museum under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial observation flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, about 1900.

The accident airplane was part of a three-ship formation participating in a photo shoot. The #2 pilot in the formation reported that they flew along the beach, on the south side of Long Island, then into the visual flight rules corridor next to John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK). They were about 1,100 ft above the water and proceeding north along the Hudson River about 140 knots. Over the radio, he heard the pilot of the accident airplane report that he had "smoke." (The pilot made a distress call to the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) air traffic control tower.) The #2 pilot subsequently saw smoke from the accident airplane then saw the propeller "seize up." The accident pilot maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing in the Hudson River. The #2 pilot observed that the accident airplane's canopy was only partially open; as the airplane descended, touched down on the water, and sank a few seconds later in the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge. Attempts by first responders to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.



Bill Gordon

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. The pilot held an FAA second-class medical certificate and reported 6,400 total hours of flight experience on his application for that certificate, dated August 5, 2015.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a low-wing, single-seat, World War II-era fighter airplane with retractable landing gear in a tailwheel configuration. It was powered by a Pratt and Whitney R2800-69, 18-cylinder radial engine and a Hamilton Standard four-bladed, constant-speed propeller.

According to maintenance logbook entries, a condition inspection was completed on May 9, 2015, at a Hobbs time of 553.0 hours. At that time, the engine oil was changed and the oil screen was inspected; no contaminants were observed.

A representative of the corporation that owned the airplane reported that the engine was "low time, less than 400 hours" and that the airplane was due for its next condition inspection on June 1, 2016. The airplane was maintained in a hangar, and the engine "ran well with no recent complaints."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

EWR was located about 9 miles southwest of the accident location. The 1951 weather observation included wind from 150° at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 5,500 ft, scattered clouds at 18,000 ft, a broken ceiling at 25,000 ft, temperature 28°C, dew point 19°C, and altimeter setting 29.99 inches of mercury.



WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was recovered from the river the following day near the 79th Street Boat Basin and transported to the West 30th Street Heliport, New York, New York. An initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe was generally intact. The engine remained attached to the airframe. A cursory examination of the engine revealed that the No. 18 cylinder was damaged, consistent with an in-flight occurrence. Oil was present on the exterior of the engine.

The wreckage was moved to a storage facility where additional examinations were performed by an FAA inspector. The inspector noted that the engine was internally seized and would not rotate. He tried to remove the cylinders; however, all cylinders were damaged and could not be removed from the crankcase. Metallic debris and oil were found inside the supercharger. Four intake manifolds were removed for examination; they were also oil-soaked and contained metal particles. Due to the internal damage to the engine and the inability to remove cylinders, further examination of the engine was not attempted.



MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was drowning, and the manner of death was accident.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. Diphenhydramine was detected in the blood and urine at levels too low to quantify.

Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleep aid and carries the following Federal Drug Administration warning: "May impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g. driving, operating heavy machinery)."

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

An examination of the cockpit seat belt/harness restraints and the canopy system was performed by the NTSB Survival Factors Group Chairman. When examined at the wreckage storage facility, the cockpit canopy was in the full-open position. The cockpit control stick and instrument panel were undamaged. The pilot seat, which was designed to move up and down by engaging a lever adjacent to the seat, operated in a normal manner. The four-point seat belt restraint system consisted of a lap belt and shoulder harness. The system was fastened and unfastened by the investigator and functioned in a normal manner.

The cockpit canopy was designed to be operated by hand, by a motor controlled from an internal switch in the cockpit, or by an external switch located forward of the left of the cockpit window in an access panel. The extremes of travel were limited by two limit switches mounted on the deck behind the pilot seat. The entire operating mechanism was covered by the aft portion of the canopy while in the closed position.

To operate the canopy from inside the airplane, the internal lock release is pushed forward to the full stop. This action disengages the clutch on the canopy motor. While holding forward pressure on the lock release, the pilot can manually move the canopy freely on its rails. To automatically move the canopy, the pilot would select the open or closed position on the canopy switch, which was located in front of the lock release on the left cockpit sidewall.

An examination of the internal and external lock release mechanism was performed. Both lock releases disengaged the motor and allowed the canopy to move freely on its rails. The automatic motor switches were not tested due to flammable fluids in the area and lack of a power source.

To jettison the canopy, the pilot was required to pull the jettison T-handle mounted on the front frame of the canopy. This action allowed the locking pins to be pulled from the two jettison fittings that held the canopy to the roller assemblies. All three fittings would then be free, and the canopy could be jettisoned in-flight or removed on the ground. An examination of the jettison handle was performed. The T-handle was pulled by the investigator and the canopy subsequently released from the rail and departed the cockpit area.

The procedures for ditching the airplane were found in the pilot's Flight Operating Instructions (AN 01-65BC-1A). Section IV, bullet 8 on page 37 described the procedures for ditching:

"If it becomes necessary to abandon the airplane over water and it is not desirable to bail out, the following procedure is suggested. (1) Make sure safety belt and shoulder harness are secure. (2) Lower flaps. (3) Jettison canopy. (4) Make normal approach glide into the wind. Hold off until stall speed is reached, then set down tail first. (5) Ditch into the wind on upslope wave."

The pilot's flight helmet was recovered at the accident scene. The flight helmet shell showed no signs of impact damage and all functions of the helmet operated normally.











NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On May 27, 2016, about 1930 eastern daylight time, a Republic P-47D, N1345B, ditched in the Hudson River following a reported loss of engine power. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The experimental, exhibition-category airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the American Airpower Museum under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial observation flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, about 1900.

The accident aircraft was part of a three-ship formation and the pilot was participating in a photo shoot. During the flight, the pilot made a distress call to Newark air traffic control tower and subsequently ditched the airplane in the Hudson River, south of the George Washington Bridge.

The airplane impacted the water and sank. Attempts by first responders to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful. The wreckage was recovered from the river the following day and was transported to the West 30th Street Heliport, New York, New York. An initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe was generally intact. The engine remained attached to the airframe. A cursory examination of the engine revealed that the number 18 cylinder on the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 radial engine was damaged, consistent with an in-flight occurrence. Oil was present on the exterior of the engine. 

The airframe and engine were retained for further examination.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, airplane multi-engine land, airplane single engine sea, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. The pilot held a FAA second class medical certificate and reported 6,400 total hours of flying experience on his medical certificate application that was dated August 5, 2015. The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Registered Owner: PT-17 Inc

Operator: American Airpower Museum

http://registry.faa.gov/N1345B 

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 27, 2016, about 1930 eastern daylight time, a Republic P-47D, N1345B, ditched in the Hudson River near New York, New York, following a total loss of engine power. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The experimental, exhibition-category airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the American Airpower Museum under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial observation flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, about 1900.

The accident airplane was part of a three-ship formation participating in a photo shoot. The #2 pilot in the formation reported that they flew along the beach, on the south side of Long Island, then into the visual flight rules corridor next to John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK). They were about 1,100 ft above the water and proceeding north along the Hudson River about 140 knots. Over the radio, he heard the pilot of the accident airplane report that he had "smoke." (The pilot made a distress call to the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) air traffic control tower.) The #2 pilot subsequently saw smoke from the accident airplane then saw the propeller "seize up." The accident pilot maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing in the Hudson River. The #2 pilot observed that the accident airplane's canopy was only partially open; as the airplane descended, touched down on the water, and sank a few seconds later in the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge. Attempts by first responders to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. The pilot held an FAA second-class medical certificate and reported 6,400 total hours of flight experience on his application for that certificate, dated August 5, 2015.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a low-wing, single-seat, World War II-era fighter airplane with retractable landing gear in a tailwheel configuration. It was powered by a Pratt and Whitney R2800-69, 18-cylinder radial engine and a Hamilton Standard four-bladed, constant-speed propeller.

According to maintenance logbook entries, a condition inspection was completed on May 9, 2015, at a Hobbs time of 553.0 hours. At that time, the engine oil was changed and the oil screen was inspected; no contaminants were observed.

A representative of the corporation that owned the airplane reported that the engine was "low time, less than 400 hours" and that the airplane was due for its next condition inspection on June 1, 2016. The airplane was maintained in a hangar, and the engine "ran well with no recent complaints."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

EWR was located about 9 miles southwest of the accident location. The 1951 weather observation included wind from 150° at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 5,500 ft, scattered clouds at 18,000 ft, a broken ceiling at 25,000 ft, temperature 28°C, dew point 19°C, and altimeter setting 29.99 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was recovered from the river the following day near the 79th Street Boat Basin and transported to the West 30th Street Heliport, New York, New York. An initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe was generally intact. The engine remained attached to the airframe. A cursory examination of the engine revealed that the No. 18 cylinder was damaged, consistent with an in-flight occurrence. Oil was present on the exterior of the engine.

The wreckage was moved to a storage facility where additional examinations were performed by an FAA inspector. The inspector noted that the engine was internally seized and would not rotate. He tried to remove the cylinders; however, all cylinders were damaged and could not be removed from the crankcase. Metallic debris and oil were found inside the supercharger. Four intake manifolds were removed for examination; they were also oil-soaked and contained metal particles. Due to the internal damage to the engine and the inability to remove cylinders, further examination of the engine was not attempted.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was drowning, and the manner of death was accident.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. Diphenhydramine was detected in the blood and urine at levels too low to quantify.

Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleep aid and carries the following Federal Drug Administration warning: "May impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g. driving, operating heavy machinery)."

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

An examination of the cockpit seat belt/harness restraints and the canopy system was performed by the NTSB Survival Factors Group Chairman. When examined at the wreckage storage facility, the cockpit canopy was in the full-open position. The cockpit control stick and instrument panel were undamaged. The pilot seat, which was designed to move up and down by engaging a lever adjacent to the seat, operated in a normal manner. The four-point seat belt restraint system consisted of a lap belt and shoulder harness. The system was fastened and unfastened by the investigator and functioned in a normal manner.

The cockpit canopy was designed to be operated by hand, by a motor controlled from an internal switch in the cockpit, or by an external switch located forward of the left of the cockpit window in an access panel. The extremes of travel were limited by two limit switches mounted on the deck behind the pilot seat. The entire operating mechanism was covered by the aft portion of the canopy while in the closed position.

To operate the canopy from inside the airplane, the internal lock release is pushed forward to the full stop. This action disengages the clutch on the canopy motor. While holding forward pressure on the lock release, the pilot can manually move the canopy freely on its rails. To automatically move the canopy, the pilot would select the open or closed position on the canopy switch, which was located in front of the lock release on the left cockpit sidewall.

An examination of the internal and external lock release mechanism was performed. Both lock releases disengaged the motor and allowed the canopy to move freely on its rails. The automatic motor switches were not tested due to flammable fluids in the area and lack of a power source.

To jettison the canopy, the pilot was required to pull the jettison T-handle mounted on the front frame of the canopy. This action allowed the locking pins to be pulled from the two jettison fittings that held the canopy to the roller assemblies. All three fittings would then be free, and the canopy could be jettisoned in-flight or removed on the ground. An examination of the jettison handle was performed. The T-handle was pulled by the investigator and the canopy subsequently released from the rail and departed the cockpit area.

The procedures for ditching the airplane were found in the pilot's Flight Operating Instructions (AN 01-65BC-1A). Section IV, bullet 8 on page 37 described the procedures for ditching:

"If it becomes necessary to abandon the airplane over water and it is not desirable to bail out, the following procedure is suggested. (1) Make sure safety belt and shoulder harness are secure. (2) Lower flaps. (3) Jettison canopy. (4) Make normal approach glide into the wind. Hold off until stall speed is reached, then set down tail first. (5) Ditch into the wind on upslope wave."

The pilot's flight helmet was recovered at the accident scene. The flight helmet shell showed no signs of impact damage and all functions of the helmet operated normally.

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On May 27, 2016, about 1930 eastern daylight time, a Republic P-47D, N1345B, ditched in the Hudson River following a reported loss of engine power. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The experimental, exhibition-category airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the American Airpower Museum under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial observation flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, about 1900.

The accident aircraft was part of a three-ship formation and the pilot was participating in a photo shoot. During the flight, the pilot made a distress call to Newark air traffic control tower and subsequently ditched the airplane in the Hudson River, south of the George Washington Bridge.

The airplane impacted the water and sank. Attempts by first responders to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful. The wreckage was recovered from the river the following day and was transported to the West 30th Street Heliport, New York, New York. An initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe was generally intact. The engine remained attached to the airframe. A cursory examination of the engine revealed that the number 18 cylinder on the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 radial engine was damaged, consistent with an in-flight occurrence. Oil was present on the exterior of the engine. 

The airframe and engine were retained for further examination.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, airplane multi-engine land, airplane single engine sea, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. The pilot held a FAA second class medical certificate and reported 6,400 total hours of flying experience on his medical certificate application that was dated August 5, 2015.

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


Air show pilots performed an aerial salute (pictured) on Saturday to their comrade Bill Gordon.
 
Bill Gordon



FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)– People paid tribute to the beloved and respected pilot who was behind the controls in the moment a World War II fighter jet slammed into the Hudson River Friday evening.

Jones Beach air show viewers remembered pilot Bill Gordon at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale on Saturday, CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported.

The air shows is usually the kick-off to Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start to summer. However, after yesterday’s tragic death of Gordon, part of the show honored the warbird pilot by keeping a spot empty in the sky.

Among the intricate routines that decorate the sky during the show was a missing man formation to honor one of its own. Those who saw the show called it beautiful and moving.

“He lived and breathed aviation,” pilot Scott Klyman, who flew with Gordon, told CBS2.

“Warbirds were always his passion… as it is for all of us here who love doing what we do,” Kylman said.

Gordon was killed yesterday during a photo-shoot over the Hudson River when something went terribly wrong. The 56-year-old was a veteran pilot with over 25 years of experience.

“What we know of Bill, he did everything right. When he realized he was facing a catastrophic situation, he quickly got the aircraft down in the safest place possible away from many structures and population,” Klyman said.

The missing man formation was done for a second and final time over the American Airpower Musuem where Gordon stored his P-47 Thunderbolt and P-40 Warhawk.

Arnold Wadley is a private pilot and familiar with Gordon’s flying, calling it “pretty moving” and saying “he does a good show that makes you think about the sacrifices veterans made to keep our country free.”

As the missing man formation left a hole in the sky for the experienced aviator, it also left a hole in the aviation community.

“We are proud to have called him one of our own,” Klyman said. “This loss is crushing to all of us here and many outside New York area. We’re going to miss him so much.”

Gordon’s team did not perform today. They’re expected to be part of the air show on Sunday.


Story and video:  http://newyork.cbslocal.com




The former chief pilot and chief mechanic at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Red Hook was found dead Friday after the vintage World War II plane he was flying crashed into the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey.

The NYPD at 7:29 p.m. Friday responded to a plane in distress in the Hudson River, near the 79th St. Boat Basin, a police spokesperson said. Emergency workers found a small, single-seat plane submerged in the water, the plane was secured and rescue divers searching for the pilot found 56-year-old Bill Gordon.

Police divers and Army Corps of Engineers personnel retrieved the wreckage of the plane today. It was loaded on to a barge Saturday and taken to a heliport in lower Manhattan, where investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board can examine it as part of their investigation.

Gordon, whose body was found about three hours after the crash, remained active at the Aerodrome after serving as chief pilot and chief mechanic for years. He had been a resident of Ancramdale, Columbia County, though the NYPD said he lived in Key West, Florida.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

“He was a great guy,” said Michael DiGiacomio, a board member and museum president at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.

The single-seat P-47 Thunderbolt crashed on a part of the river near where a US Airways commercial jet carrying 155 people splash-landed safely in 2009 in what became known as the Miracle on the Hudson.

As chief pilot at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, which stages air shows and offers plane rides, Gordon was in charge of other pilots and safety, DiGiacomio said. Gordon, who worked as a commercial pilot, was the Aerodrome's primary pilot for rides and participated in air shows.

Gordon's formal affiliation with the Aerodrome ended several years ago, but he continued to volunteer.

"He was an amazing pilot, one of the best in the business," DiGiacomio said.

Gordon was a veteran air show pilot with more than 25 years of experience, according to promotional material for a Key West air show last month. The website for the April 2-3 air show says Gordon was an "aerobatic competency evaluator" who certified performers to perform low-level aerobatics.

"The FAA will determine the reason for the inflight failure but we know this much. Bill was a nationally respected pilot and we were lucky to call him one of our own," Clyman said in a statement.

Police divers today were expected to begin raising the wreckage of the P-47 Thunderbolt, according to the Associated Press. The tragedy occurred during a promotion for the American Airpower Museum, which is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the P-47 this weekend.

Scott Clyman, flight operations pilot for the American Airpower Museum, called Gordon "an extraordinary pilot who understood the powerful message our aircraft represent in telling the story of American courage and valor."

A witness to the crash, Hunter College student Siqi Li, saw smoke spewing from the plane and thought it was doing a trick.

"It made kind of a U-turn, and then there was a stream of smoke coming from it," Li told the Daily News. "It was tilting down toward the water. I thought they were doing some sort of trick. I didn't realize it at first, but it was a plane crash."

The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was among three planes that had departed from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, on Long Island, just east of New York City. The other two aircraft returned to the airport and landed safely.

Museum spokesman Gary Lewi said the plane was kept at the museum and was taking part in an air show at nearby Jones Beach this weekend.

The P47-Thunderbolts were the heaviest single-engine fighter planes used by Allied forces in World War II. They first went into service in 1942, with the 56th Fighter Group based on Long Island.

The one that crashed in the river flew periodically, including to other air shows, Lewi said.



A vintage World War II plane was plucked Saturday from the Hudson River as investigators sought an explanation for the stunning wreck that killed its veteran pilot.

Veteran pilot Bill Gordon couldn’t find another miracle inside his cockpit.

The longtime aviator, killed in the Hudson River wreck of a vintage World War II plane, survived a similar terrifying crash during a 2009 upstate air show, his stepbrother said Saturday.

“He just loved flying,” said sibling Fred Schneeberger, 57, of Ancramdale, N.Y. “He died doing what he loved. There’s no question about it.”

Gordon, 56, who recently relocated to Key West, Fla., was flying solo inside a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter when the plane started spewing smoke Friday night south of the George Washington Bridge.

The craft appeared mostly intact 16 hours later when hoisted nose-first out of the river, and Schneeberger expressed surprise that his lifelong friend Gordon had died.

“If anyone could have landed that on the water short of Chesley Sullenberger, I'm here to tell you it's him,” said Schneeberger, of Ancramdale, N.Y. “I rode with him for years.”

Gordon escaped with his life seven years ago when the engine of a World War I-era biplane stalled in mid-air, sending the aircraft crashing into a swamp near the Old Rhineback Aerodrome.

When rescuers reached the plane, Gordon has already escaped on his own and refused medical attention.

“He was the type of guy, when he got into a crisis, his hair didn’t stand up and he didn’t start screaming,” said Schneeberger.

Gordon, a 25-year cockpit veteran, died in the Hudson River wreck that occurred as a photographer took publicity shots for a Memorial Day weekend air show on Long Island.

The 13th annual Bethpage Air Show went off as scheduled Saturday, with a half-dozen World War II Navy planes flying in a missing man formation to honor their well-respected colleague.

The P-47 Thunderbolt was loaded onto an Army Corps of Engineering boat on the morning after the wreck and moved to a helipad on the southern tip of Manhattan.

Gordon’s body was found inside the plane by NYPD scub divers about three hours after the craft went down.

Schneeberger said Gordon left behind a son, a daughter and three grandchildren. The pilot was well-known and well-respected throughout the aviation industry.

"You ask anybody who worked with him, he was an airplane mechanic, certified, helicopter-rated, jet-rated, instrument-rated,” said Schneeberger. “This wasn't your backwood woodpecker.”

Source:  http://www.nydailynews.com




























The pilot of a World War II-era plane from a Long Island museum died Friday night when his vintage plane crashed into the Hudson River, officials said.


The pilot, William Gordon, 56, of Key West, Florida, was identified early Saturday by the NYPD.

Officials said Gordon's plane crashed during an attempted emergency landing after its engine failed.

A major search aided by police boats and divers located the single-seat P-47 Thunderbolt fighter in the river near Edgewater, New Jersey, authorities said. The pilot's body was recovered late Friday night, an NYPD spokeswoman said at about 11 p.m.

An earlier erroneous tweet by New Jersey State Police had a male pilot being rescued with minor injuries and taken to a hospital.

The NYPD said the cause of the crash is being investigated by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt had been displayed at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, but it departed Friday with another vintage plane and a photo plane for a photo shoot, said museum spokesman Gary Lewi. It was supposed to perform in an air show this weekend, he said.

“Apparently the aircraft suffered an in-flight engine failure and the pilot put it into the Hudson,” Lewi said.

Jeffrey Nager said he and his wife, Carla, were on the terrace of their condo in Edgewater, New Jersey, when they heard a plane sputter, then saw it plummet.

Nager said the pilot attempted to make a controlled landing on the water, about a half-mile from shore,

“I saw an old-time plane essentially going down,” said Nager, a former Great Neck resident. “It was amazing to see. He came very close to the end of our complex. It looked like he was ditching the plane in the river, doing a Sully.”

Source:  http://www.newsday.com



A vintage WWII fighter plane crashed into the Hudson River Friday night — and the pilot’s body was pulled from the wreckage about three hours later.

The P-47 Thunderbolt suffered a possible mechanical failure at about 7:30 p.m. and went into the river near the Intrepid Museum at West 46th Street, cops said.

“I saw the plane flying really low and I was thinking ‘what is this guy doing?’ ” witness Frank Piazza, 44, told The Post. “Then it bounced two times and then it went straight under — I don’t think he made it.”

Horrified onlookers at the ­Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen, NJ, said the pilot, later identified as 56-year-old Bill Gordon of Key West, Fla., desperately tried to escape.

“He opened the cockpit but he couldn’t get out,” said Johnny Flores, 25. “When he tried to get out it started sinking really fast.”

Witness Joanne Stolfo, of Ridgewood, NJ, said, “It was a very solemn feeling because we knew we were watching someone die.”

Gordon’s body was recovered by NYPD scuba divers at around 11 p.m.

He had been flying in air shows, performing aerobatic maneuvers, for 25 years and was the lead pilot of a team that toured throughout the US and Central America, according to a bio on his webpage.

The one-seater left from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, LI, with another other vintage aircraft and a plane carrying a photographer taking promotional shots for this weekend’s air show at Jones Beach.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that the plane sent a distress call and went down about two miles south of the George Washington Bridge.

The aircraft was owned by the American Airpower Museum at Republic.

A spokesman for the museum, Gary Lewi, said the plane was doing a promotional shoot for this weekend’s air show at Jones Beach.

“It would appear that the aircraft suffered a mechanical problem,” Lewi said. “And [the pilot] elected to put it down in the Hudson.”

The other two other planes returned safely.

New Jersey State Police initially said the pilot was rescued with minor injuries, but later said it was a Good Samaritan swimmer who was trying to help.

Story and photo gallery:  http://nypost.com

Telluride Regional Airport (KTEX) continues to court commercial flights: ‘One of our highest priorities’

Kathryn's Report: http://www.kathrynsreport.com

Commercial travelers can’t fly directly to the Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) — instead they must land in Montrose, Durango or elsewhere and catch a bus or other transportation to the box canyon. 

Airport leaders and other advocates aren’t promising that will change anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t trying.

“It’s the question I’m asked the most in the community: When are we going to have commercial service in Telluride?” said Jon Dwight, chairman of the Telluride Regional Airport Authority Board. “Commercial flights into Telluride (are) one of our highest priorities.”

That’s easier said than done. 

As airlines have moved away from turbo-prop planes and toward larger jets in the past few years, fewer and fewer companies have the sort of equipment that can fly into Telluride, Dwight said. 

“The airline industry has changed dramatically in the past few years,” Dwight said. “There is very little equipment flying today that can access Telluride.”

To address that issue, the airport and its supporters have been working on upgrading the approaches to accommodate larger planes.  

“At this point, it’s almost impossible to put a timeframe on when this all happens,” Dwight said. “We’re dealing with multiple parties — the Federal Aviation Administration, the airlines — so a lot of it is out of our hands, but we as an airport are putting every resource we can at trying to bring commercial service to the airport.” 

The Colorado Flights Alliance is a consortium of regional governments and businesses that advocates for more flights to the area, particularly at Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ), but it also works to bring commercial service back to TEX. Matt Skinner, Colorado Flights’ chief operating officer, said he’s met with regional commercial airlines, charter carriers and private individuals in recent months to discuss bringing commercial service of some kind to Telluride.

“In the past 18 months, we’ve talked to approximately 15 different potential partners. We’re continuing to search in every corner to find something viable and sustainable for the airport,” Skinner said. 

Both Skinner and Dwight said the first targets for commercial flights from TEX would be to Denver and Phoenix. 

“Most people would like to have some level of scheduled or commercial service into TEX, but the workhorse will continue to be MTJ,” Skinner said. “We have not taken our focus off this one bit, and we will continue to push on this until we exhaust all possibilities.”

Skinner said his organization has had “some very positive conversations” in the past two months, and that they are currently in talks with three different potential partners.

Skinner will give his annual update on the Colorado Flights Alliance’s work to the Telluride Town Council at its Tuesday meeting. Skinner’s update is scheduled for 10:30 a.m., and the meeting is at Rebekah Hall. 

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