Friday, June 17, 2016

Rans S-6-ESD Coyote II, G-MYES: Fatal accident occurred May 30, 2016 at Shifnal Airfield, Shaw Lane, Shifnal, Shropshire, United Kingdom

NTSB Identification: CEN16WA198
Accident occurred Monday, May 30, 2016 in Shropshire, United Kingdom
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The United Kingdom Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has notified the NTSB of a fatal accident involving a Rans S-6ESD, registration G-MYES, which occurred on May 20, 2016. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the AAIB under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the AAIB. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1252 510300
Fax: +44 (0)1252 376999

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office extradition plane “worth the investment”

Kathryn's Report:

 Deputy Pilot Steve Saffell, Sedgwick Co. Sheriff's Office

Lt. Lin Dehning, Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Deputy Steve Saffell is not your “typical” law enforcement officer. That’s because he is one of the pilots who fly the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office twin engine plane.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for 25 years, and so I have two passions,” said Deputy Saffell. “One is the law enforcement side which I get to do, and the other side is flying, so I get to combine both of my passions into one job.”

In the 14 years he’s flown the plane for the sheriff’s office, he estimates he has transported as many as 2,800 inmates on extradition flights.

“When someone gets picked up in another state and the district attorney’s office or the judge says they want that individual brought back, the sheriff is mandated by state law to do it,” said Saffell.

The extradition process, representatives with the Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office tell KSN News, is under a legal time constraint.

“We have to go out and pick these people up, so time is of the essence,” explained Lt. Lin Dehning. “If we did not have this aircraft, we would have to send people out on commercial flights or send them out over ground in patrol cars. It would take a lot more people to do the job that we, with three people, do in one aircraft.”

The Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office has had a plane on its fleet for nearly 30 years.

The county purchased its current plane — the Twin Commander Rockwell 690A Model Aircraft — in 1997 for $1.2 million.

In 2015, the SCSO spent a little more than $346,000 on hangar, maintenance, and fuel costs for the aircraft. The sheriff’s office flew the plane for 475 hours last year, totaling about $729 per hour.

Lt. Lin Dehning told KSN that when all things are considered, including time, felony warrant status, and the alternative — traveling on the ground which would require officers work overtime — the plane is a well worthwhile investment.

“We’re getting more bang, with the taxpayer buck,” said Lt. Dehning.

To read the agreement for maintenance of the aircraft, click here:

Agreement for Maintenance of Twin Commander Aircraft Model 690A

For more information about the Sedgwick Co. Sheriff’s Office, visit their website.

Story and video:

Mooney M20J 201, N9139U: Accident occurred June 17, 2016 at Reedsburg Municipal Airport (C35), Sauk County, Wisconsin 

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA323
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 17, 2016 in Reedsburg, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2016
Aircraft: MOONEY M20, registration: N9139U
Injuries: 2 Minor.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

In a telephone interview with the NTSB Investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot stated that the airplane touched down midfield, and he knew he was going to overrun the runway. He attempted to abort the landing, however the airplane over ran the runway and impacted the airport perimeter fence.

A postaccident examination revealed substantial damage to the fuselage. 

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

After multiple requests, the pilot did not return the National Transportation Safety Board Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report as requested.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's long landing and failure to stop the airplane on the runway, resulting in an overrun, impact with a fence, and substantial damage to the airplane.

No one was injured when a plane crashed at the Reedsburg Municipal Airport just after 11 a.m. on June 17.

According to a preliminary investigation, the aircraft overshot the runway and rolled through a fence, crossed the street and came to rest on a grassy spot near the Lakeside Foods Distribution Center at Zinga Avenue and Veterans Drive. Reedsburg Area Ambulance was called to the scene but the two occupants didn’t require medical attention, said Reedsburg Police Chief Tim Becker.

The single-engine plane was piloted by Donald G. Kargel, 72, and Mary J. Kargel, 70, was a passenger. Both are from Stillwater, Minnesota.

Investigators said Kargel was attempting to land the aircraft, but was traveling too fast and tried to accelerate to take off again before running out of runway and crashing through a fence.

Becker said it’s fortunate the plane didn’t strike nearby electrical boxes, especially since it was leaking fuel. One wing appeared to be only a few feet from the boxes.

It also rolled through a quiet street, which reduced the risk of injuries to the aircraft passengers, motorists and pedestrians.

Reedsburg Salvage arrived to haul the plane up onto a flatbed and carry it back onto the airport. The Reedsburg Fire Department sprayed water to wash away remaining fuel and help workers move the craft.

The Sauk County Sheriff’s Department and Reedsburg Public Works also assisted at the scene.

Traffic was momentarily diverted while law enforcement assessed the situation. In addition, the FAA was contacted to investigate the incident, Becker said.

This isn’t the first time a plane has crashed in Reedsburg. Becker said there have been fatal accidents in the past. Fortunately crashes are rare and this time no one was hurt, he said.

Story and video: 

A private airplane landed at Reedsburg Municipal Airport early Friday at a speed too fast to stop and too slow to regain flight, causing it to run off the end of the runway and through an eight-foot chain-link fence.

The plane crossed the street and stopped in a grassy area next to a grocery store, near the intersection of Zinga and Veterans drives, Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker said.

The single-prop plane was piloted by Donald G. Kargel, 72, of Stillwater, Minnesota, Becker said.

“He was trying to land, realized too late he was running out of runway and tried to accelerate but he was going too slow to pull up,” said Becker.

Neither Kargel nor his passenger, Mary J. Kargel, 70, was injured.

Four fence posts and the fence were flattened, Becker said. Kargel, who has a valid pilot’s license, had landed a plane at the Reedsburg airport in the past, he said.

The plane, with one wheel and landing gear broken off but wings intact, was towed back through the fence and onto the airport property.


Piper PA-28RT-201 Arrow IV, Flight Inc., N8326L: Incident occurred June 17, 2016 near Raleigh Executive Jetport at Sanford-Lee County Airport (KTTA), Sanford, Lee County, North Carolina

Kathryn's Report:


Date: 17-JUN-16
Time: 14:40:00Z
Regis#: N8326L
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28RT
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Greensboro FSDO-39
State: North Carolina


SANFORD, N.C. — A small plane with two people on board made an emergency landing Friday morning near the Raleigh Executive Jetport in Sanford, police said.

The plane went down at about 10:30 a.m. while traveling from Charlotte to Raleigh. Officials said the plane's engine failed about 4 miles south of the runway, forcing the pilot to land in a field about 1 mile from the airport on Ammons Farm Road.

The pilot and passenger were not hurt. The plane was a Piper Arrow IV.

Skies were clear below 12,000 feet at the time the plane landed. Visibility was good, and winds were northwesterly at 7 mph at the time.

The airport, located on Rod Sullivan Road in Sanford, is a hub for corporate and small airplanes.

Story and video: 

SANFORD, NC (WTVD) -- A small plane went down Friday morning near Ammons Farm Road south of the Raleigh Executive Airport in the Sanford area. The pilot and a passenger are reportedly okay.

Officials said the Piper PA- 28 on flight from Fayetteville suffered engine failure and landed in a field.

Pictures from Chopper 11 showed the single-engine plane sitting upright with a North Carolina Highway Patrol car next to it.

Story and video:

Champion 7AC, N83578; accidentt occurred June 16, 2016 in Gorham, Coos County, New Hampshire -Kathryn's Report 

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA220
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 16, 2016 in Gorham, NH
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7AC, registration: N83578
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On June 17, 2016, about 0946 eastern daylight time, a Champion, 7AC, N83578, impacted trees while attempting to depart from Gorham Airport (2G8) Gorham, New Hampshire. The private pilot and his passenger were uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial damaged to the wings and fuselage. It was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport (BHB), Bar Harbor, Maine.

The pilot reported that he noted no anomalies during his preflight inspection and runup of the engine. During the takeoff, and once out of ground effect, the airplane would not climb, descended down to ground level, and collided with trees approximately 90 feet beyond the departure end of runway 30. The pilot stated that this was his first flight with a passenger and he was uncertain what to expect, but had recently flown an exemplar airplane with two 190 pound individuals, and it performed well.

The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination.

Air Tractor Inc AT-502, N1002L; Accident occurred June 16, 2016 in Delhi, Richland Parish, Louisiana

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA321
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 15, 2016 in Delhi, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/12/2016
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 502, registration: N1002L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During a telephone interview, the pilot of a tailwheel equipped airplane reported that during the landing roll on a private agricultural airstrip, a piece of concrete from the runway chipped off and hit the right brake. The pilot further reported that he applied the brakes to stop on the runway and then ground looped to the left. During the ground loop, the fuselage sustained substantial damage.

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

A postaccident mechanical inspection revealed that the hydraulic line on the right main landing gear was severed, which would have made the right brake inoperable.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inability to maintain directional control during the landing roll as a result of a piece of concrete from the runway impacting the right main landing gear brake during the landing roll, resulting in a right brake failure and a ground loop.

Nieuport 11, N124TG: Accident occurred June 16, 2016 near Gardner Municipal Airport (K34), Johnson County, Kansas

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report:

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA230
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 17, 2016 in Gardner, KS
Aircraft: GLAESER NIEUPORT 11, registration: N124TG
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 not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 17, 2016, about 2040 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Nieuport 11, N124TG, experienced a hard landing and impact with terrain during a precautionary landing at Gardner Municipal Airport (K34), Gardner City, Kansas. The pilot performed the precautionary landing after he felt a vibration from the horizontal stabilizer while in the airport traffic pattern. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot was uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight originated from K34 at time unknown.


A private plane made an unplanned landing near the Gardner Municipal Airport. 

Kansas Highway Patrol and Gardner police were called to the scene at West 175th Street and Jessica Street in Gardner. 

The plane involved in the unplanned landing was a World War I replica plane. The pilot is a 47-year-old man in Arizona who was traveling in town for a plane show. He was not hurt.

Original article can be found here:

GARDNER, Kan. - A bi-wing plane made a hard landing in a field near the Gardner Municipal Airport in Gardner, Kansas, on Thursday night following a mechanical malfunction.

The pilot, who was the only person on the plane, was not injured, according to authorities.

Trp Armitage responded to this aircraft crash at the Gardner Municipal Airport at 8:42pm. Pilot was uninjured.

The plane is a WWI replica and was supposed to be part of an air show this weekend.

Story and video:

Globe GC-1B Swift, King Homes Inc., N80665: Accident occurred June 16, 2016 in Petersburg, Grant County, West Virginia

Kathryn's Report:

Date: 16-JUN-16
Time: 12:30:00Z
Regis#: N80665
Aircraft Make: GLOBE
Aircraft Model: GC1A
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Substantial
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: West Virginia



Beech 58TC Baron, Turmon Consulting LLC, N77NW: Incident occurred June 15, 2016 in Colusa County, California

Kathryn's Report:

Date: 15-JUN-16
Time: 18:15:00Z
Regis#: N77NW
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 58
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: California



Cessna 172M Skyhawk, Lenoir Aviation Club Inc., N12184: Accident occurred June 16, 2016 in Lenoir, Caldwell County, North Carolina


Aviation Accident Factual Report  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA16CA222
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, June 16, 2016 in Lenoir, NC
Aircraft: CESSNA 172M, registration: N12184
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot was returning to his home airport while on his first solo cross-country flight. The wind sock at the airport was favoring a landing on runway 23 with a slight cross wind. He entered the traffic pattern, and when he lined up on the final leg of the traffic pattern to the turf runway, he encountered a large wind gust. He then aborted the landing, and then rejoined the traffic pattern. The wind sock was still favoring a landing on runway 23, so he set up for the landing again, and this time encountered a larger wind gust, so he aborted the landing a second time. He then entered the traffic pattern again and noticed that the wind sock was still indicating a slight cross wind but now favored a landing on runway 5. He then flew around the traffic pattern, and set up for a landing on runway 5. While on final approach for runway 5, the airspeed was "good," and he touched down. The airplane then "bounced," and the pilot attempted to recover the landing, but the its nose landing gear then dug into the ground. The airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted, resulting in substantial damage to the empennage and vertical stabilizer.

Review of archived weather information revealed that about the time of the accident, the wind was 330 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 16 knots. Additionally, wind gusts were present for nearly 4 hours prior to the accident, and continued for about 4 hours after the accident. Prior to the flight, the student pilot met the instructor at the instructor's place of business with his flight plan. The instructor spoke with the student pilot but did not look at the weather reports, and they "did not call in to check the weather." Review of the student pilot's logbook revealed that it contained an endorsement from the flight instructor stating that he had reviewed the student's cross-country planning and preparation and found it to be correct and adequate for the flight. The endorsement also contained the caveat that the weather should be "clear," and crosswinds should not exceed 7 knots.

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche, Jam Three LLC, N224K: Incident occurred June 16, 2016 in St. George, Washington County, Utah

Kathryn's Report:

Date: 16-JUN-16
Time: 14:45:00Z
Regis#: N224K
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA24
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Utah



Robinson R44 Raven II, Ryan Rotors Inc., N141TM; accident occurred June 17, 2016 in Chatham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts -Kathryn's Report


FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Boston FSDO-61

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA216
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 17, 2016 in Chatham, MA
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R44, registration: N141TM
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

On June 17, 2016, about 1245 eastern daylight time, a Robinson R44, N141TM, operated by Ryan Rotors, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a pond, following a total loss of engine power while maneuvering near Chatham, Massachusetts. The commercial pilot and passenger were seriously injured. The local aerial photography flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Plymouth Municipal Airport (PYM), Plymouth, Massachusetts, about 1200.

Two witnesses reported that the helicopter had been flying low for several minutes, just above trees over select properties. Both witnesses then heard a sputtering or lack of engine noise, followed by a landing that looked like "a controlled crash."

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the helicopter came to rest on its left side at the edge of a pond. The inspector observed substantial damage to the airframe and also noted that a rocker arm was protruding from the engine crankcase.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

CHATHAM — Eva Japowicz was doing her bills, writing checks in the kitchen at about 12:45 Friday afternoon, when she noticed a helicopter go past her windows, dropping below tree level.

“It didn’t sound as if anything was wrong,” she recalled.

Then came the thump heard by many in the neighborhood, as the helicopter hit the water close to the marshy edges of Crows Pond. Pilot John Ryan, 48, of Scituate, and his passenger, Tyra Pacheco, 48, of Acushnet both suffered serious injuries. Ryan was initially taken to Cape Cod Hospital, while Pacheco was picked up by a MedFlight helicopter at Barnstable Municipal Airport and flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with critical injuries.

Ryan was transferred to a Boston medical center, according to Cape Cod Hospital spokeswoman Robin Lord.

Eastward Ho! Country Club assistant golf pro Andrew Walkley was on the driving range and noticed the helicopter flying overhead about 10 minutes before it crashed.

“When it went down, it was a really loud thump,” Walkley said. “It was flying pretty low at that point and went over Crows Pond, where it was flying really low and it started coming down and the rotors started to sputter.”
Residents along this scenic part of the Chatham coastline said they are accustomed to seeing small helicopters like this one flying low.

Trees partially blocked his view, but Walkley could see the splash as the helicopter hit the water. Walkley ran down a nearby dock, dialing 911, he said.

“Other people saw it flying around the course and said it just didn’t look right, it didn’t sound right,” Walkley said. “It looked like he knew he was going down.”

The helicopter is owned by Ryan Rotors of Scituate, which flies three helicopters out of Plymouth Municipal Airport.

John Ryan has been flying helicopters since 1985 and has been a flight instructor for 22 years, with over 6,500 accident-free flight hours, according to the Ryan Rotors website. The website advertises services that include aerial tours, photography, golf ball drops and other fundraisers, powerline and pipeline patrols, spraying seeding and lift work.

He started flying helicopters when he was 19 and is married with 3 children, according to the website for Heliops LLC, a helicopter charter company where he worked as well.

Pacheco is an architectural and real estate photographer who shoots aerials, interiors and exteriors, according to her website. Her work has been featured in the Cape Cod Times.

“My journey toward becoming a photographer began with a degree in English, nearly a decade in hospitality management, and several years working as a freelance writer,” she wrote on her website.

The helicopter crashed is listed as a Robinson R44 Raven I, a four-seater. John Ryan and Ross Rossetti are pictured as pilots for Ryan Rotors. A woman who answered the phone listed for Ryan Rotors immediately hung up when a reporter identified himself.

Walkely said golfers and others attempted to cut through one of the pond-side properties and get down to the stricken helicopter.

“The girl was screaming, she was in a panic, and he (the pilot) was trying to help her,” Japowicz said.

Police and firefighters arrived quickly after the crash, witnesses said.

“We had multiple 911 calls,” said Chatham police Lt. Michael Anderson. “Both were conscious on arrival, both still harnessed in the machine.”

Witnesses told police the helicopter was flying at about 100 feet off the water at treetop level, and that there was no smoke, just a sputtering sound that drew their attention.

“Everyone said it was not a violent landing. It looks like the pilot did an excellent job of trying to save the aircraft and themselves because he didn’t put it into the trees,” Anderson said.

An hour after the crash, the helicopter rested partially on the marsh grass, its tail drooping into the water as the harbormaster’s boat deployed a boom intended to corral any spilled fuel. The machine looked flattened into the grass, as though someone had let the air out of an inflatable toy. The cockpit was folded over like a partially closed book.

Several news helicopters hovered overhead.

Rescuers had to cut through the aircraft's metal to free one of the two people inside, said Chatham Deputy Fire Chief Peter Connick.

“They both had multiple traumatic injuries,” Connick said. “They were both very seriously injured, but awake and active.”

Massachusetts State Police, a 42-foot rescue vessel from the Chatham Coast Guard station and a Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod all responded to the scene.

Anderson said the Massachusetts Aeronautics Division of the state Department of Transportation and a representative from the Federal Aviation Administration were expected on the scene Friday and would be conducting the investigation.

As of 5:45 p.m. Friday, Pacheco was not listed in the Massachusetts General Hospital system, according to a spokeswoman for the hospital.

Robinson R44 helicopters have had 364 incidents or crashes investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board since 1994.


CHATHAM (CBS) – A helicopter has crashed on Cape Cod, injuring two people.

Chatham police said a small, two passenger helicopter went down into Crows Pond Friday afternoon.

Police tweeted that there were injuries in the crash.

Two ambulances brought patients to nearby Hyannis Airport where MedFlight helicopters were waiting.

One patient was transferred to the helicopter and transferred to an area hospital.

Another person was loaded onto a second MedFlight, but taken off a short time later and brought to the hospital by ambulance.

Both people appeared to be conscious.

Original article can be found here:

CHATHAM, Mass. —A helicopter crashed Friday afternoon at Crows Pond in Chatham.

Flying over the crash scene, Sky5 could see the wreckage of the small helicopter at the edge of the water. 

Photos from the ground show the bent rotor blades and broken fuselage. 

"It wasn't an out-of-control 360-type of crash that was happening," said witness Neil Sullivan. "Just an increase in velocity as it was going. I saw it pass the tree line and heard the thud."

"We saw it was in the water so we ran up the street and down the driveway," said Sarah Holt. "There were a couple people already on the beach."

Reports indicate two people were hurt in the crash. They were put on backboards, carried up a wooden staircase and loaded into ambulances while Sky5 was overhead. 

Sullivan said he heard the passenger from the helicopter screaming in pain.

"The pilot was fantastic, keeping the passenger calm, but he was definitely expressing the pain he was in," Sullivan said. 

"I could hear the girl moaning and moaning. The man wasn't too much better. He was trying to calm her down," said Eva Japowicz.

The patients were then driven to an airfield where medical helicopters were waiting. 

Story and video:

Workers Complain About Conditions at Miami International Airport (KMIA)

Kathryn's Report:

Miami International Airport is one of the biggest economic engines of South Florida and workers there are now demanding better working conditions. Several aired grievances Thursday at the county’s Trade and Tourism Committee meeting held at the airport.

The workers gave their testimony four floors above where most of them drive trucks that tug baggage trolleys, push wheelchairs and clean airplane cabins. They work for companies that contract with airlines to provide these kinds of services.

Above the check-in for many of the airlines that they service—American Airlines, Delta and LATAM, among others—Marcial Rodriguez points out this auditorium isn’t representative of the whole airport.

“Up here at the terminal everything looks beautiful,” he said through a translator, “I would like that some day some of you could be down there at the ramp and see by yourself the conditions that we work in.”

Eber Gongora Rivero drives  trucks that move luggage from the airport to airplanes and back for a company called Ultra Aviation.

He says carbon monoxide levels are high in certain areas.

“The workers from the Customs department complained,” he said through an interpreter. “They moved them… but we still have to keep working under those conditions.”

According to labor organizers, air pollution builds up in these types of enclosed areas of the airport where trucks drive.

WLRN could not reach anyone at Ultra Aviation or the other companies that workers complained about for a comment.

Members of the committee, Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, in particular, were dismissive of the county’s ability to do anything about some of the claims. Because these companies contract with the airlines and  not the airport (a county facility), the committee said there's not much they can do about providing rain jackets during storms or ensuring that workers are allowed vacations. The carbon monoxide issue, however, raised eyebrows.

“As a private company, we can not impose on them at all because they work…[for] a private company,” said Commissioner Sosa.

She did instruct the committee’s attorney to see if there was anything the county can do in these matters.

But Helene O’Brien, district director in Florida for the Service Employees International Union 32BJ, said the county still has some overall control because it runs the airport and provides permits for these companies to operate.

“The county can get involved and regulate anything that happens at this airport. In fact, we want them to because we want to feel safe in this airport and we want it to be well run,” said O’Brien. “The county does not want thousands of workers unhappy, suffering, providing poor services.”

The commission instructed the airport staff  to investigate the claims about carbon monoxide and report back at the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 14.

Story and audio:

REACH air ambulance buys Sacramento-area competitor CALSTAR

Kathryn's Report:

REACH Air Medical Services has acquired a nonprofit air ambulance service based out of the Sacramento area.

REACH Medical Holdings, the holding company for the emergency air transport service, has bought California Shock Trauma Air Rescue, more commonly known as CALSTAR, the companies announced on Thursday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

CALSTAR, located in McClellan in Sacramento County, will be turned into a limited liability company and will operate as CALSTAR Air Medical Services. REACH said the purchase price for acquiring CALSTAR will go to fund a new nonprofit foundation “to benefit the public,” given that there were no owners to cash out on the deal. Details about the foundation will be released at a later time.

CALSTAR will join Santa Rosa-based REACH Air Medical services and Cal-Ore Life Flight under the corporate umbrella of their holding company, REACH Medical Holdings. It’s part of Air Medical Group Holdings, one the largest air medical firms in the country. Powerhouse investment firm KKR owns Air Medical Group.

The companies said in a statement that “the goal is to maintain current operations,” though no other decisions regarding base locations or staffing of their fleets have been made.

CALSTAR CEO Lynn Malmstrom and two of his top lieutenants will leave within the next year, after helping with the sale. The company, founded in 1984, has 225 employees and 14 aircraft.

CALSTAR operates in Northern California with nine bases, including one in Ukiah. REACH and CALSTAR have historically provided backup coverage for each other around Lake and Mendocino counties.

In an interview, Malmstrom said it would be tough for CALSTAR to survive, especially as reimbursement rates for government programs such as Medicare provide funding that is greatly below the cost of providing the services ­— as much as 70 percent. Private insurers also are starting to balk at the rates they pay for air medical services.

“There is a lot of pressure on this level right now,” Malmstrom said.

REACH has been headquartered in Santa Rosa since its founding in 1987 by physician John L. McDonald Jr.

Its holding company has 40 rotor and fixed-wing aircraft at more than 30 bases in California, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado. It also has bases affiliated with hospitals in Texas. About 600 people work for the company.

Original article can be found here: