Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Forsyth County plans could end dispute over environmental problems near Smith Reynolds Airport (KINT)

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

A potential land transaction by Forsyth County could resolve a legal dispute between Piedmont Advantage Credit Union and Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation LLC.

The promise of a resolution to the lawsuit persuaded federal Judge Catherine Eagles to issue a 90-day stay last Thursday, until Sept. 28, on considering legal motions.

PACU alleges in a complaint filed Jan. 11 that Piedmont Hawthorne, doing business as Landmark Aviation, damaged the 17,532-square-foot facility at 3810 N. Liberty St. “by the knowing and unabated continued migration of oil and other hazardous substances from (its) aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility” at 3820 N. Liberty St., a 74,568-square-foot building on a 7.93-acre site.

The property is across the street from Smith Reynolds Airport.

Landmark responded Feb. 15 by requesting that the lawsuit be dismissed.

The role of Forsyth County Board of Commissioners was explained in Eagles’ response.

As part of the $2 billion Connect NC bond proposal that was approved in a statewide referendum in March, $350 million in funding was dedicated to N.C. Community College System projects.

Forsyth Technical Community College is proposing a $16 million aviation campus at Smith Reynolds Airport to provide training that people need for jobs at companies around the airport.

Money for the project would be part of a proposed $65 million bond referendum that Forsyth commissioners are considering for the November ballot, said Gary Green, Forsyth Tech’s president.

If voters approve it, Forsyth Tech could begin construction within two to three years and the campus could open by 2019.

The legal filing indicates that some of the Forsyth bond referendum funding could be used by the county to help pay for buying the property in the dispute. The filing did not disclose a potential land purchase estimate.

“The parties believe that if the property is purchased by (the county), such may result in a settlement and amicable resolution (of complaints) without involving the court further and promoting judicial economy,” according to the filing.

“All parties agree that they do not want to proceed further on the pending motions without first exhausting the possibility” of a settlement.

David Plyler, chairman of the Forsyth commissioners, declined to comment Friday when asked about the board’s potential involvement in buying the land.

Suit claims negligence

PACU claims that Landmark is violating the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the federal Oil Pollution and Hazardous Substances Control Act, in addition to claims of private nuisance, trespass to real property, and negligence to adjoining landowners.

The defendants deny each claim.

The credit union requests reimbursement and punitive damages for costs and losses because of environmental contamination to its property. It wants the court to issue a permanent injunction requiring Landmark to abate and remediate the site.

PACU said it has been unsuccessful since August 2014 in trying to sell the site because of the contamination issues. The defendants said they have refused two requests from the credit union to buy the property.

Landmark acknowledges that contamination has occurred on its property and that it is cooperating with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality on remediation for that property. It said it is cooperating with the DEQ’s investigation of the other property but denies it “knowingly permitted any migration of contaminants onto the PACU property.”

In a legal twist, Landmark filed a third-party complaint against Jim Taylor, retired top executive of Landmark and current chairman of PACU. Taylor has filed for a dismissal of the complaint.

Piedmont Hawthorne said that Taylor should be held liable, if a court or jury finds Landmark liable, since Taylor had management responsibilities over the Landmark facility. In that scenario, Landmark wants a judgment entered against Taylor in its favor “for contribution and/or indemnity.”

Aviation industry training

The Forsyth Tech campus would train technicians and mechanics for companies, such as North State Aviation, B/E Aerospace, Aero 8 and Signature Flight Support, airport officials said.

Green said that the proposed campus would address the need for more employees in the aviation industry.

College officials are considering buying and renovating a 75,000-square-foot hangar across North Liberty Street from the airport, Green said. Forsyth Tech also is considering building a new hangar that would be between 100,000 to 125,000 square feet.

“We don’t have any drawing on it yet,” Green said.

The college would offer an associate’s degree in aviation technology at its airport campus, Green said. The school is considering an aviation electronics program that would train people to work on the electronics in planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration would certify those training programs, he said.

Forsyth Tech’s campus at the airport would complement similar programs at Guilford Technical Community College, Green said. “The demand for these jobs would be more than Guilford Tech alone could provide.”

Airport officials support Forsyth Tech’s plans, said Mark Davidson, the airport’s director.

“Our existing tenants are always seeking qualified people in metal work, aircraft mechanics and avionics,” Davidson said. “We think it will revitalize and help Smith Reynolds Airport.”

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

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

Fuel sales up at South Alabama Regional Airport (79J)

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

At the beginning of the year, South Alabama Regional Airport Co-Director Jed Blackwell said that the new UH-72 Lakota helicopters used by the U.S. Army could mean big bucks for the airport.

On average, the airport supplies between 800,000 and 900,000 gallons of fuel annually to students at Fort Rucker. This year, sales have already surpassed the 430,000 mark.

Fuel sales were 94,686 gallons for February, 74,345 gallons for March, 78,125 gallons for April, 92,950 gallons for May and were approaching 90,000 gallons for June on Tuesday.

“Aviation fuel sales are the lifeblood of our airport,” Blackwell said. “Increased sales from both military and civilian aircraft is a direct impact from our team’s overall efforts.”

Blackwell said that increased sales means more aircraft and more people are visiting the facility than ever before.

“The quickest way to promote our airport is word of mouth,” he said. “Pilots talk to each other and its our hope that they talk positively about our facilities, customer service and food. We don’t want to just be an airport who provides a service to aircraft and settles for being mediocre or average. We want to be the very best that we are capable of being and not settle for anything less.

“Whatever job you do in life, strive to be the very best,” he said. “When aviators think of Covington County, we want them to say that airport does it right, works hard and as a result of their efforts is one of the best general aviation airports in Alabama.”

SARA has seen an increasing amount of fuel sold in the past few years.

In 2015, the airport was concerned about potential cuts at Fort Rucker.

Last July, they received word that the cuts would not be as drastic as was initially reported.

In 2014, they pumped 762,000 gallons and in June 2015 had pumped 675,000 gallons.

The UH-72 has a fuel capacity of 229 gallons and typically refuels 90-140 gallons per stop, he said.

Additionally, the OH58A helicopters have a fuel capacity of 111 gallons and typically refuels 40-50 gallons per time.

Blackwell said the Army has a fleet of 10 and is adding 30 per year through 2019 to have 180 helicopters.

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

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

Transportation Security Administration plan threatens airport growth efforts: Grand Junction Regional (KGJT), Mesa County, Colorado

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

Local officials are scrambling to react to a plan by the federal Transportation Security Administration to remove one of three baggage-screening units from the Grand Junction Regional Airport.

The move could jeopardize local efforts to recruit new daily flights to Grand Junction, but also threatens to cripple the airport’s ability to move passengers efficiently through the ticketing process during crowded times.

Those are some serious implications for the state’s fourth-busiest airport, which raises questions about information-sharing within the agency. In typical bureaucratic fashion, the proposed move appears to be rooted in bean counting at the upper echelons with little regard for conditions on the ground.

As the Sentinel’s Gary Harmon reported, a regular agency review found that one scanner was underutilized and could be used more effectively elsewhere.

Given the TSA’s well-publicized challenges moving airline passengers through security screenings, it’s hard to fault the agency for assessing resources. Tens of thousands of travelers have missed their flights in recent months as wait times at checkpoints exceeded two hours at busy hubs in places like Chicago and Seattle.

But the plan to move a scanner from Grand Junction was formulated last fall. Why are the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority and the Grand Junction Air Service Task Force finding out about this now? Fortunately, TSA officials have agreed to discuss the plan and those discussions should include Kip Turner, who was hired in May to be the new airport manager.

Still, it will be a challenge for local officials to thwart the move. They’re in the unenviable position of asking to keep a $400,000 piece of equipment in place because it will help them grow service when the TSA has numbers suggesting it’s being underutilized.

“The equipment was put in for a reason and air service has grown, so why is the equipment no longer needed?” said Dave Krogman, the general manager of West Star Aviation, which handles charters and flights for Allegiant Airlines.

Krogman is prepared to argue that removing the scanner not only hurts efforts to add enplanements, but could jam up existing carriers, reducing the likelihood of retaining their services.

Getting U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner involved can’t hurt, since a federal agency is involved, but the task force must convince the TSA that moving the scanner creates more problems than it solves and hamstrings efforts to make the airport a key cog in our economic turnaround.

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

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

Piper PA-18-150, Aerial Advertising Agency LLC, N3975Z; incident occurred July 02, 2016 in Rehoboth, Sussex County, Delaware -Kathryn's Report

AERIAL ADVERTISING AGENCY LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N3975Z

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Philadelphia FSDO-17

Date: 02-JUL-16
Time: 20:30:00Z
Regis#: N3975Z
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA18
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Activity: Banner Tow
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Delaware


(REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. ) - A banner tow plane makes an emergency landing behind the Tanger Outlets, off of Hollande Glade Road, in Rehoboth Beach. 

The plane had engine problems and landed around 4:30 Saturday afternoon. 

The pilot was not reportedly injured. 

The plane is registered to Aerial Advertising of Eatontown, NJ.

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

Dad, son fight Federal Aviation Administration over gun-firing, flame-throwing drones

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

Austin Haughwout

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A Connecticut father and son are headed for a court showdown with the Federal Aviation Administration over whether the agency can force them to disclose information about drones shown in two YouTube videos firing a gun and deploying a flame thrower in their backyard.

Austin Haughwout, 19, of Clinton, and his father, Bret Haughwout, are refusing to comply with subpoenas issued by the U.S. attorney’s office on behalf of the FAA, saying the subpoenas violate their constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and questioning the agency’s authority to regulate recreational drones.

A hearing on whether the Haughwouts have to comply with the subpoenas is set for Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer in New Haven. The case potentially has national significance because it would set a precedent on how much authority the FAA has over recreational drone use, said the Haughwouts’ lawyer, Mario Cerame.

Austin Haughwout uploaded the videos to his YouTube channel last year. One video, viewed more than 3.7 million times, shows a flying drone equipped with a handgun firing rounds. Another video, viewed nearly 600,000 times, shows a flying drone with a flamethrower lighting up a spit-roasting Thanksgiving turkey. Both videos were recorded in the family’s yard in Clinton.

The father and son have refused to comply with subpoenas issued in November and December seeking their depositions and information about the drone used in the videos.

Federal prosecutors say in court documents that the subpoenas were issued in connection with an investigation being conducted for the legitimate purpose of ensuring the safe operation of “aircraft” and under the FAA’s authority to investigate potential violations of its regulations banning people from operating aircraft in a careless or reckless manner.

“Based on media reports, the FAA believes that the respondents have built and/or operated at least two (drones) carrying weapons with the capability of causing serious injury to a person or property,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Larson wrote in a court filing.

The FAA in June proposed its first set of regulations for the commercial use of drones, but not recreational use. The agency says there are some requirements for recreational use, including having to register any unmanned aircraft weighing more than 0.55 pounds and notifying airport operators before flying drones within 5 miles of airports.

Cerame said the FAA is wrong to rely on aircraft regulations to try to subpoena his clients about their recreational use of drones. Win or lose, he believes, the case will affect recreational drone operators nationwide.

“They shouldn’t use airplane regulations,” he said. “They should go get the authority from Congress. It’s about keeping the government in check as to what Congress said they can do.

“This is a kid playing in his backyard,” Cerame added.

Officials with the FAA and the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on the subpoenas. The Haughwouts didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Austin Haughwout claims in a state lawsuit that he was expelled from Central Connecticut State University on bogus threatening allegations by school officials who were really concerned about the drone videos. The lawsuit seeks his reinstatement to the school.

School officials deny the allegations and say Haughwout was expelled for making threatening statements and gestures toward other people on campus.

Austin Haughwout has been in and out of the news over the past two years. On Thursday, Clinton police announced they charged him with enticing a minor with a computer, attempted sexual assault and possession of child pornography after police say they found child porn on his cellphone.

Last year, Clinton police charged him with assaulting officers. The case remains pending.

In 2014, a woman was charged with assaulting Haughwout because she was upset he was using a drone to film above a state beach in Madison. Haughwout posted a video of the confrontation on YouTube that has been viewed more than 500,000 times.

Story and video:  http://nbc4i.com

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

Cessna T206H, Umailik LLC, N6251K: Accident occurred July 04, 2016 in Halibut Cove, Alaska

UMAILIK LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N6251K

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: ANC16LA038
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 03, 2016 in Halibut Cove, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 206, registration: N6251K
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 July 3, 2016, about 1753 Alaska daylight time, an amphibious float-equipped Cessna 206 airplane, N6251K, sustained substantial damage after impacting trees during an aborted landing in the ocean waters of Halibut Cove, Alaska. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained no injuries. The airplane was registered to Umailik LLC, Anchorage, Alaska and operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The airplane departed the Homer Airport, Homer, Alaska, about 1742 destined for Halibut Cove.

During a series of telephone interviews with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on July 4, various witnesses to the accident reported that as the accident airplane approached from the west, it briefly touched down in the calm, glassy waters of Halibut Cove, before becoming airborne again. The witnesses consistently reported that after the airplane began a steep climb to the west, it veered sharply to the left while in a nose high attitude. As the airplane continued climbing in a south-southwest direction, it subsequently struck a large stand of trees on the southern shoreline of Halibut Cove. The witnesses said that during the collision sequence, the airplane's left float was severed, and the airplane immediately descended, nose first, into the waters of Halibut Cove. The airplane subsequently struck the water about 100 feet from a commercial tour vessel that was operating within Halibut Cove. 

The pilot was able to free herself from the partially submerged and sinking wreckage, and rescuers were able to reach the airplane just moments after the accident and provide assistance. 

The witness's observations were supported by numerous photographs that were subsequently provided to the NTSB IIC. 

The closest weather reporting facility is Homer Airport, Homer, Alaska, about 11 miles northwest of the accident site. At 1753, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Homer Airport was reporting in part: wind from 260 degrees at 9 knots, gusting to 14 knots; sky condition, broken clouds at 2,600 feet; visibility, 10 statute miles; temperature 61 degrees F, dewpoint 48 degrees F; altimeter, 29.92 inHg.

Big Fourth of July holiday excitement came early to the tiny community of Halibut Cove on the tip of Alaska Kenai Peninsula when Alice Rogoff – the owner of Alaska’s largest newspaper, the wife of one of the country’s richest men and a float-rated pilot – Saturday smashed her plane in the harbor.

Multiple sources say Rogoff was at the controls of one of her two Cessna 206 aircraft when it clipped an eagle-nest tree and then smacked down on the water. The float-equipped, single-engine plane landed hard enough to cause damage that led to its sinking, but there were no reports of injuries.

Rogoff often has a professional pilot in the seat of the plane while she takes the copilot seat, but on this occasion she apparently ferried herself to the Cove either for the wedding of former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell or the 91st birthday of revered former state Sen. Clem Tillion or both.

Both events were underway in the Kachemak Bay hideaway on the weekend.

Treadwell is now head of  PT Capital, an Alaska-based private equity firm started by Rogoff. Rogoff’s husband, billionaire David Rubenstein, is famous as one of the founders of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm which manages $178 billion in global assets including part of the Alaska Permanent Fund.

Rubenstein was not with Rogoff when the plane crashed.

Read more here:  https://craigmedred.news

ANCHORAGE – The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a crash involving a Cessna 206 on floats near Halibut Cove Sunday. 

Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Tim Despain said the crash was reported to them at 5:53 p.m., and troopers responded by boat, but when they arrived, the pilot had already left the scene of the crash.

“It was reported that the pilot had no major injuries and had been safely transported by a private party,” he said.

Despain said the pilot was the only person in the plane, and troopers have turned over the aircraft incident to the NTSB to investigate the cause of the crash.

Online records show the plane is registered to Umailik, LLC, a company for which Alice Rogoff, the owner of Alaska Dispatch News, is listed as the agent. Clint Johnson, Regional NTSB Chief in Anchorage, confirmed to KTVA the registered owner was flying the plane, with the tail number N6251K.

According a guest at the wedding of Mead Treadwell, former lieutenant governor of Alaska, Rogoff was attending the wedding in Halibut Cove Saturday evening.

KTVA’s voicemail to Rogoff requesting a comment has not been returned.

Story and video:  http://www.ktva.com

Publisher Alice Rogoff is being sued by a former partner in her Alaska media business. (Loren Holmes/Alaska Dispatch News)

No one said being a media mogul was easy.

Alice Rogoff, the wife of Washington-based billionaire financier/philanthropist David Rubenstein, is facing legal and business challenges in her improbable quest to build a news empire in Alaska.

She’s being sued by a former lieutenant, who claimed in a court filing last week that he is owed more than $1 million. (Weird detail: The contract he cites was drawn up on a cocktail napkin in pen.) And her company, which purchased the Anchorage Daily News from McClatchy in 2014, last month filed a lawsuit against the seller, claiming McClatchy hid expenses before the sale and hasn’t lived up to the terms of the sales contract — though the parties settled that matter, her lawyer said.

Rogoff is being sued by Tony Hopfinger, co-founder of a scrappy news website that Rogoff purchased in 2009 and built into a larger organization, adding staff and eventually buying the Anchorage daily paper and merging the two. In his lawsuit, Hopfinger says Rogoff still owes him $900,000 of the $1 million she promised him as a buyout — and memorialized in her handwriting on a napkin.

Rogoff’s attorney said in a statement that the money, to be doled out at $100,000 annually, essentially was meant as compensation for continued work at the paper, and that Hopfinger — who has since moved to Chicago — wasn’t earning it. “Unfortunately, Hopfinger did not live up to his promises,” the statement says.

In the other, now-settled, lawsuit, Rogoff’s company sought $700,000 in damages from McClatchy related to its sale of the Anchorage Daily News, citing breach of contract — most significantly, that McClatchy didn’t disclose an expensive contract with the Associated Press on its books.

The Post magazine last year ran a lengthy profile of 65-year-old Rogoff, who first visited Alaska in 2001 and soon decided to become a player there in the 49th state’s environmental and business issues.

“This place is my second home,” she told the magazine.

Original article can be found here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com

The owner of the Alaska Dispatch News, Alice Rogoff, crashed her floatplane about 5:50 p.m. Sunday, July 3, in Halibut Cove. She was the pilot and only occupant. Rogoff did not suffer any injuries, she said in a statement.

In a press release, Alaska Wildlife Troopers reported they responded by boat to the crash and found that the pilot was the only occupant and that she had left the scene before troopers arrived. Rogoff was safely transported by a private party, troopers said. The incident has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board, troopers said.

According to a statement released through her Anchorage lawyer, Brent Cole, Rogoff “is physically fine.”

“Fortunately she was not hurt and wants to thank all the people in Halibut Cove for their generosity and good spirits,” she said in the statement. “Clem Tillion’s 91st birthday party went on as planned and Ms. Rogoff was delighted to attend.”

Rogoff said she crashed her Cessna 206 after an aborted landing. A photo of the crash shows the plane on the beach of Ismailof Island, where the community of Halibut Cove is located. The plane’s fuselage is mostly intact, but with the right wing folded at a 90-degree angle, the other wing bent, one float crumpled under the fuselage and the other float missing.

NTSB investigator Clinton Johnson said on Monday that the NTSB had been notified of the crash about 10 p.m. Sunday. Johnson said it was reported that the Cessna hit a tree before landing in the water.

“Thankfully, there were no injuries,” he said.

The NTSB will release a preliminary report in about a week. The plane has been removed by helicopter from the Halibut Cove beach.

In her statement, Rogoff said the cause of the accident has not yet been determined and she is working with authorities to determine what happened.