Sunday, September 11, 2016

Piper PA-28-161, N8120B: Incident occurred September 11, 2016 in Cedar Lake, Lake County, Indiana


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA South Bend FSDO-17


Date: 11-SEP-16
Time: 18:45:00Z
Regis#: N8120B
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Indiana

CEDAR LAKE — A small, single engine plane made an emergency landing in unincorporated Cedar Lake on Sunday, according to Lake County sheriff's police.

At about 2:15 p.m. the plane landed in a field in the area of 145th Avenue east of State Line Road. 

One person was in the plane and there were no injuries. 

Police said the aircraft was being flown out of Griffith-Merrillville Airport and airport personnel responded to assist with FAA personnel en route to the scene. 

According to police an engine issue is believed to be the cause of the plane making the emergency landing. 


An engine problem forced the pilot of a small airplane to make an emergency landing Sunday afternoon in a field near Cedar Lake, Indiana.

The single-engine plane landed about 2:15 p.m. near 145th Avenue east of the state line in unincorporated Hanover Township, according to the Lake County sheriff’s office.

The pilot was the only person on board, and no one was hurt, sheriff’s police said.

The plane had taken off from Griffith-Merrillville Airport, about 20 miles northeast of where it landed. 

Federal Aviation Administration officials are investigating.


Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport (KLMT) readies for PenAir

John Barsalou, manager of the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, was recently awarded The President’s Award Leadership Excellence from the Northwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives for his work spearheading the TSA Fairness Act. 

John Barsalou, manager of the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport, earlier this summer unlocks the door that in October will once again lead passengers to the runway.

Signs of incoming commercial air service through PenAir to the region are springing up at the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport on a weekly basis, according to airport administrative staff.

Transportation Security Administration employees have been trickling in to the terminal and airport administration buildings this week, according to airport staff, as measurements are made for incoming equipment and preparations are made for staff to fill up what has been a fairly quiet terminal the past two years.

“It’s a long time coming, everybody helps out, a lot of finger prints along the way,” said Linda Tepper, who has served as business manager for the airport for 21 years.

PenAir will operate two week-day flights and one weekend flight in a Saab 340 turbo-prop aircraft.

“The community overall is going to be very, very happy with the PenAir flights. It’s a comfy plane, it’s going to be good service.”

TSA screening staff are scheduled to arrive at the airport the week of Sept. 19, according to airport staff, and the first flights take off from the runway for Portland on Wednesday, Oct. 5. The first flight takes off at 6:40 a.m., arriving at the Portland International Airport at approximately 8 a.m. The second flight takes off from PDX at 1 p.m. and arrives in Klamath Falls around 2:20 p.m.

“They’ve got some computer-based learning that they’ll be doing,” Tepper said, of the incoming TSA employees. “I’ll they’ll also be transitioning back and forth to Medford for some on-the-job training just to kind of get acclimated to everything. We should start seeing equipment starting to show up that week, staff show up that week.”

SkyWest departed from the airport in June 2014 after flights failed to fill up to airline standards.

TSA refederalized the airport to offer screening services earlier this year, and with a steadfast commitment from PenAir, facilitated the start of air service at the airport this fall.

Administrators are hopeful that not only will flights fill with PenAir, but that the airline will remain in the Klamath Basin.

“Air service is our primary focus right now,” said John Barsalou, airport manager.

And it has been a focus for the city for the last two years.

Barsalou traveled to Washington, D.C., during that time to speak with members of the congressional delegation about the region’s need for air service.

“We took off the gloves and discovered there were other airports across the country fighting the battle,” Barsalou said.

Both Tepper and Barsalou were recognized Sept. 1 in Big Sky, Mont., for their efforts in helping regain commercial air service.

Tepper was awarded Airport Executive of the Year with the President’s Award for Leadership Excellence from the Northwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) for her part in helping to regain commercial air service and recruitment of a new airport manager and operations manager.

Barsalou, airport manager, was recognized regionally with the President’s Award for Leadership Excellence from the Northwest Chapter of the AAAE for his efforts leading the formation of the TSA Fairness Act.

The act prompted the TSA to refederalize airports with committed commercial air service but no TSA service, including Klamath Falls.

“It was a great acknowledgment,” Barsalou said. “That wasn’t the reason for doing this. Obviously getting air service back to our community.

“We were told through this process there were 22 airports around the country that were going to be impacted if this bill did not pass,” he added.

Flight Timing

Timing of the start of commercial air service has been a priority for airport administrators in planning with PenAir for the airline’s arrival in Klamath Falls.

“We were pretty anxious about that. That was one of the things that we talked about when we chose the start date that I didn’t want it to be too soon,” Barsalou said.

“You’ve got to get everybody in place, otherwise you’re just shooting yourself in the foot if you start before everybody’s ready.”

While summer travel season has come and gone, airport staff are looking forward to the opportunity to offer commercial air travel to the Air National Guard, students, and faculty as universities start fall term , and business owners and area residents as the weather grows colder.

“It is sort of the tail end of the leisure tourism season on the other hand, it is the start of school, universities, and all of that,” Tepper said. “The roads are going to start to get slippery and so people will be more inclined to … fly to Portland as oppose to drive up over the pass.”

Tepper has served on a marketing committee that, throughout the loss of air service, which has searched for other ways to promote tourism in and out of Klamath Falls.

“We looked at a lot of different things, shuttles and everything trying to look at charters out of here,” Tepper said. “It’s very difficult to make that pencil out. You have to have a lot of people on a charter to make the ticket price.”

Pulling out all the stops

City Manager Nathan Cherpeski, who served as interim airport manager during the loss of air service to the city, even considered forming the city’s own airline at one point.

The idea never gained traction, but points to the lengths the city went to look for viable commercial air service options.

Tepper credits Jim Chadderdon, executive director of Discover Klamath, with pitching Klamath Falls to neighboring regions around the state and Pacific Northwest region.

“Everytime we had an opportunity to pitch to PenAir, it was a real effort,” Tepper said.

Much ado at the airport

Along with the return of commercial air service, the airport is also working on plans to build and design an airport maintenance hangar, with the potential for use by incoming PenAir or another company.

Construction could start in summer 2017, according to a previous Herald and News story.

“We’re working with PenAir to see what their use of the maintenance hangar will be and then determine what else we have to do to fill that building,” Barsalou said.

“Pen Air — They get the first opportunity … we designed it around them, but others can use it, so we’re also designing it for other users.”

Barsalou said an airplane wash station is also part of the hangar design.

“They’re flying outside of the state to get their planes washed,” Barsalou said.

“We can provide that here.”

The airport also received notice of an award for an approximately $8 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for construction of Taxiway B. The city has already allocated a 6.75 percent match, or between $450,000-$480,000, for the project, scheduled to kick off in Spring 2017.

Airport administrators are also placing a focus on marketing a total 250 acres of property at the airport’s business park for development. Sites have either direct access to the airport taxiway or apron.

“Our operational numbers are up, I think 20 percent (from 2014 to 2015),” Barsalou said, referring to the frequency of take-offs and landings at the airport.

“And we’re going to get air service so we anticipate that going up as well.”

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Airport Hangar Owner: Pipeline Will Put me out of Business • Rockfish Airpark (VG22), Wintergreen, Nelson County, Virginia

NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -  A Nellysford man claims that a newly proposed pipeline plan will put him out of business.

At his private airport hangar, Ron King told NBC29 he got a packet in the mail from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, last week, detailing a new route for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

This plan includes the construction of a pipeline that will run down the middle of his Rockfish Airport runway. King operates a flight school and says the pipeline running under his property will not only push him out of a job, but will also be a safety issue.

“It not only affects me, it'll put me out of business but there are also 11 homes there that it will cut off any emergency service to them because when they lay the pipeline it will be cutting that road off and that’s the only one,” says Ron King.

King says he has gotten in touch with the FAA and the Virginia Department of Aviation about his dilemma. They told him to write a letter to FERC explaining the problem.


Piper PA-18 Super Cub, N3286Z: Accident occurred September 11, 2016 at Greenville Municipal Airport (6D6), Eureka Township, Montcalm County, Michigan

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report  -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Grand Rapids FSDO-09 

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA366
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 11, 2016 in Greenville, MI
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18, registration: N3286Z
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 September 11, 2016, at 1558 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-18 airplane, N3286Z, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain southwest of the Greenville Municipal Airport (6D6), Greenville, Michigan. The private pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane 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 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to Hillsdale Municipal Airport (JYM), Hillsdale, Michigan.

According to the written statement submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board by the pilot, the airplane departed from runway 28. The pilot turned the airplane on course prior to reaching an altitude sufficient to clear the trees south of the runway. The pilot turned the airplane to avoid the trees and stalled the airplane. As he continued to try and maneuver the airplane away from the trees the airplane entered a secondary stall, descended, and impacted terrain on the south side of the airport about 100 yards southwest of the grass airstrip. The airplane impacted the ground in a vertical attitude and the fuselage and wings were crushed. According to the FAA inspector who responded to the accident, there were no mechanical anomalies with the airframe, engine, or flight controls that would have precluded normal operation.

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA366
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 11, 2016 in Greenville, MI
Aircraft: PIPER PA 18, registration: N3286Z
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 September 11, 2016, about 1558 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-18 airplane, N3286Z, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain southwest of the Greenville Municipal Airport (6D6), Greenville, Michigan. The private pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident; the destination was unknown.

According to the FAA inspector who responded to the accident, the airplane was departing from runway 28. The airplane entered a steep left turn shortly after takeoff. The airplane descended and impacted terrain on the south side of the airport about 100 yards southwest of the grass airstrip. The airplane impacted the ground in an inverted attitude and the fuselage and wings were crushed.

EUREKA TOWNSHIP — A plane crash at the Greenville Municipal Airport Sunday afternoon resulted in serious injuries to the pilot and his passenger.

According to the Michigan State Police, at approximately 3:50 p.m., a Piper Super Cub PA 18 was taking off from the airport when it crashed on the south side of the north/south runway.

The plane was occupied by two males, ages 24 and 29, both from Illinois.

According to Greenville Department of Public Safety Depurty Director Dennis Magirl, both men required extrication from the airplane.

The pilot was transported with serious injuries by AreoMed to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, and the passenger was transported to the hospital via ambulance, also with serious injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been contacted and the crash is under investigation. There is no confirmation at this time on the subjects’ itinerary, nor is there any information on what caused the crash, which remains under investigation.

Names are not being released at this time.


EUREKA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Two men were seriously injured when a plane crashed at the Greenville Municipal Airport Sunday afternoon, Michigan State Police say.

The Piper Super Cub PA 18 plane, which seats two, crashed on the south side of the runway during takeoff around 3:50 p.m.

One of the men was airlifted to a Grand Rapids hospital and the other was taken there by ambulance.

The cause of the crash is not yet known. The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.

MSP said the men in the plane, ages 24 and 29, are from Illinois. It was not immediately known where they were headed.

The airport is located off Greenville Road/M-91 in Eureka Township, just south of the city of Greenville.

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MONTCALM COUNTY, Mich. — Two men were seriously injured when the small plane they were flying in crashed near the Greenville Municipal Airport on Sunday afternoon, FOX 17 confirmed with Michigan State Police.

According to MSP, the crash occurred shortly after take-off, but the cause remains unclear.

Two men on board the Piper Super Cub plane—which only seats two—were taken from the scene with serious injuries. One man was taken by ambulance to a Grand Rapids hospital.

The other man was airlifted from the scene.

MSP said it’s believed the two men are from Illinois. It’s unclear where the plane was headed at the time of the crash.


EUREKA TOWNSHIP, MICH. - Two people are hurt following a plane crash in Montcalm County.

The plane, a small Piper Super Cub aircraft, reportedly took off just before 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, from Greenville Municipal Airport and crashed not long thereafter, according to Michigan State Police. The cause of the crash is not clear.

Two people were the only ones onboard the aircraft. One of them broke both of their legs, dispatch reports indicate.

State police could not confirm the victims' injuries, but said both are receiving treatment at a Grand Rapids hospital.


Luscombe 8E Silvaire, N1263K: Accident occurred September 10, 2016 at Dodge County Airport (KUNU), Juneau, Wisconsin

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Milwaukee FSDO-13

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA476
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 10, 2016 in Juneau, WI
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8, registration: N1263K
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 pilot of a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during the landing roll in gusty crosswind conditions, the airplane abruptly veered to the left because his right foot had rolled off the right rudder pedal. He further reported that he was able to regain rudder authority, but the airplane was approaching the left edge of the runway and he did not want to "apply hard right rudder" for fear of blowing a tire. Subsequently, the airplane departed the runway surface into soft grass. During the runway excursion, the right main landing gear dug into the grass, folded under the fuselage, and the airplane ground looped.

The left wing sustained substantial damage. 

The pilot reported after the accident he found the right rudder foot pad cover had rolled off the rudder pedal and was lying on the cockpit floor.

An automated weather observing system at the airport, near the time of the accident, reported the wind at 280 degrees true at 7 knots, gusting to 16 knots. The landing was on runway 26.

DODGE COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how a single-engine plane veered off the runway at the Dodge County Airport.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office responded at 4:52 p.m. Saturday. The pilot, who only landed in Dodge County to get fuel, veered the plane off the runway. It came to a rest in a grassy area next to the runway and taxiway.

The pilot was not hurt. He was traveling from Alabama to Manitowoc when he made the landing. He told authorities he bought the plane just a day earlier from a previous owner.

The airport did not close when the incident happened.


DODGE COUNTY — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating after a two-seat aircraft veered off the runway while attempting to land and came to a rest in a grassy area at the Dodge County Airport.

The incident occurred shortly after 4:45 p.m. Saturday, September 10th.

The pilot, who was the only person in the aircraft, was evaluated by medical personnel at the scene and was not treated or transported. He reported he bought the aircraft one day before the incident from a previous owner.

The airport remains open at this time.

No other details have been released.

Cessna 172RG Cutlass, VH-MKG (and) Piper PA-32R-301T, VH-HYM: Fatal accident occurred September 11, 2016 at Parafield Airport (YPPF), South Australia

A runaway  plane struck and killed a pilot before hitting a stationary aircraft head-on, in a freak tragedy on the tarmac at Parafield Airport on Sunday.

Emergency services rushed to the airfield in Adelaide’s north about 4pm after reports that two planes had crashed on the tarmac.

A 62-year-old Wattle Park man was fatally injured by a yellow single-engine, four-cylinder Cessna, which then careered into a white, twin-engine Piper Saratoga.

“One plane appears to have taxied away after hitting the pilot and then crashed into another plane parked nearby,” a police spokesman said.

“There were no persons in either aircraft at the time of the crash.”

The crash is believed to have occurred in front of horrified onlookers.

It comes nine months after a pilot walked away from an emergency crash landing at the airfield, which is used for small aircraft, pilot training and recreational aviation.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it is believed someone was trying to start the aircraft when it taxied away.

There were unconfirmed reports that a dog was removed from one plane after the crash, which occurred in a plane parking area.

Word of the tragedy spread quickly around the airport.

Cadet pilot Alex Garbett, 28, said he could not understand how the incident occurred.

“It’s an absolute freak accident,” he said.

“You see (minor incidents) happen once every six months but I’ve never heard of a fatality.”

Fellow cadet pilot Sam Juers said it was hard to believe someone has died in the airport’s parking area.

“It will be interesting to (find out) what happened,” he said. “That’s a parking area there.”

Another pilot, who wished to remain anonymous, was also stunned.

“We have no idea what happened,” he said. “Obviously one of them has gotten away.”

Flights were not affected by the crash, but some pilots who landed were unable to access hangars while authorities investigated the crash.

The ATSB will send a team of investigators to the airport on Monday morning. Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

In March 2013, a Spitfire replica crashed during the Classic Jets Air Show at Parafield Airport.

Roger Stokes, 73, was killed when the amateur-built scale replica Spitfire he was flying slammed into the ground between two clothes shops and about 200m from a soccer match.

An ATSB report found that Mr Stokes was flying too slowly while executing a left turn to remain airborne and his aircraft was not fitted with an aerodynamic stall warning device.


Vermont airports business plan reaps benefits

MONTPELIER — Six years ago, Vermont’s 10 state-owned airports were running deep in the red and lawmakers — and to some extent the public — were growing increasingly wary of the purpose they served. After significant changes in operation and maintenance, those same 10 airports are nearly breaking even and state officials expect them to generate revenue, perhaps as early as two years from now.

What caused the turnaround? Some, including Agency of Transportation Secretary Chris Cole, say it is Guy Rouelle, the pilot and all-around aviation enthusiast who heads the agency’s Aviation Division. Rouelle, who admits that he “eats, sleeps and breathes” aviation, began leading the small division in 2011, just as it was being challenged by lawmakers to find a way to balance its books or face closure.

Rouelle said he brought no magic bullets to the job, and the changes put in place likely could have been led by many others.

“I’d like to take credit for all these things. Although I led the process, I would say that anybody could have stepped in at any moment as long as they had the tenacity and could withstand the scrutiny of the public and the Legislature,” he said.

Perhaps, but the challenges were not insignificant.

Former Seven Days reporter Andy Bromage highlighted some of them in an April 2010 article. A state-commissioned report on the small, regional airports shed unflattering light on their needs and the article questioned the path forward.

“Beyond lengthening runways, building more hangars and ramping up marketing campaigns, the airports’ business plans are filled with quirky, one-off schemes for making them profitable, some of which VTrans officials say are worth considering. They include opening a restaurant in the Franklin County State Airport … renaming the Newport State Airport the “Newport-Northeast Kingdom Regional Skiport” to capitalize on its proximity to Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resorts; and partnering with Lyndon State College to launch an aviation program,” Bromage wrote. “Clever ideas, but the bottom line is not encouraging.”

In 2011, lawmakers passed a bill that was signed into law requiring the Agency of Transportation to eliminate as much as possible the operating deficits at the state airports by June 30, 2015. The Aviation Division was given a chance to turn it around.

“It was, which airports are we closing, or, I spoke up at a legislative session and said, ‘I don’t think we should close any airports, but come up with a plan.’ I already had the plan in my head and so we did. We came up with a business plan,” Rouelle said. “They were just kind of things that should have been done that were never done.”

In the 2011 fiscal year, the airports had about $558,000 in expenses and were generating just $269,000 in revenue. In the 2015 fiscal year, the airports are generating $640,000 in revenue. Overall, the airports were running operating deficits of more than $500,000 in 2011, which is down to about $80,000 now.

Some of the turnaround can be attributed to the discretionary funding that the state has received from the federal government — nearly $63 million in the past several years. That has allowed the state to upgrade facilities, including runways and terminals.

“We built very strong relationships with our congressional delegation and with the FAA. There’s a level of trust that I have directly with both of those entities that they know if I say I’m going to build a project, we’re going to build a project — no exceptions,” Rouelle said. “Leadership is based on influence. In order to have influence you have to have relationships. I built those relationships.”

The state receives $1.9 million in static funding from the federal government every year. It would have taken the state 33 years to collect the cash without the discretionary funding. That discretionary funding and the improved aviation infrastructure around the state is now generating private development in and around the airports.

In Rutland — one of two state airports still operating in the red — a $4 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to upgrade facilities is having the intended effect, Rouelle said.

“We now have investors knocking on our door saying we want to construct a bunch of new buildings,” he said.

The same thing is happening in Berlin, where state officials are negotiating “a large lease” with a company that will pay for all of the operating expenses at the Knapp State Airport.

And at other airports around the state, upgraded runways, terminals and service is encouraging new business and hangars, which help generate revenue for municipalities through property taxes.

“The towns get paid the property tax. That’s a huge revenue for the town when we generate hangars on airports,” he said.

In Highgate, if a planned runway extension is completed, the community is likely to see private investments in a 144,000-square-foot industrial complex adjacent to the airport that will create jobs.

“We have some runway work that we have to do … but now we have a private investor that said, ‘While you’re doing that work can we build an industrial park?’” Rouelle said. “It will bring a lot of new jobs to the airport and it will bring a lot of activity to the airport.”

Upgrading the state’s airports took some convincing. Not everyone has always viewed them as critical to the state, Rouelle said.

“You hear people say, ‘Oh it’s just for rich people playing with their discretionary toys.’ Well, they bring in a lot of revenue every year,” he said.

Rouelle’s boss at the agency recognizes the impact the grants have made.

“Under the leadership of Guy Rouelle, we’ve actually done a very good job of securing discretionary grants from the FAA. We have been making investments in the infrastructure,” Cole said. “I do believe we’re going to see some payoffs in additional employment opportunities from the infrastructure investments.”

The Aviation Division also embraced operational chances. When Rouelle took over, the airports had been managed by the agency’s Highway Division for about 10 years.

“Frankly, there was not much of a financial system in place. It was a line item on a district highway budget,” he said. “They would just level-fund it every year and that’s what it was. There was no real focus on lease revenue, fuel revenue, generating business.”

The Aviation Division began to take the accounting of the airport’s revenues and costs more seriously.

It became apparent that physical changes to buildings and other airport assets would be needed. In Springfield, the 1,800-square-foot terminal building was heated with baseboard electrical heating and cost $18,000 a year to heat.

“That’s the size of a double-wide trailer,” Rouelle said. “We tore the electrical heat out and we put in $2,000 (gas heaters) and now our heating bill is down to … under $2,000 a year.”

At the airport in Rutland, a 62-kilowatt solar array was installed and the state no longer pays anything in electrical costs — a $26,000 per year savings. Other buildings had more efficient windows, insulation and automated lighting installed.

“We went around the entire state and we refurbished every terminal … so our overall operating costs were greatly reduced,” Rouelle said.

Also, maintenance at the airports changed with modern plans to manage the grounds in summer and winter.

“The airports were all being mowed like they were golf courses. But in a lot of cases they weren’t being mowed to FAA standards,” Rouelle said. “We wrote vegetation- and snow- and ice-control plans … and we, just by implementing those plans, we shaved thousands and thousands, and thousands of dollars off of our maintenance.”

Revenues have increased, too, while expenses were reduced. Officials say there was no real accounting of the leases private individuals and companies had on state airports. Rouelle said he now knows “to the dollar” how many leases there are and what they bring in.

“When we dug into those, we found that a lot of the leases … were lapsed and people had not paid. Many were not accurate and people were not paying enough,” he said.

In 2011, the state collected $106,000 per year in leases. Today, it is nearly $400,000. Officials found that some of the leases were so cheap “that it was almost a giveaway.” In recent years the lease costs were revamped and rates were raised to reflect current costs, and the state now uses the consumer price index to determine when rates will rise.

The investments at state airports have helped increase traffic, which has generated additional revenue from fuel sales. In 2011, fuel revenue was $100,000. Now, it is $240,000.

Cole said he is pleased with the efforts made to address lawmakers’ concerns.

“Tremendous efforts were made to reduce that operating deficit. Since we did that, the airports, with the exclusion of Rutland, are more or less paying for themselves. So that was good work,” Cole said. “Hopefully, we will see some growth in this area. They are very valuable, depending on where you are in the state.”

If trends continue, officials believe the airports — as a whole — will soon be generating revenue for the state. Rutland, which is the only state airport that provides daily commercial flights to a major hub, will continue to see losses, but those will be offset by the other nine airports, Rouelle said.

“Once we lock up a couple more business leases on our airports, I think, with the exception of Rutland, two years from now our airports will be operating in the black,” he said. 


Alec Blume: Pilot's life changed because of 9/11

Naperville pilot Alec Blume left the gate at Dulles International Airport to fly to the New York area at roughly the same time the second plane hit the south tower at the World Trade Center in New York.

Pilot Alec Blume left the gate at 9:02 a.m. Sept. 11, 2001, and was cleared for takeoff to Newark, N.J., on runway 19R at Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport when the flight crew was advised to stand by.

New York airspace no longer was accepting flights.

The reason, he was told, was because of "some sort of bombing at the World Trade Center."

His frustrations over not being on time that day immensely changed that September morning as he walked through the Dulles terminal past rows of mortified crowds gazing at televisions.

Two jets had hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center, 10 miles from where he was to land. Another plane that took off from Dulles just 40 minutes before Blume's scheduled flight was burning on the ground at the Pentagon.

Blume said his memories of that day often flood him with the sense of chaos and loss of control: panicked passengers dashing through the airport and flight crews being warned to leave because they could be targets.

At least his wife and children in Naperville were safe, and so was his sister in Manhattan, who could see much of the tragedy unfold from her office.

As a man in his 30s with young children then, Blume said for years he expressed hatred and contempt for the attackers.

"I think at the time I was pretty angry; even a year later I was still upset," said Blume, who has since moved to Lisle in the area served by Naperville School District 203.

Blume said the events of Sept. 11 also burst the bubble on a bloated airline industry, causing a chain reaction.

Not only did the carrier he worked for start to unravel and go out of business, but so did his dream of becoming a pilot with a larger company.

"There is no question that my career was substantially changed," he said. "Everybody's life changed that day."

Blume said his perspective has tempered over the past 15 years, which he attributes to a greater global awareness and maturity.

"It's clear to me that the condemnation of an entire group of people or religion is wrong," he said.

The real people to blame, he said, are individuals who twist their religious beliefs to suit their radical thinking.

That paradigm shift in thinking allowed Blume to work for a company in Saudi Arabia.

He said he frequently travels there on business and has met many Saudi people with strong faith who are friendly and inviting.

"The irony is not lost on me daily," he said.

Although he's no longer in the cockpit, Blume now combines his flight knowledge with his software skills to make airlines safer.

Blume says no one ever should forget 9/11, and terrorist bombings worldwide are evidence of that.

"We can never let down our guard. I know it's still lurking there," Blume said. "I don't spend my days dwelling on it. I'm not going to live in fear.

"What will come next, we don't know."


Defiance Memorial Airport (KDFI) authority files eminent domain action

Defiance County's airport board has filed an eminent domain court action seeking to appropriate property for the facility's runway safety zone.

Attorney Bruce McGary of Mason, representing the Defiance County Regional Airport Authority, filed the suit in Defiance County Common Pleas Court asking that property and the residence of Ronald and Edna Burdine at 07512 Evansport Road be taken to ensure the safety zone.

The suit proposes that the Burdines be compensated with $100,000.

The Burdines live in a mobile home on the property which also includes two garages and a pond.

According to the suit, the Burdines' property is "contiguous to, and within the runway protection zone for safety of the Defiance County Memorial Airport."

Among other safety reasons, the property is needed for tree removal to eliminate current and future obstructions, according to the suit.

The property is located just east of the airport, and the trees in question are on the west side of the land. The Burdines' residence is on the east side of the property, along Evansport Road.

The suit contains a provision that the Burdines — an elderly couple — "shall have ownership, possession and uses of the property themselves, during the term of each respondent's natural life, as long as one of the respondents shall reside on the property ... ."

The proviso also contains restrictions on what the Burdines could do with their property such as not adding or altering "the character of the improvements or structures" or "initiate any new construction, or change the topography of the land" without appropriate permission.

And the court action seeks requirements that trees be removed "that are currently obstructions" and "may become obstructions in the future."

The airport authority's hired consultant — Jeff Kramer of the firm Stantec in Columbus — noted that under Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, "where practical, airport owners should own the property under the runway approach and departure areas to at least the limits of the runway protection zone."

According to Kramer, the proposed property take has nothing to do with future plans to extend the airport's runway.

He confirmed that there was an attempt to reach an easement agreement with the Burdines before the eminent domain proposal was filed, but this was declined.

The Burdines' attorney, Sean O'Donnell of Defiance, stated Thursday that "we're reviewing the pleadings and preparing a response."


Bob Reece finds his passion in aircraft

Bob Reece inspects a small plane he helps maintain.

A 7-year-old Bob Reece (right) stands with his older brother after taking his first airplane ride costing $2.

Bob Reece removes one of the spark plugs from a small plane's engine as part of its maintenance.

When one hears the words "Experimental Aircraft Association," images of tiny green men and flying saucers at the secretive Area 51 Air Force facility might come to mind, but fear not, there is no impending Martian invasion coming as far as we know.

The term "experimental aircraft" is used by the Federal Aviation Administration to classify and license aircraft that are assembled by private owners in garages or hangars as opposed to those that are built commercially.

The EAA was founded in 1953 by Paul H. Poberezny and a group of individuals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who were interested in building their own airplanes.

Since then the association's membership has grown to more than 170,000 members from 92 different countries worldwide, and more than half a million people and 12,000-16,000 aircraft attend a week long convention and fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, every year.

Bob Reece, of San Angelo, builds, repairs and flies his own airplanes and completed his 47th straight year of participating with the EAA this past summer.

"I had read about the EAA, and I was interested in buying my own aircraft," Reece said. "At that time in the mid-1960s, I didn't fly, have a license or own an aircraft."

That did not stop Reece, who first attended the association's first Oshkosh fly-in in 1970 and now serves as chairman of the EAA judging standards committee.

He both writes and revises the judging manual and is also chairman of the home built experimental judging group.

Reece did not just leave his passion in Wisconsin though. In 1972, he helped organize San Angelo's local chapter of the EAA that now has about 40 members.

Even after retiring from his career work, Reece has continued repairing, maintaining and inspecting planes for people.

"You can go out and buy an (aircraft) that's already built, but what have you learned? You've learned how to write a check," Reece said laughing. "But you don't really know anything about that aircraft. If you build it, you know every nut, bolt and rivet about that airplane."

So what does 47 years of hard work, service and dedication get you? Well, the very prestigious Lindy Award and one proud wife, of course.

The Lindy Award, named after famous American aviator Charles Lindbergh, who made the first solo transatlantic flight, is the highest award given by the EAA and takes the form of a "brick" at the historical Brown Arch at the flight line at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. It's a path many aviators consider a gateway to aviation for attendees and visitors.

The brick reads, "Your leadership, integrity, and commitment to the aircraft judging program has made it the standard for all fly-in. The Lindy Award is recognized worldwide as the highest achievement in aircraft craftsmanship."

That commitment comes as no surprise to Beccye Reece, Reece's wife of 37 years.

"He's very devoted to aviation. Anything he does in and about aviation is not only interesting to him, but he's going to do it and do it right," Beccye said. "It's just wonderful to be with someone who's devoted to something that's not just a passing fancy."

When your heart is in something as much as Reece's is in aviation, it can help to overcome many obstacles, like triple-bypass surgery.

"When he had heart surgery several years ago, he was three weeks away from going to Washington for a fly-in there that he was also in charge of judging," Beccye said. "He was there then home for two weeks before he left again for Oshkosh. He got well from his surgery really quick because he was involved and focused though."

Reece said even though it has been a long time, he has no intentions of stopping any time soon, proving once and for all that if you do what you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.

Anyone interested in the EAA can join the local chapter's meeting on the third Tuesday night of each month at 7 p.m. at Joe's Italian Restaurant, 1601 S. Bryant Blvd.


Hefty Polar Cub, N62905: Fatal accident occurred September 10, 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska

Curt Hefty: 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: ANC16FA065
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 10, 2016 in Anchorage, AK
Aircraft: HEFTY Polar Cub, registration: N62905
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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 10, 2016 about 1630 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped, experimental amateur-built, Hefty Polar Cub airplane, N62905, was destroyed following a loss of control and subsequent impact with tree-covered terrain in a residential neighborhood in Anchorage, Alaska. The pilot was fatally injured, and a postcrash fire incinerated the airplane. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal local flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight reportedly originated in southwest Anchorage from Jewell Lake, about 1500, but the actual departure time and route of flight are unknown. 

According to a friend of the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to fly over a proposed hunting site near Willow, Alaska, and then return to Anchorage. The friend related that the pilot and a group of friends were planning a fly-in hunt later in the week.

During on-scene interviews with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on September 10, multiple witnesses consistently reported that they observed the accident airplane complete two, low level, high speed, 360-degree right turns over the lower hillside neighborhood. The witnesses said that the accident airplane's first 360-degree turn was accomplished at an altitude between 150 and 200 feet above ground level (agl), but the second pass was much lower. One homeowner stated that as the airplane passed over his home, it was about 50 feet above his roofline. 

The witnesses also reported that the accident airplane's bank angle increased significantly on the second 360-degree right turn. One pilot-rated witness that observed the airplane's steep turns estimated the bank angle in excess of 60 degrees during the second 360-degree turn.

Multiple witnesses reported hearing the airplane's engine operating in a manner consistent with high power settings throughout both 360-degree right turns. 

Witnesses near the accident site reported that as the airplane completed the second, steep, 360-right turn, the nose of the airplane pitched down, and it began a rapid nose down descent. The engine rpm then increased significantly, and the wings rolled level just before impacting a stand of tall trees adjacent to a home. During the collision sequence the airplane's floats were severed, and the airplane subsequently descended onto a neighborhood road, coming to rest inverted. A postcrash fire ensued about 30 seconds after impact, which quickly engulfed the entire airplane. 

The closest official weather observation station is located at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. On September 10, 2016, at 1553, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, in part: Wind 230 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 miles; ceiling and clouds, few at 2,500 feet; temperature 63 degrees F; dew point 43 degrees F; altimeter 30.14 inHg.

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

The Anchorage Police Department says a float plane crashed near O’Malley Road on Hillside. APD confirmed the pilot, 75-year-old James Hefty, did not survive the crash. 

AFD Assistant Chief Erich Scheunemann said fire crews on scene had confirmed Hefty was the only person onboard when the plane crashed. National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Clint Johnson said a dog was also onboard and died as well.

APD said multiple calls were made to 911 reporting the crash around 4:30 p.m., spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said in a phone interview. The crash occurred in the area of Crooked Creek Drive and O’Malley Road, officials said.

Scheunemann confirmed the aircraft was on fire, but has since been put out.

“It appears no residential homes were affected by the crash,” police said in a statement.

Roger Heiligenthal was walking his dog Chinook when he heard the plane overhead.

“He circled once and then a second time,” Heiligenthal said. “And as he’s circling, instead of flying level with the horizon — I’m not a pilot — but he was sort of tipped like this, so the wings were tipped inward and he kept circling as if he might have been in distress.”

Heiligenthal said when the pilot circled a third time, he knew there was a problem.

“The next thing I know, he was right there in front of us. Hit the trees, and just came barreling in,” he recalled.

The plane crashed through trees and came to rest on the roadway near Heiligenthal, catching fire.

“I kept yelling and yelling, ‘help, help!’” he said. “Called 911 and they were there in less than five minutes.”

Carolyn Nickles said she also witnessed the crash after hearing the plane pass by.

“I stood up and decided to go around that house and that’s when I saw the plane nose dive,” she said. “I didn’t see the whole plane. I knew it was definitely going to go. And then the huge impact afterwards.”

Heiligenthal said he believes if he had gone on his walk a minute later, he and Chinook would likely have been victims as well.

“I had no clue that he was going to be coming in my direction,” he said. “But it happened so fast and I’m just thankful for myself and my dog but I’m also grieving for the family of the pilot. I do grieve for the family because it’s just one of those things that you never know. You never know.”

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration have been notified of the crash and are investigating. Johnson said the scene would cleared by the end of the night and the wreckage moved to a hangar for further examination.

He said the plane has been identified as a homebuilt “Polar Cub,” which is similar to a Piper Super Cub plane in structure and appearance. Johnson said it was too early in the investigation to rule anything out for the cause of the crash, and they have not yet identified any major contributions.

The NTSB is asking that if anyone witnessed the crash or saw the plane flying in the area just prior to the crash to please call 907-782-4849 if they have not already been interviewed.

Johnson said there was no property damage outside of the trees the plane struck, and no one else was injured by the crash.


A small, homemade floatplane crashed and burst into flames on a street in a major residential subdivision on the Anchorage Hillside Saturday afternoon, killing the pilot, the only person on board, and his dog, authorities said.

No home was struck or damaged and a man walking his dog on the street just as the single-engine plane came down was uninjured, they said.

The crash was reported at 4:30 p.m. on Crooked Tree Drive just north of Treeline Court. The site was less than 1 mile from the O'Malley Road fire station, and crews were on scene within minutes and quickly extinguished the blaze, said Assistant Anchorage Fire Chief Erich Scheunemann.

Neighbors reported hearing and seeing the plane circling low over houses and treetops. One said it made a pass at a safe altitude before making a second pass much closer to the ground just before it crashed.

The skeletal aluminum frame of the plane was upside down on the side of the road, a blackened, downed spruce tree nearby.

A woman from the State Medical Examiner's Office first removed the dog from the incinerated plane, wrapping it in a white cloth she carried with both hands. Then the pilot's body was removed in a shroud on a stretcher.

The cause of the crash wasn't immediately known. Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board's Anchorage regional office, was on scene and leading the investigation with assistance from the Anchorage Police Department, which had interviewed some of the witnesses.

Johnson said the aircraft was a homemade plane similar to a Super Cub. The plane first clipped some trees before crashing and its floats remained stuck in the trees.

Johnson said the plane was fueled by gasoline stored in wing tanks, which ignited and burned the plane's fabric shell and partially melted its aluminum frame.

Authorities had not determined the identity of the pilot Saturday evening and Johnson said they were assuming it was man, though they weren't positive. Police had an idea about who the pilot was, and some officers were with the family of that person, Johnson said.

Though the plane was badly burned, some cockpit instruments might yield clues about what happened, he said.

Johnson said he hadn't determined where the plane had begun its flight. He said he wasn't sure yet about the plane's registration number.

Keith Kniegge, who lives on Double Tree Court, a nearby street, said he was sitting at his computer when he heard the plane.

"It was really low, really close to our house," Kniegge said.

He said the plane came from the south and banked right as it headed toward Crooked Tree Drive.

Johnson said he was at his home in South Anchorage when he heard sirens. Then he got the call it was a plane crash.

While a lot of the clues that might explain the crash were burned, the investigation would benefit from the neighbors who saw and heard what happened, Johnson said.

"We're blessed with a number of witnesses, a lot of them pilot-rated," Johnson said at an impromptu news conference at the scene. The witnesses told authorities the pilot had made a couple of low passes over the neighborhood before crashing, Johnson said, barely missing the pedestrian and his dog.