Friday, September 16, 2016

San Mateo County gets more angry feedback about Surf Air noise

San Mateo County said the dark band on this aerial photo shows the route used by planes headed to the San Carlos , including Surf Air, on an instrument-guided route. 

The dark band on this aerial photo shows the route used by Surf Air planes headed to the San Carlos Airport when they are allowed to use a visual conditions route. In July the FAA allowed the airline to use the route for a six-month test when weather and air traffic conditions allow.


San Mateo County was looking for feedback from the public about noise issues connected with the county-owned and operated San Carlos Airport when it held the second of two town hall meetings on Sept. 14. Feedback is what they received – some of it angry and confrontational.

A crowd of nearly 150 people filled up a meeting room at the Fair Oaks Community Center in Redwood City, with so many asking to speak that the meeting time had to be extended by a half hour to accommodate them.

Most of the speakers said they were angry at Surf Air, the airline that started using the San Carlos Airport in June 2013. Surf Air said it had been scheduling up to 24 round-trip flights a day to and from San Carlos. Its customers, numbering about 1,000 in the Bay Area, pay a monthly fee for unlimited flights within California and to Las Vegas on PC-12 turbo-prop planes carrying a maximum of nine people.

"Why don't you have a quieter airplane to fly over our homes at 1,000 feet?" an audience member shouted to Surf Air representative Jim Sullivan, the airline's senior vice president of operations. "It's unbearable," the man said. "We're losing sleep."

Another audience member said the "root cause" of the noise problem is the county giving Surf Air a permit to use the airport. "You should probably grow some cajones and pull the permit and see what happens," he demanded.

John Nibbelin, a chief deputy county counsel for San Mateo County, said that the Federal Aviation Administration restricts what the county can do with the airport. "This is an area that's highly regulated by the federal government," he said. "We're doing the very best we can to assure people's rights are protected."

He said the "notion that there's a permit we can pull" is incorrect.

The hearing was one part of a study approved in March by the Board of Supervisors to look at noise issues connected with the San Carlos Airport. Consultants are also looking at regulations at other similar airports, studying the historic flight data at the San Carlos Airport and polling residents who live under the flight path.

A report on the consultants' findings is expected to come back to the supervisors in late October or early November.

Carolyn Clebsch, who lives in North Fair Oaks, said for 10 years she had held meditation retreats in her garden. Now, she said, the noise from Surf Air planes means she can no longer do so. "I feel the county and Surf have taken my property," she said. "I can not use my own garden for my own livelihood."

Jennifer Acheson, an attorney from Atherton who said she was taught to fly by her father, said the noise from the planes wakes her up. "This community was here before the noise came," she said. Since the county has argued that it cannot do anything that would discriminate against one airport user, "shutting down the airport would be non-discriminatory," she said. She also mentioned a possible class-action nuisance lawsuit.

In an effort to remove some of its planes from the flight path that takes them over the Midpeninsula, Surf Air in July began flying a new route that takes it over the Bay. Many of the Sunnyvale residents at the meeting said they believe the new route is now over their homes.

Surf Air said it is now using the new route a little more than 50 percent of the time.

Sunnyvale resident Kerri Webb said Sunnyvale is "the dumping ground" for the Surf Air noise. "We hate Surf Air, too," she said. "They sound like go-carts in the sky."

Another Sunnyvale resident, Rachel She, had a similar complaint. "You're basically just taking the waste from one back yard and dumping it in another," she said.

After the meeting, however, airport manager Gretchen Kelly said that while the San Carlos Airport has received 333 noise complaints from 61 households in Sunnyvale since Surf Air began flying the new approach, only two of the households making complaints are actually under the new flight path. "The other 59 homes were already impacted by Surf Air flights prior to the implementation" of the new approach, she said.

While flights headed to the San Carlos Airport have received most of the attention in the past, several speakers at the meeting also complained about the airline's departing flights.

"We do have problems with the take-offs," said Barbara Huoschinsky of Redwood Shores.

Lorianna Kastrop of Redwood Village said the Surf Air noise "is like a freeway has been moved over our heads." She said she especially objects to the fact that a service "for wealthy commuters" is making a profit by victimizing residents.

Surf Air did give the audience some good news: On Monday, Sept. 19, the airline was scheduled to reduce flights from a maximum of 24-round trips a day to a maximum of 18 round trips a day.

Mr. Sullivan said the schedule adjustment was made for business reasons.

San Mateo County was looking for feedback from the public about noise issues connected with the county-owned and operated San Carlos Airport when it held the second of two town hall meetings on Sept. 14. Feedback is what they received – some of it angry and confrontational.

A crowd of nearly 150 people filled up a meeting room at the Fair Oaks Community Center in Redwood City, with so many asking to speak that the meeting time had to be extended by a half hour to accommodate them.

Most of the speakers said they were angry at Surf Air, the airline that started using the San Carlos Airport in June 2013. Surf Air said it had been scheduling up to 24 round-trip flights a day to and from San Carlos. Its customers, numbering about 1,000 in the Bay Area, pay a monthly fee for unlimited flights within California and to Las Vegas on PC-12 turbo-prop planes carrying a maximum of nine people.

"Why don't you have a quieter airplane to fly over our homes at 1,000 feet?" an audience member shouted to Surf Air representative Jim Sullivan, the airline's senior vice president of operations. "It's unbearable," the man said. "We're losing sleep."

Another audience member said the "root cause" of the noise problem is the county giving Surf Air a permit to use the airport. "You should probably grow some cajones and pull the permit and see what happens," he demanded.

John Nibbelin, a chief deputy county counsel for San Mateo County, said that the Federal Aviation Administration restricts what the county can do with the airport. "This is an area that's highly regulated by the federal government," he said. "We're doing the very best we can to assure people's rights are protected."

He said the "notion that there's a permit we can pull" is incorrect.

The hearing was one part of a study approved in March by the Board of Supervisors to look at noise issues connected with the San Carlos Airport. Consultants are also looking at regulations at other similar airports, studying the historic flight data at the San Carlos Airport and polling residents who live under the flight path.

A report on the consultants' findings is expected to come back to the supervisors in late October or early November.

Carolyn Clebsch, who lives in North Fair Oaks, said for 10 years she had held meditation retreats in her garden. Now, she said, the noise from Surf Air planes means she can no longer do so. "I feel the county and Surf have taken my property," she said. "I can not use my own garden for my own livelihood."

Jennifer Acheson, an attorney from Atherton who said she was taught to fly by her father, said the noise from the planes wakes her up. "This community was here before the noise came," she said. Since the county has argued that it cannot do anything that would discriminate against one airport user, "shutting down the airport would be non-discriminatory," she said. She also mentioned a possible class-action nuisance lawsuit.

In an effort to remove some of its planes from the flight path that takes them over the Midpeninsula, Surf Air in July began flying a new route that takes it over the Bay. Many of the Sunnyvale residents at the meeting said they believe the new route is now over their homes.

Surf Air said it is now using the new route a little more than 50 percent of the time.

Sunnyvale resident Kerri Webb said Sunnyvale is "the dumping ground" for the Surf Air noise. "We hate Surf Air, too," she said. "They sound like go-carts in the sky."

Another Sunnyvale resident, Rachel She, had a similar complaint. "You're basically just taking the waste from one back yard and dumping it in another," she said.

After the meeting, however, airport manager Gretchen Kelly said that while the San Carlos Airport has received 333 noise complaints from 61 households in Sunnyvale since Surf Air began flying the new approach, only two of the households making complaints are actually under the new flight path. "The other 59 homes were already impacted by Surf Air flights prior to the implementation" of the new approach, she said.

While flights headed to the San Carlos Airport have received most of the attention in the past, several speakers at the meeting also complained about the airline's departing flights.

"We do have problems with the take-offs," said Barbara Huoschinsky of Redwood Shores.

Lorianna Kastrop of Redwood Village said the Surf Air noise "is like a freeway has been moved over our heads." She said she especially objects to the fact that a service "for wealthy commuters" is making a profit by victimizing residents.

Surf Air did give the audience some good news: On Monday, Sept. 19, the airline was scheduled to reduce flights from a maximum of 24 round-trips a day to a maximum of 18 round-trips a day.

Mr. Sullivan said the schedule adjustment was made for business reasons.

Source:   http://www.almanacnews.com

Michael Goulian: Pilot wraps art and athleticism into one

Elite aerobatic pilot Michael Goulian will perform this year at the Salinas Airshow Sept. 24-25




Before Michael Goulian dons his helmet, puts on his gloves and clambers into the cockpit of his high-performance aerobatic plane, he puts his ear buds in, turns the music up and wanders off alone for a few minutes.

It’s during these pre-flight rituals -- meditations, really -- where he will mentally fly every twist and turn of his 12-minute aerobatic routine. It’s during these ground sessions that Goulian becomes one with his carbon fiber and steel tube-constructed stunt plane.

“I use this time time to focus and to go through each maneuver in my mind. It helps my performance,” Goulian said.

Goulian, 48, considered one of the very best aerobatic and air racing pilots, is coming to the California International Airshow Salinas next weekend at Salinas Municipal Airport.

“Salinas is always a favorite stop for us. It’s just so well organized and managed and the fans -- well, there’s nothing like the Salinas fans,” Goulian said.

Goulian, of Winthrop, Mass., will fly his powerful 400 horsepower Extra 330SC stunt plane over the skies of Salinas, joining a number of aerial actsin the show including the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds flight demonstration team.

Goulian said that he learned to fly before he could even drive a car and soloed a Cessna 150 on his 16th birthday in 1984.

He began his aerobatic training in 1985 during his pilot study. While earning his living as a corporate airline pilot, Goulian worked his way toward the top ranks of airshow display flying and competition aerobatics. He became a U.S. National Champion in the Advanced Category at age 22 -- making him the youngest pilot ever to have won that competition.

In 1992, Goulian became the top-ranked U.S. male aerobatic pilot and silver medalist in the Unlimited Category, an achievement he repeated in 1993. In 1995, he became the U.S. National Champion in the Unlimited Category. He was a member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

In 2006, Goulian was awarded the prestigious Art Scholl Memorial Award for airshow showmanship by the International Council of Airshows (ICAS).

Goulian has been married to wife, Karin, since 2000. Together they have a daughter, Emily, born in 2006.

Salinas Airshow Executive Director Bruce Adams said aviation experts agree that Goulian is among the very top elite when it comes to aerobatics and racing.

“But what sets Mike apart from the rest, is that with all his success and fame, he remains an extremely humble and grounded family man, and is one of the nicest and most genuine person you will ever meet,” Adams said. “Mike considers Salinas to be one of his two favorite shows in the U.S., and flies his heart out every time he is here.”

Jim Skillicorn, director of air operations for the Salinas Airshow and a corporate pilot himself, agreed.

“Mike delivers a high-energy, crowd-stopping performance but yet is one that seems so natural and smooth,” Skillicorn said.

For his aerobatic exhibitions, Goulian flies the German-made Extra 330SC -- an aircraft he and other airshow pilots think may represent the virtual state of the art.

“This is the best aerobatic airplane I have ever owned,” said Goulian, who added that the difference between the 330SC and his former air show plane, the Extra 300SHP, is its wing design which increased his maneuverability and roll-rate while in the air.

Goulian says that in order to get the most out of his airplane, he has to remain in top physical shape. So when he’s not in the cockpit, he can found on a road bike or in the gym. He says he’s already logged some 200 miles on his bike this month.

But in the end, it’s all about making the experience of attending an airshow a great one, he says.

“In the 12 minutes I have, my goal is make you see the power, the art and the physics of the flying I’m doing. My goal is to evoke an emotion out of my fans. If I’ve done that then I’ve accomplished my job.”

Joining Goulian this year is a great lineup of aerial performers. Here’s a list of pilots or acts in the show on Saturday and Sunday.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

Parachute teams -- The U.S. Army’s Golden Knights team and the Liberty Jump Team which honors the paratroopers for World War II.

Anna Serbinenko

Metal Mulisha Motocross team

Monster trucks

A variety of World War II-era warbirds will be on hand -- some on static display, some flying

“Wall of Fire” show center explodes into flames

Pilot Mark Peterson in his Dornier Alpha Jet.

Folks, a final thought: We’re all very lucky to have an airshow in our town -- and not just any airshow but one that has established a national reputation for excellence and one that the best pilots actively seek out to fly.

The fact that this airshow is put on by a nonprofit, is organized by hundreds of volunteers and has given millions back to local charities should all be enough to capture your attention and civic support.

But while I think that’s all good the true gift of the California International Airshow Salinas is much more subtle but no less profound. It comes during that that moment when a plane streaks past and a child looks up into the sky and says, “Mom, Dad -- I’m going to do that, too, one day. I’m going to learn how to fly.”

It’s at that moment when all the hard work of these tireless volunteers pays off and the simple but often life-altering inspiration that is flight takes hold.

To buy tickets or find out more about your airshow, go online to: www.salinasairshow.com

Michael Goulian’s Extra 330SC at a glance:

Wingspan: 24.6 feet
Engine: 350 HP Lycoming Thunderbolt
Propeller: Hartzell “Claw” composite
Construction: Carbon fiber / steel tube fuselage
Top speed: 250 mph
Stall speed: 60 mph
Roll rate: 380 degrees/second
G limits: Plus / Minus 12

Source:   http://www.thecalifornian.com

Hillsboro, Texas: Flight paramedic honored

Hillsboro flight paramedic Christi Jordan, left, was recently named Air Evac Lifeteam’s Region 5 Base Clinical Lead of the Year. She is pictured with Senior Program Director Steve Clinkscales. 



HILLSBORO, Texas (KWTX) A flight paramedic and base clinical lead for the Hillsboro-based Air Evac Lifeteam has been honored.

Christi Jordan was named Region 5 Base Clinical Lead of the Year.

The award is presented to a flight nurse or paramedic “who demonstrates accountability, initiative, integrity, endurance, enthusiasm, dedication and a commitment to his or her own personal and professional growth as well as a commitment to the growth and development of colleagues,” Air Evac Lifeteam said in a press release Friday.

“Christi is a servant leader who truly cares about her fellow crew members, her base and her community,” Pete Wolf, regional director of base operations, said.

“She ensures that her fellow crew members have every chance for success and can provide access and safe care to the communities we serve.”

Source:  http://www.kwtx.com

Airplane Noise Frustration Continues in Bethesda With No Solution in Sight: Federal aviation officials say flight path change required to streamline air traffic

Airplane departure routes before NextGen (left) fanned out more over Bethesda, whereas after NextGen (right) they're taking a narrow flight path



Bethesda and Potomac residents came out in force to a community meeting Thursday night in Bethesda to try to determine what can be done to reduce the significant airplane noise they’ve been experiencing since December.

While FAA officials explained to the more than 60 people that streamed in and out of the room why there are more planes passing over their neighborhoods, a resolution to the noise problem was not discussed at the informal meeting at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.

That didn’t satisfy Irving Lieberman, a resident of Bethesda’s Westhaven neighborhood who attended the meeting and said he was awakened at 5:30 a.m. that day by airplane noise. He said the FAA should not be allowing planes to take off early in the morning or late at night.

“I found out what the problem is,” Lieberman said. “But I didn’t hear solutions.”

Other residents had similar complaints.

“In the last year it’s gotten a lot worse,” Bannockburn resident Anne Hollander said. “I hear really loud airplanes as early as 5:30 a.m. and, when I try to go to sleep at night, as late as midnight.”

“I’ve been noticing more planes, a lot more,” Bannockburn resident Bekki Sims added. “When I moved here 26 years ago, I didn’t even think about the flight plan, now I’ve noticed it.”

A Sumner resident complained about hearing airplane noise “all the time” and another local resident brought a decibel meter with her to the meeting, which she said she uses to measure the aircraft noise.

FAA officials told residents the increase in plane traffic was due to a December flight path change designed to increase the efficiency of flights headed out of Reagan National Airport as well as to avoid exclusionary flight zones around the White House and the Capitol.

The result has been a dramatic increase in the number of flights using automated navigation systems to travel through a tight turn window just south of the I-270 split, over western Bethesda, after flying over the Potomac River. Before the flight path shift, planes would fan out north of Bethesda after flying over the river.

John Belk, a performance-based navigation technical lead at the FAA, said Thursday the change was part of a national plan, called NextGen, that’s designed to handle airlines’ increasing demand for more flights by creating networks of highways in the sky to streamline and automate air traffic.

The FAA is undergoing the federal government’s review of NextGen and is taking public comments about the policy on its website. However, it’s unclear if the December flight plan change will be altered given that an FAA informational document about it says the agency issued a finding that the change had “no significant impact” and that finding was based on a “detailed noise analysis.”

However, Montgomery County took its own noise samples in early August that found jet aircraft noise levels on Broxburn Drive in Bethesda reaching between 56 to 66 decibels on the ground—noise equivalent to a conversation or an air conditioner.

Residents affected by the increased noise have lobbied local officials including Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen. In July, Van Hollen and Leggett sent a joint letter to the FAA detailing their concerns, describing the flight path change as “disastrous.”

“The noise impact from the constant stream of aircraft over these neighborhoods is intolerable,” the elected officials said in a joint statement with County Council member Roger Berliner. “FAA should not be looking at tweaks to a failed system. Instead, they need to employ their expertise to establish procedures that reverse the current detrimental impacts to county residents.”

Source:   http://www.bethesdamagazine.com

Miramar Air Show adopts tighter security



Organizers of the three-day Miramar Air Show are clamping down on security this year, canceling the Saturday twilight event and requiring large bags to be made of clear plastic.


The show -- hosted since 1953 by the Navy and then the Marines -- will still be held Friday through Sunday, Sept. 23 to 25, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Marine officials said cancellation of Saturday evening’s performances will help them avoid overextending security personnel during the show’s busiest day.


The tougher security is a response to terrorist attacks around the world and puts the air show, which is expected to attract 500,000 spectators over the three days, in line with security measures used by the National Football League, said Lt. Col. Scott Rooker, Miramar Marine Corps Air Station’s provost marshal, or police chief.


“Anybody who watches the news has seen what’s happened in France, we know what happened in San Bernardino and the things that happened in Chattanooga (Tennessee) with the Marine reserve center there. Because of that, we take security very, very seriously,” Rooker said.


“There’s no known, credible threat to anything at the air show,” he said. “But we want to take everything seriously, and make sure we are very focused on everyone having a safe and enjoyable show.”


Tighter precautions are a trend at military air shows, according to the president of the International Council of Air Shows.


“Everything I’ve seen indicates there is an increased level of security this year, as compared to the recent past,” said John Cudahy, council president, who said he saw metal detectors being used for the first time at two military air shows he attended this year.


“Nothing too dramatic or too much of an imposition,” he added. “I had not heard of another show that did clear bags.”


It’s an open question whether the cancellation of the Saturday twilight show will hurt attendance.


Rooker said he doesn’t think so, based on ticket sales so far for VIP seating. However, Cudahy said an attendance hit seems inevitable.


Visitors to Miramar for the air show will be allowed to bring a tote-bag-like carryall if it is made of clear plastic. They also can have one small handheld bag — what the Marines are calling a “clutch.” If the clutch is not see-through, it will be subject to further inspection.


The Marines are calling these requirements their “let’s be clear" policy. Photos of what’s considered acceptable, plus more details, are available at miramarairshow.com.


Another change to entrance policy is that no coolers or ice chests will be permitted, although outside food can still be brought to the base — in the clear bags.


Also, people older than 18 will be required to show a photo I.D.


The following aspects haven’t changed: The show is still free, and it will feature the Navy’s Blue Angels elite flying team as well as the Navy’s Leap Frogs and the Army’s Golden Knights parachute teams.


Other scheduled performance highlights: The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, the American military’s newest jet, will do a demonstration. So will the Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey. And an Air Force F-16 jet is expected to demonstrate its abilities. 


Marines from Miramar and Camp Pendleton will show off their everyday work with a display of the Marine Air Ground Task Force in action.


Civilian performers will include the Breitling L-39 Jet Team from Europe, on the second year of a two-year tour. The air show council’s Cudahy said that team offers more of an air “ballet,” compared to the high-adrenaline style of the Blue Angels.


Civilian Sean Tucker’s “Oracle Challenger” and the Shockwave Jet Truck also are scheduled to make appearances.


Nationally, air shows have basically recouped their attendance following a disastrous 2013, Cudahy said. That’s when deep federal budget cuts and a government shutdown spurred the Pentagon to cancel military outreach events, including the Miramar show.


This is the 70th anniversary of the Blue Angels, and the team is back at full strength after losing one of its members to a June 2 fatal crash during team practice in Tennessee.


The Navy on Thursday announced that the pilot, 32-year-old Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, was at error in the crash, with weather and pilot fatigue as contributing factors. The move that he was attempting before the crash, the “split S,” has been removed from the team’s lineup.


Cmdr. Frank Weisser has replaced Kuss as Blue Angels No. 6, the opposing lead solo pilot.


The Blue Angels squadron was established because Adm. Chester Nimitz wanted to keep naval aviation in the minds of Americans following the importance of Navy air power in winning World War II.


Headquartered in Pensacola, Fla., the team calls El Centro, about 110 miles from San Diego in the Imperial County desert, its winter home. The F/A-18s used in the aerial stunts are largely the same as the ones the Navy and Marines fly in combat.


Not everyone enjoys the display of U.S. military air power.


The San Diego chapter of Veterans For Peace has been protesting the Miramar Air Show since last fall. The group, with about 120 members, hopes to convince visitors to stop attending the annual event, with an eye toward eventually seeing it go away.


The group has been holding a weekly Thursday afternoon protest on the Carroll Canyon overpass of Interstate 15 for two months, said organizer Dave Patterson.


“We need to get people to think about ways to solve our problems other than using military force,” said Patterson, a Vietnam-era Air Force veteran. “And the Miramar show sells military force as a fun, exciting solution to our problems.”


Meanwhile, leaders of Miramar and its 3rd Marine Air Wing said they are proud to continue hosting what has been called the largest military air show in the country.


IF YOU GO:


Gates open 8 a.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Major performances begin 9 a.m.
Blue Angels start at 3 p.m. and close out the show
General admission is free. Grandstand, box seat and “chalet” tickets are sold for varying prices.
Parking: Use North, East/Main or West gates
Security: Only clear plastic bags will be allowed, in addition to one small handheld “clutch” bag per person
ID: People over 18 must show a photo ID
No coolers or ice chests

For more information, miramarairshow.com


Let’s be CLEAR about Air Show Security

NEW SECURITY MEASURES FOR 2016

PERMITTED ITEMS

Be prepared to show a Photo ID to expedite your access into the Air Show
You can carry keys, makeup, feminine products, comb, phone, wallet, credit cards, etc. in their pockets if they choose not to put them in a clear bag or clutch.
You can carry binoculars and/or cameras around their neck or in their hands with or without the case.
One large clear bag per person is allowed
Either a one-gallon Ziploc style bag or a commercially purchased clear bag – plus a small clutch for personal items.
The larger clear bag must be a made of clear PVC vinyl and is easily searched.
The one-gallon Ziploc bag is readily available, inexpensive and easily searched. The small clutch allows privacy for small personal items and also is easily searched.
Unlike some event venues, we are not banning all bags. Small clutch purses, with or without a handle or strap, are permitted along with either the large clear bag or the one-gallon freezer bag.
Large traditional seat cushions that have pockets, zippers, compartments, or covers are not permitted. Clear seat cushions and seat pads without pockets, zippers, compartments, or covers are permitted
Diapers can be carried in a clear bag. Each member of a family, including children, would be allowed to carry an approved clear bag and a clutch purse on the flight line.
An exception will be made for medical necessary items after proper inspection at a specified lane at each gate designated for this purpose

PROHIBITED ITEMS

In addition to the permitted/prohibited items listed above, here are some other prohibited items:

Bags, Purses, Totes, backpacks & other types of baggage other than bags conforming to the new Clear Bag Policy will not be permitted.
Weapons of any kind (regardless of permit) to include but not limited to: firearms, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), replica or toy weapons, pepper spray, mace, stun guns, and martial arts weapons
Outside Alcoholic beverages ( those not purchased at the Air Show)
Ice chests or coolers that are not medically required
Pets, other than service animals
Glass containers
Bicycles, roller skates, roller blades, (kick and electric) scooters, skateboards, or hover boards
No personal Drones (i.e. quad or hex copters) allowed to operate on Federal Property or airspace
Lasers or laser pointers
Federally banned substances such as illicit narcotics

Source:  http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com

Helicopter school coming to Schaumburg Regional Airport



Schaumburg Regional Airport -- already a home base for many of the Chicago area's news helicopters -- will soon be a place where students can learn to fly such hovering aircraft.

Village trustees this week approved Midwest Helicopter Academy's proposal to rent an office and hangar space there.

The academy operates in Sauget, Illinois, near St. Louis, and is affiliated with St. Louis University.

CEO Chris Bailey intends to create a new branch of the academy in Schaumburg to train qualified pilots for the Chicago area's growing aviation industry, according to village officials.

Schaumburg Transportation Manager Richard Bascomb said the village-owned airport has provided space for flight schools before.

While businesses of different types have leased space at the airport, maintaining a focus on aviation-related uses helps the facility achieve its potential, he added.

Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson agreed.

"I think it's important to have the airport develop along those lines," he said. "Certainly all the news helicopters are based at Schaumburg."

Airport Manager Erik Trydal said he's still working with Midwest Helicopter Academy on establishing a start date for its operations in Schaumburg.

The plan is for the academy to start with just one certified flight and ground school instructor and one helicopter. A second helicopter is expected to be added within three months.

To be eligible to lease the office and hangar spaces, Midwest Helicopter Academy had to provide a letter of verification that it has working capital of at least $25,000 not including the value of its equipment and facilities.

The academy belongs to a category of flight schools that must be periodically audited by the Federal Aviation Administration through no-notice inspections, use an FAA-approved training course and maintain a minimum student performance rate of 80 percent or above to pass its students.

Source: http://www.dailyherald.com

Flying the Ford: Early smokejumpers take to skies again with aircraft visit



NAMPA — Rocky Stone walked toward the waiting 1928 Ford Tri-Motor airplane, shrugging on his green and white Smokejumpers jacket from his four-summer stint working for the U.S. Forest Service in McCall in the late 1950s.

The first thing 82-year-old Stone noticed Thursday, when he came to the Nampa Municipal Airport for a ride, was the sound: The Tri-Motor he jumped from to fight forest fires back in the day had different engines.

“This is quiet,” Stone observed from his seat inside the cabin when the three engines started up. “This is not as loud as it used to be.”

The interior of the Tri-Motor that he jumped from had a lot less of everything. Instead of the wood paneling and padded seats, it was empty down to the aircraft’s stark metal walls so the smokejumpers could have plenty of room for their gear. They would parachute from the airplane at about 1,000 feet to the scene of a wildland fire, leaving their packs inside. Then, the plane would make a low pass again, and a spotter would push the packs, which also had parachutes attached, out after them.

Stone, a college student and former paratrooper in the Korean War, was one of several dozen smokejumpers stationed in McCall from June through August, ready to head to the airstrip at a moment’s notice. McCall may be a nice vacation resort town now, but back then it was a bit different, Stone remarked with a small smile. It was a post-war period, and there was “a lot of freedom” for the college students and war veterans working there.

“A lot of personalities running around,” Stone explained.

Everyone there grew close, remarked 90-year-old J. Charles Blanton, also known as “The Hawk” to his smokejumping buddies.

Blanton, a native of Nampa, was part of the first group of post-war jumpers.

The smokejumper program started in Montana in 1940, just before the U.S. entered World War II. In 1943, the Forest Service opened two more smokejumper bases, one of which was McCall. They were staffed mainly by conscientious objectors to the war at the time. In 1947, McCall was designated as a training facility and had 53 smokejumpers, according to a history on the Forest Service’s website.

Stationed there from 1947 to 1950 while a law student, Blanton made jumps in Idaho and neighboring states for the Forest Service. He has many memories of the Tri-Motor; his first jump, when he was kicked out of the plane by his trainer, was from that aircraft.

“I never had a problem getting out of the plane after that,” Blanton said, laughing.

Before leaving, he was filmed in a training movie created for smokejumpers. That movie is being shown at the Nampa EAA hanger while the Tri-Motor is in town.

Early smokejumpers like Stone and Blanton had the chance to relive those days this week when the Tri-Motor came to town on tour with the Experimental Aircraft Association.

A NEW ERA OF FLIGHT

Although not the only airplane the smokejumpers used, the Tri-Motor was liked by the jumpers because it was a smooth ride, explained Joseph Jamison, one of three chairmen with the EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor Tour.

“They have a love affair with the Tri-Motor because it has such a stable jumping platform,” Jamison said.

The Tri-Motor is famous for being the world’s first mass-produced airliner. Weighing in at 12,499 pounds with a wing span of 77-and-a-half feet, length of 50 feet, 3 inches, and cruising speed of 122 mph, the Tri-Motor helped usher in the era of commercial air service.

The airplane at the Nampa Municipal Airport through Sunday was never used by smokejumpers, but it has a local history. The Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT-B No. 8 was in commercial service from 1929 until 1953 when damaged in an accident and put into storage.

The No. 8 was then purchased by Eugene Frank of Caldwell, who stored it until 1964 when it was bought and restored by Nevada casino owner William Harrah.

After Harrah’s death, Gary Norton of Athol purchased the No. 8 in 1986. Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, acquired the aircraft a few years later and proceeded to restore it to flying condition.

It is now owned by Ed Patrick and the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, and it is on loan to the EAA to be shown across the country.

Story, photo gallery and video:  http://www.idahopress.com

South Alabama Regional Airport employees to receive raises




Employees at South Alabama Regional Airport will receive up to a 5 percent raise in the next fiscal year.

Co-Director Jed Blackwell reported to the board on Thursday evening that he and Co-Director Misty Jones had performed evaluations with each employee of the airport.

“Most rated well,” he said.

Blackwell asked the board to give the employees sans himself and Jones a 5 percent cost of living raise.

He reported that in the current fiscal year employees were not given a COLA; that they were given a 3 percent raise in 2015; none in 2014; and a 3 percent in 2013.

“We put in 5 percent last year, but didn’t do it,” he said. “We also budgeted 5 percent this year for everyone except Misty and I.”

Board member Donald Barton said he didn’t like percent raises because it further separates the bottom salaries from the top salaries.

“I would like for us to look into the possibilities of giving step raises,” he said. “I lean to your fuelers. They are working in good weather, bad weather and under the helicopter blades. They are the money makers. I drink coffee out there a lot of mornings and they are Johnny-on-the-spot.”

After looking at the money set aside for the 5 percent raises, it was determined that there was about $28,000 to play with in giving raises.

Board member Scotty Short said he was good with the 5 percent raise.

“I don’t think they’ve had anything in a while,” he said.

Board President Gary Smith said he thought the 5 percent was great.

Ultimately board members agreed to leave the 5 percent increase in the budget, and allow the managers to award raises based on performance.

“It helps with morale,” Barton said. “They are going to tell how much of a raise they got.”

The board met in closed session to conduct performance reviews for Blackwell and Jones.

Source:   http://www.andalusiastarnews.com

Williamson County Airport Authority receives $1.6 million federal grant



MARION — It’s been a busy couple of day for the Williamson County Regional Airport in Marion.

On Friday, the Williamson County Airport Authority was awarded a grant of $1.6 million for improvements to the runway at the airport, announced Congressman Mike Bost.

“This is a significant investment in an important hub of transportation for many thousands of residents in and around Williamson County,” Bost said in a statement. “This airport is seeing an increase in traffic and the improvements to the runway are another sign this expanding airport continues to add to the economic growth of Southern Illinois.”

The improvements could include rehabilitating the current runway surface and lighting. Bost says the grant money is being allocated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

That isn’t where the commotion stops at the airport.

On Thursday, the Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois received a $10,000 donation from Peoples National Bank.

The check presentation took place at Williamson County Airport.

“Peoples National Bank is committed to serving our veterans and is proud to honor them by being a strong supporter of the Veterans Honor Flight,” said Bill Bonan II of Peoples National Bank.

The Veterans Honor Flight is a nationwide network dedicated to providing all veterans who apply a free trip to Washington, D.C. to visit memorials honoring their service.

Donations can be made to the Honor Flight online at www.veteranshoroflight.org, or by mail at Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois, 10400 Terminal Drive, Suite 200, Marion, or at any Peoples National Bank location in Southern Illinois.

Source:   http://thesouthern.com

Gov. Tom Wolf announces grants during visit to Reading Regional Airport

Governor Tom Wolf speaks during a press conference at Reading Hospital.


BERN TOWNSHIP, PA   --  For more than a decade, Berks County officials and legislators have had high hopes for the vacant chunk of land nestled between Reading Regional Airport and the Schuylkill River.

The Berks County Industrial Development Authority bought the 155-acre plot from the Bern Township airport in 2008, as the airport faced financial troubles.

Then the economy tanked and cash for development was scarce. The project fell to the back burner.

But now, the plan is primed to start moving ahead at full steam thanks in part to a $2.5 million state grant to help convert the land into a manufacturing complex. Gov. Tom Wolf visited the airport Friday to announce the state aid and tout the project.

“This is a great place to do business,” he said. “We need to get that message out.”
When filled, the complex is expected to generate 500-600 jobs. The plan for the site, which officials are tentatively referring to as Berks Park 183, calls for seven buildings totalling 817,000 square feet.

Thomas McKeon, the development authority's executive director, said the group's moving quickly to get through the approvals and red tape needed to get the site ready for construction. He said he expects to be ready to start negotiating with potential tenants in about a year.

He said the site will be marketed for light manufacturing, assembly and research and development operations.

“We're going to be focused on manufacturing, that's the strength of Berks County,” McKeon said.

‘Shovel-ready' site

The Bern site has long been on the radar as one that would be well-suited for development, state Sen. Judy Schwank said. It would enable manufacturers to locate close to the population center that would provide much of the work force.

Schwank, a Ruscombmanor Township Democrat, said a major key to attracting jobs to the area is showing businesses that there are “shovel-ready” sites in the county. She said it's exciting the Bern site will fit that mold.
“I've wanted to say that for a long time about a site in Berks County,” Schwank said.

And adding more jobs to the area will have a ripple effect, said state Rep. Barry Jozwiak, a Bern Republican. He said the availability of local jobs could encourage young people to stay in the area and boost spending to help other businesses.

“It's about our neighbors who will be benefiting from the good-paying jobs that will be created,” Jozwiak said.

Speaking with the Reading Eagle after the press conference, Wolf, a Democrat, said the goal of the state grant is to encourage local government agencies and private businesses to also invest in the site.

He said having a site already prepared for businesses to move in is a strong selling point for areas looking to attract jobs.

“We want to make sure that when people are looking at sites that they're ready to go,” Wolf said.

Work ahead

The development authority has already put about $6.3 million into the site and will need to spend another $7 million (including the money received from the state) to get it prepared for businesses, McKeon said.

But he said the authority should break even when it brings in tenants. He said several businesses have already expressed interest in coming to the area.

“We're going to try to land some of them that are already interested in Berks County,” McKeon said.

The complex will take some preparation. Aviation Road will need to be overhauled to accommodate the extra traffic and a traffic light and turning lanes will need to be installed at its intersection with Route 183.
McKeon said crews will need to clean up lead left over from when the site was used as a Reading police shooting range and a military firearms testing area. The lot also needs to be cleared and utilities need to be expanded.

McKeon said the goal is to bring in small or mid-sized manufacturers. But he also has other plans.

The authority's studying whether systems could be set up to capture and store energy generated from the heat produced by the manufacturing operations. That would give the site its own electrical supply and possibly even generate extra electricity to sell back into the grid.

Source:   http://www.readingeagle.com

Last living Doolittle crew member at Atlanta Warbird Weekend



Atlanta Warbird Weekend (AWW) will present its largest lineup of  World War II veterans and aircraft for its third annual event at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK) in Chamblee Sept.24-25. Attendees will see eight Curtiss P-40 Warhawks among a total of 40 WWII warbirds on the grounds.

More than 20 WWII veterans will participate, including Lt. Dick Cole (pictured above), the last remaining crew member of the famous Doolittle Raid over Tokyo. Warbirds will fly during the day, with a special P-40 formation flight at 4 p.m., and rides will be available on vintage Commemorative Air Force (CAF) WWII aircraft throughout the weekend, beginning at 9 a.m. each day.

The CAF Dixie Wing, the Georgia chapter of the world’s largest WWII flying collection, coordinates this community event. This year’s program also will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), nicknamed the Flying Tigers, hosting the largest gathering of P-40 Warhawks in 50 years. Notable veterans who will participate include AVG Flying Tigers crew members Frank Losonsky and Charles “Chuck” Baiden, both officers of the AVG Flying Tigers Association. A special guest, Lt. Gen. Fan, Ta-Wei, Chief of Staff of the Republic of China Air Force, will attend with four other officers.


Children will be able to ride the USAF Rapid Strike flight simulator, experience how to operate bomber turrets (electronically operated), see the inside of aircraft cockpits and play in the PDK park playground. The weekend event features 15 educational displays and two Beechcraft T-6 Texan II trainers on display from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.

The Curtiss P-40 was highly associated with the Flying Tigers and was the third-most-produced fighter plane of WWII.  Very few are still flying and this will be a rare opportunity to see these aircraft together and hear from actual veterans who served with the Flying Tigers, as well as hear from other WWII veterans who will discuss their experiences.

The Flying Tigers were recruited under secret presidential authority and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The shark-mouth nose art of the Flying Tigers remains among the most recognizable images of any individual combat aircraft or combat unit of World War II. The AVG Flying Tigers Association is celebrating its reunion in conjunction with the AWW. Presentations at AWW, and leading up to the event, will be organized to educate and connect the public with the historical significance of the American Volunteer Group.

Also expected for AWW are WWII veteran pilots Bob Jones, who flew C-47 and the C-46 Commando over the "Hump” in the Himalayan Mountains; Paul Crawford, who Flew 29 missions in P-51s and flew P-40s for Chennault in the 14th Air Force; plus Albert McMahan, a B-17 ball and tail gunner who flew 25 missions in the early days of the 8th Air Force when there were no friendly escorts, and Henry Hughey, who flew as a ball turret gunner with the 487th Bomber Group (Gentlemen from Hell) later in the war and completed 32 missions.

“Community support has been amazing and it is really bringing history alive in honor of our veterans,” said Jay Bess, CAF Dixie Wing leader and AWW co-chairman. “Aviation and veterans’ groups, museums, local municipalities and individuals are volunteering to help us share the story of World War II aviation history. This terrific weekend would not be possible without the support of   Pat Epps and Epps Aviation, Atlantic Aviation, Discover Dekalb and Mario Evans, Dekalb-Peachtree Airport director.”

AWW will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day Sept. 24-25 at the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport. Great food will be available with food trucks, the 8th Air Force Historical Society barbecue and the Downwind restaurant, which will be open both days. This year’s “Dinner with the Tigers” and all photo workshops are sold out. For a complete schedule of activities and CAF aircraft flight prices and reservations, visit www.atlantawarbirdweekend.com.The mission of the Texas-based CAF is to honor veterans and American military aviation through flight, education and remembrance.

Source:  http://thecitizen.com

Residents complain about low-flying planes and noise



Officials in La Grange Park and Western Springs are assuring residents that recent complaints of low-flying airplanes was only a temporary problem.

Julia Cedillo, village manager in La Grange Park, said the village received 17 complaints from residents about low-flying planes and loud noise from them during the weekend of Sept. 10 and 11.

Ingrid Velkme, assistant village manager in Western Springs, said her community also had received several complaints and "it was all over social media."

Cedillo contacted the Chicago Department of Aviation and learned that runway maintenance occurring at Midway Airport required a temporary change to air traffic patterns which impacted the villages.

"Planes were arriving from the northwest. This is usually the direction in which planes takeoff. The maintenance is now complete and air traffic patterns have returned to normal," Cedillo said in a notice on the village's website.

She said the aviation department also advised her "that shifts in wind patterns and construction/maintenance on certain Midway runways can contribute to the use of different runway configurations that are more impactful to our area."

She said the runway configurations are only used about 10 percent of the time and therefore were likely more noticeable to residents.

Cedillo said there have been no permanent changes to flight patterns.

"In the case of this weekend, one runway was under maintenance and, due to the existing wind conditions, Midway utilized the flight path which impacts our community," she said.

Officials from the Chicago Aviation Department did not return calls for comment from The Doings.

Source:  http://www.chicagotribune.com

Airlines Want Privatized Air Traffic Control but Delta Remains Opposed

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker 



The U.S. airline industry reiterated its strong support earlier this week for its principal Washington cause: privatizing the nation's aging, inefficient, air traffic control system and removing it from the Congressional budgeting process.

"We need to get ATC reform done," said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, speaking at industry lobbying group Airlines for America's annual summit. "There is no way we're giving up the fight for sensible reform."

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly declared that "the {industry's} No. 1 issue is the air traffic control system," and several other airline CEOs voiced their agreement.

Yet despite all the unity, the effort seems challenged, with little apparent change since ATC reform was left out of the Federal Aviation Administration authorization bill that Congress approved in July.

Delta, the world's second-largest airline, remains opposed to privatization. The A4A doesn't seem positioned to win hearts and minds in Washington, despite spending millions on airline image advertising and $3.8 million on hard-charging Republican CEO Nick Calio's annual salary.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that Democrats including Rep. Peter DeFazio, ranking minority member of the House Transportation Committee, oppose an ATC spinoff.

It probably isn't a stretch to suggest that Calio's tenure as CEO is going to be judged primarily by whether ATC is privatized on his watch.

The biggest piece of A4A's strategy has been to rely on the close relationship between Calio and Rep. Bill Shuster, (R-Pennsylvania), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the primary congressional backer of an ATC spinoff.

The relationship comes with image problems, largely because Shelly Rubino, an A4A vice president and lobbyist, is Shuster's girlfriend, a well-known subject of Washington chatter, which is not diminished by a publicly stated agreement that Rubino will not lobby Shuster.

In February, Politico posted a story, "Shuster lounges poolside with airline lobbyists as he pursues FAA bill." A subhead read: "It's the latest example of the transportation committee chairman's coziness with the airline industry."

Read more here:   https://www.thestreet.com