Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lions Fly-in: Le Sueur Airport praised for its continuing benefit to community

That dream of flying lured Alycia Favolise of Le Sueur to the cockpit of a 1943 Boeing Stearman, one of over 30 planes which landed at the Le Sueur Airport for the fourth annual Lions Fly-In and breakfast. 


Ray Johnson of Buffalo, who restored this 1943 Boeing Stearman biplane, exits the cockpit after landing Sunday at the Le Sueur Airport as part of the Lions Fly-In.



Bruce Hoegger of Hanover co-piloted the 1943 Boeing Stearman into the Le Sueur Airport for Sunday's Lions Fly-In.





The fourth annual Lions Fly-In at the Le Sueur Airport was treated with light winds and bright, blue skies. And a 1943 Boeing Stearman biplane.

As community residents enjoyed the pancake breakfast, along with the sights and sounds of the smaller aircraft coming and going at the Le Sueur Airport, the bright orange double-winged Stearman caught the eyes of young and old.

Pilots Ray Johnson, of Buffalo, and Bruce Hoegger, of Hanover, brought the World War II relic into the airport, hitting the tarmac from the west, into the easterly wind. And as the two taxied near the row of aircraft assembled for the fly-in, youngster Alycia Favolise was among those running to the aircraft.

As Johnson and Hoegger climbed out of the cockpit, she hopped up on the wing, gazing into the cockpit, dreaming of one day flying herself.

Le Sueur Lions Club President Bill Ingersoll says the organization's fundraising event is a good way to bring the community out to the airport on the city's south side.

But for fly-in organizers Jeff Parker, of Bloomington, and Dave Skogland, of Jordan, it's about an airport which draws them and others back to Le Sueur. Both praised the quality of the small airport and its potential.

"It's in really good shape," Skogland said. "They've put a lot of dollars into it. And it's a nice community."

Skogland used to own a hangar at the Rosemount Airport before it closed. The Le Sueur Airport surfaced as the next best alternative and it's become his flying home.

It's Parker's home airport facility, as well. He likes the location just south of the Twin Cities and "it's not really busy, but busy enough." It's an "uncontrolled airport," Skogland said. There's no airport tower, as planes navigate in visually. But on Sunday, Skogland was manning the radio control if needed.

Parker and Skogland originally contacted the Le Sueur Lions Club to get a fly-in event at the local airport. While Sunday's fly-in numbers didn't rival the first year, when 100 small planes participated, both were pleased with the morning event.

"And it's an excuse to fly," smiled Parker, who said some pilots were also getting ready to head off to another fly-in at the Hector Airport. And there's usually such an event throughout the summer and fall, he added.

Former Le Sueur resident Lowell Christiansen also praised the quality of the Le Sueur Airport and Sunday's event. And while the question sometimes surfaces as to why the community of Le Sueur might even need an airport, Christiansen didn't flinch.

"The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) wants as many smaller airports as possible," he noted, and provides substantial funding to keep them in good shape.

Christiansen also said there's an economic benefit to having a small airport available to the community, noting pilots often spend good money in town. At a recent Brainerd fly-in, Christiansen said he spent about $2,000 over the weekend.

Skogland also said the work of Scott Churchill and his maintenance crew is a great benefit to pilots and their planes should any repairs be necessary. Churchill owns and operates Scott's Helicopter Service at the Le Sueur Airport, but his mechanics also are capable of doing plane maintenance, as well, stressed Skogland.

The fly-in and breakfast, said Skogland, is a great opportunity for Le Sueur residents to be reminded of a community asset. And for youngsters to dream.

Story and photo gallery: http://www.southernminn.com

Grumman G-164A, N75EP: Accident occurred September 18th, 2016 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland

http://registry.faa.gov/N75EP

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA493
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 18, 2016 in Chestertown, MD
Aircraft: GRUMMAN ACFT ENG COR-SCHWEIZER G 164A, registration: N75EP

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




CHESTERTOWN, Md. —Just a day after performing an emergency landing, a pilot suffered no major injuries Sunday when his crop duster caught fire during a failed takeoff attempt at a farm in Kent County.

Officials said the pilot, identified as Martin Stoken, 30, had safely performed the emergency landing at the farm Saturday.

On Sunday, after a mechanic worked on the plane, Stoken, of Felton, lost power shortly after take off, hitting a car trailer and a piece of farm equipment before landing upright.

Stoken got out of the plane on his own.

Fire officials said Stoken may have some possible minor injuries but did not need to go to a hospital after the incident, which was reported around 2:30 p.m. No other injuries were reported on the ground in the rural area.

When Maryland State Police arrived to the 10000 block of Flatland Road in Chestertown, the troopers found the plane fully engulfed in flames. It was significantly damaged in the fire.

The fire was put out by local fire personnel.

The farm's owners did not witness the crash.

State police notified the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. FAA officials said they would be responding to the scene on Monday.


Source:   http://www.wbaltv.com




CHESTERTOWN, Md. — Police say a pilot suffered minor injuries when his crop dusting plane crash landed after a failed takeoff.

Maryland State Police said the pilot, 30-year-old Martin Stoken of Felton, Delaware, had performed an emergency landing Saturday at a farm field in Kent county near Chestertown.

After undergoing repairs, police say the pilot tried to take off Sunday at 2:30 p.m., but the plane lost power and hit a car trailer before landing upright.

Police say the pilot got out of the plane, which then caught fire.

The plane, a Grumman Ag Cat crop dusting plane, is owned by Delmarva Aerial Crop Service in Marydel.

Source:   https://www.washingtonpost.com





CHESTERTOWN, Md. - A pilot in Chestertown, Md., walked away with no injuries Sunday after his crop plane went down in a fiery crash. 

The single-engine aircraft went down sometime before 2:39 p.m. in the 10,000 block of Flatland Road. 

Chestertown Volunteer Engine 6 arrived on scene and immediately used firefighting foam to suppress the flames. There was no fuel spill or other hazard, and no emergency personnel or crews were injured. 

Officials worked at the scene for a little over an hour and, as per protocol, the Federal Aviation Administration was notified and will be conducting an investigation. 

Source:  http://www.fox5dc.com

Cessna 182P Skylane, P & T Aerial Services LLC, N20844: Accident occurred September 17, 2016 near Chandler Municipal Airport (KCHD), Maricopa County, Arizona

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

P & T AERIAL SERVICES LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N20844

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Scottsdale FSDO-07

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA183
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 17, 2016 in Gilbert, AZ
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N20844
Injuries: 1 Serious, 5 Minor.

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 17, 2016, about 1918 Mountain standard time, a Cessna 182P, N20844, was destroyed when it impacted a residential structure, following a reported inflight fire near Gilbert, Arizona. The airplane was registered to and operated by P & T Aerial Services LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the 4 passengers sustained minor injuries. One of the two occupants of the house sustained a minor injury. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the skydiving flight. The local flight departed Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD) Chandler, Arizona, at an unknown time.

The airplane was participating in the Gilbert's annual Constitution Fair, which involved an aerial pyro technic display and four skydivers parachuting into a predetermined drop zone about 1 mile northwest from the accident site. According to one of the skydivers, as the airplane arrived at the planned jump area and altitude, about 5,000 feet, mean sea level, he heard a loud noise and noticed damage to the airplane's left wing. Shortly thereafter, the skydivers successfully jumped out of the airplane as its left wing became engulfed with flames. The pilot radioed a distress call and then egressed out of the airplane. The airplane subsequently impacted in a residential area about 4 miles from the north of CHD.

Examination of the accident site by a National Transportation Safety Board, investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane struck through the house's roof and a post impact fire consumed a majority of the airplane and the interior of the house. 

The airplane wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.






GILBERT, AZ (KPHO/KTVK/AP) -  Radio transmissions from Saturday night indicate that the pilot of a small plane that crashed into a Gilbert home did not have much time after a fire started on the aircraft.

The pilot can be heard saying, "I'm having an emergency situation. Fire on the wing. Fire in the airplane."

The air traffic controller responded by asking if the pilot wanted to land at Chandler Municipal Airport or Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The pilot, later identified as Ryan Kilgore, never responded and a few seconds later a Southwest Airlines pilot can be heard saying, "That plane went down."

A fire department official said the pilot of the burning plane tried unsuccessfully to put out the fire before he bailed out, following the exit of four skydivers who were his passengers.

Gilbert Fire and Rescue Capt. Josh Ehrman said the pilot donned a parachute and jumped from the single-engine plane, landing in a field about two blocks from the Saturday evening crash.

Ehrman says the four skydivers landed as planned during a fair at a city facility about a half-mile away from the crash site.

We spoke with an experienced pilot Aron Whitesell, Director of Flight Operations at Chopperguy. He's experienced in both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

Whitesell says a fire in an aircraft is extremely dangerous.

"If the cockpit is full of smoke and No. 1, he can't see. And No. 2, you end up passing out," Whitesell said. 

He says pilots are trained to know their surroundings if an emergency occurred but sometimes that's not good enough. Depending on the emergency, a pilot has to act fast.  

"You can't pull over on the side of the road like a car so a fire is always going to be your biggest concern as a pilot. A lot of time, there is no option. You do your best to avoid people as much as possible, but (there are) power lines, poles, street lights so there is not always going to be an option," Whitesell said. 

Kilgore did suffer burns to his body which leads Whitesell to speculate that he tried to stay with the aircraft as long as possible.  

We have reached out to Kilgore's family but haven't heard back.

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

Newly obtained cell phone video shows a plane crashing into a Phoenix area home.

In the video the plane appears as a bright dot streaking towards the ground.

The small plane crashed into a Gilbert home Saturday night.

Two people were inside the home at the time of the crash. Neither was injured

Five people were inside the plane, but officials say that since all five of them are skydivers they were able to parachute to safety.

The pilot was the last one to jump out. He landed in a field about a mile from the crash site.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are now investigating what caused the crash.

The pilot did receive burn injuries.


Story and video:   http://www.kvoa.com

Ryan Kilgore
~

Ryan Kilgore Recovery Fund: https://www.gofundme.com




Help Peter and Sharon with damages: https://www.gofundme.com



GILBERT, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) -  An investigation was underway Sunday after a small plane crashed into a house in Gilbert. Miraculously, everyone survived.

Workers began removing wreckage from the home.

A posting to a gofundme account identified the pilot as Ryan Kilgore.

"I started the fundraising page because I have no idea what the medical expenses will be for Ryan's recovery and care, not to mention the emotional trauma of enduring a plane crash," his brother, Colton, wrote. 

"The initial expenses I anticipate are travel costs for our parents to fly to Arizona to be with him tomorrow (Monday), as well as potential loss of work as a result of this incident, and medical costs will follow," his brother stated.

He set a goal of raising $25,000. As of 12:15 p.m. Sunday, more than $4,300 had been pledged.

Daylight revealed the extent of damage. The back wall of the home was almost gone.

Half of the plane made it into the home and the other half was in the backyard.

A gofundme account was also set by neighbors for the couple whose home was ruined by the crash.

The crash happened just after 7 p.m. Saturday near Lindsey and Ray roads.

A neighbor was outside working and could tell something wasn't right.

Abdul Khan is an aircraft mechanic. The loud noise he heard from the plane told him something was terribly wrong.

“This one started coming down like a big ball,” Khan said. “It went flat for a little bit and then started nose-diving. It was so close we thought it was going to come into our house. When it came down, it made a big noise.”

Khan said when he got to the scene, the house was on fire.

The pilot and all four skydivers aboard the single-engine aircraft were able to parachute out of the plane safely.

That plane then struck the roof of a home, causing a huge fire.[

We are told a man and woman were inside at home when the plane hit. Amazingly, they were able to make it out of the house safely and were not injured.

The pilot suffered minor burns and he's being treated at a local hospital.

Shortly after the crash, viewers started contacting us, reporting hearing a loud explosion and seeing a fireball falling from the sky.

By 9:30, Gilbert fire officials said they had the fire under control and were working to put out hot spots.

Gilbert police tweeted that the small plane was carrying skydivers for an annual Constitution Fair event.

"Please keep Ryan in your prayers, for physical and emotional healing, and joining us in thanking God for protecting his life," Colton Kilgore wrote on the gofundme page.

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



GILBERT, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) - An investigation was underway Sunday after a small plane crashed into a house in Gilbert. Miraculously, everyone survived.

A posting to a gofundme account identified the pilot as Ryan Kilgore.

"I started the fundraising page because I have no idea what the medical expenses will be for Ryan's recovery and care, not to mention the emotional trauma of enduring a plane crash," his brother, Colton, wrote. 

"The initial expenses I anticipate are travel costs for our parents to fly to Arizona to be with him tomorrow (Monday), as well as potential loss of work as a result of this incident, and medical costs will follow," his brother stated.

He set a goal of raising $25,000. As of 12:15 p.m. Sunday, more than $4,300 had been pledged.

Daylight revealed the extent of damage. The back wall of the home was almost gone.

Half of the plane made it into the home and the other half was in the backyard.

The crash happened just after 7 p.m. Saturday near Lindsey and Ray roads.

A neighbor was outside working and could tell something wasn't right.

Abdul Khan is an aircraft mechanic. The loud noise he heard from the plane told him something was terribly wrong.

“This one started coming down like a big ball,” Khan said. “It went flat for a little bit and then started nose-diving. It was so close we thought it was going to come into our house. When it came down, it made a big noise.”

Khan said when he got to the scene, the house was on fire.

The pilot and all four skydivers aboard the single-engine aircraft were able to parachute out of the plane safely.

That plane then struck the roof of a home, causing a huge fire.

We are told a man and woman were inside at home when the plane hit. Amazingly, they were able to make it out of the house safely and were not injured.

The pilot suffered minor burns and he's being treated at a local hospital.

Shortly after the crash, viewers started contacting us, reporting hearing a loud explosion and seeing a fireball falling from the sky.

By 9:30, Gilbert fire officials said they had the fire under control and were working to put out hot spots.

Gilbert police tweeted that the small plane was carrying skydivers for an annual Constitution Fair event.

"Please keep Ryan in your prayers, for physical and emotional healing, and joining us in thanking God for protecting his life," Colton Kilgore wrote on the gofundme page.

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

Aviation show offers something for everyone: Second annual event features diverse mix of flying contraptions



Flying machines of all kinds were on display Saturday at Durango-La Plata County Airport as part of the second annual Aviation Celebration.

The eclectic makeup included drones, private planes, military aircraft and experimental craft, including ultra-light planes. There also were fast cars, flight demonstrations, heavy equipment for airport operations, live music, and food and drink.

The featured attraction of the day was the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Jump Team, which performed areal tricks from 7,000 feet before landing safely on the ground. The group, which made two jumps Saturday, did it from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter rather than its usual fixed-wing plane because of an air-intake problem with the plane.

Aircraft serve many purposes – including recreational enjoyment, transportation for commuters, saving people from the high country and fighting wars – and the Aviation Celebration did a good job of showcasing all of those facets, said Mancos resident Chris Roach, who is a volunteer with the Civil Air Patrol.

“It’s a good representation of the breadth of the purpose-driven aircraft,” he said.

For spectators, it was a chance to get up close and personal with equipment and an industry that most people aren’t used to being around, he said. The event was held south of the airport terminal on the tarmac, an area that is usually off limits to the public.

Some of the flying contraptions stoked awe and curiosity; Roach said he is always mesmerized by the Chinook helicopter, which has two rotors.

“It looks like a rock with egg beaters,” he said, adding, “I’ve always been suspicious of things that fly backwards and sideways.”

Southwest Colorado is ideal for aviation in some respects but not so much in others. For example, the flying weather tends to be favorable, Roach said, but pilots should be certified for mountain flying, where the air is thin and wind direction can be erratic.

For Durango resident Frank Valen, it was his second year to attend the Aviation Celebration. Last year seemed to have more aircraft, he said, including an F-16 fighter jet, but it didn’t have the Army Golden Knights. (An F/A-18 Hornet happened to land at the airport during the event, but it didn’t appear to be involved with the celebration.)

He said it’s a nice end-of-summer event and a way to enjoy the outdoors and see equipment that most people will never get to see up close. He was there with his grandkids, Gabe Wyne, 10, Chris Wyne, 7, and Alex Wyne, 6.

“The kids love the emergency vehicles,” he said.

He hopes the event will continue and grow.

“This thing could be ridiculously huge if promoted a little more,” Valen said. “Whatever this community wanted to make of it, they could.”

Army Sgt. First Class Kevin Presgraves, who completed two parachute jumps Saturday, compared Durango’s fledging aviation show to his favorite hometown ma and pop diner. Sometimes, it’s just what the heart needs.

“I absolutely love this,” he said after signing an autograph for a boy. “We love the small shows. I love all the shows, but I really love the ma and pop shows.”

Story and video:  http://www.durangoherald.com

Discovered Cessna aircraft had false US markings



A Cessna aircraft discovered hidden near a Region Nine airstrip had false registration markings, a top Government official said yesterday.

The aircraft was discovered Wednesday morning after security forces received a tip-off the previous day.

A team of officials, including army and police ranks, has since taken possession of the aircraft located near the Yupukari airstrip.

Yesterday, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, during the post-Cabinet press briefings, disclosed that the registration on the Cessna plane, N767Z, appeared to be false.

This was verified by aviation investigators who confirmed that there is an aircraft currently flying in the US that bore the same registration, Harmon disclosed.

According to the Minister, the aircraft was found partly hidden in bushes, and covered in a camouflage net.

Subsequently, a team comprising officials from the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Guyana Police Force (GPF), immediately began an investigation.

Harmon noted that the area is one that is heavily patrolled by security forces. The ranks have an excellent relationship with the communities in that area, he said.

Region Nine borders Brazil with mining, cattle rearing and farming taking place there.

The Minister added that Yupukari and its surrounding areas have had regular and constant surveillance.

Hinting that there is a suspicion that the plane is involved in the drug trade, the Minister disclosed that another airstrip not very far from Yupukari is a favourite for operators.

Investigators are now trying to determine if the plane had cargo and what exactly it was fetching, if anything.

According to Harmon, the plane could not have been there long as the area is heavily patrolled.

Source: http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com


Members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), the Guyana Police Force’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and other related agencies, over the past two days conducted an assessment of the twin-engine Cessna Aircraft, which was discovered at Yupukari, Upper Takutu- Upper Essequibo (Region Nine).

The team is busy gathering evidence that will assist investigators in uncovering the circumstances under which the aircraft came to be abandoned at the location.

Yesterday morning, a team including Head of CANU, James Singh, and GCAA officials, ventured into the area to further assess the aircraft for damage and capabilities in order to make recommendations on what should be done with it.

Additionally, the CANU team is seeking to determine whether the aircraft may have any links to the narcotics trade, the Ministry of the Presidency said yesterday.

During a search of the aircraft, several pieces of communication equipment were discovered. These have been secured to be further examined for any potential leads.

The ministry said that the police and army are speaking with nearby residents in the hope of turning up leads in the case and this has resulted in a number of them sharing information they deemed as ‘suspicious activity’, such as the presence of motorcycles frequently at midnight in the area. They also reported that the abandoned aircraft has previously been sighted circling the area on numerous occasions in the past.

The plane, bearing registration number N767Z, was first brought to the attention of officials on Tuesday by a resident of the area. The following day, Wednesday, a joint army and police patrol, that included CANU, was dispatched to the location to conduct a full investigation.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, in an invited comment, said that while the Government is yet to receive a full report on what would have transpired over the last few days, President David Granger and the entire Government are committed to ensuring that a full investigation into the matter is completed.

The Minister noted that reports received from residents near the area where the aircraft was discovered have raised serious concerns for those involved in the investigation.

Source: http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com



Guyanese authorities say the illegal aircraft that was found at Yupukari, Rupununi Region last week had been frequenting the area and that communication equipment found aboard is being analyzed.

“During a search of the aircraft, several pieces of communication equipment were discovered. These have been secured to be further examined for any potential leads,” the Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement.

The Ministry of the Presidency did not say specifically whether any traces of drugs or illegal weapons were found aboard the twin-engine Cessna plane.

However, law enforcement agents were able to ascertain that the plane had been often seen in that region and motorcycles could have been heard late at night. “The Police and Army are speaking with nearby residents in the hopes of turning up leads in the case and this has resulted in a number of them sharing information they deemed as ‘suspicious activity’, such as the presence of motorcycles frequently at midnight in the area. They also reported that the abandoned aircraft has previously been sighted circling the area on numerous occasions in the past,” the government said in a statement.

Agents of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) including its Head, James Singh, have already visited the plane that was found hidden under a canopy of vegetation just off a makeshift airstrip. “The CANU team is seeking to determine whether the aircraft may have any links to the narcotics trade.”

Officials of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have also ventured into the area to further assess the aircraft for damages and capabilities in order to make recommendations on what should be done with it. 

Authorities said that the plane, which was draped in a camouflage cover, had been awaiting repairs when a patrol discovered it.

The plane, bearing registration number N767Z, was first brought to the attention of officials on Tuesday by a resident of the area.  The following day, Wednesday, September 14, a Joint Army and Police team, inclusive of CANU, were dispatched to the location to conduct a full investigation. That registration subsequently turned out to be fake.

Demerara Waves Online News has, however, been informed by usually reliable sources that at least one law enforcement agency had known of the plane’s presence there at least three weeks ago and had been staking out the area for the aviation technicians and other persons to return so that they could have been arrested.

Source:  http://demerarawaves.com

American Airlines to offer Burlington to New York flights

American Airlines will offer a direct flight from Burlington to New York's LaGuardia Airport beginning on Dec. 15, giving competition to Delta Air Lines, currently the only airline offering that flight.

"It opens up a choice," Airport Director Gene Richards said Wednesday. "I would encourage people to shop and be a good consumer."

An economy flight on Delta to LaGuardia on Dec. 15, returning Dec. 19, was as low as $252 round trip on Wednesday. The lowest roundtrip cost on American Airlines for the same dates was $307. Richards believes the competition between the two airlines will likely drive the price down for the LaGuardia flight.

"Delta is going to want to keep that route for itself," Richards said. "American is saying, 'We want a piece of it.'"

Richards said there was more news from American Airlines: a second daily flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. Richards expects the flight to be popular, as Charlotte is a destination of choice for Vermonters moving south, or simply vacationing. Richards said many ex-IBM employees ended up moving to North Carolina to work in that state's large technology sector.

"It's happening down there," Richards said. "A lot of people migrate from the Vermont area."

Another advantage of the second Charlotte flight is that it will leave at 8 a.m. and arrive at 10:30 a.m., making connections to anywhere else easier. Charlotte is American Airline's largest hub in the nation, Richards said. For those returning the same day, they can be back in Burlington by 8 p.m.

Richards said the Charlotte flight load is around 92 percent, "which is just amazing."

Burlington International Airport is currently served by six airlines — Allegiant, American, Delta, Jet Blue, Porter and United  — which among them offer nonstop service to Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, LaGuardia and JFK airports in New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Dulles and National airports in Washington, D.C.

"That's amazing service for a community our size," Richards said. "As I tell people, you can get anywhere in the world today."

Read more here: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

Green Valley man reached back 100 years to make history

Jim Otey glides through the air in a 1909 Curtiss Pusher replica biplane at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport in 2010 to celebrate the centennial of the first flight in Idaho history.



If you venture north to the Pima Air and Space Museum you'll find hangars full of aviation history.

You'll also find people who have played a role in that history, like 76-year-old Green Valley resident Jim Otey.

He first took to the skies as a teenager in Washington state and bought his first plane at 18. He was drafted into the Army not long after, and served from 1962-65, conducting surveillance flights over West Germany aboard a Grumman OV-1 Mohawk.

The Auburn, Wash., native returned home, taking a job with Boeing in Seattle, where he worked for more than three decades. He spent the majority of his career as a test pilot, including for the Boeing 777, which he flew all over the world before taking early retirement in 1999, at 58.

Two years ago, he and his wife, Inge, moved to Green Valley, and he has been a docent at Pima Air since.

Love of aviation

He continued tinkering with airplane development after moving to Lewiston, Idaho in 2000, joining the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 328, a group of aviation enthusiasts who met at the town's airport.

Otey met fellow plane buff Dean Wilson through the organization, and the two soon got to work on their magnum opus — a full-size, functional replica of the iconic 1909 Herring-Curtiss Pusher Model D biplane that made history on Oct. 13, 1910, when it was the first airplane to fly in Idaho and Washington.

The idea behind recreating the historic plane was hatched after a friend who was helping his sister move across the state line in Clarkston, Wash., stumbled upon a partial set of plans for the aircraft.

He contacted Otey and asked if he wanted it as a decoration. But Otey and Wilson had a more ambitious idea.

"I spoke to (Dean), and asked him if he thought this was a doable project," Otey recalls. "Dean thought it was too big of a project at first, but I thought we might as well take a look."

They contacted the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in New York, which sold him a full copy of the plans for $25, and the two got to work.

With help from fellow members of their EAA chapter, they spent the better part of two-and-a-half years, $20,000 and close to 2,000 hours building the plane with a goal of flying it from Lewiston's airport on Aug. 13, 2010, 100 years after its original flight.

It was an ordeal, requiring 128 one-eighth-inch cable wires and thousands of parts to hold the plane's bamboo frame and sailplane cloth covers intact.

Otey and Wilson barnstormed their way around the area to raise money and managed to cover the cost of the project.

"Without Dean's skill and my fundraising ability this would have never happened," Otey says.

But the first obstacle they encountered happened long before their replica took to the blue skies of Idaho.

"It turned out that where the original flight had taken place, there was a Walmart store there now," Otey says. "So we actually tried to get Walmart to close down the parking lot early in the morning and we'd take off from there and make the exact same flight. They would hear nothing of it."

They also got by with a little luck, like getting a Cessna 150 engine for $10,000 from a friend after his experimental plane failed to fly properly.

The two had more good fortune when a retired CEO of a local bullet manufacturer improvised a way to make the turnbuckles they'd need to keep all those wires in place out of motorcycle spokes — far cheaper than the store-bought version, which were $28 apiece.

Going up

The next obstacle was getting the plane approved for flight by the Federal Aviation Administration, which wanted them to test out all of the plane's wires and turnbuckles before takeoff.

"We had to test them to two times the expected tension that the airplane would experience in flight," Otey says. "We passed the test."

Otey and Wilson flew several test flights totaling 12 hours before the big day, making sure the plane could make it.

Otey said the event itself was something he'll never forget.

"It was a citywide celebration," he says. "I was flying at about 50 feet in the air, and part of that got on national TV. It was pretty neat."

He said whizzing through the air at 50 mph in the open-air biplane in front of thousands of spectators was thrilling.

"It's kind of a motorcycle with no windshield," Otey says. "The engine is behind you, and it doesn't have a muffler, so it's real loud some two feet behind you."

Otey flew without incident during the exhibition, and showed off its impressive stability by conducting a low-level flyby without his hands on the controls.

Otey still beams when he talks about the accomplishment that the two men were able to achieve on the banks of the Snake River six years ago.

"The pride that comes with being able to do this and expose aviation to the public that they don't know about," Otey says. "Aviation history is made every day. But there's a time zone that goes along with it, and it doesn't take long before it's all behind you."

Otey is honored to have played a role in that long history, and to be given the chance to showcase all the hard work he and Wilson put in.

"That day in Lewiston had pride associated with it, because I helped build the dang thing," he says. "I touched every piece on that plane, and you get to the point where you know every piece by touch."

A new owner

The two made sure to reimburse every dollar they received from donors after they sold the airplane in 2011 for $60,000 to aviation collector Kermit Weeks, who runs the Fantasy of Flight Museum in Polk City, Fla.

"Kermit loves airplanes, and luckily he loved our airplane," Otey recalls. "So he brought his checkbook with him to Lewiston."

Otey was impressed by Weeks' humility and willingness to work with them on a price for their airplane.

"I love the man," Otey says. "He hung around with me for two days, took a thousand photos of this airplane, and asked me questions about it. And after his inspection he bought us dinner and wrote out a check."

The two kept the plane in storage for just over six months to avoid paying additional Florida sales taxes, before shipping it off in a tractor to the museum.

Weeks flew the plane around the Florida museum several times after purchasing it, and says taking it in the air is a unique experience.

"It's a great plane," Weeks says. "One general rule with any aircraft of that age, though, is don't fly any higher than you're willing to fall."

He's taken employees and friends on rides since purchasing the plane, and says he usually cruises at around 40 mph.

Life in the pilot's seat

Otey is still active in the flying community in Southern Arizona, serving as a flight instructor at Ryan Field and Tucson International Airport, and at visiting community airstrips in the area.

He also volunteers with Wright Flight, a Tucson-based non-profit dedicated to introducing children to aviation by getting them in the pilot's seat of an airplane.

"We're trying to bring the idea to kids that flying is something that they can look forward to," he says. "There are thousands and thousands of people employed in aviation, and we bring that to their minds."

Aviation's always been a part of Otey's life, living on a residential airstrip for more than 20 years while working at Boeing.

"Our tradition on Fridays nights was to jump in our four-seat airplane and fly someplace for dinner," he says. "Because we lived at an airport, I'd say, 'Let's fly to another airport that has a restaurant.' So my kids got introduced to flying early in their lives."

He'd commute by air several days a week to the company's Everett headquarters about 60 miles north.

"I lived on one airport and worked at another," he says. "It was 21 minutes by air, versus an hour-and-a-half of driving through the traffic in Seattle."

He decided to volunteer at the museum shortly after moving to Green Valley, when he found himself having more than enough free time on his hands.

"My wife got sick and tired of me sitting around and watching TV," he says. "I love working there. It's perfect for me because of my history of flying and love of older and experimental aircraft. I have a lot of background and experience with aviation, so it was an easy fit for me to volunteer there."

Otey says he wouldn't have gotten where he has in life if not for aviation.

"Flying has been a big, big, big part of my life," he says. "I started as a young child building model airplanes out of balsa wood sticks and moved on from there."

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

Hopkins Airport gets $8 million federal grant for snow removal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Aviation Administration will give Cleveland Hopkins International Airport an $8 million grant to prevent the recurrence of runway deicing problems that resulted in unsafe winter conditions at the airport, according to Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

Kaptur said the grant is on top of more than $22 million that the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Hopkins in July to improve the airport's snow removal fleet and reconfigure its taxiways to improve sightlines for pilots and airfield crews.

The newly announced funds will be used to construct a 124,200-square-foot building to house snow removal equipment bought with the grant money announced in July.

"These funds will give Cleveland Hopkins additional resources to prepare for snow conditions for the foreseeable future," said a statement from Kaptur, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. "The new construction will extend the lifespan of the new and replacement snow removal equipment recently purchased with other funds.  It's very timely, given the importance of Cleveland Hopkins to the economy, creating jobs, and the quality of life of the entire northcoast Ohio region."

Earlier this year, Cleveland agreed to pay the FAA a $200,000 fine to settle four cases that cited the city for poor airport snow removal. The agency said the city failed to adequately staff snow removal teams and deice runways, causing slippery conditions that forced planes to divert to other airports. 

Press spokesmen for the FAA were not able to immediately supply more information the grants.

Hopkins Airport Interim Director Fred Szabo said the building to be constructed with the $8 million grant will accommodate the airport's vehicular maintenance mechanics, as well as new snow removal equipment. The new plows will cut the time it takes to clear runways in half, said Szabo, and the grants are part of a multi-year program to  replace older, less efficient snow removal vehicles."Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has always been a safe and secure airport and these grants will result in additional airfield safety improvements that will benefit our passengers," said a statement from Szabo.

Read more here:   http://www.cleveland.com

Airport management is matter of life and death: 'Low ceiling' on salary clouds airport's future

By Bernard P. Giroux

The controversy surrounding what should be paid an airport manager at the New Bedford Regional Airport is typical of the shortsightedness involved, and which many cities and towns exhibit, in managing a complex operation such as an airport. This airport post is not a sinecure, it is an active management position requiring not only in-depth operational experience, but also intimate knowledge of the very complex Federal Aviation Administration regulations governing not only airport operations, but air traffic control and other mundane matters regarding airport safety.

In addition, there is a lot of planning and coordination required to obtain and maintain a steady flow of federal and state funding, much needed in this type of environment. The airport is not just a "New Bedford" possession. It just happens to be sited in New Bedford. It services a wide region and is part of the air traffic system that surrounds it and which it is a part of. The airport is a destination location for flights and acts as a point of flight origination. It also figures into the Homeland Security activities in the region. It supports the economy of the city.

To argue that the airport manager has to be from the city of New Bedford is ridiculous. To argue that the airport manager's salary cannot be "unfair" to other city employees is outrageous. There may be no more complex job in this city's system, except perhaps running the water and sewer departments, maybe. To argue about salary and to insult a qualified potential management candidate by offering the candidate less than what the candidate is currently earning is insulting, to say the least.

This attitude is dangerous; it is dangerous because it involves the lives of the public. In 2007, three people were killed in a crash on a night approach to New Bedford during particularly low visibility, rainy conditions. Their lives might have been saved if the "rabbit" had been lit for the final approach to Runway 6. The fact that the system was turned off, under FAA orders, was related to funding for, and regulations concerning, vegetation cutting along the approach end of the runway.

This is why New Bedford needs an experienced airport manager at the helm and the community should not be relying on airport control by locals who really know little about aviation management. Just because an applicant is not from New Bedford or wants a salary that should be commensurate with the level of responsibility for this type of position should not mean a candidate should be dismissed. The New Bedford City Council's actions seem to be biased and unreasonable.

Bernard P. Giroux is a commercial pilot and former naval aviator. He lives in Dartmouth.

Source:  http://www.southcoasttoday.com/opinion

Our View: 'Low ceiling' on salary clouds airport's future

Only two New Bedford city councilors voting the other way could have changed Monday’s vote to reject a top-level salary for a qualified, experienced, local assistant manager at the New Bedford Regional airport.

The council voted 7-4 Monday night, with the 7 hoping to send a message to taxpayers and residents that they’re looking out for them by watching the budget and giving locals preference for city jobs.

Instead, the candidate, a Lakeville resident with an aviation management degree from Bridgewater State University, nine years of experience at Logan International Airport, and a willingness to take a $14,000 per year cut to move his job from BOS to EBD, had to say no to the opportunity, because the council wanted the out-of-towner to start at the lowest step, a further loss to the candidate of $12,000 per year.

The sentiment of one councilor was that granting the top level of pay and a permanent residency waiver, as recommended by the chairman of the Airport Commission (who has been overseeing operations as a volunteer since the recent departure of the previous manager), would be unfair to other city employees and taxpayers alike.

While residency requirements and pay ranges provide important guidelines, the facts as presented Monday night appear to argue clearly that this time the best thing for both employees and taxpayers would have been to grant the chairman’s request.

This is the second rejection of an offer from the city by a prospective assistant manager for the airport, the first being a city resident who found the salary to be too low.

The “unfairness” might be felt just as sharply by the two candidates, one for the inadequate pay structure, and one for the added insult of assuming one’s commitment to the city of New Bedford can be adequately measured by their home address. Monday's candidate, in obtaining his degree from Bridgewater State, is likely very familiar with this city's airport.

The fallout of the vote includes the projected expense of contracting these management services, perhaps at double the cost of the salary offered Monday night, and no guarantee of local residency whatsoever.

A further consequence comes in the push for more passengers, for if the 7,000 passengers boarding annually here were to increase by nearly half again, the airport would be eligible for $1 million from the Federal Aviation Administration, up from the current $150,000.

One never knows … the loss of the opportunity for both the candidates and the airport may lead to better opportunities in the long run. If the city eventually attracts someone who can get the airport above that FAA threshold of 10,000 passengers, that would be the silver lining for this cloud, but it’s less likely to happen until issues of pay and residency are addressed case by case by the council, with an eye to the future, and not as mere “hot-button issues” to conveniently send a message.

Source:  http://www.southcoasttoday.com/opinion

Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport closed Tuesday

The weather did not cooperate with Parking Lot Maintenance of Lake St. Louis Thursday so the Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport will be closed Tuesday.

The company hopes to finish the painting of runway numbers and stripes, a job that city of Neosho development services director Dana Daniel said was postponed by rain on Thursday.

The airport was closed in early August as cracks in runways and taxiways were sealed before a seal coat was placed over the surfaces, a renovation Daniel expects to last for 8-10 years.

A Missouri Department of Transportation Aviation grant paid for 90 percent of the approximate $242,000 project.

Source:  http://www.neoshodailynews.com

Planes twist & spin

Debby Rihn-Harvey poses beside her airplane before her performance at the second annual Great American Airshow at Discovery Park Saturday.


Pilot Erik Edgren poses for a picture before his performance at the second annual Great American Airshow Saturday 


Deborah Rihn-Harvey has performed her aerobatic airshow all over the world, from Europe to South Africa, and even in Hungary before communism fell. Three times, she’s won the national championship in aerobatic flying, and twice she’s won the world championship.

But Saturday afternoon, she brought her Cap 232 plane to the corn and soybean fields of rural West Tennessee, and participated along with

14 other pilots in the second annual Great American Airshow at Discovery Park of America.

She tumbled her plane end over end, brought it in and out of spins, and danced back and forth across the skies as thousands of families watched in wonder below.

“Flying in general is a freedom most people don’t realize,” she said. “You get up there and the world is so big, and it makes you realize how small your problems are.”

Mike Rinker, a pilot based out of West Tennessee, started the airshow last year when he noticed that an incomplete section of I-69 was the perfect open and empty space for planes to perform over. It was close enough to Discovery Park that everyone could gather there to watch  performances.

Rinker said he’s passionate about flying, and he wanted to share that with his community. So, he reached out to Everett Stewart Regional Airport, pilots and sponsors to help make the event free for the public. He didn’t relegate himself to just organizing the event, however — he twisted and spun and flew through the air in three planes of his own.

He said his favorite part of flying is knowing that kids below are watching in amazement.

“It’s a passion for me, and something I love to share,” he said. “My favorite part is the kids that look up at me with wide-eyed wonder.”

Erik Edgren, another pilot who participated, said he loves inspiring kids with his routines as well. Instead of flying clean competition lines like Rihn-Harvey, his performances have more of a comedic bent to them.

He said one of his goals in participating in airshows like Saturday’s was so

he could help others interested in aviation realize that it is an achievable and enjoyable hobby.

“I like to see myself as an evangelist of little aviation,” he said.

He suggested interested children start out by contacting their local airport to see if they offer flying lessons, and by checking to see if the Experimental Aviation Association in their area

offers free flights to anyone who’s never flown before.

Before and after the planes flew, bluegrass groups The Ryman Shows Band and Jargon performed at Discovery Park. There were also fried fish plates for sale that included fish, hushpuppies, coleslaw and white beans.

So many people came to the show that the crowd spilled over into the parking lot of Second Baptist Church across the street, and even into a gas station behind the church. People sat on top of their cars, set up lawn chairs, and did whatever they could to have a good view of the planes.

Rihn-Harvey said she was grateful the community was so supportive of the airshow, and she hoped

it gave the audience at least a small taste of the “lifetime of joy” flying had given her.

“I’ve learned so much from aviation, if I can return just a portion of that to someone else I’ve done my service to aviation,” she said.

Story and photo gallery:  http://www.jacksonsun.com