Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Catch a flight to see Squamish's stunning landscape from above: Small aircraft are nimble, allowing them to get in and out of the mountains with ease

Pilot David Eastwood maneuvers the airplane.   

Eastwood and passenger Alexander Haidar in front of the aircraft. 

Floating through the air above town is an incredible way to soak in the views around Squamish. 

A cloudy mid-September day held the opportunity for me to take to the skies in a single-engine Cessna. The vantage from up there changes your perspective on a place. 

Sea-to-Sky Air, a local flight operator, aims to show guests something they’ve never seen.

After a brief safety tour, we took off and flew north over Levette Lake, up the Squamish Valley to where the Ashlu and the Squamish rivers merge. Then we turned west toward the Tantalus Range, mingling with clouds and glaciated peaks: Zenith, Mount Tantalus, Serratus and Alpha. 

After a quick lap over Lake Lovely Water, we skipped across town towards the Sea to Sky Gondola and over the Stawamus Chief before returning north to the Squamish Airport.

Back in 2010, pilot David Eastwood was living in Whistler when he realized that he wanted to do something different with his life.

 “I just figured I would come and try some flying. So I came for a couple of flights here and was like, yeah I need to get out to do this,” he says. 

“I went off for a couple years of training, came back and was amazed to get a job where I wanted, doing what I wanted to do.” 

Eastwood was growing weary of the Whistler ski scene and so took to the skies. 

“A new pair of skis is a very exciting thing, but there’s sometimes more to it than that,” he says.

 He explains how he finds reward in taking people out into the mountains and showing them something they might not have otherwise had the chance to see. 

“The more people we get up into the mountains, the more people will respect them – just gaining that better understanding.” 

The upbeat Sea to Sky Air pilots add to the experience of a flight, but really, the raw beauty of the scenery in and around the corridor is ample motivation on its own.

Sea to Sky Air has been in operation for six years. Owner Carlo Galvani started the company with one plane and a little shared office. It has since expanded and now has its own building at the airport and three planes. They are all single-engine Cessnas, each with four spots for passengers. 

The most recent addition was an amphibious plane in 2014 – equipped with wheels and floats allowing it to take off and land on both a runway and the water. This new aircraft has increased the types of trips the company can offer. They can now take off from the Squamish airport and land in surrounding alpine lakes, allowing guests a more engaged experience with the mountains.

"With the float plane you get out on the lake and all you hear is avalanches and waterfalls,” says Eastwood.

“There’s a lot of stuff that is accessible nearby,” adds Eric Lightfoot, another of the company’s pilots. Phantom Lake, Widgeon Lake and Pitt Lake are a few popular lakes in which to land.

The small aircraft are nimble, which means they can get in and out of the mountains with ease.

“Small four-seat aircraft – whether it’s a float plane or a wheel plane – can do everything a regular airplane can do. As far as being able to do an epic mountain flight, small planes are actually better,” explains Lightfoot. “I think usually we surprise people in terms of comfort.”

Sea to Sky Air is focused primarily on sight-seeing but, for passengers who just need to get where they are going, it also provides a charter service. From the Squamish Airport, Nanaimo is about 35 minutes away and Tofino is about an hour away. 

Eastwood elaborates on how flying can be the way to get the most out of a weekend or a limited vacation time. 

“If you work a 9 to 5 and just have a weekend, we get you there on the Friday night and take you home on your Sunday evening or Monday morning. You can actually spend a whole weekend, rather than a whole weekend going and coming back.”

Pender Harbour and Desolation Sound are also a quick ride across the pond.

 Sea to Sky Air ranks first with Trip Advisor for sight-seeing flights in Canada, and it’s not in small part because of the positive disposition of the pilots.

“Because we’ve been a very tight crew – just three pilots – we’ve all got to have a hand steering the business to where we want it to go,” explains Lightfoot.

“It’s really nice to have the happiest customers. We’re really proud of what we’ve done and what we can share with people.”

Even for long-time residents of Squamish, the perspective from the sky can be quite a change from life at lower altitude.

 “My favourite passengers are the ones who haven’t gone flying yet,” says Lightfoot. “Basically if they’re spellbound by it, then you can imagine what the experience is like for people visiting from other places.”

Squamish is a beautiful place and the landscape is even more appealing from the air. From the glaciated peaks down to the shining river valleys and out to Howe Sound, the varied terrain around town and through the corridor holds a particular appeal when you fly over it.

Returning to the Squamish Airport toward the end of our flight, we saw that Mount Garibaldi was buried under an intensifying heap of clouds. Flying on those clear, bluebird days is nice, but sometimes the sights are intensified with changing weather.

A smooth landing, a wave goodbye to the smiling pilots and the flight was over. I left in a reflective state of mind, mulling over the way things are from the sky.
- Story and photo gallery:

City officials investigating alleged flight violations: Clovis Municipal Airport (KCVN). Curry County, New Mexico

Clovis city officials are investigating allegations that their airport manager violated a series of flight regulations while conducting city business last month, Attorney Dave Richards said.

Robert Thorn, a pilot who has been critical of Airport Manager Kyle Berkshire and city operations at the airport, made the allegations in an email to city officials on Sept. 21.

On Sept. 20, Thorn alleged in his email, “Mr. Berkshire flew his airplane to Albuquerque International Airport from Clovis Municipal Airport and then back.”

“Now these flights would have been perfectly legal if he had his private pilot certificate,” Thorn wrote.

“However, Mr. Berkshire is just a student pilot.”

Berkshire declined to answer questions about Thorn’s allegations.

“All I will say is that they are making false statements,” Berkshire said in a text message.

Thorn, a pilot who’s rented a hangar at the Clovis airport since 2010, said his information has come from “witnesses at the airport.”

Thorn wrote in his email that Berkshire’s alleged actions were “the equivalent of a city employee driving their personal car that is not registered doing city business without a driver’s license to Albuquerque and back.”

City Manager Larry Fry referred questions to Richards.

“The City has received the emails of Mr. Thorn,” responded Richards via email. “The City is in the process of investigating and verifying the facts relating to the allegations. Appropriate action will be administered when the inquiry and verification process is completed.”

Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration did not respond to a request for information on Wednesday.

This is not the first time Thorn has had disputes with Berkshire and the city regarding airport issues.

In August, Thorn was vocally opposed to the city taking over fuel operations at the airport from a private company and he has publicly criticized Berkshire for airport conditions that he says are not up to industry standards.

Problems, he said in an email to city commissioners, “can all be attributed to your Airport manager.”

The city has scheduled a special executive session for 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

City officials declined to say if the Berkshire matter would be discussed during the private meeting.

Notice from the city reports only that “topics of discussion will be pending or threatened litigation, … the acquisition or disposal of real property, … and Limited Personnel Matters.”


Incident occurred September 27, 2016 at Bert Mooney Airport (KBTM), Butte, Silver Bow County, Montana

Firefighters scurried into action Tuesday night after a crew member aboard a Life Flight Network helicopter said they were having mechanical problems and might have to crash land in Butte.

Volunteer departments in the county also were on standby after the crew member called emergency dispatch at 10:53 p.m., said Bill Fisher, a battalion commander with the Butte-Silver Bow Fire Department.

The helicopter circled for at least 30 minutes before landing safely at Bert Mooney Airport and a patient on board was transported by ambulance to St. James Healthcare, where the aircraft had initially intended to land, according to the fire department.

There were four people on board the helicopter - the pilot, patient, a nurse and a paramedic. Nobody was hurt during the incident.

Butte-Silver Bow fire officials, citing Life Flight personnel on the scene, said the helicopter had a malfunctioning gauge that was preventing it from throttling down its engine. It started circling in the air to burn off fuel.

According to Life Flight, based in Aurora, Oregon, the helicopter based in Butte responded to a nearby request for help at about 9:30 p.m. After picking up the patient and departing for St. James, the pilot “noticed an engine gauge indicated a possible issue.”

After troubleshooting, the pilot decided to fly to the airport instead. He circled for about 30 minutes while talking with aviation resources to “further troubleshoot the issue and to ensure a safe landing.” It landed at 11:13 p.m. The precise problem was under investigation.

Butte-Silver Bow sent two fire engines to the airport after getting the call and several volunteer departments — Race Track, Boulevard, Floral Park, Home Atherton and Terre Verde — were put on standby in case the helicopter crashed in their areas, Fisher said.

An airport firetruck was prepared to take the lead in a crash because it had 1,500 gallons of water and also foam. A1 Ambulance also had vehicles at the scene.

Some incident details were posted on the Butte-Silver Bow Fire department’s website with a headline that said: “Were you wondering why a helicopter was circling the airport last night?”

Details on the status of the patient were unavailable because of privacy rules.

Life Flight remains in service in Butte with a fixed-wing aircraft and in Missoula with a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft. A backup helicopter was being re-positioned to Butte to help cover the area.

Life Flight Network has medical transport operations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Its helicopters typically operate within a 175-mile radius of its base but they can fly longer distances.

Each helicopter has medical equipment necessary to act as a mobile intensive care unit. Procedures and equipment in flight includes video laryngoscopes, CareFusion ventilators, and in some cases, blood products and portable blood analyzers for point-of-care testing.


Tense moments as police in Cleveland remove airline passenger

CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has obtained video of Cleveland Police boarding a plane that landed at Hopkins Airport Tuesday evening, and the incident puts a spotlight on bad behavior of air passengers.

The flight arrived from San Francisco. Passenger Bob Wilkinson says, shortly before landing, a flight attendant asked a chilling question on the intercom wondering if anyone on board was a law enforcement officer. Wilkinson told the I-TEAM, "I'm saying, wow, did I really hear that?’"

He added then there was an announcement about passengers staying in their seats after landing. Wilkinson said, "They were going to have the police come on, and they were going to remove a passenger. That was all they said."

Police soon came on board and arrested a woman. A report shows she “smelled of alcohol,” and had come out of the bathroom and “exhibited strange behavior.”

Of course, at the time, passengers didn’t know that, and they wondered about the worst case scenarios.

It led the I-TEAM to check on the numbers of unruly passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration says in 2004 it recorded 310 incidents. By 2013, the number had dropped by about half. And last year, the number was down to 103 cases.

Still, many air travelers say although the figures are going down, problem passengers are a common problem. Marla Knapit said, "They take too much on the plane. They're all over the place. Their kids aren't where they're supposed to be."

Airlines for America, an industry trade group, says airline employees rely on extensive training to handle disruptive passengers, and those workers support prosecution. Vaughn Jennings, spokesman for the group said in a statement, ”To put it in context, these incidents are extremely rare, in 2015 we had an all-time high in passengers volume while FAA data showed that we had an all-time low of incidents reported (103). In fact, we have seen an increase in the number of total passengers every year since 2012, while the number of incidents has dropped in each of those years.

In this case, it appears the woman arrested may not face any charges. A report shows police took her to a hospital.

Story and video:

Transportation Security Administration won't provide funding for bomb dogs at Richmond International Airport


Just a month ago, Jon E. Mathiasen, president and CEO of the Richmond International Airport, was confident the airport would receive $150,000 a year in federal funding to help pay for three teams of explosive-detection dogs and police officer handlers.

But on Tuesday, Mathiasen told the Capital Region Airport Commission that the money, which was to be available through the Transportation Security Administration’s National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program, won’t materialize, at least this year.

“Unfortunately, due to an unexpected change in funding, we will not be able to add any additional law enforcement teams at this time,” James W. Pruitt, a regional canine coordinator with the TSA, wrote in an email to the airport’s police chief and public safety director.

At last month’s airport commission meeting, the board authorized the airport to apply for the money, which would have been good for four years and would have brought regular explosive detection dogs back to the airport. The TSA reassigned the teams that were working in Richmond last year to “higher risk airports,” the TSA said.

Since then, the airport has brought in dogs from Henrico Police, the Capitol Police and Virginia State Police on a case-by-case basis, airport spokesman Troy Bell said.

Mathiasen said a report aired this month by a Dallas television station found that the canine teams failed numerous tests at major airports. The report ran on Sept. 14 and the airport got its email from Pruitt the next day.
“It seems coincidental that this big report comes out and this change in funding happened at the same time,” Mathiasen said.

Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, said the agency’s request to Congress, which has not yet approved the federal budget for the fiscal year that starts Saturday, includes funding to add 50 additional canine teams.

“Initial projection was the 50 teams would consist of a combination of TSA handlers and local law enforcement officers,” Farbstein wrote in an e-mail. “TSA officials, in assessing the current national transportation security needs, have since made a risk-based decision to allocate the additional 50 canine teams, anticipated to be received in fiscal year 2017, to further enhance TSA’s passenger screening capability.”

Farbstein did not respond to followup questions asking where TSA plans to put those teams.

In other airport news, American Airlines will be testing curbside check-in with handheld devices and expects to offer the service in the coming weeks, Bell said.

That would make them the first airline to bring curbside check-in back since the service evaporated after Sept. 11, 2001, initially amid a drop in flights and later as the recession set in, Bell said.

The airport also announced that it has converted all 21 of its airport shuttles from diesel fuel to compressed natural gas at a cost of about $4.7 million. Twelve of the cleaner-burning shuttles were purchased in the past six months, Bell said.

Passenger traffic at the airport increased 0.9 percent in August from the same month in 2015, making it the second busiest August on record at the airport.

So far this calendar year, traffic is up 0.7 percent.

Three carriers reported year-over-year increases in August — United, rose 14.3 percent; Delta, increased 1.3 percent; and JetBlue, up 0.2 percent.

Cargo traffic rose 22.3 percent last month.


Louis Armstrong International Airport gets no bids to build hotel at new terminal

A rendering of the planned North Terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Louis Armstrong International Airport's plan for a prominent hotel at the front entrance to its new $807 million passenger terminal failed to attract interest from developers, despite an unprecedented hotel boom unfolding in downtown New Orleans. 

The New Orleans Aviation Board did not receive any responses to its recent request for proposals to build a nationally branded, full-service, 140-room hotel connected to the terminal, which is under construction and slated to be finished by October 2018.

The deadline to respond to the hotel request was Sept. 16. 

"While we are disappointed to not receive any proposals for the hotel at the North Terminal, we continue to work hard to explore all options available to us," airport spokeswoman Michelle Wilcut said in a statement. "It is our intent to have an on-site hotel at the North Terminal and we are working with our program management team to identify the best way to accomplish this."

Wilcut said the airport doesn't have new timeline for advertising the project again, but "we will be working to do this in the most expedient manner possible in accordance with all public solicitation rules." The airport had hoped to have a lease negotiated, approved by the City Council and signed by Dec. 16.

Airport leaders estimated the hotel would be a $17 million project. The city and the New Orleans Aviation Board were seeking a 30-year lease deal that would require a developer to pay about $103,000 a year in rent and a minimum of $450,000 every year to share in revenues. 

Adam Lair, managing director of HVS Consulting and Valuation Services in New Orleans, said there are already a few new hotels in the development pipeline around the airport, and developers might be skittish about too much supply in the area. 

Across the metropolitan area, the New Orleans market has added more than 4,000 rooms in 23 hotels to its hospitality stock in the last six years, according to Smith Travel Research. Developers have turned to historic tax credits to renovate old office towers in the Central Business District into hotels and apartments, while hotels continue to be developed and renovated in the Warehouse District and near the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Tourists and convention visitors drive demand in the city's core.

"The demand drivers out by the airport are a lot different," Lair said.

An airport hotel operator could form a customer base with flight crews staying overnight before returning to their home bases, Lair said. Airport hotels are typically at hub airports with a lot of nearby commercial development to generate corporate demand, he said.

In New Orleans, the airport-area market has an eclectic mix of customers, the including oil and gas industry.

Robert Hand, president of Louisiana Commercial Realty, said the airport is asking too much — at least $550,000 annually — to make the project attractive for a developer. "The money that they're asking makes it unfeasible if you work through the numbers," Hand said. 

Airport hotels attract companies that want a convenient place for regional employee meetings, he said. The meetings can be held at the hotel, and employees can use their evenings off to go into the city. 

There also limitations on what brand the airport could attract, he said, depending on what brands already have hotels in the area.

The new terminal project, which all-told would include nearly one-billion dollars investment including a new interstate flyover and a hotel, is slated to open Oct. 1, 2018. Armstrong has seen huge growth in passenger traffic and is on track this year to surpass its all-time record of 10.6 million passengers in 2015.

Armstrong Airport currently leases 22 gates to airlines. The new terminal will have 30 gates with an option to expand to 42. 

As for the existing terminal, concourses A, B (Southwest) and C (American, Alaska, JetBlue and others) will be demolished. The airport intends to repurpose concourse D (Delta, United) for charter services and administrative offices. 


Officials approve skydiving business at Venice Regional Airport

VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - The Venice City Council has approved a skydiving business to operate at the Venice Regional Airport.

Originally the council was against the proposal due to concerns regarding a nearby airport. However, an assessment by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found that the airport would only pose a minor risk to skydivers.

The agency ruled that the City must approve the business or risk losing FAA funding. As a result, city officials approved the business.

With the approval, the owner of Skydive Venice Beach expects to have the business in place within 30 days.

Skydivers will be jumping about two miles out over the Gulf from 8 -10 thousand feet.

Story and video:

Cessna 400 Corvalis TT (LC41-550FG), N660BA

Stolen and crashed:  Cessna 400 Corvalis, N660BA, on Great Abaco Island.

A peak inside of the stolen and crashed Cessna 400 Corvalis, N660BA.

Ignition of Idaho plane.

William Sport, standing in front of two boats he owns in the Bahamas, is upset that police shot up the smaller boat while chasing Colton Harris-Moore. "The police could have taken a warning shot. He's a little punk," Sport said. 
"I have no sympathy for him. He's a thief."

Colton Harris-Moore is seen in a July 2008 photo recovered from a stolen digital camera memory card.

Colton Harris-Moore, the former teenage thief known as the "Barefoot Bandit," was released Wednesday from Stafford Creek Correction Center into work release in King County to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Harris-Moore, now 25, became a media sensation back in 2010 after eluding police on an international chase when he was just a teenager in Camano Island.  After a two-year crime spree stealing cars, a boat and planes, Harris-Moore was caught after he crash-landed a stolen plane in the Bahamas.

He earned the name "Barefoot Bandit" because he committed some of his crimes without shoes on.

KING 5 reported that Harris-Moore will be working at the office of his attorney, John Henry Browne. He will reportedly be staying at a halfway house in Seattle.

The release falls short of the six-and-a-half-year prison sentence he received in 2012. It comes at a difficult time for Harris-Moore. His mother, who suffered from advanced lung cancer, passed away in May.

Harris-Moore had spoken earlier of cryogenically freezing his mother with the hope medical advances might revive her and treat her lung cancer.


Connecticut Senate approves deal to keep Sikorsky Aircraft

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A $220 million agreement that would keep Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in the state to produce a new line of heavy cargo helicopters for the U.S. military was moving easily through the General Assembly on Wednesday, with some lawmakers hailing the deal as a positive sign for manufacturing.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 35-1 in favor of the agreement recently reached between Sikorsky, Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's administration and Sikorsky's new owner, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin. The House, also controlled by Democrats, was expected to pass the bill later in the afternoon.

A separate agreement with unionized Sikorsky workers still must be ratified.

Democratic Senate President Martin Looney, of New Haven, noted how Connecticut was competing with Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Georgia to build nearly 200 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters, calling the deal an "extraordinary coup." Looney said if Connecticut was unable to lure the new product line, the state could have lost Sikorsky, considering work on the company's Black Hawk helicopter is slowing.

"I think that might have been the reality we were looking at," he said.

The aircraft manufacturer was created by engineer Igor Sikorsky in 1925. He moved the company from New York to Stratford in 1929. The company currently employs about 7,600 workers in the state.

"The King Stallion is the only helicopter of its type in the world, and it is being built right here in Connecticut because we have the skilled workforce capable of producing the next generation helicopter," said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk.

Under the arrangement, Connecticut will provide Sikorsky $220 million in grants and tax exemptions over 14 years. In return, the company will build nearly 200 of the helicopters in Connecticut, beginning in 2019 through at least June 2032. The agreement also requires Sikorsky to increase its spending with approximately 300 local suppliers across the state, from about $350 million to $675 million, Looney said.

Sikorsky also is expected to grow and retain full-time employment at approximately 8,000 jobs.

"These are the types of jobs that can pay a mortgage and educate our kids," noted Republican Sen. Kevin Kelly, whose district includes Stratford. "It's more than just a helicopter. It's important to our community."

Kelly called the agreement a "good short-term fix" for Connecticut's economy, urging his fellow lawmakers to take additional steps to make the state more business-friendly. It was a theme repeated by Republicans, the legislature's minority party, throughout Wednesday's special session, with some noting General Electric's recent move to Massachusetts. Senate Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to expand the day's agenda to include issues such as stopping planned rail and bus fares and requiring legislative approval of all state employee contracts.

The next regular legislative session isn't scheduled to begin until January.

Sen. Joe Markley, a Republican from Southington, cast the lone opposing vote in the Senate. He predicted Connecticut will have to continue offering packages to entice employers until it reduces the tax burden on businesses and stabilizes its budget, which has been afflicted by deficits.

"Rest assured," he said, "they'll keep lining up." 


Chilliwack Airport management sues tenants for defamation

The state of turmoil and conflict at the Chilliwack Airport heaves on with at least one tenant leaving and, now, a defamation lawsuit from the management company that runs the embattled pitstop for pilots.

Magnum Management, owner Bryan Kirkness and airport manager Garry Atkins filed suit in BC Supreme Court against the Chilliwack Airport Tenants Association (CATA), the Chilliwack Airport Coffee Shop, it's owners and various other tenants of the airport.

Atkins told the Times Tuesday the suit was launched because they have been "unfairly maligned" and CATA has spread misinformation they see as harmful.

"Further to the defamatory statements being published, this group has lowered themselves to include personal attacks in a misdirected attempt to further their position," Atkins said via email.

As part of the current and ongoing conflict with Kirkness since he took over Magnum Oct. 1, 2013, members of CATA created a website,, they say as a way to express concerns about the airport.

The claim filed in Vancouver court on Aug. 23 seeks unspecified damages. Atkins added that any dollar amount is best left for the courts to decide, and that the suit is about halting what is in effect "a campaign of cyber bullying."

As of this week, the SaveYCW website hosts only a message on a home page saying that the site was created to express concerns about incidents at the airport: "We have now been sued because of certain content on the site. While we believe our concerns are valid, and will vigorously defend the claims, we have decided to remove content from the website."

Issues between a number of the tenants of the airport and Magnum have been ongoing and the source of tension since 2013.

Some tenants formed CATA and claimed that $25 million worth of business was under threat from Magnum actions that have been disruptive to operations. In its defamation lawsuit, Magnum responds that CATA represents just seven of the 97 tenants at the airport. Kirkness has said he is just trying to bring the airport into compliance with Transport Canada regulations, something that was lacking before he took over.

One of the specific allegations of defamation in the suit point to a "publication" posted on the SaveYCW website about a supposed illegal rent hike. In it, AJ Pumps co-owner John Van Esch said they were asked to pay an immediate rent increase of 50 percent, told if they didn't it would be backdated to 2003.

The "publication" which also was issued as a May 12 press release said others faced similar hikes.

"Years after our lease renewed we’ve been told to pay the increase or get out,” said Upper Valley Aviation founder Ken Smith. “Magnum has since threatened us with lawsuits and costly mediation procedures in attempts to bully us into agreeing to these increases."

In the civil claim, Magnum responds that no other tenant received "a notice, demand, or eviction notice since the Plaintiff, Bryan Kirkness, assumed primary ownership of Magnum Management," therefore the claim there were threats of improper rent increases or evictions is defamatory.

The whole conflict prompted the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) to send a letter on Sept. 10 sent to Mayor Sharon Gaetz asking for her to intervene at the City of Chilliwack owned airport.

"We feel that the atmosphere reported at the airport between members of the Chilliwack Airport Tenants Association (CATA) and the airport management team is counter productive, annihilates any possible growth and impacts sustainability, thus going against our mission of advancing and promoting the Canadian freedom to fly," COPA president and CEO Bernard Gervais wrote. "We are witnessing this right now, where businesses are in the process of leaving the airport."

But Gaetz and city hall have repeatedly stated the dispute is one between tenants and the landlord, who has a 50-year lease that was signed in 1997.

Atikins said they were "perplexed" at Gervais writing "such a negative piece of communication" and copying it to others without first speaking to Magnum.

In a response letter issued Sept. 15, Kirkness writes that COPA's message is based on false information about the airport spread by CATA.

Most recently, Mitchell Nosko, owner of flight school Principal Air, announced on Sept. 24 that after 12 years the business was leaving the Chilliwack Airport, moving operations to the Abbotsford Airport.

Nosko, who is named in the defamation suit, said that Magnum refused to give the company a new lease two years ago so they were operating month by month. On Aug. 30, Nosko received the eviction notice, tried to move into another compound but were told by city hall to move the business licence they needed permission from Magnum, something that was refused.

"This left us with no other possible solutions in Chilliwack," he said, since the business needs roadside and airside access to operate.

Atkins told the Times that there has been a difference of opinion between Magnum and Principal Air since the new ownership in 2013, and there have been numerous instances of the company not following rules and requests from management.


Transportation Security Administration: man stopped from bringing loaded gun on plane in Lynchburg

This .380 caliber handgun was detected by TSA officers at the Lynchburg Regional Airport checkpoint on Tuesday, September 27. 
(Photo courtesy of TSA.)

LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) —Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented a Campbell County man from bringing a loaded handgun on board an airplane at the Lynchburg Regional Airport checkpoint on Tuesday.

The Rustburg man was stopped by TSA officers at the checkpoint with a .380 caliber handgun, loaded with six rounds of ammunition.

Officers found the gun as the man was passing through the airport checkpoint. The officer who was working the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the firearm as it passed along the conveyor belt.

Lynchburg Regional Airport Police were contacted and responded, confiscated the gun, and issued the man a citation on a state weapons charge.

There was no impact to airport operations.

TSA says this incident serves as a reminder that passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint.

The administration urges passengers to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal items.  You can view a comprehensive list of prohibited items at

TSA says passengers are allowed to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.


Mercy Flight campaign takes off with $500,000 Sands family and Constellation Brands donation

Mercy Flight campaign takes off with $500,000 Sands family and Constellation Brands donation.

CANANDAIGUA — Mercy Flight Central has given a new name to one of its helicopters, courtesy of a $500,000 investment from the Sands family and Constellation Brands.

The gift announcement was made by Rob Sands, president and CEO of Constellation Brands, at a private event Tuesday night in Canandaigua.

The gift will support advancements to aviation equipment, medical technology and staff training. The gift also puts the Canandaigua-based nonprofit medical aviation organization closer to its $4.5 million goal as part of its “Looking UP! Capital Campaign.”

The campaign is co-chaired by Ginny Clark, senior vice president, public affairs, Constellation Brands and Chris Ramsey, owner, Ramsey Constructors.

“The Sands family has been involved with Mercy Flight Central for more than two decades and my father Marvin was one of its first major benefactors,” Sands said in a prepared statement. “It’s a pleasure to continue the family tradition with this gift.”

Sands said his son, Mackenzie, was transported after an accident several years ago.

“This first-hand experience drove home the tremendous value of the service,” Sands said. “Mercy Flight Central is a vital part of the regional health care system and we are pleased to support them.”

Clark said her daughter, Shaunna, was airlifted to safety after a crash more than two decades ago. She credits her now grown daughter’s recovery to Mercy Flight.

“We are all so lucky to have Mercy Flight Central looking out for us when tragedy strikes,” Clark said in a statement. “When every minute counts, trust me, you can count on them.”

Mercy Flight Central Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bartkoski said $4.2 million has been raised in the capital campaign.

Mercy Flight, which has transported 14,000 patients since 1992, also operates from bases in Marcellus, Onondaga County, and Rome, Oneida County.


Air Tractor AT-802, Empty Pockets Flying Service Inc., N519EP: Accident occurred September 06, 2016 in Wilson, Arkansas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA512
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 06, 2016 in Wilson, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2017
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR AT802, registration: N519EP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, he was on his sixth agricultural application pass of the third field for the day. He reported that, during that pass, the airplane’s tail struck “unseen powerlines.” He recalled that the power lines crossed the field at an angle and that the power line poles were hidden by trees on both sides of the field. The pilot flew to a nearby airport and landed without further incident. The vertical stabilizer and the rudder sustained substantial damage.

Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137.19 (e) states, in part,

Knowledge and skill tests. The applicant must show, or have the person who is designated as the chief supervisor of agricultural aircraft operations for him show, that he has satisfactory knowledge and skill regarding agricultural aircraft operations, as described in paragraphs (e)(1) and (2) of this section. 

(1)(i) Steps to be taken before starting operations, including survey of the area to be worked. …

(1)(vi) Safe flight and application procedures.

During an interview with the operator, the investigator-in-charge (IIC) asked if documented training was provided to pilots regarding the location of wire hazards for the area of operation, and the operator responded that it did not provide this information to its pilots. At the request of the IIC, the operator agreed to provide documented, local area power line and obstacle avoidance training to pilots who perform application operations. The operator has completed the recommended training.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or anomalies with the airframe or engine that would have prevented normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to adequately survey the area of operation and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance from power lines during an agricultural application flight.


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Little Rock FSDO-11

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA512 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, September 06, 2016 in Wilson, AR
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR AT802, registration: N519EP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

According to the pilot, he was on his sixth aerial application pass of the third field for the day. He reported that during that pass, the airplane's tail struck "unseen powerlines". He recalled that the powerline wires crossed the field at an angle, and that the powerline poles were hidden by the trees on both sides of the field. The pilot flew to a nearby airport, and landed without further incident. The vertical stabilizer and the rudder sustained substantial damage.

In accordance with 14 CFR Part 137, Section 19, (e)(1)(i)(vi) 

(a) General. An applicant for a private agricultural aircraft operator certificate is entitled to that certificate if he shows that he meets the requirements of paragraphs (b), (d), and (e) of this section. An applicant for a commercial agricultural aircraft operator certificate is entitled to that certificate if he shows that he meets the requirements of paragraphs (c), (d), and (e) of this section. 

The agricultural aircraft operator is entitled to a commercial agricultural aircraft operator certificate if the operator can show that the knowledge and skills required by the Commercial Operator per paragraph (e) are complied with, which include:

(i) Steps to be taken before starting operations, including survey of the area to be worked.

(vi) Safe flight and application procedures.

During an interview with the operator, the investigator-in-charge asked if documented training was provided to pilots regarding the location of wire hazards for the area of operation? The operator said, no. At the request of the investigator-in-charge, the operator agreed to provide documented, local area powerline wire and obstacle avoidance training to the pilots that are performing aerial application operations for the organization. The operator has completed the recommended training.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or anomalies with the airframe or engine prior to the wire strike, that would have prevented normal operation.

Piper PA-34-200, N1059U, Bass Holdings LLC: Incidents occurred May 30, 2017 and September 27, 2016 at Tampa Executive Airport (KVDF), Hillsborough County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

Bass Holdings LLC:

Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed.

Date: 30-MAY-17
Time: 16:30:00Z
Regis#: N1059U
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA34
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

Aircraft on landing, nose gear collapsed.  

Date: 27-SEP-16

Time: 15:30:00Z
Regis#: N1059U
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA34
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Unknown
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: Florida

Air rage incidents reported by airlines on the rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — Incidents of unruly passengers on planes are increasing, and more effective deterrents are needed to tackle the problem, a global airline trade group said Wednesday.

There were 10,854 air rage incidents reported by airlines worldwide last year, up from 9,316 incidents in 2014, according to the International Air Transport Association. That equates to one incident for every 1,205 flights, an increase from one incident per 1,282 flights the previous year.

Incidents have been rising almost consistently since 2007, when the association began tracking the issue. That year airlines reported 339 incidents to the association.

A majority of incidents involved verbal abuse, failure to follow crew instructions and other anti-social behavior. Eleven percent included physical aggression toward passengers or crew or damage to the plane. Alcohol or drugs were a factor in 23 percent of the cases. In the vast majority of incidents involving drugs or alcohol, the substances were consumed before boarding or imbibed secretly on board, the association said.

Training staff in airport bars and duty-free shops to sell alcohol responsibly, including avoiding offers that encourage binge drinking, can cut incidents by half, the association said, citing an initiative by Monarch Airlines at London’s Gatwick Airport.

Airlines already have strong guidelines and crew training on “the responsible provision of alcohol,” the association said.

A woman in England pleaded guilty in June to assaulting an easyJet pilot. Prosecutors said she punched the pilot in the face after he deemed her too intoxicated to fly. In another case, a male passenger allegedly urinated on fellow easyJet passengers as they were waiting to deplane after landing at Edinburgh.

Six men involved in a drunken brawl during a Jetstar flight from Sydney to Thailand in July were ordered off the plane after it diverted to Indonesia.

An American Airlines pilot tackled one passenger to the floor after he tried to force his way off the plane as it taxied to the gate in Charlotte, North Carolina. “You don’t put your hands on my flight attendant!” the pilot can be heard yelling on a video taken by another passenger. The unruly passenger was arrested and charged with being intoxicated and disruptive.

Charlie Leocha, president of Travelers United, an advocacy group for airline passengers in Washington, said he knows of no changes in the way alcohol is sold in airports or on planes that would account for the increase in the rate of incidents. But he noted that the increases correspond with efforts by airlines to squeeze more passenger seats onto planes by shrinking legroom and seat width.

“We’ve always had alcohol sold at airports, we have always had alcohol served on aircraft,” he said. “The only difference today is that people now have less space and they are required to interact more intimately with other passengers.”

Other recent incidents include a Los Angeles-bound Delta Air Lines flight diverted to Tucson, Arizona, escorted by two Air Force fighter jets, after a passenger refused to return his seat. The following month, the FBI and Hawaii state sheriffs arrested a 35-year-old man who allegedly bit a flight attendant on a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Pago Pago in American Samoa to Honolulu.

Airlines also want more countries to ratify a 2014 treaty that closes gaps in laws for dealing with unruly passengers. So far, only six countries — Bahrain, Congo, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Guyana and Jordan — have ratified the pact.

“More are needed in order to have a consistent global approach to this issue,” said Alexandre de Juniac, the association’s director general.


‘We’re having to be bouncers’: More problem passengers flying, industry says 

More deterrents are needed to deal with the rising number of incidents involving disruptive passengers aboard planes, according to the global airline industry’s trade association.

Reports of unruly passenger incidents onboard aircraft increased t
o 10,854 last year, up from 9,316 in 2014, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Wednesday.

That equals one incident for every 1,205 flights, compared with one in every 1,282 flights.

“The increase in reported incidents tells us that more effective deterrents are needed,” IATA director-general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said.

“Unruly and disruptive behavior is simply not acceptable. The anti-social behavior of a tiny minority of customers can have unpleasant consequences for the safety and comfort of all aboard.”

Last week, airline Jet2 banned six passengers after a drunken incident on a flight from Newcastle to Tenerife involving allegedly “illicit alcohol,” booze bought before boarding the plane.

Jet2 had previously said it backs a government inquiry into how alcohol is sold at airports and called for duty-free spirits to be sold in sealed bags.

The number of air rage episodes in Great Britain has quadrupled to 386 dangerous incidents last year from 85 in 2013, according to the BBC.

Incidents include passengers getting into brawls and one traveler trying to open a plane door in mid-flight.

One cabin crew member told the broadcaster: “Now we’re getting to the point where we’re having to be bouncers.”

IATA said in its report that the majority of incidents reported in 2015 involved verbal abuse, failure to follow lawful crew instructions and other forms of “anti-social behavior.”

A “significant proportion (11 per cent) of reports indicated physical aggression towards passengers or crew or damage to the aircraft.”

Alcohol or drug intoxication was identified in 23 per cent of cases, but the “vast majority” of these instances involved the consumption of alcohol or drugs before boarding or from “personal supply without knowledge of the crew.”

Among measures that can be taken to reduce unruly behavior are the training of staff in airport bars and duty-free shops so that alcohol is served and sold responsibly, IATA said.

There is also “a need to avoid offers that encourage so-called ‘binge drinking.’”

Adopting a cooperative voluntary approach on the part of industry players and governments is preferable to “heavy-handed regulation and licensing.”