Sunday, October 30, 2016

National Airlines plane grounded at St. John's airport, application to seize filed with court: Airport alleges company owes fees, airline terminating service in January

National Airlines N176CA sits on the tarmac at St. John's International Airport after an application for seizure was filed with the Supreme Court and future flights were cancelled. The airport is accusing National of not paying fees. 

A National Airlines plane landed in St. John's at 6:28 p.m. on Friday, inbound from Orlando. The scheduled return flight to Florida was cancelled, with passengers unable to rebook on the discount airline.

By Sunday afternoon, a notice on the airline's website stated: "We regret to inform you that we are cancelling several flights in November and December and have decided to not extend our service to St. John's beyond January 6, 2017." 

The St. John's Airport Authority has filed an application to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador under Section 9(2) of the Airport Transfer Act.

The section pertains to unpaid fees from an airline to an airport. It allows airport officials to file an application to seize an aircraft if they have reason to believe the plane or the person liable for the unpaid fees will leave Canada. It also allows a judge to make an ex parte ruling — a decision without a defence being present.

The application is scheduled to be heard Monday at 10 a.m. 

Passengers were upset with the cancellation and were told by the airline it was due to a "paperwork issue," a source told CBC. The source said airport authorities seized the plane due to unpaid fees. 

Calls to St. John's International Airport management National Airlines and Provincial Airlines were not returned.

National holds a partnership with Provincial Airlines, operating weekly flights to Orlando since January. The airline flies out of St. John's, Windsor, Ont., Orlando and San Juan, Puerto Rico.


Cessna 172 Skyhawk, N6353E: Fatal accident occurred October 29, 2016 in Palmer, Alaska 

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Anchorage FSDO-03

NTSB Identification: ANC17FA003
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2016 in Palmer, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N6353E
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 29, 2016, about 1445 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N6353E, sustained substantial damage after impacting terrain following a loss of control after takeoff from a remote, gravel-covered site adjacent to the Knik River, about 12 miles southeast of Palmer, Alaska. The sole occupant, the student pilot, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to the student pilot, and was operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Wasilla Airport, at an unknown time. 

According to various witnesses near the accident site, they observed the accident airplane flying in the Knik River valley. The witnesses reported that the airplane did a touch-and-go landing on the gravel bar, and just after a southeasterly takeoff, as it climbed to 100 feet above ground level (agl), it turned to the left. During the left turn, the wings of the airplane rolled perpendicular to the ground, and it descended, nose low, before colliding with the gravel-covered site. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage.

The witnesses reported gusty southeasterly wind conditions at the time of the accident, estimated between 20 and 25 knots. 

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) air safety investigator and the Alaska State Troopers traveled to the accident scene on October 29 via helicopter. The NTSB investigator-in-charge and a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector traveled to the accident scene on October 30 via helicopter. The wreckage was located in an area of flat, gravel-covered terrain north of the Knik River, with heavy vegetation to the north of the wreckage site. The wreckage was recovered and transported to a secure facility for future examination of the airframe and engine.

The closest official weather observation station is located at the Palmer Airport, about 13 miles to the northwest of the accident site. At 1453, an Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) was reporting, and stated in part: Wind 340 degrees (true) at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, few clouds at 6,000 feet, overcast at 8,000 feet; temperature 39 degrees F; dew point 25 degrees F; altimeter 29.72 inHg.

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


Last updated at 2:20 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30

A Wasilla man is dead after the plane he was flying crashed on a dry river bed near Palmer on Saturday.

The crash was reported to Alaska State Troopers at 2:48 p.m. where the Friday Creek meets the Knik River, according to an online dispatch.

Ray Justen, 25, was the pilot and only person on board, according to troopers.

National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Clint Johnson said the pilot’s brother was at the scene with a few other people and described the crash.

“[He] indicated that the airplane touched down on a gravel-covered surface, took off again, had a fairly steep climb,” Johnson said. “There were wind conditions, maybe 15-20 knot winds at the time, gusty winds, and what he was able to explain to me was a loss of control, or a stall. Unfortunately the plane descended nose-first and ultimately impacted the riverbank.”

When a LifeMed helicopter from Wolf Lake responded around 3:17 p.m., Justen was dead, according to troopers. Johnson said Justen’s brother and those with him attempted life-saving measures, which were unsuccessful.

Johnson flew out to the scene with troopers to examine the crash site. The dispatch noted the aircraft, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, had sustained significant damage during the crash.

Justen’s body was recovered from the wreckage and taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage. His next of kin have been notified of his death.

The NTSB is continuing to investigate the crash. Johnson said a helicopter would remove the wreckage from the scene and take it back to a hangar for a more in-depth look at the plane.


A 25-year-old man was killed when the small plane he was piloting crashed into a Knik River gravel bar Saturday, according to Alaska State Troopers and federal investigators.

In an online dispatch, troopers said they were alerted to the crash at 2:48 p.m. Saturday. A LifeMed helicopter responded to the scene in a remote area of the Knik River close to Friday Creek, southeast of Butte.

Ray Justen of Wasilla was the pilot and sole occupant of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft, troopers said. He died at the scene.

"Witnesses said this airplane came in, made a touch-and-go on a gravel bar and during a fairly steep climb out there was an aerodynamic stall," said Alaska National Transportation Safety Board chief Clint Johnson, who traveled to the scene via trooper helicopter Saturday. "The airplane descended nose-first and struck the gravel bar."

Friends and family traveled to the scene on ATVs, Johnson said. Winds in the area were gusty at the time of the crash.

Justen's body has been transferred to the  state medical examiner. The NTSB continues to investigate the crash.


BUTTE / KTUU One man is dead after a Cessna 172 Skyhawk crashed in the Knik River Valley.

The first report of a downed plane near Friday Creek and Knik River came in just before 3 p.m. Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Alaska State Troopers arrived on scene about 30 minutes later, finding the sole occupant of the plane, 25-year old Ray Justen of Wasilla dead on arrival.

Troopers say Justen's body was recovered and airlifted to the State Medical Examiners office.

According to Jason Sharlow and Don Umbarger, they were flagged down by a woman while driving their 4-wheelers. The two men were taken to the plane and proceeded to pull out the pilot who they say, after checking his vitals, was dead.

Sharlow and Umbarger told KTUU reporter Patrick Enslow that the pilots brother and friends were 4-wheeling and watching the plane fly around all day before it crashed, confirming only the pilot was on board at the time of the incident.

NTSB officials began their investigation into the cause of the crash Saturday afternoon, they say weather permitting, the investigation will continue Sunday.


On 10/29/2016 at approximately 1448 hours, the Alaska State Troopers were advised of an aircraft crash at Friday Creek and the Knik River within the Palmer area.  AST was advised Ray Justen (25 yoa of Wasilla) had been the pilot and sole occupant.  A LifeMed helicopter responded from Wolf Lake and arrived on scene at approximately 1517 hours.  Justen was found to be deceased upon their arrival.  An Alaska State Trooper along with an NTSB investigator responded to the scene by means of an AST helicopter.  The Cessna 172 aircraft had significant damage.  NTSB is investigating the incident. The body was recovered and turned over to the State Medical Examiner's office in Anchorage. Next of kin has been notified.

Pitts Special S-1, N27832: Accident occurred October 29, 2016 in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report:

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Greensboro FSDO-39

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA031
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 29, 2016 in New Bern, NC
Aircraft: HADDOW WILLIAM H PITTS SPECIAL S 1, registration: N27832
Injuries: 1 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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 29, 2016, about 1600 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Pitts Special S-1, N27832, was substantially damaged when it impacted a river, following a loss of control during aerobatic flight near Coastal Regional Airport (EWN), New Bern, North Carolina. The commercial pilot incurred minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by commercial pilot as a personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed EWN about 1545.

The pilot reported that he was practicing aerobatics about 3 miles northeast of EWN, over the Neuse River. During the maneuvers, as he input left aileron, the control stick was stiff and he believed he observed abnormal movement of the upper left aileron. He then applied more force to free the control stick and input right aileron; however, the airplane continued to roll left and entered a spin. The pilot was unable to recover from the spin and subsequently parachuted from the airplane. Both the pilot and the airplane came to rest in the Neuse River.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and the pilot revealed substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. They also noted that a majority of the left wings, including the ailerons and aileron control tubes, were not recovered from the river.

The single-seat, bi-wing, fixed-tailwheel airplane, was assembled from a kit and issued an FAA experimental airworthiness certificate in 1994. It's most recent annual conditional inspection was completed on July 21, 2016. At that time, the airplane had accrued 170 total hours.

A matter of seconds is why Marco Bouw is still alive.

You may remember him. He got some attention last Saturday, Oct. 29, when his aerobatic biplane malfunctioned while flying over the Neuse River. Unable to regain control, Bouw had to jump clear as the biwing Pitts S-1S plummeted, following it by parachute into the river.

Bouw, a 26-year-old Pamlico resident and professional pilot for Trans State Airlines out of Missouri, has been flying since he was 16. He is a British citizen, having moved from England to his current home at the age of 3.

He said he is training in aerobatics. “My dream job is to be an airshow pilot,” he said.

It was watching local airshow pilot Hubie Tolson flying that inspired him in that direction. Bouw has placed in the top three of every competition he’s entered over the past year and a half, he said.

Bouw’s aerobatic wings of choice is a Pitts S-1S, a fabric-covered biplane first designed in 1946. “It has won more aerobatic competitions than any other plane,” he said, though in recent years it has been outperformed in power and roll rate by newer planes.

But having a reliable airplane and proven flight skill isn’t always enough.

Bouw met for an interview, wearing a jacket bearing the phrase “Chute happens: Live with it.”

It was a chute — required by law in the U.S. — that kept him alive last Saturday. That, timing, and a bit of luck.

Stunt pilots keep their aircraft over non-populated areas — farmland, woodlands such as the Croatan Forest, over airports or over large bodies such as the Neuse, which is about a mile wide where his airplane came down, within sight of Union Point.

They ride with a military-style parachute – meaning it is fairly small and not really capable of maneuvering by its wearer. It is strapped onto the body with the parachute being behind the buttocks so that the wearer actually sits on it in the airplane.

He said the FAA is investigating his crash, and that he has talked extensively with investigators about his 4 p.m. crash. “What I told them was, I was performing a maneuver,” he explained. “My control stick seemed to jam up. It wouldn’t unjam.”

Bouw went through a number of steps to get the Pitts back under control but nothing worked. By now the airplane was rolling and diving toward the ground, he said. “I knew I was going to die if I stayed in the plane.”

He said that ditching one’s airplane and using the chute are only done in life-or-death situations.

He grabbed the canopy of his airplane and pulled it back. Because of the angle and speed of the airplane – Bouw estimated he was going about 180 mph – he couldn’t easily climb onto his seat to jump out. “I had to grab a handle and hop up onto the seat like this,” he said, illustrating with the chair he sat on in the interview.

He guesses he was about 800 feet up when he jumped. He hit the water about 8 seconds later, a mere second or two after his airplane which broke to pieces when it struck the water nearby.

It wasn’t a gentle landing: landing with the parachute, he said, is like jumping from a second story window, and just clearing the airplane can be a trick. It doesn’t take much to be struck by the tail or wing when you bail out.

He said his chute deployed at about 200 feet and he landed in the river about a hundred yards from a sandbar. “I had bruises from the harness,” he said. “I hit the water hard enough that my knees swelled up for four days straight.”

He said he jumped just in the nick of time: “If I’d have jumped any later I wouldn’t have made it, because the chute wouldn’t have opened,” he said.

If he had stayed with the plane he would have been killed: it shattered on striking the river, leaving some wooden shards the size of pencils.

When he struck the water, he said he struggled to get out of the parachute as, had it landed on him, it could have filled and dragged him under. In the deep water – it was about 15 or 20 feet deep – he was disoriented but made it to the surface.

“I started screaming for help,” he said. Soon a jet ski arrived, its driver pulling him on board and he was quickly transferred to a boat.

He received medical treatment and went home. The boat was pulled from the river the next day and is now in Bouw’s hangar near Coastal Carolina Regional Airport.

Bouw has no intention of giving up aerobatic flight as a result of his accident. In fact, he hopes to be in the air practicing again within a year.

“Aerobatics is the ultimate freedom for a pilot,” he said. “You find out what kind of personality you have.”


NEW BERN, Craven County - A plane crashed into the Neuse River Saturday afternoon. New Bern Fire and Rescue officials tell NewsChannel 12 the pilot ejected himself from the plane when something went wrong.

Officials said Marco Bouw is the stunt pilot who crashed. Officials said something went wrong during one of his stunts and then the plane started spiraling toward the Neuse River. The pilot deployed his parachute and landed in the water.

New Bern Fire Rescue and several volunteer fire department responded to Union Point Park, near where the crash happened, around 4:40 p.m. according to Chief Eric Mullis. New Bern Police were already on scene when the crash happened because of an event going on at Union Point Park. The Coast Guard was also notified about the crash.

When emergency officials arrived on scene Bouw was already out of the water because witnesses in private boats stepped in and rescued him from the river. He was not taken to a hospital because Carolina East EMS checked him out on scene and he did not have any serious injuries.

Witnesses said they saw smoke and the plane spiraling downwards toward the Neuse, but did not hear any loud sounds associated with the crash.

The plane is still in the Neuse River, but emergency officials said there is no leakage from the plane and no danger to the public. It is now up to Craven County Emergency Management to figure out what to do with the plane.


NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - A pilot who crashed late Saturday afternoon in the Neuse River was able to parachute out of the aircraft to safety, officials say.

Little Swift Creek and Tri Community volunteer fire departments were at the scene making sure no other boats hit the plane, which is now under water in pieces. New Bern Fire Department was also at the scene.

The crash happened near Union Point Park around 4 p.m.

Ira Whitford with Craven County Emergency Services says Marco Bouw was practicing stunts and parachuted out of the plane once he realized something was wrong.

We're told someone who was already in the water brought him to safety. The pilot is said to be okay and was not transported to the hospital.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the crash.


NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – A small plane crashed into the Neuse River Saturday afternoon.

New Bern Police say happened at 4:15pm near Union Point Park.

Craven County Emergency Services Assistant Director Ira Whitford told WNCT the pilot was practicing stunts when something went wrong. The pilot, identified at Marco Bouw, ejected himself and parachuted out of the plane. No injuries were reported.

New Bern Police said the pilot of the plane was the only one on board at the time of the crash. Investigators say the pilot was pulled to safety and did not appear to have been serious injured.

New Bern Police, the Craven County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Highway Patrol, and the U.S. Coast Guard all responded to the crash.

Investigators say the plane broke into several pieces and went underwater during the crash.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.


Tulsa Airports Director Jeff Mulder resigns

Jeff Mulder, the director overseeing Tulsa International Airport and R.L. Jones Jr. Airport, has resigned.

Mulder submitted his resignation on Friday to the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust Board effective Dec. 31, according to a Tulsa International Airport statement. The resignation is contingent on Mulder being offered the post of director of two airports in Fort Myers, Florida.

The trust named Alexis Higgins, deputy airports director of marketing and community relations, as interim director beginning Jan. 1 and will initiate a search for a new director.

Mulder’s successor will receive an annual salary of more than $150,000, and the trust will probably concentrate on a deputy director at an airport similar in size to Tulsa or larger, Mulder said.

Mulder became Tulsa’s Airports Director in May 2005 and led numerous projects, including the opening of the airport’s centralized security checkpoint and the creation of a multijurisdictional TIF district, the first in the state of Oklahoma.

He also recently completed a one-year term as chairman of the American Association of Airport Executives, composed of 5,100 members who represent 850 airports and 500 corporations.

“The value of his experience is immeasurable,” said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. “Jeff served in an advisory capacity on several big financial issues we faced during the national recession, and then began to lead the airport into a new era. We will be hard pressed to find another director of his caliber, but we wish Jeff the best in his new position.”

Other major airport projects under Mulder were reconstructing the two passenger concourses, reconstructing the mail runway with minimal airline traffic disruption, completing the 10-year, $84 million noise mitigation project, transitioning TIA and Jones-Riverside Airport from a city department to an independent agency and obtaining support from rental car operators to finance a $24 million third-level to the parking garage, which could be complete by the time he leaves.

“Jeff was a strategic leader who initiated several creative solutions to maximize airport resources and growth opportunities,” trust chairman Jeff Stava said. “We appreciate his commitment to serving our community and wish him the best as he moves forward in his new role.”

The Fort Myers airports have about 8 million passengers each year compared with about 1.3 million at Tulsa in recent years.

Mulder is the eighth person to head Tulsa’s airports since 1928. He had been directer of the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Appleton, Wisconsin, before coming to Tulsa. A native of Michigan, he had previously served in various positions in New Orleans, Evansville, Indiana, and Milwaukee.

Higgins has been with the airport for 16 years and is also active with the American Association of Airport Executives.

Original article can be found here:

Robinson R44 II, Uryumkan LLC, RA-04347: Fatal accident occurred October 23, 2016 in Baleisky, Russia

NTSB Identification: ERA17WA028
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Sunday, October 23, 2016 in Baleisky, Russia
Aircraft: ROBINSON R44, registration:
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On October 23, 2016, about 1030 coordinated universal time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, Russian registration RA-04347, was destroyed when it impacted terrain in the Baleisky district, in eastern Siberia, Russia, while en route from Zolotorechensk Airport to Jalal-Kadai Airport. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Interstate Aviation Committee of Russia.

Further information can be obtained from:

Interstate Aviation Committee
22/2/1 Bolshaya Ordynka Str.
Moscow 119017, Russia

Tel.: (7) 495 953-5251
Fax: (7) 495-953-1145

This report is for informational purposes and only contains information released by the Russian Government.

23.10.2016 в Балейском районе Забайкальского края произошло авиационное происшествие с вертолетом Robinson R44 RA-04347, принадлежащим ООО «Урюмкан». По имеющейся информации, находившиеся на борту пилот и два пассажира погибли, воздушное судно разрушено.

В соответствии с российским воздушным законодательством Межгосударственный авиационный комитет сформировал комиссию по расследованию данного авиационного происшествия. Комиссия приступила к работе.

Steen Skybolt, C-GWBD: Accident occurred October 06, 2016 in Blackfalds, Canada

NTSB Identification: ANC17WA002
Accident occurred Thursday, October 06, 2016 in Blackfalds, Canada
Aircraft: STEEN SKYBOLT, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On October 06, 2016, about 2050 Coordinated Universal Time, an amateur-built Steen Skybolt airplane, C-GWBD, impacted terrain near Blackfalds, Alberta, Canada, under unknown circumstances. The pilot sustained fatal injuries.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada is investigating the accident. As the state of manufacture of the airplane, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has designated an U.S. accredited representative to assist the TSB in its investigation. 

All inquiries concerning this accident should be directed to the TSB of Canada:

Transportation Safety Board of Canada
200 Promenade du Portage
Place du Centre, 4th Floor
Hull, Quebec K1A 1K8

Jet restoration contract approved: Businesses, individuals help Edwardsville Township with $20,000 in donations

After years of stops and starts, the iconic Corsair plane that sits near the entrance to Edwardsville Township Park will finally be restored soon.

Trustees approved a $30,000 contract with Flight Deck Veterans Group, a nation-wide non-profit based in Tennessee that specializes in restoring aircraft as part of its mission of “veterans serving veterans” and passing on the “history and legacy of veterans and flight deck operations,” according to a release from the township.

“It will take five days for them to get the project completed,” Township Supervisor Frank Miles said Wednesday. “We expect them to start within the next 30 days.”

First on the agenda is for the Township to figure out which period of service the plane will be restored to and then to work with the group on exactly how to make that happen.

The plane has a storied past.

Miles said they have learned from the group that the plane – officially a U.S. Navy A-7E Corsair – took her maiden cruise in 1975 off the deck of the USS Nimitz, where it was stationed until 1980. Two years later, the plane served on the USS JFK, and from 1984 to 1996 she served on the USS Saratoga. All those deployments were Mediterranean cruises, Miles said.

“This agreement is the culmination of a multi-year project to restore our historic aircraft,” Miles said in the press release.

“In late 2013, we were approached by a small group of Township residents who were interested in restoring the aircraft. We established a Community Fund with the Edwardsville Community Foundation so residents could make tax deductible contributions.”

In the spring of 2016, the township launched “Mission: Preservation, the Campaign to Restore the Plane.” It was a three-pronged approach to raising the necessary funds to restore the aircraft to “display and ready condition.” That definition comes from the U.S. Naval Aviation Museum, which loaned the plane to the Township.

“The campaign has really rallied the community around the project and brought new volunteers and veterans to the project as well,” Miles said.

The plane was helicoptered into Township Park about a quarter century ago from Scott Air Force Base. The engine had been removed at Scott, and after it arrived in Edwardsville the late Township Supervisor Robert Stille installed a female mannequin in the cockpit, propping her up with a stack of phone books.

The most recent effort to attempt a fix-up came after some aviation experts – actually Edwardsville residents who worked for Scott Air Force Base’s TRANSCOM unit – looked the plane over, offered suggestions, and drew up specs to have the plane painted and refurbished.

But they got transferred from the area.

Then earlier this year the township began contacting local businesses in an effort to get corporate sponsors. They set up several “dine-out nights” with local restaurants,  and they partnered with Global Brew to host a Fall Fest in Township Park to benefit the project.

In all, businesses and individuals have contributed nearly $20,000 to the project.

Edwardsville Township will kick in the remaining $10,000, Miles said.

“The Flight Deck Veterans Group is excited to help the community bring this historic aircraft to life,” said Jared Ashley, CEO and Founder of the Flight Deck Veterans Group. “We are honored to be part of this project.”

The group has restored historic aircraft around the country. Their projects have included an F-14 Tomcat on display on the historic USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., and the Fast Eagle 102, the first F-14 Tomcat to shoot down another aircraft in combat. The latter is on display at the Commemorative Air Force’s High Sky Wing in Midland, Texas.


Historic Huey Helicopter restored


A group of students and faculty from Amarillo College, having tirelessly contributed to the restoration of a Vietnam War-era helicopter, will be front and center on Saturday when Randall County officials assemble to formally dedicate the Huey 68-16179.

The dedication ceremony is at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Happy State Bank-Randall County Event Center, 1111 E. Loop 335 South.

Terry Smith, coordinator of AC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Program, and instructor Jim Faustina, were among the first to volunteer to help restore the aircraft. Three of their students swiftly followed suit.

“When I asked our students if they wanted to volunteer to help out on this project, some hands shot straight up,” Smith said. “We replaced some windows and polished out some glass on the others. It was a lot of work and I am proud to say that our students put in quite a few hours of their own time.”

Eddie Casias, instructor in AC’s Automotive Collision Technology Program, got an even greater response from his students. Eighteen of them pitched in to help paint the armor-plated pilot and co-pilot seats that Smith and Faustina had completely refurbished. The students also painted the new window frames.

“They were all excited about this project because they took the meaning of it to heart,” Casias said. “They all wanted to be a part of this important piece of history, and they did good work.”

Many local entities contributed to the heartfelt overhaul: Leading Edge Aviation, for example, stripped the original paint, and Bell Helicopter applied a fresh coat.

The beautifully restored helicopter, acquired by the County almost a year ago from the “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., soon will be placed on permanent display at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial.

Figuratively, it will have AC fingerprints all over it – for posterity.

“This was an awesome opportunity to participate in a part of history and I jumped at the chance right away,” Brandon Barrick, an AC aviation technology major, said. “This is one of those truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’m grateful to have had.”