Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bermuda: Why airport shouldn’t be built – Mayor, Burchall

Larry Burchall: opposed to airport project

Political commentators Craig Mayor and Larry Burchall have published 11-page report/analysis which outlines the reasons why Government should not go ahead with their controversial airport project.

It has already been presented to all MPs, the Auditor-General, and Acting Governor.

The full statement, broken into various categories, reads as follows:

Financial Analysis

Public and private sector capital projects are evaluated by comparing the amounts of cash invested with the amounts of cash returned. This simply answers the question “How much do I put in and what do I get back”

This analysis is achieved by identifying cash expenditures and cash receipts over the life of the project.

In the P3 with Project Co, it is clear that at the end of the concession Government will take back a 30-year-old Terminal.

But what isn’t so clear to Government is how much Government will pay Project Co to design, build, finance, operate and maintain [DBFOM] the Terminal over 30 years.

There are two broad categories of cash expenditure that Government will incur for the project. Using 2016/17 estimates, they are:

(i) Payments to operate the AT. These include annual expenses for the new quango, electricity subsidy, and retained airport services, such as security, fire & rescue, air traffic control, and meteorology. For Government these operating expenses are assumed to total $18m/year (as in the overview prepared for MPs.)

(ii) Amounts paid to Project Co to DBFOM the AT. In this case Government will hand over all airport revenues, currently $37m/year and Project Co will assume approximately $10m/year of Government’s airport expenses.

(iii)  On an aggregate basis Government will therefore hand over net revenues of $37m/year less $10m/year or $27m/year.

In summary, over the 30 year concession the AT will cost:

(i) Operating expenses: $18m per year, $540m over 30 years

(ii) Net revenue payments to Project Co: $27m per year; $810m over 30 years. Total cost: $45m per year; $1,350m over 30 years.

Government has properly included operating expenses of $18m/year but has erroneously omitted the payments to Project Co which total $27m/year or $810m over 30 years.

It is important to note that the net revenues ($27m/year) will be adjusted for any payments under the revenue guarantee or any receipts under the Revenue Sharing agreement. Thus the actual net revenue payments of $27m/year could turn out to be higher or lower.

Because these amounts cannot be ascertained with reasonable certainty they have rightly been excluded from Government’s cash flow analysis.

By omitting the net revenue transfers to Project Co totalling $810m, Government is by definition saying Project Co will build and operate the AT for 30 years at no cost to Government. Clearly Project Co will not build and operate the AT for free and by omitting $810m in net revenues transferred to Project Co, Government’s cost analysis makes no economic sense.

The terminal that Government says will cost $540m to build and operate over 30 years will, in fact, cost just under $1.4bn or 2.5 times Government’s estimated cost.

Therefore, with a cost understatement of $810m, all of Government’s financial analysis to justify the cost, business case, and economics is totally invalid.

It makes no financial sense to pay $1.4bn to build, finance, operate and maintain an AT which Government purports will cost $267m to construct. Under this scenario Project Co will receive $1,083m for financing, operating and maintaining the terminal, which is four times the construction cost of $267m.

Direct Inward Investment & Economic Stimulus

A major rationale offered for Aecon’s new build was to have ‘direct inward investment’ in Bermuda, because this kind of investment would help stimulate Bermuda’s economy and help pull it out of recession.

However, the promised ‘direct inward investment’ of $267m can only ever result in about 60 per cent of that ‘investment’ actually being spent in Bermuda.

This 60 per cent or $160m of on-island spending would help stimulate Bermuda’s economy and boost Bermuda’s GDP. However, this stimulus action would only apply for the 40 month construction period.

The $107m balance would be spent on imported materials and on paying the 40 per cent Canadian workforce employed by Aecon. The wage savings from the Canadian workforce will be repatriated to Canada. Money spent on materials and wage savings that are repatriated would boost Canada’s GDP. Not Bermuda’s.

At the end of the 40 month construction period, Bermuda’s economy would start paying back the $160m spent on-island as well as the $107m that had been spent in or repatriated to Canada.

Job creation for Bermudians

A second equally major rationale was that the CCC/Aecon project would provide hundreds of jobs for Bermudians. In March 2015, the promise was 600 jobs with 75 per cent for Bermudians. In November 2016, the promise reduced to 400 jobs, with only 60 per cent of jobs for Bermudians.

There is no guarantee, promise, or suggestion that jobs for Bermudians will not decline further to 50 per cent, or 40 per cent, or lower. However, Bermuda and Bermudians will carry and pay the full costs that are now shown to be around $1.4bn. And Bermudians will pay for the Canadian workers to work in Bermuda.

Fresh Debt

The third ‘explanation’ for the proposed Aecon deal was that Bermuda would not incur any additional national debt to pay for the proposed new air terminal.

In the past nine years, Bermuda’s gross national debt has grown sevenfold [720 per cent]. From $345m in 2007/08 to 2016/17’s new high of $2,484m.

Government is still operating in ‘deficit’. Any surrendering of revenue [$27m/year] will therefore result in either a tax increase that will be required to cover the increased deficit. Or, there will have to be increased borrowing in order to close the $27m revenue gap that exists only because of the surrender of $27m to Aecon/Project Co.

Or across-the-board spending cuts of $27m.


This plan proposes that Aecon should be exempt all Customs duties as well as the employer’s portion of payroll tax. This exemption would last for 33 years and four months.

Downside risks and downside liabilities

Finally, under the planned revenue guarantees, Government will retain an obligation to make up any shortfalls in ‘base case’ revenue.

All downside risks of revenue shortfalls are therefore underwritten by Government. This will be accounted for and reflected as contingent liabilities. By increasing total liabilities, it will negatively impact Bermuda’s sovereign credit rating.


This project must be stopped immediately pending an independent investigation of the true costs and economic viability of building a new terminal as currently planned with CCC/Aecon.

Given the enormity of the error in Government’s costing of the project and the substantial demonstrations on Friday, December 2, 2016, it is in the best interests of the country for the Auditor-General to give an opinion on the $810m cost understatement, and to do so as soon as possible.

If confirmed, this should prevent further and continued waste of Government expenditure, suspend social unrest, and allow Government to focus on other issues.

At $1.4bn, and with only a short and small 40 month economic stimulus impact on Bermuda’s GDP and small and vague promises of employment for Bermudians, it is difficult to imagine how this project, as currently planned, can ever be justified.


Start with the primary question: “What, exactly, does Bermuda need at its airport.”

Story and comments:

Piper PA-28-140, N3563K: Accident occurred December 13, 2016 at Flagler Executive Airport (KFIN), Palm Coast, Flagler County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA149
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 13, 2016 in Palm Coast, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N3563K
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that, after landing and during the turn onto a taxiway, the left wing impacted a taxiway sign. He added that he was not able to see the sign because of sun glare.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from the taxiway sign.

The pilot reported that after landing during the turn onto a taxiway, the left wing impacted a taxiway sign. He added that he was not able to see the sign because of a sun glare.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida Orlando,

Aviation Accident Factual Report / National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA149
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 13, 2016 in Palm Coast, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N3563K
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that after landing during the turn onto a taxiway, the left wing impacted a taxiway sign. He added that he was not able to see the sign because of a sun glare.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Mayo Clinic adds wings to its transport fleet

Mayo Clinic's scope of operations is expected to roughly double by 2034 as part of the ambitious $6.5 billion Destination Medical Center project. Flying just below the radar of that explosive growth — up to 45,000 new employees in Rochester — is an increased need for medical transportation.

There's where the shiny, new Beechcraft King Air 350C parked in Mayo's renovated hangar at the Rochester International Airport comes into play.

Mayo recently unveiled a customized $8.5 million plane to transport high-risk patients to its facilities around the country. It's the only such medical plane operating in the Midwest and the specialized 52-inch cargo door — meant to accommodate stretchers — is believed to be the only one in existence in the Lower 48 states.

The plane is expected to make about 400 transports this year and has already airlifted patients to Rochester from Montana, Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, among other sites. However, Mayo estimates that 80 percent of its patients live within 500 miles of Rochester.

"It's getting the Mayo level of ICU and emergency care to patients quicker," says flight nurse Lisa Jelinek, one of 22 Mayo employees to staff the Rochester-based fixed-wing aircraft. "When we walk into a patient's room, their faces light up when they see the Mayo shield."

Mayo claimed the coveted top spot in the last U.S. World & News Reports Best Hospital rankings, which were announced in August. John Noseworthy, Mayo President and CEO, said at the time that Mayo has "the most trusted name in health care." The Beechcraft plane was activated just a few weeks later and figures to help expand the reach of Mayo's brand.


The addition of a fixed-wing plane adds to the Mayo One fleet that was created in 1984, according to Dr. Scott Zietlow, medical director and chairman of the Mayo Clinic Medical Transport Board. The program began with a single helicopter based on Rochester, but now boasts four — two in Rochester, one in Mankato and one in Eau Claire. Each costs an estimated $10-12 million while functioning as an airborne trauma unit.

The Mayo One helicopters are often sent out to the scene of serious accidents, transporting about 2,000 patients annually in situations where time is of the essence, Dr. Zietlow said.

While those helicopters have quick response times and can land very close to the scene, they have distance limitations and are often unable to fly in wet or windy conditions due to safety concerns.

The Beechcraft plane helps fill a specialized niche with a max range of 1,500 miles and wings that can be "flexed" to shed ice accumulation, which Mayo spokesman Glenn Lyden says makes it perfect for operating during the region's frigid winter months. There's also an infrared camera equipped on the nose of the plane to further enhance visibility in the case of rain or snow.

Dr. Zietlow says this plane could be the first of many, with one eventually stationed at Mayo campuses in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida.

"I would anticipate, if this continues to go well, we would add additional airframes that would be something like this in Arizona and Florida," Dr. Zietlow said. "Right now, we would not think of something transoceanic because that brings on a whole new set of challenges."

The plane can utilize small, regional airports thanks to a minimum runway distance of just 5,000 feet. Mayo officials are currently working with the FAA in hopes of reducing that standard to just 4,000 feet, according to pilot Thomas Grandouiller, which would create even more possibilities.

Mayo had previously contracted with a vendor to have access to a jet, but it wasn't frequently used and required more coordination. The leased plane will be staffed every day, including an on-site mechanic, and able to depart within 30 minutes of receiving a transport request.

"The volume of patients needing transportation to Rochester is increasing," Dr. Zietlow said, noting insurance is expected to cover the cost of any air transport deemed medically necessary. "We're a very fortunate organization in that almost no other health care organization has these sort of transport options between ground, rotor wing and fixed wing. The goal is to match the medical team with the needs of the patient and transport them to the most appropriate facility in the most cost-effective way possible."


Quest Aircraft’s chief executive officer announces retirement

SANDPOINT — Samuel D. “Sam” Hill is planning to retire as chief executive officer of Quest Aircraft Company after the first of the year.

The timing of the move has been long planned as part of Quest’s overall strategic plan and a search for a successor is underway. Hill will remain as an advisor to the company and a member of the board of directors.

“This is a good time for me to step aside,” said Hill. “The company is in good shape financially and demand for the Kodiak has grown significantly since 2013. We have a strong leadership team and a solid dealer network that represents us around the world.”

Hill joined Quest in late 2012, replacing then-Chairman of the Board Dave Vander Griend, who was serving as interim CEO. Hill had retired from Honda Aircraft Company earlier that year. At the time, Hill had planned to transition out of the company at the end of 2014, but as Quest continued to grow and demand for the Kodiak increased, the board asked him to stay on.

During his tenure, Hill oversaw key product enhancements and certifications, a steady increase in production, operational improvements and other initiatives, all contributing to the financial stability of the company. Hill is a seasoned aviation veteran with 50 years of experience. He has overseen numerous programs and business development activities, including 10 years with Embraer Aircraft Corporation in several key leadership positions, including President and Vice Chairman. He was responsible for starting Embraer’s Corporate Aircraft Division and launching the Legacy 600, the company’s first executive jet. In addition to serving on Quest’s Board of Directors, Hill will be involved in other entities of Setouchi Holdings, Quest’s parent company.

“Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to work with talented and interesting people who are as passionate about aviation as I am,” added Hill. “I have enjoyed every chapter of my career and leading Quest for several years was one of the highlights. I know the company will continue to thrive.”

Quest’s long term corporate strategy is focused on global development and growth. Since 2012, Kodiak deliveries have risen steadily and the aircraft has received 23 certifications covering 33 countries. In June, the Phase I expansion at the company’s Sandpoint headquarters was completed, adding 27,000 square feet and bringing the current building to 110,000 square feet. As part of Phase II, a 5,000 square foot R & D hangar facility was finished, and includes new office space and an upgraded hangar work space. Quest continues to develop its property in Sandpoint and plans for further expansion are underway.

Quest Aircraft Company is the manufacturer of the Kodiak, a 10-place single engine turboprop airplane, designed for STOL use and float capability. Headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, the company was established in 2001 and began deliveries of the Kodiak in December 2007. 


Diamond DA40 XLS: Taking a head-spinning, perfect flight -by Dr. Edward M. Gilbreth

By Edward M. Gilbreth 

Edward M. Gilbreth is a Charleston physician.

Last week we were talking about private piloting, how it needs to be treated like a profession and how, with the miracles of modern technology, there are probably more than a few pilots out there who don’t practice enough and/or put too much reliance on technology. And that’s my problem. Even though I’d love to fly, I know I don’t have the time to put into it.

I was delighted, therefore, when a friend I hadn’t seen in years and who is a private pilot showed up in Charleston to help celebrate a mutual friend’s birthday. He had the great idea of blending a passion for flying with professional demands and flies on average about three hours a week in his own plane for business and pleasure, and has a blast doing it. How sweet is that?

As we got to chatting it became apparent that he had flown in to the Charleston International Airport — the same one with all the commercial and Air Force traffic.

What? In a small wisp of an aircraft that seats at the most four people and looks like it could get blown off the runway by jet exhaust?

That’s right, he said, noting that while small airports may be more convenient, depending upon your destination, they generally don’t have the multiple runways, multiple instrument approach procedures, high-intensity runway lighting, and round-the-clock operations that can all be critical for landing safely in challenging weather conditions any time of the day or night.

Additionally, small airports are often used for student flight training and practice by weekend pilots, and generally don’t have control towers. Given a choice, he said, he would rather utilize the large airports, even though operating in that environment demands the highest levels of professionalism. After all, he’s instrument-rated, has actually taken aerobatics instruction to learn about recovering from particularly dangerous situations — something not taught in basic flight instruction — and, what’s more, had carved his teeth the old-fashioned way — by learning from a retired American Airlines captain with some 40,000 hours experience who did not allow the use of automation during his primary flight training.

No autopilot, no moving map, no GPS navigation, no nothing except hands-on, stick-and-rudder flying and navigation by dead reckoning — using only a compass, paper aeronautical charting, and seat of the pants mental computation.

“Meet me at the private terminal this Sunday,” he said. “I’d love to take you up so you can get a feel for how everything works.”

His plane, a Diamond DA40 XLS, is an Austrian-engineered gem with all the bells and whistles; a single-engine machine with fancy gull-wing style doors, a large dome-like canopy that affords remarkable visibility, and slender sailplane wings with a span that seems out of proportion to the aircraft itself.

Why? According to my friend, the long wings generate a lot of lift that translates into impressive climb performance, and, in the unlikely case of an engine failure, the ability to glide a long distance to a safe landing spot. That feature, in addition to a multitude of others, translates into an astounding safety record — the best in general aviation light aircraft.

Even though the engine capacity is only about 180 HP, he notes that the plane will cruise comfortably at 150 knots (172 mph) and can more than easily maintain required speeds in a busy approach at the large commercial airports, even if being “pushed” from behind by jet airliners. That, of course, is going to happen all the time at Charleston International and, even more so, Charlotte Douglas International — the country’s sixth busiest airport where my friend bases his airplane.

As a lay person, groupie, dilettante and aviation wanna-be, the complexity of the electronics was mind-boggling and seemed more challenging than the actual mechanical task of flying. And I think I’ve discovered that I must have some sort of auditory processing disorder because, while listening to all the radio chatter between approach control, the tower, and pilots of all the aircraft taking off and landing at Charleston International — bravo this and Charlie that, fly heading so and so, expect runway such and such, maintain whatever — my head was spinning and nothing made any sense at all.

“How do you not get lost in all that?” I asked my friend and pilot.

“Well,” he said, “it takes getting used to, but you learn to focus intensely and react promptly and precisely when you hear your call sign.”

The flight plan was to go up toward Georgetown. It was, in fact, a perfect afternoon to fly, and we flew low and slow, taking in the remarkable spectacle of the coastline, all the plantations and former ricefields, the very noticeable preservation efforts and vast unspoiled acreage, much of which involves very private properties not accessible to most of us from the ground that we could only see and appreciate from the air.

On the way back we flew right over east Broad Street and then were vectored onto the final approach course for runway 33. “I need best forward speed,” the tower instructed. “I’ve got a 737 right behind you.” My friend replied, “Roger — I can give you 140 knots to a four-mile final.” Will that do?”

“That’s perfect,” the controller replied.

As we touched down and pulled off the runway, I turned around to take a look. There it was, that 737, just as the tower announced. I just wish I could understand and explain how it all happened just so.

Story and comments:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Lawsuit seeks to stop Bowman Field tree cutting

Federal Aviation Administration also rejects call by federal advisory council to come up with a better mitigation plan to offset historical impacts from cutting.

Plans to remove or trim trees near Bowman Field will have no significant consequences on the environment or historical character of the leafy neighborhoods, parks and golf courses near its runways, the Federal Aviation Administration has concluded.

Whether the pronouncement ends a five-year controversy remained unclear Wednesday afternoon, as critics of the tree cutting filed a lawsuit seeking to keep the chainsaws at bay.

Although the Louisville Regional Airport Authority had already decided to go ahead with the purchase of new airspace easements and tree cutting without the FAA's blessings, the announcement Wednesday was welcomed anyway by local officials.

"We feel really good about that," said Charles T. “Skip” Miller, the authority's executive director. "There's been a lot of work and energy put into that program." While Miller had earlier this year complained about the slow pace of the FAA, he praised the federal agency Wednesday by saying he was pleased with its effort.

Environmental and other relevant concerns have been addressed sufficiently by the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, said Kathleen Bergen, FAA spokeswoman. "The environmental review process is complete and the (airport authority) may proceed with the project," Bergen said.  That conclusion scored a big win by the authority over some of its airport neighbors, who have argued that environmental and historic reviews were insufficient.

"Clearly, the environmental assessment was inadequate," said attorney Tom FitzGerald, with the Kentucky Resources Council, who represents the group Plea for Trees.

"The FAA has violated ... laws in failing to evaluate prudent and feasible alternatives to harming public parkland and historic properties and undertaking all possible planning to minimize harm to these resources," FitzGerald claimed in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

One of the problems, FitzGerald has said, is that a "reasonable" alternative of routing planes to nearby airports during low visibility was not evaluated.

The Plea for Trees lawsuit against the FAA and the LRAA claims both failed to make up for the "losses to the community from the permanent removal of extensive tree canopies."

The airport authority last week said its field work would resume this week, with tree cutting to occur this winter, with or without the FAA's approval and completion of the environmental review, and Miller said on Wednesday the authority would respond "appropriately" to any legal challenges.

Airport officials have long cut and trimmed trees near the ends of the general aviation airport runways but five years ago in December, they told neighbors they needed to expand the cutting to safely maintain the airport's function including in dark or low visibility conditions.

Carol Kaufmann, who lives near on the runway approaches, and one of three individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said airport officials have tried to buy airspace above her home to cut two trees. "I'm holding out," she said, adding that her trees and others in the area provide homes for many different kinds of birds and cooling shade.

She said she fears airport officials are trying to clear the Bowman approaches to drum up more corporate jet business and turn Bowman Field into more of a regional airport. "I would like to keep the character of the neighborhood."

Miller said the authority has the ability to purchase the airspace easements from unwilling sellers through the power of eminent domain.

"We will try to not use it," he said. "We are engaged in discussions with a number of residents out there."

Airport authority officials have said they have no plans to add a runway or extend the two existing runways at Bowman Field or allow larger or heavier aircraft to use the airfield. The FAA  said the goal of the project is to restore airport conditions to the way they were in 2012, allowing for nighttime instrument approaches.

The studies looked at a few different alternatives, including doing nothing, or putting lights on trees, and agreed with a plan to acquire easements on 44 properties and trim or replace 104 trees that penetrate or are within ten feet of penetrating the airspace.

But bid documents actually identify 195 trees total with 138 of them to be removed, 53 to be trimmed and four to be transplanted. That's on top of other tree removal and trimming done since 2011 under existing airspace easements. Airport officials have said they are removing more trees at residents' request.

They have offered homeowners a two-for-one replacement, but with shorter growing trees.

Miller said LRAA has offered additional mitigation to Louisville Metro Parks, promising to provide five new trees for every tree removed. He said the authority is willing to replace each tree removed from a city right of way three new trees.

But in what is sure to be a controversial finding, the FAA also has rejected the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's earlier conclusion that the tree cutting would have no adverse impacts on the historical character of the neighborhoods near the airport. It argues that there is a "natural cycle and historic pattern of residential subdivisions" that "includes a change in the mixture of tree species, age and height as trees mature and are removed and replaced."

The historic preservation council in a Nov. 3 letter urged the FAA and local airport officials to develop a more robust plan to offset damage to the historical character of neighborhoods. But the FAA, in justifying its position, argued that the cutting would not eliminate all the mature trees in the neighborhood - rather, "that selective trimming of taller trees would be in keeping with the historic character, and would not be cumulatively or foreseeably adverse."

The Plea for Trees lawsuit calls the FAA decision to disregard the advisory council's recommendation "arbitrary and capricious and otherwise inconsistent with law."

FAA officials did not immediately make the full environmental assessment available.

Story and comments:

SkyWest announces fleet, contract changes and charges

ST. GEORGE – SkyWest Inc. announced Tuesday additional fleet transitions and contract updates designed to reduce SkyWest’s long-term fleet risk and enhance its ability to respond to changing partner needs.

SkyWest’s ExpressJet operation expects to transition to flying primarily dual-class aircraft in its CRJ operation by removing its CRJ200 aircraft from service over the next year. The removal of the CRJ200 aircraft reduces ExpressJet’s future required investment in its 50-seat fleet and is expected to improve the airline’s operating efficiency by eliminating an aircraft type from its platform.

SkyWest also announced Tuesday that ExpressJet and American Airlines have agreed to place 12 dual-class CRJ700s into service under a multiyear term. These CRJ700s had been scheduled to be removed from service under a previously-disclosed early lease return arrangement.

Additionally, SkyWest and Bombardier entered into a termination agreement covering Bombardier’s residual value guarantee agreements on 76 CRJ200 aircraft owned by SkyWest Airlines and ExpressJet. Bombardier agreed to pay SkyWest $90 million by January 2017 along with certain other consideration in exchange for the release. Both the required sale of each aircraft and the cost to SkyWest of returning the aircraft to midtime condition were points of risk and uncertainty for SkyWest that this termination agreement eliminates.

As a result of the expectation to remove ExpressJet CRJ200s from service and the Bombardier RVG termination agreement, SkyWest is evaluating its total 50-seat CRJ200 fleet and related long-lived assets for impairment in Q4 2016.

SkyWest currently anticipates it will record a noncash impairment charge in Q4 2016 estimated to be in the range of $440 million to $490 million (pretax) on its CRJ200 aircraft and other 50-seat aircraft assets, net of the $90 million in cash proceeds from the Bombardier termination agreement.

“Streamlining our fleet and taking early settlement of Bombardier’s RVG obligations reduce both our overall risk profile and the future investment that would have been required in the CRJ200 fleet,” SkyWest President and CEO Chip Childs said. “These moves strategically position us to continue to deploy our capital against our best investment opportunities and are expected to help improve future liquidity and fleet flexibility.”

SkyWest Inc. is the holding company for two scheduled passenger airline operations and an aircraft leasing company. SkyWest’s airline companies provide commercial air service in cities throughout North America, with more than 3,100 daily flights carrying nearly 57 million passengers annually.

SkyWest Airlines operates through partnerships with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. ExpressJet Airlines operates through partnerships with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Based in St. George, Utah, SkyWest continues to set the standard for excellence across the regional industry with unmatched value for customers, shareholders and its more than 19,000 employees.


An earthquake in Polk County? Nope, just sonic booms from jet fighters

Residents in Polk, Lincoln and Columbia counties who expressed concern about a potential earthquake Monday night can rest easy. It wasn't an earthquake -- we checked -- but likely a result of Air National Guard training in the area.

Between 9 and 10 p.m. Monday night, viewers alerted KGW to loud booms that shook windows, rattled walls and were felt in Dallas, Independence, Lebanon and Lincoln City.

We looked into it and found no evidence of any earthquakes in the area. A local media report, however, tipped us off to Air National Guard training that was taking place along the Oregon coast.

The sonic booms from the fighter jets may have been responsible for the loud sounds that shook residents' homes and nerves Monday night. A spokesperson for the Air National Guard told KGW's Christine Pitawanich that the sound of the jet fighters can travel far, depending on the weather.

The Air National Guard spokesperson also confirmed that both the 142nd and 173rd Fighter Wings of the Air National Guard were conducting training last night and will continue training the next couple nights off the Oregon coast.

She wouldn't divulge the exact locations where they will be flying, but said that the 142nd flies off the coast between Astoria and Tillamook.


Cessna 172N Skyhawk, Caribbean Aviation Training Centre, N101KA: Fatal accident occurred November 10, 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica


NTSB Identification: ERA17WA049
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Thursday, November 10, 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N101KA
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On November 18, 2016, about 1335 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172N, United Stated registration N101KA, operated by the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre, was destroyed when it impacted a building in Greenwich Farm, Kingston 13, Jamaica. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The local flight was conducted under Jamaican flight regulations.

This accident investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Jamaica. Any further information pertaining to this may be obtained from:

Civil Aviation Authority
4 Winchester Road
Kingston 5
Tel.: (876) 960-3965 / (876) 920-2280
Fax: (876) 920-0194

This report is for information purposes, and contains only information released by the Government of Jamaica.

Pilots from Caribbean Aviation Training Centre (CATC) at the thanksgiving service for the life of Danshuvar Gilmore.

If his time had come to die, he wanted to know that he had fulfilled his dream, lived his passion of becoming a pilot.

Nineteen-year-old Danshuvar Joshua Gilmore of St Ann did that, albeit shortlived, and more.

Captain Errol Stewart, founder and CEO of Caribbean Aviation Training Centre (CATC), told the gathering at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church on Saturday that student pilot Gilmore and two other victims of the November 10 plane crash in Kingston, Romone Forbes and Jonathan Worton, died protecting lives, as they were trained to do.

The Cessna 172 aircraft crashed in Greenwich Town, avoiding any casualties on the ground.

Stewart hailed this and announced that the CATC would be awarding three scholarships in their honour.

He also said he would make representation to the Ministry of Transport to have the three victims officially recognised by the nation by having them included on next year's list of awardees for national honours, a comment met with rousing applause from a packed church.

Despite the rain, hundreds of persons turned out at the service of thanksgiving for the life of Gilmore, the last to be buried of the three victims of the tragedy.
Still looking smart in his uniform, while lying in his coffin, which was finished in two tones of blue, his favourite colour, Gilmore did one final act.


He brought together people from all walks of life, from schools he attended, relatives from overseas, friends, government ministers, and well wishers.

Transport Minister Mike Henry and Shahine Robinson, member of parliament for St Ann North Eastern, were in attendance. So, too, were relatives of the other two crash victims.

Chief Education Officer Dr Grace McLean brought greetings on behalf of Education Minister Ruel Reid and pledged to "continue to offer our support".

Danshuvar's mother delivered the eulogy, describing how she hoped his passion for flying would have disappeared with the years as she dreaded the thought of him doing aviation lessons.

The passion never did. But he got to do what he really loved.

Among the touching tributes printed in the programme, Danshuvar's older sister, Abigail, wrote, in part: "One half of me just disappeared ... God, please take this pain away from me."

But the Gilmore family and, indeed, the families of the other victims would have taken great comfort from the sermon delivered by the Reverend Jonathan Hemmings, who implored the brokenhearted to wait on God.

"This experience does not represent the last time you would have heard from God, so wait on God," Hemmings told the family. "As far as this is concerned, you have not heard the last from God as it relates to Danshuvar."

Student pilots from CATC were among the pall-bearers, carrying the coffin from the church to the hearse, which took the body to its final resting place at the St Ann's Bay Cemetery.

Ramone Forbes

Hundreds turned out on Sunday for a thanksgiving service at Boundbrook Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portland for student pilot Ramone Forbes, who died at hospital following a plane crash on November 10.

Forbes, a former student at Titchfield High School, died from injuries he received in the crash that also claimed the lives of his flight instructor, 30-year-old Jonathan Worton, and another student pilot, 19-year-old Dansheer Gilmore.

Tears flowed as Forbes was fondly remembered for determination, dedication, and passion for not only becoming a pilot, but also the active role he played at Priestman's River Seventh-day Adventist Church, as a youth leader, deacon, and a Pathfinder.

"We are very proud of the strides made by our young people," Pastor Adlai Blythe said.

"Forbes was a part of the graduating class of Master Guides last June. He was a very active young man at home, his church, and across at North East Jamaica Conference (NEJC)."

Founder and chief executive officer of the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre (CATC), Captain Errol Stewart, labelled all three victims as his sons, who he claimed were destined for a bright future.

"I lost three sons, and it is not easy picking up the pieces," he said.

"However, the joy for me is that the Almighty selected three of my finest pilots. For this reason, I am happy as they went on to the Almighty airline. When he came to CATC, all I saw was a bright smile on his face. From that day on, Forbes was referred to as 'Smiley'. Let us, instead, reflect on the joy and passion that he has left behind," Stewart added.

According to Stewart, a scholarship will be launched in honour of Forbes, and a past student of Titchfield High, who shared the same pain, passion, vision and love for aviation, will be selected for the scholarship.

Ramone died just two weeks shy of his 18th birthday. He grew up in the rural district of Castle in Priestman's River, Portland. As early as three years old, he developed a love and interest in aircraft.

Forbes' aunt, Judith Miller, in delivering the eulogy, stated that he was fascinated with aircraft and testified that while in high school, he used his book covers to make toy planes.

"While enrolled at CATC, he was the youngest in his class. He enrolled at The Mico University College as a computer science student in 2016, but it was never his dream as he would always maintain that he was a pilot, not a teacher," she said.

Following the service, the procession made its way to the Commodore Cemetery where he was laid to rest.

The Health Ministry is reporting that the third victim of the Greenwich Town plane crash is alive, though critically injured.

Earlier, the police and the Fire Department had reported that the third victim was pronounced dead at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).

However, the chief medical officer Dr Winston De La Haye told The Gleaner a short while ago that the patient, a student pilot, is alive.

"He became conscious enough to give a history to doctors at KPH. He's now sedated with burns to 60 per cent of his body, bone fractures, eye trauma and obviously inhalation injuries from any fumes he is likely to have inhaled," De La Haye said.

He said the patient is expected to go to the Intensive Care Unit.

The flight instructor and another student were pronounced dead on the scene.

The aircraft burst into flames on impact and also ignited a house.

The police say the small aircraft crashed sometime after 1 o’clock this afternoon on Seaview Lane in the community.

The Transport Minister Mike Henry told a Caribbean Maritime Institute graduation ceremony that the plane had just taken off when it crashed.

He says the plane belonged to the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre.

Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller in whose South West St Andrew constituency the crash happened visited the scene expressing regret at the incident.

A woman claiming to be a relative of one of the victims who turned up at the scene was crying uncontrollably. 

In the meantime, the Civil Aviation Authority has launched a probe into the incident. 

Head of Communication Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, has confirmed that three persons died in a small plane crash which occurred on Thursday off Marcus Garvey Drive in the community of Greenwich Farm.

Lindsay also revealed that of the three persons killed, one was initially rescued by brave residents who pulled him from the wreckage, however, he later succumbed to injuries while receiving medical treatment.

She also noted that the fire department was still on the scene carrying out cool-down operations, after several small fires erupted in the aftermath of the early afternoon crash.

The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) and other agencies are reported to be on the scene attempting to secure the area for investigations.

Naples Airport officials look at possible expansion


Could more commercial flights be headed to Naples?

That's just one of the questions the Naples Airport Authority hopes to have answered in an update to their master plan. They'll ask the board on Thursday for permission to submit a million-dollar grant application to the FAA to pay for it.

Chris Rozanskly, executive director of the Naples Airport Authority, said the master plan "...helps you to identify where we're at today, trends in the industry in aviation and travel in general, how our facilities compare to the needs we have today and up to 20 years down the road."

A professional consultant would lead the study, which could take up to two years to complete. Rozanskly said there would be plenty of chances for public input. 

What are the chances for expansion? "It has to be measured with the needs of the community. If we identify some trends that call for expansion, we would look at how to do that in a responsible way," he said.

Naples resident Trevor Tibstra lives near the airport and said he hopes the expansion happens

"It's really not an issue; you're standing right next to the airport right now, and you don't hear anything," Tibstra said.

"It's not loud, you see them go by, you see the little ones playing around, too. It's actually kind of neat to watch them," said Darlene Stacey, another who lives nearby.

The master plan was last updated in 1997. If the grant is approved, they hope to start the study late next year. 

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In a shift, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority encourages board members to travel

Four years after an ethics scandal put a halt to their expensive trips and gourmet meals, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board members voted Wednesday to introduce a new set of guidelines that encourages them travel more — not less.

Under the new directive, board members are encouraging one another to attend up to three conferences a year and join professional or industry associations that will “further enhance access to information on industry norms, trends and developments.” Those who attend meetings or conferences will be required to submit reports to the authority.

“If we can’t travel, we can’t serve our stakeholders as well as we would like,” said Caren Merrick, who chaired the committee that proposed the changes. She said that allowing board members to attend conferences and industry meetings is in line with “best practices” of other similar boards of which she has been a member.

Wednesday’s action is a significant shift for the board, which tightened travel rules in the wake of a 2012 scandal surrounding lavish spending habits of some members. Even though the board’s composition has largely changed, many new members remain reluctant to travel at the authority’s expense, Merrick said.

“The board felt we should encourage travel within reasonable boundaries,” said board chairman William “Shaw” McDermott, who voted in support of the change, along with nine others. Two board members, Joslyn Williams and Bob Lazaro, abstained from voting.

McDermott said that despite the change, he did not anticipate a significant increase in the 17-member board’s travel budget, which is roughly $80,000 annually. The airports authority is funded through rates, fees and taxes charged to airlines and passengers.

In 2012, a scathing federal inspector general’s report cited questionable travel expenses by board members: a $9,000 business-class ticket booked at the last minute to an aviation conference in Prague and $4,800 in meal expenses, including lobster dinners, at another conference in Hawaii. The report also found that there were no rules governing how often or how much board members could spend on travel related to the airports authority.

In response, the board passed new rules that limited how much they could spend on meals, forced them to pay for their own alcohol and required the board chairman to approve any travel. As a result, board travel was sharply curtailed.

An analysis earlier this year by The Washington Post found that in 2015, three board members attended out-of-town conferences. Other board members received reimbursements because they live outside of the D.C. area, and others billed the authority for mileage or in-town travel expenses. In all, board members spent $36,000 — less than half of their $80,000 travel budget.

MWAA’s board of directors oversee a quasi-public agency that manages Reagan National and Dulles International airports as well as construction of the $5.8 billion Silver Line rail project that will extend Metro service to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County. It has an annual budget of $2 billion, and its revenue comes from airport concessions and passenger fees, not tax dollars.

Its members serve six-year terms and are appointed by the governors of Virginia and Maryland, the D.C. mayor and the president. Board members do not receive compensation for their service. The federal statute that created the airports authority requires that the board include representatives from Maryland and the federal government.

McDemott said as part of an effort to be transparent, yearly audits of board travel expenses will be conducted by MWAA’s office of audit.

Even so, while board members are encouraged to share information about their trips with their colleagues, the guidelines appear to discourage them from speaking to the media.

“The Airports Authority’s Media Relations staff should be consulted before providing any statements to the press regarding Board Member conference travel and professional association memberships and other licenses sponsored by the Airports Authority,” the new guidelines state.


Plane Training: New business caters to those who want to fly

Miranda Maleki, owner of Plane Training

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA-TV) - There's a new business in KOTA Territory that will appeal to any of you with an itch for flying.

Instead of having to travel to get a commercial pilot license, you can now do it more affordably and closer to home at Rapid City Regional Airport.

"I love it," says Miranda Maleki, owner of Plane Training. "I love what I do. It's fun to watch your students succeed."

"It's really fun to watch people who've thought about flying their entire lives, finally do it and succeed at it," says Maleki.

Miranda Maleki is a flight instructor with her fleet of four planes in her new business called Plane Training. She's the daughter of WestJet's Don and Lynda Rydstrom.

Student John Arneson started at a flying academy but it was too expensive. His dream is still to fly. He just passed his instrument check ride and highly recommends the flight school to others.

"I would encourage it absolutely," says Arneson. "Just to even get that private pilot rating, to understand what aviation is all about. It makes you more comfortable even when you fly an airline to have some sort of idea what's going on. I would say there's no reason not to go for it."

Plane Training is a big investment for Miranda, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her biggest expense is insurance.

Arneson is one of about ten current students. It can be a pricey pastime. The training for a private pilot license alone can run between $7,000 and $10,000.


Helicopter manufacturer reaches settlement with Navy crash victims

NORFOLK,Va. (WVEC) -- It's been nearly three years since a tragic Navy helicopter crash in the Atlantic killed three local crew members.

Tonight, the aircraft's manufacturer has agreed to settle wrongful death and negligence claims by the widows of the three airmen and a survivor of the crash.

Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has agreed to settle wrongful death and negligence claims in a lawsuit filed over the January, 2014 crash of a Navy helicopter that killed three crew members on an exercise 18 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, during routine mine countermeasures training.

"A fire erupted in the upper left hand side of the aircraft, just behind the cockpit, resulting in thick black smoke," said Navy Captain Todd Flannery in September, 2014.

The original Navy report said there was a fireball, the crew became disoriented, and they only had about 20 seconds before their MH-53 hit the ocean. The problem began with a fuel line. There was an eruption of some kind, and the fuel came into contact with these electrical wires. The arc or surge came into contact with the fuel line that had become chafed.

The mishap prompted the Navy inspect each and every one of the service's 28 Sea Dragons and all 149 Sea Stallions.

A Virginian-Pilot investigation found that those inspections were not sufficient, and, a new round was ordered.

The commodore of Helicopter Sea combat wing Atlantic Commodore told 13News Now in April, 2015, that the objective was to get it right.

 "Aviation is inherently dangerous," Captain Pat Everly. "But we owe it to the men and women who operate it, and those who work on it to make sure we're providing a safe aircraft."

The MH-53-E Sea Dragon is the Navy's oldest and most maintenance-intensive helicopter. The one in question dates back to the 80''s.

Sikorsky has reached a "settlement in principle" with the widows of the three crewmen and a survivor of the crash, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed and await approval of a judge.

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