Saturday, December 17, 2016

First skydive attempt a success at Venice Municipal Airport

VENICE, Fla.-- With the engine running and wheels on the tarmac, four passengers left Venice Municipal Airport on a one way flight. The only exit was a 10,000 foot jump.

"I could talk to you for hours and hours and you still wouldn't understand it," said owner of Skydive Venice Beach Christian Schoemig. "It's such a rush. You have to do it to understand it."

Schoemig has jumped nearly 8,000 times and operates a company out of Palm Beach, Florida, but for Mashid Kamali, it was the first time.

"I was nervous," said Kamali, "but as soon as I jumped out of the airplane, there was this silence and then the beautiful scenery.

It's a 2 mile descent controlled only by wind resistance, and it's the first commercial skydiving jump out of Venice Municipal Airport. For 7 years, the only resistance came from the Venice City Council, concerned about safety risks.

City Councilman Kit McKeon has been there throughout the process.

"During that period of uncertainty," said McKeon, "we didn't want to have something else that would potentially concern the citizens."

McKeon says that "period of uncertainty" was a time when the airport was in need of repair.

"The airport had suffered from what I will call 60 years of benign neglect," said McKeon. "It needed work."

Since then, the Federal Aviation Administration has given them nearly 18 million dollars to refurbish different parts of the airport. It still operates without a control tower though, which was among the concerns for the council, and something Schoemig acknowledged as an obstacle.

"We have a different traffic pattern than the planes and the helicopter, so we had to work through a long process," said Schoemig. 

On Saturday, that process came to an end though. Schoemig finally took that first jump in Venice, and he says it was well worth the wait. 

"Skydiving is very special no matter where you do it," said Schoemig. "You could jump over the desert and you'll have a blast, but to add that component to a skydive is very special. It's just like, 'wow!'"


WWII era fighter buzzes Wright Memorial

A wreath laying commemorating the 113th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers First Powered Flight took place at Wright Memorial Hill on Friday.

Most of the ceremony took place inside of the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center due to the bitter cold, but participants got outside to place the wreath just in time for a flying salute to the Wrights.

Wright family members Amanda Wright-Lane, Iris Lane and her father Stephen Wright placed a wreath at the Wright Brothers Memorial with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base 88th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Bradley M. McDonald. Within seconds, the roar of a perfectly timed flyover by a WWII era P-51D Mustang followed, marking the hour and minute of the first flight: 10:35 a.m.

"It's a snowy, cloudy backdrop for a beautiful flyover," said Amanda Wight-Lane, Great Grandniece of the Wright Brothers. The P-51D is part of the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Cincinnati.

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Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinement to be in Texas in 2017


The National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony that has been held in southwestern Ohio for decades is being moved to Fort Worth, Texas, for 2017.

The Dayton Daily News reports the annual ceremony, which has been held in Dayton since it began in 1962, has drawn hundreds of people to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in recent years.

Hall of Fame events have brought astronauts and Hollywood stars to the area that was home to aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright and is known as the birthplace of aviation.

The Class of 2017 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in October.

The Hall of Fame's executive director says moving the event allows the national organization to have its brand elsewhere to help with fundraising.


Devils Lake Regional Airport breaks record for annual boardings

DEVILS LAKE — Devils Lake Regional Airport has broken its record for boardings in a year, with one more month to go before total numbers come in for 2016.

The airport boarded 470 passengers in November, according to numbers released by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. That brings the airport’s boardings in 2016 to 5,743 through November, surpassing the yearly record of 5,488 passengers, which was set in 2011.

The airport has broken almost every monthly record this year. Though November was not a record month — 2011 holds the November record with 517 — it still is 26 percent ahead of last year’s count of 373. Year-to-date numbers through November are up almost 38 percent from last year.

It’s almost hard to believe the airport already has broken its 2011 record, manager John Nord said. Part of the reason more people are boarding in Devils Lake is United Airlines, which has direct flights to Denver.

In 2014, the flight service replaced Great Lakes Airlines, a Minneapolis-bound airline that lost a bid for an Essential Air Service contract to SkyWest Airlines. SkyWest partners with United.

Cancellations and delays caused a drop in numbers for Devils Lake when Great Lakes took over for Delta Airlines in 2011, the year the airport boarded almost 5,500 passengers. Boardings dropped below 3,000 in 2012 and to 2,667 passengers in 2013.

“We were really disappointed when Delta decided not to serve our airport anymore,” Nord said. “Then we ran into some really lull years in 2012, 2013 and … half of 2014 with Great Lakes.”

Devils Lake served 2,889 passengers in 2014, a figure that reflects several months without air service since Great Lakes left in early 2014 and United couldn’t take over until June 2014.

But 2015 numbers soared to 5,104 passengers. With the increase of customers, SkyWest signed a two-year contract that began in July and added another flight, bringing the airport’s weekly roundtrips to 12.

“The way our numbers took off, it was just about hard to believe that less than 2½ years after United started with a new route … that we would exceed the 2011 numbers, but we just blew them away, and look for a great month in December,” Nord said.

Another feature that attracts customers is free parking, he said.

Devils Lake boardings should climb toward 6,300 as December brings travelers flying across the country for the holiday season, Nord said. He added it’s possible those numbers could grow next year, as well.

North Dakota numbers

Devils Lake, along with airports in Bismarck and Jamestown, have bucked a trend of decreased numbers seen by other airports in North Dakota.

North Dakota’s November numbers were down about 2 percent from last year. Year-to-date boardings through November were down more than 11 percent.

The largest decreases were in western North Dakota, which has been attributed to a decrease in oil prices that forced companies to lay off workers, resulting in fewer passengers and fewer flights.

Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport, which lost its Delta Airlines connection to Minneapolis last December, saw a decrease in November numbers -- a 54 percent drop from last year. Year-to-date boardings through November for Dickinson were down about 62 percent, the largest percentage decrease for any airport in the state.

Sloulin Field International Airport in Williston, with year-to-date numbers dropping by more than 37 percent from last year, lost its American Airlines connection to Houston. November numbers compared with last year were down almost 22 percent.

Fargo’s Hector International Airport numbers jumped 5 percent in November, but year-to-date boardings through the month were down 9 percent.

Grand Forks International Airport’s November and year-to-date through November numbers dropped from last year by about 10 percent.

Jamestown’s 45 percent increase was the largest in the state. November numbers increased 33 percent.

Bismarck’s November numbers from last year were up 15 percent, with year-to-date figures through November up 5 percent.

Overall, North Dakota’s year-to-date numbers are up from 10-year averages. With airports boarding 956,749 passengers, it’s likely boardings will exceed a million by the end of the year, according to the report. 


Beech A36 Bonanza, N410BC: Accident occurred December 17, 2016 in Ormond Beach, Volusia County, Florida

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ormond Beach, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA070
Date & Time: 12/17/2016, 1607 EST
Registration: N410BC
Aircraft: BEECH A36
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 17, 2016, at 1607 eastern standard time, a Beech A36, N410BC, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at Ormond Beach, Florida. The private pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at DeLand Municipal Airport (DED), DeLand, Florida, about 1430 and was destined for Mid Florida Air Service Airport (X55), Eustis, Florida.

The pilot reported in a telephone interview that he was returning to his home airport and was practicing maneuvers at 1,200 feet. The left fuel tank ran dry, and the engine lost all power. He stated that his normal procedure was to exhaust the fuel in one tank before switching to the other. He attempted a restart after switching to the right tank, which, he stated, held 40 gallons of fuel. The engine would not restart, so he performed a forced landing in a field. After touchdown, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane nosed down into the ground.

The pilot did not complete and return the NTSB Form 6120.1, Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, as requested on multiple occasions by the NTSB investigator-in-charge. The pilot also did not provide the aircraft maintenance records when requested by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. The details of the latest annual inspection of the aircraft and engine were not available.

The wreckage was recovered from the accident site on December 22, 2017. According to the salvage operator, the left wing was substantially damaged and the left wing fuel tank was breached. The fuselage sustained structural damage. The right wing had minimal damage and the right wing fuel tank was undamaged. No fuel was found in either wing fuel tank. The wing tank selector handle was found in the "OFF" position.

The engine was examined on April 6, 2017. The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller, and compression and suction were observed on all six cylinders. All gears were observed rotating at the accessory (rear) section of the engine. The top spark plugs were removed; their electrodes were intact and were light grey in color. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed; the drive coupling was intact and the pump rotated smoothly.

The engine-driven fuel pump was forwarded to the manufacturer's facility for further examination. The fuel pump displayed impact damage signatures; one of the fuel line AN fittings was fractured. The fuel pump drive shaft was noted to have remained intact and the fuel pump drive shaft was capable of normal rotation. The fractured AN fitting was removed and a serviceable fitting was installed. The fuel pump was placed on a production bench for testing; the fuel pump operated normally. There were no anomalies noted.

According to the FAA medical file, the pilot was first medically certified to fly in 1978. In 2004, he reported a diagnosis of hypertension and treatment with medication. In February, 2008, he was admitted to hospital for several weeks with multiple complex complications of chronic alcoholism, then was admitted for alcohol rehabilitation, and he reported that to the FAA. After obtaining more information including a neurology evaluation following an alcohol withdrawal seizure, and a psychiatric evaluation, the FAA eventually granted him a special issuance third class medical certificate in 2009, which was dependent on him being evaluated and undergoing periodic testing for alcohol.

At the time of his last aviation medical examination, dated August 30, 2011, the pilot reported 1,650 total flight hours. In September, 2011, he tested positive for alcohol and the FAA withdrew his medical certificate in November, 2011.

The pilot was taken emergently to the hospital by helicopter following the accident. Blood drawn at 1709 tested positive for 0.177 gm/dl of alcohol. No other toxicology testing was performed.

Ethanol is the intoxicant commonly found in beer, wine, and liquor. It acts as a central nervous system depressant. After ingestion, at low doses, it impairs judgment, psychomotor functioning, and vigilance; at higher doses it can cause coma and death. The effects of ethanol on aviators are generally well understood; it significantly impairs pilots' performance, even at very low levels. CFR Part 91.17 (a) prohibits any person from acting or attempting to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft while having 0.040 gm/dl or more ethanol in the blood.

Unlike many other substances, ethanol is eliminated from the body at a fairly constant rate. The rate varies with the regularity of drinking and whether or not the individual has recently eaten, but ranges from 0.010 gm/dl/hr in infrequent drinkers with an empty stomach to as high as 0.035 gm/dl/hr in heavy drinkers who have eaten. As a result, the minimum and maximum levels of ethanol can be back-calculated with some assurance of accuracy. Thus, at the time of the accident, the pilot's alcohol level was likely at or above 0.185 gm/dl.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 57, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: None 
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/30/2011
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: 1500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1000 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N410BC
Model/Series: A36 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: E-1606
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3651 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
Engine Model/Series: IO-520 Series
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OMN, 27 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1450 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 80°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 5000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Deland, FL (DED)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Eustis, FL (X55)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1430 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  29.266667, -81.254722 (est)

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA070
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 17, 2016 in Ormond Beach, FL
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N410BC
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 December 17, 2016, at 1510 eastern standard time, a Beech A36, N410BC, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at Ormond Beach, Florida. The private pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at DeLand Municipal Airport (DED), DeLand, Florida, about 1430 and was destined for Eustis, Florida (X55).

The pilot reported that he was returning to his home airport and was practicing maneuvers at 1,200 feet. The left fuel tank ran dry, and the engine lost all power. He attempted a restart after switching to the right tank, which held 40 gallons of fuel. The engine would not restart, so he attempted a forced landing in a field. After touchdown, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane nosed down into the ground.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. Structural damage to wings and fuselage was confirmed. The left fuel tank was empty and the right fuel tank contained fuel.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Air One arrives at the scene as the pilot speaks with Dale Cohen, who’d arrived there on foot. 

Authorities said a pilot suffered severe injuries when his small plane crashed in a rural area in southern Flagler County.

Flagler County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Troiano said that when rescue crews arrived at the scene of the crash, the pilot was still trapped in the cockpit. Crews removed him from the aircraft, and he was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital.

The pilot - who was identified as Dale Fish, 67, of Mount Dora - suffered severe injuries, Troiano said. No one else was in the plane.

The plane's wreckage was located about 4 p.m. Saturday in a remote field west of Rodeo Acres Road and near Hunter's Ridge, a sprawling subdivision that straddles Volusia and Flagler counties.

Troiano said that the pilot managed to land the single-engine plane, but the area's rugged terrain caused "heavy damage to the wing and fuselage."

The cause of the crash was still unknown late Saturday. But the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board, which investigate all plane crashes, were alerted by authorities, Troiano said.

This is the second small plane to crash in the past week. On Monday, a single-engine plane crashed near Venetian Bay in New Smyrna Beach. That plane's pilot and owner, Lee Kraus, escaped with minor injuries to his face.

And last month, a small plane crashed in a wooded area on the western outskirts of Plantation Bay in Flagler County. That plane, a 1969 Beechcraft Bonanza, was headed to DeLand when it went down, likely due to a mechanical malfunction. Seriously injured were Josh Rosa, 36, and Joel Fallon, 50, both of Palm Coast. 

A single-engine plane crashed in Hunter’s Ridge, at the south end of Flagler County, at 4 p.m. today. The pilot survived with serious injuries, authorities are reporting.

The identity of the pilot has not been confirmed, but the plane, a Beechcraft A36 built in 1979, is registered to Dale and Carrie Fish of Mount Dora in Lake County.

The pilot had apparently run out of fuel and was looking for an area to land the plane, which was only a few miles from Ormond Beach Airport to the east. The pilot found a landing spot, but it was not smooth, and the plane struck a mound, sustaining severe damage.

The pilot was alert and conscious, but still in the plane, when rescuers arrived. Volusia County’s Air One was able to land nearby, and a Flagler County Fire Rescue unit was also able to drive up to the proximity of the crash site, enabling paramedics to quickly provide the pilot medical attention as they prepared him to be flown to a hospital.

It’s not clear whether the pilot was flown to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach or elsewhere.

The crash took place just west of Rodeo Acres Drive. Hunter’s Ridge is a development that straddles the Flagler-Volusia County line. It is very sparsely developed on the Flagler side, with woods predominating. The exact coordinates of the crash are 29°16’00.0″N 81°15’17.3″W. 

This is the second single-engine plane crash in Flagler County in five weeks. On Nov. 9, Joel Fallon, 50, owner of Granny Nannies of Flagler and St. Johns counties, crashed a plane he co-owns with Flagler County property Appraiser Jay Gardner in the woods in Plantation Bay, also at the south end of the county. Fallon was with passenger Josh Rosa. Both survived, but with severe injuries.

Flagler County’s Fire Flight, the emergency helicopter, has not been in service for weeks. It was grounded before Thanksgiving for maintenance, including blade refurbishing, and its pilots are in training in Texas. Fire Flight is typically grounded in December, though in this case it may take a bit longer. The helicopter is expected back in service with the new year.


FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - A pilot is being hospitalized after a crash Saturday afternoon involving a single-engine plane, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office said.

Crews arrived at the scene of the crash west of Rodeo Acres Road in southern Flagler County.

Deputies said a caller advised that a plane had crashed in an open, but rugged field. Units believed it is several miles east of State Road 11 and several miles north of State Road 40.

The pilot was removed from the plane by rescue units. Deputies said he was being airlifted by Volusia County Sheriff's Air One to a hospital to receive treatment for the serious injuries he suffered in the crash. The pilot was alone in the single-engine plane.

The Sheriff's Office said it will be coordinating activities at the scene and will be awaiting a response from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.



A pilot was injured Friday when he crashed a single-engine plane into a field in southern Flagler County, deputies said.

The crash was reported just after 4 p.m. several miles east of State Road 11 and several miles north of State Road 40, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said.

Rescue crews pulled the pilot from the wreckage and he was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries, deputies said.

Nobody else was onboard at the time of the crash.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, National Transportation Safety Board, and the Federal Aviation Administration are conducting an investigation.


FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. - A pilot was injured in a plane crash Saturday in southern Flagler County, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said.

The initial call, transferred from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, came in at 4:02 p.m. from a witness who said a single-engine airplane had crashed in an open, but rugged field west of Rodeo Acres Road in southern Flagler County.

Authorities said they believe the crash site is several miles east of State Road 11 and several miles north of State Road 40.

Rescue units were able to remove the pilot from the plane and was airlifted by Volusia County Sheriff’s Air One to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Officials said the pilot was the only person onboard.

Flagler County deputies will be coordinating activities at the crash site and are awaiting a response from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.


Navy grounds Super Hornets, Growlers

The Navy temporarily grounded its fleet of F/A-18 E/F/ Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers following what officials call an “on-deck emergency” Friday morning in western Washington.

A Navy Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 132 — the “Scorpions” — was damaged and both of its aircrew suffered unspecified injuries during the incident that occurred at the Whidbey Island air station on Puget Sound around 11 a.m. Friday, according to a Navy statement released before dawn on Saturday.

A Whidbey Island search and rescue helicopter raced them to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for evaluation. Because the advanced Boeing Super Hornets and Growlers rely on common aircraft systems, Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker — commander of Naval Air Forces on North Island — temporarily suspended flight operations for both types of jets.

Exceptions, however, will be made “on a case-by-case basis dependent upon operational requirements,” according to the statement.

Boeing engineers and Naval Air Systems Command are probing the cause of the incident.

A two-seat version of the Super Hornet, the carrier-based Growler is an electronic warfare aircraft that began replacing Northrop Grumman’s EA-6B Prowlers in 2009.  

Flying alongside Super Hornet multirole fighters, it can jam enemy signals, fool radar systems and detect incoming missiles.

The temporary pause on Growler and Super Hornet operations will not affect squadrons in the San Diego area. 


Barnstable Municipal Airport Reopens Runways After Snow Storm

BARNSTABLE –The runways at Barnstable Municipal Airport were closed this morning as crews worked quickly to remove snow.

Cape Air flights that were scheduled for this morning were cancelled or delayed and Rectrix Aviation made the decision to cancel this morning’s flights yesterday.

Airport Assistant Manager Katie Servis said work to remove the snow off the runaways started early.

“They got most of the runway done by about 7 o’clock this morning, they had one runway open and the taxiway that was associated with that runway was completely open by seven and the rest of the airport was open by about 9, 9:30,” said Servis.

When there are storms in the region, Servis said that the crews usually arrive at the airport within the hour that they’re called.

“The response is quick, it usually depends on the weather conditions and the snow and the type of snow that it is, to determine how quickly we are going to open the airport,” said Servis.

Servis added that the airport has three crews dedicated to clearing the runaway, one to two for the apron and custodians that are dedicated to the terminal and access roads.


Eppley Airfield struggling to get word out on waiting lots

OMAHA, Neb.  | Omaha's Eppley Airfield has installed two official cellphone waiting lots at a combined cost of $200,000, but word about the new lots has been slow to get out to the public.

A cellphone lot is a space where people wait to receive texts or calls from arriving passengers who are ready to be picked up along the airport terminal's front drive. The lots became popular nationwide after 9/11, when cars could no longer idly wait in front of airport terminals due to security measures.

Airport police Chief Tim Conahan said many people are still using old, nearby parking lots that are considered unofficial waiting lots.

"Not as many are using the new lots," he said. "I don't know, it might be the terminology. People who don't travel a lot may not know what a cellphone lot is."
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The new lots were announced in September with other parking initiatives, including a new app that has a feature to help you find your vehicle if you return home and forget where you parked.


Covington Municipal Airport changed by inches, costing thousands

The plans for a new terminal at the Covington Municipal Airport is costing the city more than it expected after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) came back with faults in the plan after ground had already been broken.

Covington City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said the FAA had problems with the height of the building originally proposed during Monday night’s Covington City Council meeting. The foundation for the building has already been laid, so to lower the height would require a change in materials.

“We’ve got a pad out there,” Knight said. “If you don’t approve this then we can’t build what we want to build because it’s too high.”

Councilman Chris Smith raised the question of why a smaller building would cost more. In the original plan, wood trusses were going to be used to support the roof. With the change in height, steel trusses are required to support the weight, requiring $179,269 more to complete the project.

The wood trusses would have cost $23,000 and the new steel trusses will cost $153,000.

Vincent Passariello, airport engineer, said the height difference at some points is about four inches, while at other points it is about three feet.

“The way they’re having to do the roof, they’re going to have to put steel trusses in there instead of the wood trusses that they were originally anticipating putting in so it does make it larger,” Knight said.

Knight said she is continually working with contractors to lower the costs of the additional work for the city.

“We’re as frustrated as anybody because the FAA did not notify us in the allotted time that they were supposed to that there was an issue with it,” she said. “Unfortunately this is GDOT’s first go-around at funding a terminal building so they don’t want to step on any toes with the FAA.”

Knight said the city has the opportunity to receive funding – up to $150,000 – from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) every year for projects like this and it should be able to recoup most of the extra costs through that.

Covington Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said the city and airport staff have attempted to contact state and national elected officials for help with the project, but have not made any headway.

“I think it comes down to: Do you want to proceed with a terminal at the airport?” Knight said. “We all want FAA to pay for it.

“We’re fighting the federal government at this point to get that money back.”

The council unanimously voted to approve up to $179,269 to cover the costs of the design change. Work is set to resume Dec. 21.

Mayor Ronnie Johnston said he didn’t think the city had much of a choice in the matter. If the council had delayed its decision there was a chance for additional fees to stop construction.

“In my opinion, it’s terrible, it stinks, but it’s one of those things – the way I’m looking at this – we can say ‘no’ and have a nice pad of concrete out there for a while, and wait until we can figure out some other ways we can do a building, or we can say let’s make a move forward,” he said.

“I also believe that this is an important piece in our economic development process for the City of Covington.”

The Covington Municipal Airport is located at 15200 Airport Road and was established in 1963, according to its website.


Delta adds daily flight to Greater Binghamton Airport

Delta will add one more roundtrip to Detroit from Greater Binghamton Airport starting March 1.

Another Delta flight will be welcome addition to the airline-starved travelers hoping to catch flights from the local airport.

The addition will increase the number of daily flights to and from the Town of Maine airfield to six —three arrivals and three departures.

United abandoned its Binghamton-to-Newark route in late November, and American is scheduled to end its daily service — two roundtrip flights — to Philadelphia on Feb. 15.

Based on the posted schedule, Delta now has flights departing Binghamton for Detroit at 5:55 a.m. and 5:42 p.m. Arrivals from Detroit are scheduled for 5:17 p.m. and 11:28 p.m.

On March 1, the departures will be scheduled at 5:55 a.m., 1:14 p.m. and 5:05 p.m.; arrivals at 12:49 p.m.; 4:40 p.m. and 11:20 p.m.

All service in Binghamton will be provided by a 50-passenger regional jet. Flight time between Detroit and Binghamton is about an hour, 20 minutes.

In Elmira, Delta has five Delta daily arrivals and departures plus Allegiant service to St. Petersburgh/Clearwater twice weekly and Sanford/Orlando twice weekly. Ithaca has maintained its service from United to Newark, three flights daily, American to Philadelphia, three flights daily, and Delta to Detroit, three flights daily.


Wichita's aviation jobs dependent on jet sales to China

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -   The head of Boeing's Commercial Airplanes says 150,000 American jobs are supported by Boeing's sale of jetliners to China -- and that many of those jobs are in Wichita. 

Ray Conner made the remarks Thursday at a National Committee on U.S. China Relations event in New York.

Conner said China is expected to take delivery of 30 percent of the 737 jetliners Boeing builds and 25 percent of all Boeing's plane models.

The feeling is Conner was directing his comments towards President-elect Donald Trump.  Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese imports -- and some fear he could start a trade war.  

China could switch Boeing airplane orders to European based Airbus orders or to Canadian based Bombardier.

"There's a lot of fear because you had Trump threaten the prospect of a 45-percent tariff on Chinese imports," said Richard Aboulafia, Aviation Analyst with the Teal Group. "That's basically a giant red flag. Our biggest single export to China is jetliners. And it does support a lot of jobs." 

Spirit AeroSystems single largest program is the 737. Spirit manufactures large portions of all Boeing's commercial jetliners.

Spirit AeroSystems gave the following statement to KAKE News:

"Spirit AeroSystems operates in a global industry, and our products are in record demand from customers around the world. Spirit's long-term success depends on our customers' ability to sell aircraft in a highly competitive global economy. We support trade policies that help achieve that goal and protect the U.S. industrial base."

It's international business that those in the local economy know holds large sway over money coming in to Wichita.

"The international side of the business in aviation is huge and it has a huge impact on our economy," said Gary Plummer, President of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. "We need to be very careful about our relationships with other countries around the world with our trade relationships with them."  

Plummer said he's hopeful once Trump enters the White House there will be a more measured approach to his comments on such things as trade than those made on the campaign trail.

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Nicklaus: Boeing move hurts St. Louis' pride but should strengthen defense division

By David Nicklaus St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

Last year, Boeing built a big new building in Arlington, Va., directly across Interstate 395 from the Pentagon.

The symbolism was obvious: The generals and civilian paper-pushers inside the Defense Department wouldn’t be able to ignore one of their biggest contractors.

On Tuesday, Boeing added substance to that symbolism by moving the headquarters of its defense and space division, along with about a dozen top executives, from St. Louis to Arlington.

As if to confirm President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the emergence of a military-industrial complex, the defense industry’s top brass has become increasingly concentrated in the Washington area. Lockheed Martin is in Bethesda, Md., Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics are in Falls Church, Va., and the U.S. arm of BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest military supplier, is a neighbor of Boeing in Arlington.

It wasn’t always this way. General Dynamics pulled out of Clayton in 1991. Lockheed was based in Calabasas, Calif., until it merged with Martin Marietta in 1995. Northrop Grumman was in Los Angeles until 2011.

One by one, they gave the same reason for moving: We want to be near the customer.

It’s smart business. “Instead of having to get on a plane, Leanne Caret [who heads Boeing’s defense division] can now have an impromptu meeting in 15 minutes,” said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer at the Lexington Institute in Arlington. “There’s no way to have a quick face-to-face meeting if you’re sitting in Missouri.”

In hyperpolitical Washington, the agenda can change quickly. Take, for example, President-elect Donald Trump’s recent tweets about Boeing’s Air Force One contract and Lockheed’s F-35 fighter.

Trump called both programs “out of control” and threatened to cancel the Air Force One order. You can bet that Boeing and Lockheed quickly offered to have senior executives meet with Trump’s transition team to smooth the waters.

Boeing says its headquarters relocation had nothing to do with the presidential election, but Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at Teal Group in Fairfax, Va., says Caret picked a good time to move to Washington.

“There’s never been a time when things have been in such a state of flux and uncertainty,” Aboulafia said. “But there does seem to be an expectation that Trump will throw some more cash at the defense budget.”

Even in calmer times, Thompson argues, firms with D.C.-area headquarters have an advantage.

“If you live in Washington it’s not uncommon to run into your customers and your competitors just going into Starbucks,” he said. “You can be on Capitol Hill in less than 10 minutes, and the person you meet with can make the difference between life and death for a program. This move means Boeing can compete on an equal basis.”

That should be good for Boeing’s 14,000 workers in St. Louis.

“We want Boeing to be successful, and this is what they have to do to be successful,” said Joe Reagan, chief executive of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

There are dangers to having the military-industrial complex concentrated in Washington. One is the centralization of power that worried Eisenhower. Another is groupthink, the tendency of people to disdain outside ideas when they move in tight social circles.

Despite those concerns, the industry has been cozying up to its customer for decades. Thompson said he wouldn’t be surprised if Boeing’s corporate headquarters, which is in Chicago, eventually moved to Arlington too.

Like it or not, politics affects every aspect of the company’s business. You can’t blame it for being drawn to the political epicenter.

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Rebranding effort takes off for Northwest Missouri Regional Airport

 Maryville Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland

Four years ago the City of Maryville launched an effort to “rebrand” what is now Mozingo Lake Recreation Park.

The marketing campaign, which included new graphics and logos, beefed-up advertising, and a redesigned website that simplified user access to reservations and information about services and amenities, has been hailed as a success by city officials and set the stage for major developments, including ongoing construction of a hotel and conference center and creation of the Watson 9 junior golf course.

Now the city wants to apply some of those same strategies to another municipal resource perceived as underutilized and little known outside Nodaway County — Northwest Missouri Regional Airport.

Formerly known as Maryville Memorial Airport, the original landing strip was built just after World War II and long served as a fairly typical small-town aviation facility catering to hobby pilots and the occasional crop duster.

In recent years, however — and especially this year — the airport has seen significant improvements, and Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland, who serves as the lead airport administrator, believes the time has come to start telling people that Maryville is home to an aviation asset that is primed for growth.

As a first step, Heiland said, City Hall staff has begun working with Hue Labs on developing a new airport website that will offer pilots information about weather, fuel prices, and flight planning. The Nevada-based company is the same firm that created the Mozingo Lake site, which is credited with helping turn the 3,000-acre park and reservoir into a regional tourist destination.

In addition to pilot-related resources, the site will provide flyers and passengers alike with suggestions about where to eat and lodge in Maryville along with opportunities for terminal rental, courtesy ground transportation, and other services.

“As is the case with Mozingo, the website will provide an excellent marketing tool for both the airport and the community overall,” Heiland said. “Northwest Missouri Regional Airport has not had a featured website in the past.”

In addition to an enhanced online presence, Heiland also wants to seek more exposure for the airstrip through trade publications and other marketing avenues.

He noted that the airport’s location, along with the availability of both jet fuel and aviation gasoline, makes it a low-traffic alternative to pilots seeking to skirt both Rosecrans Memorial Airport in St. Joseph and the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City.

Efforts to better publicize the facility are getting under way now due to completion of a $3.4 million runway rebuild that replaced 4,000 feet of the airport’s 4,600-foot landing strip along with the older of two taxiways.

The project also upgraded the runway lighting system, which can be radio-activated by night-flying pilots.

More than 90 percent of the funding for the reconstruction came from a Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program grant. The city financed its $339,000 local match using a low-interest Statewide Transportation Assistance Revolving Fund loan, a state program known as STAR.

Heiland is hoping to assemble a similar financing package that will be used to repave the existing airport “apron,” essentially a parking lot for airplanes, sometime next summer.

The new runway, which makes the airport a far more desirable stop for small jets and commercial craft, follows completion in 2007 of a terminal building equipped with a spacious meeting room, furnished pilots’ lounge, cable television, Wi-Fi, vending machines, and restrooms.

Pilots, Heiland said, have access to an electronic code that provides access to the terminal 24 hours a day. Flyers are also free to use a city-owned van kept parked in an adjoining lot.

Heiland said the meeting room at the terminal is perhaps its most underused feature, and that the space is available for rent to anyone seeking to host a gathering there.

On other fronts, the assistant city manager has been working with the Hawk Road Flyers, a local aviation club, in an attempt to bring more special events to the airport, such as the group’s annual summer fly-in.

For starters, Heiland said, the group is considering putting together a winter chili supper fly-in sometime next month.

As for long-range improvements, Heiland said the Airport Board, a volunteer advisory panel appointed by the City Council, is looking at the possibility of eventually constructing a “corporate hangar” capable of housing larger aircraft, including small jets, overnight.

Jet landings are relatively rare at the airport, but they do happen. And while the facility’s main function remains providing service to general aviation pilots, Heiland is hoping expanded awareness about the airstrip will increase the number of company planes landing here either to fuel up between cities or because Maryville is their primary destination.

While business drops off in the winter, Heiland said, between 10 and 15 aircraft on average land or take off at Northwest Missouri Regional Airport each day.


Two runways reopened at Dulles International Airport

UPDATE 12/17/16 10:23 a.m.: Two runways have reopened at Dulles International Airport Saturday morning following the closure of all runways due to icy conditions.

WASHINGTON — Officials of Dulles International Airport announced Saturday morning that all runways are closed due to icy conditions.

They said that no flights are operating as of 7:42 a.m.

More information on Dulles flights can be found here.

There were also delays and cancellations at BWI Marshall Airport. Airport officials asked travelers to check their airlines for updated flight status information.

In addition, they asked travelers to allow extra time for security screening due to possible long lines. TSA recommended passengers arrive two hours prior to departures.

More information on BWI Marshall airport flights can be found here.

Reagan National Airport officials say they are “open and operating normally.” They advise travelers to take caution when driving to the airport.

More information on Reagan National Airport can be found here.


Larger Aircraft, More Flights, In-Flight Service to LAX and Denver: Prescott Municipal Airport / Ernest A. Love Field (KPRC), Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona


Flight service in and out of Prescott Improves with the Holidays

This week, as Prescott’s Mayor and City Council voted to continue the essential air service (EAS) for another two years, Great Lakes Aviation ( has stepped up by upgrading its 9 seat aircraft with both 19 and 30 seat capacity planes, starting December 17th.

Great Lakes Aviation now considers Prescott a “focus city”. This means they will base both aircraft and a mechanic in Prescott, AZ. Moreover, Great Lakes Aviation will increase daily flights to Los Angeles from two to four flights per day, and add flights to Denver with two flights per week, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Larger Aircraft With Bathrooms and In-Flight Service

For some of the Los Angeles (LAX) and Denver (DEN) flights, the 30 seat Embraer Turbo Prop Brasilia will be utilized. The Brasilia will have both in flight air service (flight attendant) and a bathroom - a welcome upgrade for customers that have flown on the current Beechcraft turbo prop which does not have a bathroom or in-flight service.

Low, Introductory Rates

Additionally, Great Lakes Aviation is offering introductory fares to both LAX and DEN. To Los Angeles, with 7 day advance notice, fares start at only $97 and to Denver only $130 one way.

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FlyPrescott Podcast With Airport Manager John Cox:

225 flights cancelled due to snow at Denver International Airport on Saturday morning

Denver - A winter resulted in airlines cancelling about 225 flights at Denver International Airport early Saturday morning.

"The forecast called for one to three inches. We ended up getting more like six to eight inches, depending on where you are a the airport," said Heath Montgomery, DIA spokesperson.

The airport deployed 300 pieces of equipment to deal with this storm. 

"We have all our snow crews out this morning clearing surfaces on the both the airfield and landside roadways," Montgomery said. 

The airfield and runways were clear and open to airlines according to Montgomery.

However, approximately 225 flights were cancelled which is about 15 percent of the flights scheduled daily at DIA.

The cancelled flights "include some smaller commuter flights to mountain towns and cities around Colorado that just cannot fly in these conditions," said Montgomery.

Pena Boulevard was covered by hard,compacted snow. Montgomery cautioned drivers to slow down and give themselves extra time to get to the airport. 


Bombardier's CEO Wants to Stop Selling C Series Jets at a Discount

Bombardier Inc. gained sales momentum for its flagship C Series jetliner this year with major orders from Air Canada and Delta Air Lines Inc. Now it’s looking to get away from the pricing discounts that fueled the aircraft’s rebound.

The planemaker expects to book new sales in the coming months after racking up 360 firm orders and more than 400 commitments for the C Series, its biggest-ever plane, Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare said. The jet’s better-than-expected performance at Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss International unit is fueling interest, as is the entry into service of a larger variant at Air Baltic Corp. this week.

“I’ve got the right order book,” Bellemare said in an interview late Thursday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “What I need is a good solid order from another good customer, and with good commercial terms. That’s what we are doing.”

Bellemare is counting on the C Series to help Bombardier boost sales by about 50 percent to $25 billion by 2020. That would cement a comeback for the Montreal-based company after it spent about $6 billion developing its biggest-ever jet, fueling an increase in debt to $9 billion and knocking down the stock price to the lowest in more than two decades in early 2016.

Price Discounts

“Aggressive” pricing was part of the strategy that allowed Bombardier to win the 75-aircraft deal with Delta, Fred Cromer, president of the Canadian company’s commercial aircraft unit, said in April. He wouldn’t give financial details of the accord, which also carries options for 50 more jets.

Carriers placing large jet orders typically negotiate discounts with aircraft manufacturers. The CS100, the smallest of two variants of the C Series, has a list price of $76.5 million, while the CS300 goes for $85.7 million.

New orders that avoid significant discounts are a must if Bombardier wants to make the C Series a financial success, said Benoit Poirier, an analyst at Desjardins Capital Markets in Montreal.

“Several orders in the backlog remain at risk and need to be monitored,” Poirier said in a note to clients published Friday. “Despite the encouraging order momentum in 2016, we believe the program requires more orders at decent prices to make the business case sustainable.”

Bombardier is targeting potential C Series buyers in every major region of the globe, Bellemare said Thursday. Air Tanzania became the latest carrier to endorse the plane when it agreed on Dec. 2 to buy two CS300 jets.

Swiss Flights

“We see many opportunities right now, and they vary from big orders to very small, tiny orders, depending on which region of the world you look at,” he said. 

Swiss began operating the CS100, which can be configured to seat 108 to 133 passengers, in July.

The technical reliability of the C Series “has settled at very high levels, which are well above those seen for other recent new aircraft types,” Karin Mueller, a spokeswoman for Swiss, said by e-mail.

Bombardier has said the jet would cut fuel use, produce less noise and cost less to operate than competing models.

“The performance with Swiss has been so good, and that’s why we are confident,” Bellemare said in the interview. “Time is helping us here. The more customers appreciate the value of the aircraft, the better it is for us.”