Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hendersonville Airport (0A7) can’t identify plane that released smoke over Asheville, North Carolina

Updated at 5:06 p.m. on Thursday, April 27: 

by Virginia Daffron 

Local Facebook accounts are buzzing with questions about a small plane observed over North Asheville on the evening of Wednesday, April 26, at about 7:45 p.m.

On Thursday, Kathleen Bergen of the Federal Aviation Administration wrote in an email: “The FAA determined that an aircraft departed from Hendersonville Airport at 7:45 pm, circled over Asheville twice, then returned to the airport. The radar system could not identify the aircraft or its altitude, and the pilot did not contact air traffic control. The pilot was flying under visual flight rules and was not required to communicate with air traffic control. We cannot confirm that this is the aircraft that residents reported. FAA systems cannot identify whether aircraft are spraying.”

Xpress reached a representative of Aerolina, Inc., which operates the Hendersonville Airport, late on Thursday afternoon. The representative declined to give his name, but said that he was not present on Wednesday evening and had no idea whether a plane matching the description given to the FAA had flown out of his airport at that time. The field is a “non-control” airport, he said, and pilots are not required to file flight plans or reports.

The Aerolina representative declined to answer whether any spraying operations are based out of the airfield, saying that he had provided that information to the FAA. With regards to reports that the plane had a vintage appearance, the Aerolina representative said he wasn’t aware of any of the historic aircraft at the Western North Carolina Air Museum (which is located at the Hendersonville Airport) having flown yesterday evening.

Since I was among the Ashevilleans who saw the plane, it is relevant to share my observations here as we await more details:

At about 7:30, or as late as 7:45 p.m., yesterday evening, I noticed a small plane flying low above North Asheville as I walked along the stretch of Kimberly Avenue that borders the golf course of the Grove Park Inn.

The plane, which appeared to be a small, vintage aircraft with no visible markings, was flying southward, over the Charlotte Street area, releasing a trail of smoke that appeared orange in the light of the setting sun.

I first thought the pilot must be skywriting, but then almost immediately rejected that theory because the plane was flying so low. From where I walked, the plane appeared to be just above tree level.

As I watched, the smoke trail stopped and the plane flew away, banked slightly to the east as it continued its southward trajectory. Within seconds, the plane had disappeared behind the trees.

At home, I told my son about the sighting, saying how strange it had seemed to see a plane flying so low and releasing a colored trail of smoke late in the evening. Although I don’t have any particular expertise in assessing the altitude of aircraft, I estimated the plane to be flying at about 300-400 feet above the ground.

I later learned that others also were saying they had observed the strange sight. One local Facebooker wrote: “Anyone witness the small engine plane flying over 240 and spraying red fog on charlotte street that fell like red ash flakes and then the plane moved to the south end over Biltmore Mall area and sprayed a bunch more ? Several folks have witnessed this plane flying at around 200′ and it the airport has no record of it.” By shortly before noon on Thursday, the post had attracted 81 comments, many from other eyewitnesses.

One commenter wrote that her husband had seen and heard the plane from Town Mountain; she said he estimated the plane’s altitude at 700-1,000 feet. He also witnessed smoke coming from the plane: “he thought the sun being almost opposite and close to horizon was making blackish smoke glow brownish, thought at first it was a skywriter, as it passed over charlotte st. banked a wide circle and smoke appeared to stop as it went across chestnut hill neighborhood and came back across 240 headed south… he didn’t notice fallout from smoke, just dispersion…”

Some others wrote that the plane had left a red flaky residue along the Charlotte Street corridor.

No commenter on threads reviewed by Xpress reported having photos or videos of the airplane.

According to Alex Bradley, spokesperson for the Asheville Regional Airport Authority, “Pilots must communicate with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) when operating in controlled airspace. We do not have any information about this flight.”

Bradley referred Xpress to FAA Communications Manager Kathleen Bergen.

Xpress will update this post as more information is received. Please contact us at 828-251-1333 or leave a comment if you have photos, videos or information about the plane to share.

Original article can be found here:   https://mountainx.com




Answer Man: Odd, spraying plane?

by John Boyle 

Question: Facebook was abuzz Wednesday night with descriptions of a small plane, described as a single engine plane and possibly a vintage aircraft, flying low over North Asheville near I-240 and Charlotte Street and releasing a strange red-orange smoke or substance. Here's part of one Facebook post: "I saw the plane flying as I was heading east towards Zippy's Car Wash. It was flying across 240 normally." The reader was too late for the car wash and turned around, heading west on 240. " At this point I look up right at the exact moment the airplane starts spraying this stuff' out of the back of it or the bottom of it or somewhere ... and it started making a clear circle. At first I was like, 'This is just smoke or exhaust,' but then after completing the full circle the plane straightened out and the stuff discontinued spraying from the plane." The person noted that a car full "of tourists next to me were all looking up at the sky at this floating stuff slowly dissipating as it fell from the sky, and kind of excitedly talking back and forth to each other and pointing at the sky."

Virginia Daffron, a Mountain Xpress reporter who wrote about the incident, also witnessed it and described the incident on their website:

"The plane, which appeared to be a small, vintage aircraft with no visible markings, was flying southward, over the Charlotte Street area, releasing a trail of smoke that appeared orange in the light of the setting sun," Daffron wrote. "I first thought the pilot must be skywriting, but then almost immediately rejected that theory because the plane was flying so low. From where I walked, the plane appeared to be just above tree level. As I watched, the smoke trail stopped and the plane flew away, banked slightly to the east as it continued its southward trajectory. Within seconds, the plane had disappeared behind the trees."

As several people tagged me in the post, suggesting I investigate, I'm giving it a shot.

My answer: I'm pretty sure this was Councilman Cecil Bothwell spraying anti-development dust. It is the season, you know.

Real answer: By press time I was not able to get a satisfactory answer, but some details are emerging.

First, here's what Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration out of Atlanta, told me via email:

"The FAA determined that an aircraft departed from Hendersonville Airport at 7:45 p.m., circled over Asheville twice, then returned to the airport," Bergen said. "The radar system could not identify the aircraft or its altitude, and the pilot did not contact air traffic control. The pilot was flying under visual flight rules and was not required to communicate with air traffic control."

While it sounds like a good candidate, Bergen said, "We cannot confirm that this is the aircraft that residents reported. FAA systems cannot identify whether aircraft are spraying."

Several local residents called the Asheville Police Department to report the plane.

"Calls reported a red/yellow crop-duster type aircraft," said APD spokeswoman Christina Hallingse. "Officers responding were not able to locate the aircraft when they arrived to the general area the plane had been spotted."

The APD's communications supervisor was directed to contact the main tower at Asheville Regional Airport, "but was not able to make contact with anyone."

Asheville Regional Airport spokeswoman Tina Kinsey had no information on the incident and said the FAA would be the best source.

The tower at Asheville Regional Airport also referred me to the FAA.

"We would not be able to give out that information even it we had it," Mike Silvius, air traffic manager, said.

I left messages for the Hendersonville Airport, as well as the Western North Carolina Air Museum, which is based out of the Hendersonville Airport and has vintage planes. I'll note that the WNC Air Museum does have a couple of planes on site that fit the description.

Stay tuned.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.citizen-times.com

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chemtrails

Anonymous said...

Cessna 150

Anonymous said...

Beware of the Cirrus;
The pilot is pretty shady, too.

Anonymous said...

This article and its comments read like an April fools joke.

Anonymous said...

Professional Chemtrailer for almost 30 years here ...
While chemtrails might be a joke for some, there is nothing to fear.
Chemtrails give San Fran, Berkeley, Portland, Boulder and other cities that special character.
Chemtrails Keep Austin Weird.
Without chemtrails, Pritchard Park in Asheville would lose its beat.

Anonymous said...

It was only a two seater. The pilot got bumped.

Anonymous said...

Ongoing treason that is atmospheric aerosol dispersals.