Monday, January 9, 2017

Embraer ERJ-145XR, N15116, Trans States: Incident occurred January 09, 2017 at Hector International Airport (KFAR), Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FARGO


Date: 09-JAN-17
Time: 12:30:00Z
Regis#: N11137
Aircraft Make: EMBRAER
Aircraft Model: EMB145
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: TRANS STATES
Flight Number: LOF4629

FARGO — The takeoff of a United Express commuter jet flight to Denver from Fargo was safely aborted Monday, Jan. 9, after the plane blew two tires, a Hector International Airport spokesman said.

About 6:30 a.m., United Express Flight 4629, a 50-passenger Embraer 145, was rolling down the runway for takeoff when two right rear tires blew on the landing gear, said Airport Authority Executive Director Shawn Dobberstein.

The crew then aborted the takeoff and returned to the gate, he said. No one was hurt, he said.

"It does happen. It's not frequent, but it does happen on occasion," Dobberstein said of tire blowouts.

Flights are being found for passengers on board with Delta, American or United, "wherever they have the space available," Dobberstein said.

That could be complicated because a winter storm is dumping heavy snow on Denver, and the same storm could affect flights out of Chicago and Minneapolis Monday afternoon and evening, he said. He urged airline passengers to monitor their flight schedules and be in contact with the airlines on which they've booked flights.

Dobberstein said operations are continuing normally at Hector International, though the runway was closed down for about 20 minutes as airport crews searched for and removed debris from the mishap, and swept the runway to prevent other planes from being affected by foreign object damage.

Dobberstein said the United Express jet is still being repaired and the cause of the mishap is under investigation.


Huntleigh USA: Passenger service agent alleges aviation company failed to pay overtime

HOUSTON — A Houston woman is suing an aviation business, alleging violation of workers compensation acts in failing to pay overtime.

Mary L. Thomas, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, filed a class action complaint Dec. 13 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Huntleigh USA Corporation, alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to the complaint, Thomas, a passenger service agent, was compensated below the minimum wage for all work she performed and was denied overtime wages. The plaintiff alleges Huntleigh USA did not pay wages for uninterrupted meal breaks and refused to pay overtime.

Thomas seeks trial by jury, an order certifying this case as a collective action, all unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorney fees, court costs and expenses and all other equitable relief. She is represented by attorney Trang Q. Tran of The Tran Law Firm in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case number 4:16-cv-03648


'People smuggling' pilot says he only landed with illegal immigrants so they could use the toilet: Algirdas Barteska landed his aircraft carrying three Albanians at a private members’ flying club

Cessna 172RG Cutlass RG,   172RG-0115 INC TRUSTEE,  N15NH:

Algirdas Barteska was convicted for people smuggling. 

The plane.

A pilot attempted to drop off a family of illegal Albanian migrants but was thwarted on the runway, a court heard as a judge warned British airfields are “defenceless” against people smugglers.

Algirdas Barteska, a former flying instructor from Lithuania, was arrested on June 24 last year after Border Force personnel were forced to chase him down a runway as he tried a daring ‘drop and run’ mission involving three Albanian migrants at a private member’s flying club in Seething, Norfolk.

As Border Force staff attempted to prevent the 60-year-old trafficker from escaping, Barteska continued with his takeoff procedure undeterred, forcing his pursuers to bang on the cockpit window in order to bring the Cessna light aircraft to a halt.

Once detained, Barteska was found carrying €5,000, which he claimed had been his payment from the family for smuggling them into Britain from Germany.

Presiding, Judge Stephen Holt sentenced Barteska to six years imprisonment, adding that his crimes fell into “the more serious category” and should be considered a deterrent to others planning similar operations.

“Small airfields, particularly in Norfolk are just defenceless,” he added.

“There just isn’t the manpower and there has to be a deterrent aspect. In my judgement there are dozens of small airfields in East Anglia which are extremely vulnerable to this sort of people smuggling.”

The airfield’s staff were originally alerted to Barteska’s activities earlier last year, after he was seen by a member of the public making two test flights to the airfield in May.

Records of the plane were logged and an alarm was later raised when its transponder showed that it had reentered British airspace on June 24, after departing Dinslaken in Germany with the Albanian family.

It later emerged that Barteska had filed a flight plan to Nottingham airport but had made no mention of his passengers.

When questioned at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, Barteska said he had been hired to fly the family to the UK in his employer’s Cessna because they had been interested in buying the light aircraft, adding that he had been forced to make an unscheduled landing in order for the mother and daughter to use the airfield’s toilet facilities.

He also claimed that he was unaware that his passengers were not permitted to land in the UK, adding that he was attempting to takeoff in order to complete his flight to Nottingham.

However, a jury took just over two hours to return a guilty verdict for three counts of assisting people smuggling, which Barteska will serve concurrently.

Judge Holt also singled out Barteska’s employer, Finnish businessman Kristia Tieda - who runs a business in Helsinki purportedly offering people assistance with immigration - as “the principle figure in the people smuggling operation.”

Asked whether British authorities were working to arrest Mr Tieder - whose Cessna light aircraft was registered to a US trust company - prosecutor John Farmer said that his whereabouts were currently unknown, but that steps were being taken to uncover his location.

Commenting on the case, Adam Hutton, chief immigration officer in Immigration Enforcement's Criminal and Financial Investigations Team, said: "Barteska has 43 years flying experience.

"It stretches credulity to believe that someone with such a background could genuinely believe he was entitled to bring three people into the UK without establishing whether they had the right to enter the country.

"The reality is that he agreed to deliberately try to circumvent the UK's immigration controls in exchange for money.

"Barteska's offences struck at the very heart of immigration control and his conviction today sends a clear message that this kind of criminality will be severely dealt with."

Story, photos and comments:

United States Pilots See Close Calls With Russian Jets Over Syria: As planes share crowded airspace fighting parallel wars, militaries struggle to minimize threat of an accident

A U.S. F-15 Strike Eagle fighter flies over the Euphrates River in Iraq. 

The Wall Street Journal
January 9, 2017 11:16 a.m. ET

One night this past fall, a U.S. radar plane flying a routine pattern over Syria picked up a signal from an incoming Russian fighter jet.

The American crew radioed repeated warnings on a frequency universally used for distress signals. The Russian pilot didn’t respond.

Instead, as the U.S. plane began a wide sweep to the south, the Russian fighter, an advanced Su-35 Flanker, turned north and east across the American plane’s nose, churned up a wave of turbulent air in its path and briefly disrupted its sensitive electronics.

A Russian Su-35 Flanker fighter shadows U.S. F-15s as they refuel over Syria in September. The photo, taken by a camera on one of the American planes, shows the Russian pilot far closer than the three-mile safety limit set in a 2015 U.S.-Russian agreement.

“We assessed that guy to be within one-eighth of a mile—a few hundred feet away—and unaware of it,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Birch, commander of the 380th Expeditionary Operations Group, a unit based in the Persian Gulf.

The skies above Syria are an international incident waiting to happen, according to American pilots. It is an unprecedented situation in which for months U.S. and Russian jets have crowded the same airspace fighting parallel wars, with American pilots bombing Islamic State worried about colliding with Russian pilots bombing rebels trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Russian warplanes, which also attack Islamic State targets, are still flying daily over Syria despite the recent cease-fire in Moscow’s campaign against the anti-Assad forces, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The U.S. and Russian militaries have a year-old air safety agreement, but American pilots still find themselves having close calls with Russian aviators either unaware of the rules of the road, or unable or unwilling to follow them consistently.

“Rarely, if ever, do they respond verbally,” said Brig. Gen. Charles Corcoran, commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, who flies combat missions in a stealth fighter. “Rarely, if ever, do they move. We get out of the way. We don’t know what they can see or not see, and we don’t want them running into one of us.”

Complicating the aerial traffic jam, the Russian planes don’t emit identifying signals, flouting international protocols.

The Russian Ministry of Defense didn’t respond to written requests for comment on the actions of Russian pilots over Syria.

The aerial anxiety adds to bilateral tensions between the U.S. and Russia, already rising over Moscow’s increasingly assertive role in propping up Mr. Assad, its alleged interference in the U.S. presidential campaign and its earlier seizure of Crimea. In this environment, American commanders worry that a collision could become a flash-point.

“If an aircraft crashes, it is statistically more likely that it’s some type of mechanical problem that caused that crash, rather than someone shooting down an airplane,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Daniel Manning. “But in the fog and friction of war, people will be predisposed to conclude there’s some type of malign activity that took down that aircraft.”

In 2015, U.S. and Russian commanders signed a four-page memorandum of understanding intended to keep their warplanes from crashing into each other or shooting each other down.

Now senior military officials at the Pentagon are pushing to boost the communications and coordination between the two militaries. Under the proposal, three-star generals at the Pentagon would routinely discuss Mideast operations with their counterparts in Moscow. One impetus for the Pentagon effort is the belief that President-elect Donald Trump may want to increase cooperation with Moscow in the region, senior military officials say.

For the moment, day-to-day efforts to avoid a midair catastrophe go through Col. Manning, a Russian speaker who works out of Al Udeid air base in Qatar. Col. Manning has three scheduled calls a week with his Russian counterpart, a colonel based in Syria, to clear airspace for both militaries’ operations. Most weeks they have impromptu talks daily. When combat operations are especially intense, the two colonels might talk 10 times a day, as they did last month, when U.S. aircraft destroyed 168 tanker trucks delivering oil for Islamic State.

In addition, a senior Pentagon civilian leads a video teleconference on Syria every six to eight weeks with her Russian counterpart.

Air Force technicians at a Persian Gulf base prepare 1,000-pound bombs for airstrikes against Islamic State.

One of the most serious mishaps so far was caused by the U.S. In September, an American airstrike intended to hit Islamic State militants in Deir Ezzour, Syria, killed dozens of Syrian government troops instead.

The incident highlighted vulnerabilities in the colonel-to-colonel hotline. The day of the strikes, Col. Manning was away from the Qatari base that houses the American air operations center. After the strikes began, a Russian officer called on the hotline and asked to speak to another U.S. colonel he knew. That American wasn’t available. The Russian hung up, and 27 minutes passed before the Russians called back to warn the Americans they were bombing the wrong target, according to U.S. defense officials.

At the time, the Russian military issued a statement saying: “If the airstrike was caused by erroneous coordinates of targets, it is a direct consequence of the stubborn unwillingness of the American side to coordinate with Russia [on] its actions against terrorist groups in Syria.”

Col. Manning said the current coordination efforts are making the war safer.

“We continue to assess that the Russian have no intent to harm coalition forces in the air or on the ground,” he said. “Because we believe there is no malign intent towards the coalition forces, we’re able to de-conflict.”

But things look different from the cockpit, and U.S. pilots say the Russians sometimes seem to be pushing the limits just to see if they can get away with it.

It’s a situation further complicated by the soup of aircraft conducting combat missions, including Americans, Russians, Syrians, Australians, Britons, Danes, Turks, Emiratis, Saudis and Jordanians. On any given day, there are usually 50 to 75 manned and unmanned coalition aircraft over Raqqa, the Islamic State stronghold in Syria, and another 150 or so over heavily contested Mosul, Iraq, according to one U.S. radar officer. The 64-member coalition—Russia is not a member—had conducted more than 51,500 sorties against Islamic State, two-thirds of them by U.S. aircraft, as of mid-December.

The 2015 agreement between the U.S. and Russia led to negotiation of what Americans call the “rule of threes.” Pilots should keep at least three nautical miles of separation horizontally, or 3,000 feet vertically. Should they get closer, they’ll remain for no more than three minutes.

“We’ve agreed to coexist peacefully,” said Gen. Corcoran.

But the Russians are prone to ignoring the conventions of air safety, according to the American pilots. Planes world-wide carry transponders that emit a four-digit code allowing air-traffic controllers to identify them, a practice called squawking. Russian planes over Syria don’t squawk, and they appear as an unidentified bleep to allied radar installations.

Nor do the Russians usually answer “guard calls,” urgent summons on a common emergency radio frequency. In one eight-hour shift on Dec. 11, for instance, the crew of a U.S. radar plane, called an AWACS, made 22 such calls to some 10 Russian planes and received not a single response. A few of the Russians approached within five miles of allied aircraft.

The controller aboard the AWACS scattered U.S. planes to keep them clear of the Russians. “We’ve had several co-altitude incidents,” the officer said, referring to planes flying too close together.

Russian pilots have sometimes broken their silence when contacted by a female air-traffic controller.

In early September, a female U.S. air-surveillance officer spotted an unidentified plane approaching allied aircraft over Syria. “You’re operating in the vicinity of coalition aircraft,” she warned the pilot.

A heavy Russian accent emerged through the static: “You have a nice voice, lady. Good evening.”

Brig Gen Charles Corcoran, commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, returns from a bombing mission.

“Some of the closest calls I’m convinced they don’t know we’re there,” said Gen. Corcoran.

That’s not always the case. In September, an Su-35 shadowed an American F-15 fighter as it ended a bombing run over Syria and pulled up to a tanker plane to refuel. The U.S. pilot filmed the Russian running alongside the American planes, about a mile-and-a-half away, said Col. Birch.

At times, Russian planes plow through tightly controlled groupings of allied aircraft over Raqqa. Russian bombers, flying to Syria via Iran, have crossed Iraq and disrupted allied flight patterns over the battlefields of Mosul.

Lt. Col. August “Pfoto” Pfluger, a stealth-fighter pilot, witnessed such an incident over Iraq in August. He compared the Russians’ behavior to jumping out of the stands at a professional football game and bolting onto the field.

“You just don’t do that,” he said.

—James Marson and Noam Raydan contributed to this article.

Original article, video,  photo gallery and comments can be found here:

Cessna 175B, N8148T: Accident occurred January 06, 2017 in Lakeport, Lake County, California

FAA Flight Standards District Office: SACRAMENTO


Date: 06-JAN-17
Time: 23:00:00Z
Regis#: N8148T
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 175
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)

Southwest Airlines, Boeing 737-700, N452WN: Incident occurred January 08, 2017 near Los Angeles International Airport (KLAX), California


FAA Flight Standards District Office: LOS ANGELES


Date: 09-JAN-17
Time: 05:57:00Z
Regis#: N452WN
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 737
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: SOUTHWEST
Flight Number: SWA3356

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, Cylinder Shop Inc., N907WA: Accident occurred January 07, 2017 at North Perry Airport (KHWO), Hollywood, Broward County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA111 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 07, 2017 in Hollywood, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/04/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N907WA
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 solo student pilot reported that, during his ninth landing of the day, the nose gear collapsed, and the left wing dipped down striking the runway. Subsequently, the airplane exited the runway to the right. 

The Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident reported that the distance from the first point of impact to the final stopping point was about 320 ft. He added there were indications that the right aileron and wing tip contacted the runway first. There was also a sheared nose gear hub pin/bolt found 35 ft from the initial point of impact.

There were multiple impact points along the debris path, and the second point of impact was the left wing tip, indicated by the blue-and-white paint markings from the wing tip on the runway. 

The third impact was the airplane’s nosewheel assembly. The runway showed markings left by the tire on the surface for about 20 ft. The markings also indicated an extreme side load on the tire. The wheel/tire hub assembly was found at the end of the tire mark with one of the nose strut forks.

Additionally, there were seven gouges in the runway surface from the propeller striking the ground. 

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

The student pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
The weather observation station at the accident airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was 220° at 14 knots, gusting to 20 knots. The student pilot landed on runway 28L.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot’s improper landing flare in gusting crosswind conditions, which resulted in a hard landing. 

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Cylinder Shop Inc:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA111
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 07, 2017 in Hollywood, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N907WA
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 solo student pilot reported that during his 9th landing of the day, the nose gear collapsed, and the left wing dipped down striking the runway. Subsequently, the airplane exited the runway to the right.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector who responded to the accident reported that the distance from the first point of impact to the final stopping point was approximately 320 ft. He further reported there were indications that the right aileron and wing tip contacted the runway first. There was also a sheared nose gear hub pin/bolt found 35 ft. from the initial point of impact.

There were multiple impact points along the debris path, and the second point of impact was the left-wing tip, indicated by the blue and white paint markings from the wing tip on the runway. 

The third impact was the airplane's nose wheel assembly. The runway showed markings left by the tire on the surface for about 20 ft. The markings also indicated an extreme side load on the tire. The wheel/tire hub assembly was found at the end of the tire mark with one of the nose strut forks.

Additionally, there were 7 gouges in the runway surface from the propeller striking the ground. 

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

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

The weather observation station at the accident airport, about the time of the accident, reported the wind at 220 degrees (true) at 14 knots, gusting to 20 knots. The student pilot landed runway 28L.

Learjet 55, YV3179: Incident occurred January 07, 2017 in Miami, Florida

FAA Flight Standards District Office: SOUTH FLORIDA


Date: 07-JAN-17
Time: 15:55:00Z
Regis#: YV3179
Aircraft Make: LEARJET
Aircraft Model: 55
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

American Airlines, McDonnell Douglas MD-82, N70425: Incident occurred January 06, 2017 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (KORD), Illinois


FAA Flight Standards District Office: CHICAGO


Date: 06-JAN-17
Time: 00:24:00Z
Regis#: AAL2319
Aircraft Model: 80
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Aircraft Operator: AMERICAN AIRLINES
Flight Number: AAL2319

Mitsubishi MU-2B-40, NCP Coatings Inc., N48NP: Accident occurred January 07, 2017 in Niles, Michigan

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


FAA Flight Standards District Office: GRAND RAPIDS

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA074
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 07, 2017 in Niles, MI
Aircraft: MITSUBISHI MU 2B-40, registration: N48NP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 January 7, 2017, at 1506 eastern standard time, a Mitsubishi MU-2 airplane, N48NP, departed the left side of the snow covered runway after landing at Jerry Tyler Memorial Airport (3TR), Niles, Michigan. The private rated pilot was not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and the flight was operated on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The flight departed Smyrna Airport (MQY), Smyrna, Tennessee, and 3TR was the intended destination. 

The pilot stated that he did not find any Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs) concerning the runway not being plowed. The pilot was cleared for the RNAV 33 approach to 3TR. When the airport was in sight, the pilot circled over the runway and activated airport lights in order to clearly identify the runway. The landing was uneventful until the pilot retarded the power levers into beta range and the airplane made an unexpected left turn then exited the runway. The airplane spun and came to rest in the snow covered field on the left side of the runway. 

The airport snow plow operator stated that he checked the runway conditions on the morning of the accident and noted a light dusting to ½ inch of snow in some areas, but the pavement was still visible. He left town and returned about 1530 at which time he heard about the accident and observed two or more inches of snow on the runway. 

At 1454, the automated weather observation station at South Bend International Airport (SBN), South Bend, Indiana, located about 9 miles south of the accident site, recorded: wind from 250 degrees at 14 knots, 6 statute miles visibility, haze, clouds overcast at 3,700 ft, temperature 12°F, dew point 5°F, and a barometric pressure of 30.47 inches of mercury. Remarks: unknown precipitation began at 1428 and ended at 1438; snow ended at 1428. 

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Beech 300 Super King Air 350, Jacobs Aviation Services, N4982R: Incident occurred January 06, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FORT WORTH


Date: 06-JAN-17
Time: 18:40:00Z
Regis#: N4982R
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 300
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: TEXAS

Cessna T182T Turbo Skylane, Endura Air LLC, N2740K: Incident occurred January 08, 2017 in Lubbock, Texas


FAA Flight Standards District Office: LUBBOCK


Date: 08-JAN-17
Time: 18:45:00Z
Regis#: N2740K
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 182
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
State: TEXAS

How did Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport finally get Southwest?

Southwest Airlines managing director of business development Dave Harvey delivers remarks at the announcement of Southwest Airlines beginning flights out of the airport, Wednesday, January 4, 2017. Eight flights, five to Chicago and three to Baltimore, are scheduled to begin June 4, 2017.

Southwest Airlines has nabbed flight commitments from at least one of Cincinnati's nine Fortune 500 employers and expects to win business from all of them once it begins flying from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in June.

The Dallas-based low-cost airline has been courted by local airport and development officials for years. But last week, Southwest officials said the spending pledges from local business leaders helped seal the deal. A network of local mid-size businesses also promised to spend at least $800,000 in the next two years with Southwest if it landed at CVG.

David Harvey, Southwest's managing director of business development, said the commitments by local companies were enough to assure his airline that it could establish a viable business at CVG. Harvey said the team effort by local companies clamoring for services was very persuasive, and that the airline has watched the region's growth and economy for years..

"Some of the larger companies committed to fly with us and we hope to have deals with all these employers," Harvey said, declining to name which Fortune 500 had signed on or how many flights the firm agreed to book. "It was the right time make a commitment to start flying – the strong collaboration by business wasn't there before.

"It was our largest missing dot in our map of the lower contiguous 48 states. Our customers were telling us to go directly in to Cincinnati."

On Wednesday, Southwest announced it would launch daily service to Chicago and Baltimore from CVG starting June 4. Flights will depart five times a day to Midway Airport in Chicago and three times a day to Baltimore. Southwest expects to end service at Dayton International Airport and Akron-Canton Airport.

By coming to Cincinnati, Southwest also has an opportunity to win a bigger share of flying dollars from local companies such as Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Macy's and Fifth Third that have operations elsewhere, Harvey said.  Southwest could expand its local service to other direct routes based on ultimate destinations of fliers, he said.

"We're optimistic for the future," Harvey said. "We're the largest domestic carrier and many people here are already flying with us occasionally," Harvey said.

Southwest didn't have to venture far from CVG airport to speak with heavy hitters in the business community. The chairman of the airport board is Michael Schlotman, whose day job is chief financial officer at supermarket giant Kroger, the region's largest company ranked by revenue.

Schlotman said Kroger would likely take advantage of Southwest's services to reach its western subsidiaries such as Fred Meyer, which is based in Portland, Oregon. He said Kroger personnel now mostly fly through Seattle or Salt Lake City to reach Fred Meyer.

“This will be easier and probably less expensive,” Schlotman said.

While large companies began serious private talks with Southwest, 80 mid-size employers also pledged to spend $10,000 apiece by 2019 with the airline to demonstrate the depth of support for the additional service, said Gary Lindgren, executive director of both the Cincinnati Business Committee and the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee. The Cincinnati Business Committee represents the region's largest employers, but the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee is made up of the area's mid-cap companies that generally do at least $50 million in annual revenues.

"We're fortunate to have tremendous group of both large and midsize companies that together will make Southwest successful in Cincinnati," Lindgren said.

Airport and development officials say Southwest's announcement caps an intense, nearly two-year courtship of the airline. Attracting more low-cost carriers to fly out of CVG is a top economic development priority for the business community and airport leaders.

CVG chief executive Candace McGraw credited business leaders and development officials for landing the airline. The coordinated effort put Southwest officials into direct contact with decision makers at the region's top companies to talk specifics about flying needs. Jill Meyer, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, said the business coordination efforts was needed to close the deal.

"It took a village," McGraw said, crediting local economic development agency REDI Cincinnati, the chamber and other local business groups for their efforts.

"When you have lots of great companies coming together is a chorus, it's hard to ignore," Meyer said.

Southwest is giving the region more than just additional service to two cities. With the new airline, Cincinnati is plugging into Southwest's service network from two of its busiest airports. Local fliers will have dozens of more options flying westward via Southwest from Chicago and to the East Coast from Baltimore.

"They're the largest domestic carrier in the U.S. and now we have them here," McGraw said.

Grabbing Southwest in CVG is a major feat, given the airport's historic status as a "fortress hub" of Delta Air Lines. For decades, the region's dominant carrier chased off low-cost competitors by matching their fares on overlapping routes until their rivals gave up.

Southwest's past business model also worked against CVG. Historically, Southwest would service a major metro market by flying out of peripheral airports, such as serving Greater Washington, D.C. out of Baltimore or Boston out of Manchester, New Hampshire. For years, Southwest has flown Cincinnatians out of Dayton, Louisville and Indianapolis.

"Competition is fierce, many businesses can be located anywhere in the world and we have to complete with Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville and Chicago," said Johnna Reader, president of regional economic development agency REDI. "Air service is imperative. You can't compete with the bare minimum. At the end of the day, it's about jobs."

Several mid-size businesses said they need to fly frequently to keep up with the pace of their growth.

Jeb Head, CEO of local manufacturer Atkins & Pearce in Covington, said he hasn't committed to switching any business to Southwest but can easily envision doing so. His company, which makes everything from candle wicks to electrical sleeving, has a nine-person sales force that is on the road and in the air 200 days a year.

While flight costs at CVG have come down in recent years, Head's team frequently has to book pricey last-minute fares to chase sales leads. So Head welcomes more competition with Delta, which handles about 75 percent of his business' flights.

"We fly quite a bit, it's a significant expense," Head said. "We're delighted to see more competition because we travel every week all over the country."

Scott Farmer, chairman of the Cincinnati Business Committee, welcomed Southwest as a carrier that would help the region's businesses - including his own. Farmer is also CEO of uniform supplier Cintas, which has recently been added to the Standard & Poor's 500 and is close to becoming the region's next Fortune 500 company.

"It will be a very easy decision to move some of our people to their flights," Farmer said. "Our people love flying on Southwest. They are low cost, provide good service and they are on time. The more we improve air service, the more productive businesses can be and generate more sales."

Story and comments:

Snake on a plane grounds Emirates flight to Muscat

An Emirates flight from Dubai to Muscat was cancelled after baggage handlers discovered a snake in the aircraft’s cargo hold.The animal was found before Sunday’s flight from Dubai International, the airline said in a statement, adding that the aircraft was returned to service after being thoroughly searched.

“Flight EK0863 from Muscat to Dubai on 8 January 2017 was cancelled due to a detection of a snake in the cargo hold prior to passengers boarding. Engineering and cleaning teams are working to clear the aircraft to re-enter service. We apologize for the inconvenience caused,” a spokeswoman said.

First class passengers on an Aeromexico flight in November were confronted by a snake that fell from an overhead storage compartment. Nobody was hurt in the incident but a few passengers were rattled.


Northern Ireland set to lose only direct daily air service to United States: United Airlines to end service from Belfast to Newark, which has run since 2005

Northern Ireland’s only direct, scheduled daily air service to the United States will end on Monday as United Airlines grounds the flight because of its “poor financial performance”.

The service, operated by United Airlines from Belfast International Airport (BIA) to Newark since 2005, had according to the airport been well supported and carried more one million passengers.

The airline will operate its final flight from Belfast on Monday.

Management at BIA have blamed the European Commission for “killing off” the service after it launched an investigation into a multi-million pound financial support package, estimated to be worth more than £9 million, that had been agreed last summer by the North’s Executive to safeguard the route.

Under EU state rules public authorities are not allowed to grant a specific airline an “undue advantage”.


Local business and tourism chiefs have warned that the absence of a direct US service from Northern Ireland could put it at a disadvantage and leave tourists, businesses and potential investors with no other option on the island but to travel to Dublin airport to access US flight services.

BIA’s managing director, Graham Keddie is confident that 2017 will prove to be “a bumper year for us despite the decision by United to end its popular trans-Atlantic service”.

“We continue to do all with can to fill that gap. We are working closely with Government to deliver a major long-haul project that would open up attractive additional and badly-needed connections,” Mr Keddie said.

Latest figures from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) shows BIA is the fifth busiest airport in the UK for domestic passenger traffic.

According to the CAA ‘league table’ of forty-seven UK airports the four airports ahead of Belfast International Airport are Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Last year BIA grew by more than 17 per cent as more than 5.1 million passengers travelled through the facility.

According to Mr Keddie it is on target to achieve a new record of 5.4 million in 2017.

“We could do much more with the right supports. Air Passenger Duty is a considerable disadvantage not only to our airports, but to Northern Ireland as a region. If it disappeared, we could transform inbound tourism, leading to further significant investment along with the creation of thousands of jobs. Getting rid of this impediment is, in my view, a no-brainer,” he added.


Navy aviator dodged death three times in storied career

Capt. Austin Lindsey was smiling even though he was severely injured in Vietnam in 1965.  Courtesy Lindsey family

Austin Monroe Lindsey was in the words of his minister “a true American hero.”

Lindsey, though, despite serving in the Navy for 23 years, was just as apt to describe himself as a servant of God, said the Rev. Jane Stanley of The Nourishing Place in Gulfport.

He served the church, and through it, the low-income community surrounding it on Tennessee Street in Gulfport.

“He cooked for us for a number of years,” she said. “We serve a hot breakfast every morning before and after church and he was our chef for probably six or seven years and then he became a helper of the chef.

“He would show up early on Sunday mornings and help get everything prepared. Picked up the parking lot if necessary, swept the kitchen if necessary. He did what it took to be a good steward of the facility.”

And he a was great advertisement.

“He was a real evangelist,” she said. “He told people about how loving our church is and invited people to come and be with us.”

The church has a back porch where people in need can come for free food, clothing and household items.

“He’d take his pickup truck and go help unload garages and houses and bring the things back to the church,” she said. “He was busy everyday serving his God by serving the community.”

Cheating death

But before he became a servant of The Nourishing Place, he served his country as a Navy aviator, narrowly avoiding death three times.

His daughter Gwen Lindsey shared his first-hand accounts of those harrowing flights.

“In his Navy career as a fighter pilot, Austin holds a rare record of having had three potentially deadly aircraft accidents, the first while flying an F4-A and performing a night landing on an airstrip in Florida,” she wrote on the Reimann Family Funeral Homes Page.

His description:

“My nose wheel simply collapsed and I slid 3,000-4,000 feet down the runway trailing flames,” Austin Lindsey wrote. “The centerline tank ruptured during the slide and a small amount of residual fuel sparked off. After the aircraft came to a stop, my naval flight officer (back seater) and I simply climbed down and waited for a ride. The fire had gone out on its own.”

The next two flights were in Vietnam. As a member of Fighter Squadron VF-1, the “Black Aces,” he was trying to land on the USS Independence, when a hydraulic pump failed and his landing gear wouldn’t lower.

“The ship diverted me to Da Nang for a night landing,” he wrote. “I activated my emergency air system to lower the landing gear, but only the left main and the nose wheel came down. So now I was faced with a one wheel up landing. I flew out over the water and dumped my ordinance, returned to Da Nang and asked for landing. It so happened that they had an emergency arresting gear rigged 300 feet from the overrun and wire. I burned my fuel to a low state, made the approach, caught the wire and slid out on two landing gear and an empty bomb rack. My NFO and I opened our canopies as if we did this stuff every day. Everything was cool and there was no fire.”

The closest call

On his last combat mission, his aircraft was hit by enemy fire over Laos on Oct. 25, 1965. This was how he described it in 2012, when he was 82.

“We dropped our WWII 250 pound, fragmentation bombs over the Ho Chi Minh trail and as we were climbing out my aircraft was hit and decided not to cooperate any longer,” he wrote. “The cockpits began filling with smoke so my NFO jettisoned his canopy. With it gone, suction pulled flames out from under his seat, so he ejected.

“Now it gets heavy. The flames came around me and burned my face and hands. I pulled my seat’s face curtain to eject but nothing happened. I then pulled the seat’s secondary firing handle without results. I next pulled the canopy jettison handle but it wouldn’t move.

“I was not too functional at this time and I thought about the end. But, the canopy left and the seat operated normally, my chute opened and I could see the trees getting closer — and down I went into the foliage. My chute caught up in the top of a tree and my feet landed on a limb next to the main trunk. I disconnected from my chute and sat down on the limb.

“I was 80 feet up. I clearly remember the thought, as I looked down, ‘this is no time to screw up.’ I disconnected and dropped my seat survival pack to the ground, put my gloves on over my burns and skinned down the tree. The limb I had sat on was the lowest limb on the tree. An hour or so later the Air Force sent two helos. The helicopter pilots called the area we were in, ‘the land of the 100 foot trees.’ We were plucked out of the jungle and taken to a refurbished WWII Japanese hospital. We returned to flight duty the next January.”

He received several commendations including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the second as a Gold Star to the first and an Air Medal for six strikes in July-October 1965, and a Navy Commendation Medal with a Gold Star and a Combat V, and a Joint Service Commendation, Gwen Lindsey wrote.


After he retired from the Navy, he returned to Gulfport, where he had graduated from high school. After that graduation, he served in the Merchant Marines for two years, then earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tulane. He married Shirley Thompson Lowe in New Orleans and raised two daughters, Gwen Christin Lindsey and Diane Robin Lindsey Keith.

He took up photography and post card collecting. Some of his photos can be found at Triplett-Day Drug Co. and the Port City Cafe in downtown Gulfport.

He will be buried with military honors at 11 a.m. Monday at the Biloxi National Cemetery.

Read more about his life here and here.

Read more here:

Job initiative to help Kentucky Air National Guard Wing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A regional initiative that helps veterans find jobs in the greater Louisville area is partnering with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing to help its members transition out of the military.

The initiative, called Where Opportunity Knox, is hosting a recruiting and information booth for members of the Airlift Wing one weekend a month and office hours throughout the month. The dates have not been specified.

The goal of the initiative is to connect 10,000 transitioning Veterans and military spouses to jobs in the Greater Louisville region by the end of 2017.

Where Opportunity Knox is funded by the Duke Energy Foundation, the Gheens Foundation, the James Graham Brown Foundation and the Ogle Foundation. For more information, visit:


High-Flying Debate: Non-fatal Osprey crash in Okinawa brings safety fears

The MV-22 Osprey accident last month in Okinawa rekindled concerns about the tilt-rotor aircraft, which was once known as the “widow maker” for those killed during its development.

Starting this year, Japan will see more of the odd-looking hybrids in its skies than the 24 deployed by the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa, and residents are worried about potential accidents in densely populated areas and noise issues.

Here are some basic facts and about the Osprey and the lingering issues surrounding it:

What is the Osprey?

The V-22 Osprey is a twin-engine hybrid combining the functions of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. It usually takes off vertically like a helicopter without a runway and, after its engines are tilted to point forward, can cruise at fixed-wing aircraft speeds, lending to its maneuverability.

It is more capable than the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters used by the U.S. military in Okinawa and is intended to replace them. They can fly twice as fast as the CH-46, carry three times the payload and fly more than five times farther. Unlike the CH-46, the Osprey can also be refueled in flight, with one refueling giving it the range to reach the Philippines or South Korea from Japan.

Are they safe?

The U.S. military and the Defense Ministry say yes.

During its 25-year development phase, the Osprey suffered four crashes, including three fatal ones. But in September 2005, the Pentagon gave green light for full production, saying it had overcome all safety issues.

Due to its hybrid nature, the Osprey is harder to operate and requires more training than usual, experts say. And the aircraft has had fatal accidents after deployment, including the one in Hawaii in 2015 when two marines were killed in a crash.

When Tokyo announced the introduction of the controversial aircraft in 2012 to gradually replace the aging CH-46s, the Defense Ministry said the Osprey’s Class A accident rate — the rate for accidents that cause property damage of $2,000,000 or more per 100,000 hours of flight — was 1.93.

The ministry apparently used this figure to show the Osprey was safer than other Marine Corps aircraft, which have an average Class A accident rate of 2.45.

But since then, the ministry’s website hasn’t been updated to reflect the Osprey’s current accident rate, which stood at 2.64 as of September 2015. This is slightly higher than the Marine Corps’ average accident rate of 2.63 between 2002 and 2016, according to the ministry.

One factor that has Okinawans worried is that Ospreys deployed to Afghanistan logged 40 times more accidents compared with the average accident rate for all U.S. Marine Corps aircraft deployed in that country, according to Japanese media reports citing statistics between 2010 and 2012 by the U.S. Naval Safety Center.

How did the U.S. handle the recent accident in Okinawa?

Japan’s first Class-A Osprey accident occurred on Dec. 13 when one ditched just off the coast of Nago during in-flight refueling exercise at night, injuring two of its five crew members.

The U.S. military said the accident was not caused by a problem with the aircraft, but by its rotor blades slicing the fuel hose from the tanker plane.

The U.S. grounded all Ospreys in Okinawa after the accident but resumed operations on Dec. 19. The Japanese government also gave a tacit nod to the resumption of refueling drills last Friday, even though the U.S. military has yet to identify what specifically caused the accident. The potential causes cited so far include turbulent air, the complicated nature of in-flight refueling at night, and human error.

Where is the Osprey deployed in Japan?

The U.S. has deployed 24 Ospreys deployed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture. It also uses helipads in the Northern Training Area in the villages of Kunigami and Higashi in the prefecture. More than half of the training area was returned to Japan at the end of last month, marking the biggest transfer of land since Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972.

The land was returned in exchange for building six helipads on the remaining land, only a few hundred meters away from the Takae district in village of Higashi. According to an environmental review released by the U.S. military in 2012, an annual average of 420 Osprey training flights were projected to be held using the new helipads, but the actual number is not available.

Are there other concerns?

Aircraft noise is an ongoing problem in Okinawa, but Tokyo maintains that the Osprey generates about the same amount of noise as the CH-47 Chinook helicopters used by the Self-Defense Forces.

Last year, 31 residents filed a motion against the central government demanding that a temporary injunction be issued to suspend construction of the helipads, arguing that Osprey training there would jeopardize the livelihood of 150 residents in Takae.

The injunction was rejected last month shortly before the Northern Training Area land was returned to Japan. The Fukuoka High Court’s Naha branch ruled that the noise was within legally permitted levels based on the environmental impact assessment and said there was no proof the noise would severely harm the health of residents.

However, Gentatsu Takamine, one of the plaintiffs, said before the ruling that his family could not sleep during a two-week Osprey training period that included flights at around 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.

“My children cannot go to school due to the psychological damage brought by the Osprey noise,” Takamine said at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in October.

Will the Osprey be deployed outside Okinawa in the future?

Yes. Three CV-22 Ospreys are planned to be deployed at U.S. Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo this year, and another seven will be deployed by 2021. The CV-22 is the U.S. Air Force version of the aircraft and will be used more to conduct special operations. The MV-22 is the marine version and is mainly used for transport.

Some say the CV-22 could be more prone to accidents because it is used in more severe situations, even during training. The CV-22 is the version that crashed in Afghanistan in April 2010, killing four soldiers. The mileage necessary to calculate official accident rates is not available, but based on some 42,000 flight hours, the air force version has an accident rate of 7.21 — three times more than the marine version.

The SDF also plans to purchase 17 Ospreys by 2018 to be deployed at the Saga Airport after 2019.

As part of bilateral efforts to improve interoperability, the Defense Ministry announced last year that it is going to use the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Kisarazu Air Field in Chiba Prefecture as a joint maintenance hub for the aircraft.

It also has been reported that the U.S. Navy will deploy the navy version of the Osprey between 2021 and 2026, although no official announcement has been made.