Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria, N91Z: Fatal accident occurred January 21, 2017 near Marian Airpark (F06), Wellington, Collingsworth County, Texas

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -   National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA080
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Wellington, TX
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7GCBC, registration: N91Z
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On January 21, 2017, at 1420 central standard time, a Bellanca 7GCBC, N91Z, descended and impacted terrain following a 90-degree left bank turn after climbout from Marian Airpark (F06), Wellington, Texas. The commercial pilot and a passenger were fatally injured. Impact forces destroyed the airplane. The airplane's registration was pending change, and the airplane was operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was not operating on a flight plan. The local flight was the pilot's second flight of the day in the airplane, which originating at the time of the accident.

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

Clayton Jay Miller

Clayton Jay Miller 

Clayton Jay Miller, 28, of Wellington, Texas passed away on Jan. 21, 2017. He was out flying when his plane went down at Marian Airpark in Wellington. Clayton was the loving husband of Tiffany and the devoted daddy of Trinity.

He was born on Sept. 21, 1988, in San Angelo, Texas to Starla and Brandon Miller. Clayton loved flying more than anything in the world except for his family. He had a ridiculous sense of humor and always tried to make everyone laugh. Clayton worked for Boedeker Flying Service and they became family.

He had so much family that loved him: his brother Danny Ladd and wife Kayce of Iliff, Colorado; brother Brylee Miller and wife Hayley of Ft. Leonard in Wood, Oklahoma; sister-in-law Chelsea Martin and husband Roy of Grape Creek, Texas; father-in-law Kevin Tully of Grape Creek; other mother Becky Wilhelm and husband Danny of San Angelo; cousin Jayson Wilhelm and wife Brandi of Menard; grandparents Larry and Kitty Miller of Aransas Pass; grandmother Sharon Noletubby of Colorado City; nephews Heagen, Kylen and Wyatt and niece Landry. He was also Uncle Cool to Emily and Tommy. Clayton will be missed by many other close friends and family. He was preceded in death by his Papa Russell Noletubby of Sterling City and Aunt Joyce of Imperial. Clayton was sadly joined in death by his cousin Danna Wilhelm of San Angelo.

There will be a celebration of Clayton's life on Sunday Jan. 29, 2017, at 12 p.m. at the Boedeker Flying Service hangar located at 15720 FM 164 at the Childress Municipal Airport in Childress, Texas. A reception will follow in the hangar.

In lieu of flowers and cards, the family asks that you please donate to the Young Eagles Program in Abilene, Texas. Nothing made Clayton feel better than taking kids for their first flight. This program was very dear to his heart. EAA 471 P.O. Box 2585 Abilene, Texas. 79604

Arrangements were by Adams Funeral Home of Wellington. Sign the online guest book

 Danna Joy Wilhelm 40, passed away January 21, 2017 in Wellington, Texas. 

Danna was born to Danny and Becky Wilhelm on September 7, 1976 in Muenster, TX. She would go on to graduate from Hart High School in Hart, Texas. Danna moved to San Angelo to attend Angelo State University. After college she went into banking here in San Angelo at First Community Federal Credit Union then moved to Waco as a branch manager of a Compass Bank. Danna moved back to San Angelo to be closer to family and worked at Lufkin Oil.

Danna is survived by her parents Danny and Becky Wilhelm, Brother Jayson and wife Brandi Wilhelm, Niece Landry Wilhelm, and Uncle Larry Wilhelm and wife Hope.

A Visitation will be held at Harper Funeral Home Wednesday, January 25 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. A funeral service will be held at Harper Funeral Home Thursday, January 26 at 10:30 AM. The Burial will take place at Imperial Cemetery in Imperial, TX Friday, January 27 at 1:00 PM.


COLLINGSWORTH COUNTY, TX  -   The Texas Department of Public Safety was called to a plane crash Saturday in Collingsworth County, resulting in the death of two people.

At approximately 2:20 p.m., a Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria aircraft took off from the Marian Airpark in Wellington. 

According to an eyewitness, the pilot of the aircraft banked to make a turn after take-off and lost control of the aircraft. 

The plane overturned and crashed into a field just south of the airport resulting in the death of the pilot and passenger. 

The pilot was identified as 28-year-old Clayton Miller of Wellington and the passenger was 40-year-old  Danna Wilhelm of San Angelo. They were both pronounced dead on scene by Collingsworth County Justice of the Peace, Jo Rita Henard.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting the investigation of the crash.


WELLINGTON, Texas  —   Two people have died following a plane crash near the City of Wellington in Collingsworth County..

The Texas Department of Public Safety confirms a plane went down just after 2:20 p.m. Saturday about one half of a mile south of the airport.

The two people aboard the aircraft were confirmed dead.

A DPS statement says an eyewitness saw the pilot of the  Citabria 7GCBC plane lost control after take off from the Marian Airpark. 

The plane overturned and crashed into a field just south of the airport killing the pilot, Clayton Miller, 28, of Wellington and his passenger Danna Wilhelm, 40, of San Angelo.

Both were pronounced dead on the scene by Collingsworth County Justice of the Peace Jo Rita Henard.

DPS says weather conditions were windy.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.


Two people are confirmed dead following a small private plane crash Saturday afternoon in Collingsworth County about a half-mile south of the Marian Airpark in Wellington, the Texas Department of Public Safety reports.

At approximately 2:20 p.m., a Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria aircraft took off from the Marian Airpark. 

According to an eyewitness the aircraft banked to make a turn after take-off when it inverted and crashed into a field south of the runway.

The pilot was identified as Clayton Miller, 28, of Wellington.

The passenger was identified as Danna Wilhelm, 40, of San Angelo. 

According to DPS they were both pronounced dead at scene by Collingsworth County Justice of the Peace Jo Rita Henard.

DPS Sgt. Cindy Barkley confirmed Saturday evening that DPS is securing the crash site overnight until investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrive today.

Wayne Phillips, manager of My-T Burger on West Avenue in Wellington, about a mile from the crash, said the weather at the time of the accident varied between being partly cloudy and sunny and that it was not raining at the time.

The NTSB will conduct the crash investigation.


Two people are dead after a plane crash over the weekend in Collingsworth county. DPS officials say around 2:20 Saturday afternoon, a Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria took off from the airport in Wellington. An eyewitness said the pilot banked to make a turn after take-off and lost control. The airplane overturned and crashed into a field just south of the airport. 28-year old Claton Miller of Wellington and 40-year old Danna Wilhelm of San Angelo were both pronounced dead at the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board will be conducting the investigation.

JetBlue flight from Newark Liberty International Airport (KEWR) diverted to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (KFLL) after 'security report," airline says

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA.  - A flight headed to the Dominican Republic from New Jersey was diverted to Fort Lauderdale after, officials said, they found a bomb threat written on board the plane. 

JetBlue flight 893 had taken off from Newark Liberty International Airport, Saturday afternoon, and was heading to Santiago, Dominican Republic when, airline officials said, it was diverted to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport “out of an abundance of caution.”

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the plane landed just after 4:15 p.m.

In a statement, a JetBlue spokesperson said, “Customers will deplane and be rescreened before continuing on to Santiago.”


NEWARK -- A JetBlue flight from Newark Liberty International Airport bound for the Dominican Republic was diverted to Fort Lauderdale after an unspecified security concern Saturday afternoon, according to officials.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Airbus A321 aircraft landed safely at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

"Out of an abundance of caution, JetBlue flight 893 from Newark Liberty International Airport to Santiago, Dominican Republic, is diverting to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after a security report," the airline said in a statement.

Special Agent Michael Leverock, spokesman for the FBI's Miami office, said the bureau was aware of the incident and referred questions to the Broward County Sheriff's Office. 

The FAA and JetBlue referred further questions to the Florida airport and law enforcement authorities. 

The Transportation Security Administration, Fort Lauderdale airport and Broward sheriff's office officials did not immediately respond to messages seeking details.


Destin Executive Airport (KDTS) begins noise wall construction

The neighborhoods around the Destin Executive Airport will hopefully get a little bit quieter.

Construction has begun on a new sound wall at the northwest end of the airport, behind the Destin Jet parking lot and the backs of the houses on Misty Way. The wall was recommended by an advisory committee after a two-year study as a way to facilitate noise abatement in the area.

"The contractor has started construction," said Airports Project Manager Chad Rogers. "We have completed demolition of the old sound wall, and right now we're trimming trees…and doing site work and foundation preparations. We're waiting for the new panels to come in."

He said he expects the panels to come in and be installed by mid-March.

The noise wall will be made of concrete and have sound absorbing material on it, much like the median barriers on interstates. The wall will be 15 feet high and 300 feet long.

Airport Director Tracy Stage said the noise wall will be a positive thing for the community and the surrounding neighborhoods.

"One of our biggest goals is compatibility with the surrounding community, and this wall is actually making good on a 6-year-old promise," Stage said, referring to the study that began in 2008 and was completed in 2010. "We absolutely believe it will enhance the quality of life for the residents that purchase homes directly with lots that share property lines (with the airport)."


Beech G36 Bonanza, Sinbad Aviation Inc., N979BA: Accident occurred January 21, 2017 near Essex County Airport (KCDW), Caldwell, New Jersey

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Teterboro, New Jersey 
Continental Motors Group; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Sinbad Aviation Inc: 

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA092
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 21, 2017 in West Caldwell, NJ
Aircraft: HAWKER BEECHCRAFT CORP G36, registration: N979BA
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 January 21, 2017, about 1245 eastern standard time, a Hawker Beechcraft G36, N979BA, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after a loss of engine power during initial climb from Essex County Airport (CDW), Caldwell, New Jersey. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an Instrument flight rules plan was filed for the flight, destined for Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Review of air traffic control information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot taxied to Runway 22 at CDW. After a delay for inbound traffic and weather, the controller cleared the airplane for takeoff with a left turnout

Review of security camera video and photographs revealed that after taking off, the airplane turned left and continued climbing until it reached an approximate height of 100 feet above ground level, and then began to descend. The airplane then struck the roof of a warehouse with the left wing, impacted terrain in a nose low attitude while rotating to the left, then made contact with the ground with the belly of the airplane, and a large fire erupted.

The accident site was located approximately 0.5 miles from the departure end of Runway 22. Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed that the landing gear was down, the three bladed propeller separated from the engine during the impact sequence, and the majority of the airplane's cabin had been consumed by fire.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on June 16, 2016. He reported on that date, that he had accrued 1,430 total hours of flight experience.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 2012. Its most recent annual inspection was completed on January 16, 2017. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 251.9 total hours of operation.

The wreckage was retained for further examination

WEST CALDWELL -- After sprinting through thorny, barely passable woods, the two men arrived out of breath to a smashed aircraft engulfed in flames and a pilot, burned and bleeding, lying near the tail.

Heron De Dios, 35, of Elmwood Park, and Scott Bauman, 50, of West Orange, had been teaching their regular softball clinic Saturday afternoon at a facility off Passaic Avenue when a small aircraft crashed into woods at around 12:45 p.m. just behind a row of homes in a residential neighborhood. Neighbors reported hearing a loud boom.

De Dios' 15-year-old daughter, Lianna -- who said she had seen the plane struggling to maintain altitude -- rushed inside to tell her father.

The plane -- a  Beech G36 Bonanza -- had crashed in the woods adjacent to Patton Drive, which is about a mile-and-a-half from the Essex County Airport, according to officials in a previous report.

De Dios and Bauman immediately rushed outside and darted through the woods to the crash site where they found the pilot lying in a contorted position near the tail of the plane. They said his leg appeared to be broken, his face and body severely burned, his mouth bloody, and what was left of his shirt was scorched from the flames.

"The back of his shirt was smoking, it was still burning, and we took that portion of the shirt off," De Dios recalled.

"I threw my sweatshirt on top of him," Bauman added, standing next to De Dios.

The two men recounted the story on Sunday near the crash site. De Dios' wife and two daughters tagged along.

Capt. David Black, of the West Essex First Aid Squad, which responded to the crash, confirmed that a group of bystanders was helping the pilot when the squad arrived and took over.

Despite the pilot's injuries, he was conscious and able to speak, the two men said.

"I kept saying 'We're going to get you out of here,'" Bauman recalled.

But, with flames continuing to roar nearby, De Dios worried about an explosion.

"I could feel the heat," De Dios said. "We moved him just a few yards, and at that point, I was still looking at the roaring flames, thinking we are still too close."

He added, "I asked him how much fuel was in the plane."

The pilot told him the fuel tank was full, De Dios said.

Then, De Dios said two other men who had been at the softball clinic arrived to assist. The group then quickly carried the pilot away from the burning aircraft to a safe distance.

Emergency personnel ultimately arrived and took over. The pilot was taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, however, the extent and seriousness of his injuries remains unclear, according to officials in a previous report.

Multiple requests for comment were not returned Sunday by St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, Fairfield or West Caldwell police. The Essex County Sheriff's Office referred questions to West Caldwell police.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and the FAA is investigating, officials have said.

As the men recounted the ordeal Sunday afternoon -- this time at the entrance of a building on the other side of the crash site -- a black SUV pulled up alongside the group.

Driving the vehicle turned out to be West Caldwell Police Chief Gerard Paris, who began talking to the two men about the rescue. The chief gave the men his card, shook their hands and thanked them for their heroic deed.

Bauman later said that they didn't really think about it, they just reacted, and when they saw the pilot in agony, they did what they could to get him to safety.


Heron Dedios, Lianna Dedios and Scott Bauman in the woods near a plane crash site after the small plane crashed on Saturday in Fairfield, New Jersey.

Scott Bauman

Heron Dedios

Scott Bauman, Heron Dedios, and Lianna Dedios talk about the small plane that crashed on Saturday in Fairfield, New Jersey.

Leanna Dedios, Heron Dedios and Scott Bauman return to where a small plane crashed on Saturday in Fairfield, New Jersey


FAIRFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A small plane fell out of the sky in West Caldwell, New Jersey on Saturday, bursting into flames and narrowly missing homes in a highly-populated neighborhood.

The Beech Bonanza aircraft took off from Essex County Airport before crashing approximately one mile south around 12:45 p.m.

Judging by the flaming wreckage of the small plane, it’s amazing the pilot actually survived, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.

The plane crashed in the woods behind a row of houses on Patton Road. Witnesses said they were stunned no one was killed.

“I heard a big boom and my wife hollered immediately, ‘there’s plane crash, there’s a fire,'” Bob Alviggi said.

The single-engine aircraft burst into flames 10 feet from his fence. Part of the plane even landed in his backyard.

“I’ve been here for almost 40 years and nothing like this has ever happened, and we’re concerned about it, but what can you do?” he said.

Alviggi saw a pair of good Samaritans come running through the woods to rescue the pilot.

“They pulled the guy out of the plane, and he supposedly went to the hospital. He has a broken leg and serious burns,” he said.

Those two men who risked their lives and ran toward the fiery debris were Michael Martino Jr. and his father, who’s a retired Newark fire captain.

“I really didn’t have time to think. My main concern at that point was whether or not the plane was going to explode, and were we close enough, and getting that guy out as far away as possible,” Martino Jr. told Conybeare in an exclusive interview.

“I yelled to him if someone else is in the plane, and he said there was no one there, but he had a broken leg,” his father said. “But we still picked him up and moved him into the safety zone.”

Thanks to them and three other men, the pilot survived and was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson.

The Martinos said they didn’t consider themselves heroes and wanted people to know there were three other men risking their lives right there with them.

“It makes me feel good that if something ever happened to me or my family, that there’s people in this area that would do the same thing that we did today,” the son said.

Firefighters arrived and quickly put out the flames, exposing what’s left of the plane, which apparently bounded off a building nearby as it came down.

“Hit the top of the building, clipped it, hit the parking lot, then wound up in the tree line in the embankment,” witness Mark Wells said. “Luckily for the building owners and for the pilot, it could have been a lot worse.”

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash.

Story and video:

WEST CALDWELL -- A pilot was injured when a small aircraft crashed in a residential neighborhood near the Essex County Airport Saturday afternoon, police said.

The plane crashed on Patton Drive in West Caldwell, which is about a mile-and-a-half from the airport, according to an officer with the Fairfield Police Department. 

Rick Breitenfeldt, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane is a Beech Bonanza and had one person on board. He said the incident occurred at 12:45 p.m. about a mile south of the Essex County Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and the FAA is investigating, Breitenfeldt said.

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said the pilot, an adult male, suffered a broken leg and burns to his face and chest. The sheriff would not categorize the seriousness of the injuries.

The pilot was taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, Fontoura said.

An operator at the Essex County Airport said he did not see the crash but could  see smoke and emergency response vehicles responding to the area.

Bob Alviggi, who was at home with his wife when the plane crashed, said he heard a loud "boom" and watched as people rushed to the aircraft to pull the pilot out.

"I heard a big boom and my wife hollered at me 'There's a fire. A plane crashed. There's a fire. '"

He said he called 911 and then ran out the back door but couldn't get to the crash site, which was at spot with a 20-foot drop from his house in Fairfield, just across the border from West Caldwell.

He said the flames were so intense that the heat warped his fence, which is about 5 feet from the crash site.

"I've been here for almost 40 years and nothing like this every happened," Alviggi said.

Video on social media shows smoke rising from behind a home in the neighborhood with an ambulance at the scene.

West Caldwell police were not immediately available to provide more information. 


WEST CALDWELL, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a small aircraft has crashed in a residential area of New Jersey, injuring the pilot.

The crash occurred around 12:45 p.m. Saturday in West Caldwell, about a mile south of the Essex County Airport.

Authorities say the pilot was alone in the Beechcraft Bonanza plane and was conscious when rescue crews arrived. The man was being treated at a hospital for a broken leg and burns to his face and chest, but it wasn't immediately clear if the injuries were life-threatening.

It didn't appear that anyone on the ground was injured or that any homes were damaged. Witnesses said large plumes of smoke coming from the plane were visible in the neighborhood.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration. 


Dixon leaders face a dilemma about whether to keep the city airport open: Professional guidance from the new city manager form of government will help them to choose wisely

There’s nothing quite like a deadline to focus one’s attention on a decision that must be made.

The Dixon City Council learned this week it faces a July deadline by which time city leaders have to choose whether to engage in an improvement project at the Dixon Municipal Airport.

The project would signify the city’s continued acceptance of Federal Aviation Administration grant money ($150,000 a year) and the city’s continued commitment to keep the airport open for the next 20 years. If the airport is closed before 2 decades elapses, the city would have to repay a portion of the grant.

City Manager Cole O’Donnell said the airport needs renovations – things like improving perimeter fencing and runway lighting – that FAA grant money could help pay for.

But if the city chooses not to do any projects this year, it would be dropped from the FAA grant program, and getting back on the program might not be possible.

The FAA grant issue has emerged during a time when the City Council has been considering what to do with the seldom-used airport, which averages five takeoffs a week and which cost the city $135,000 to operate in 2015, but had revenues of only $42,000.

A feasibility study commissioned last year by the city determined two key findings:

Demand for the airport’s services is not expected to grow.

Many local businesses surveyed said if the airport closed, it would not make a drastic difference in their operations.

Closing the airport might be seen as a blow to the city’s prestige, but doing so would save the city money and make the property available for other uses, such as a solar farm or industrial park.

Plus, Dixon area pilots needing to make flights could simply shift their aircraft to the nearby Whiteside County Airport in Rock Falls – a short drive away on Interstate 88.

Keeping the airport open, with greater focus on increasing usage and revenue potential, has its own advantages, as well as costs.

We encourage city leaders to continue studying the issue.

And we suggest that a final decision not be made until after April’s city election, where two new council members (among a field of three – Dennis Considine, Ryan Marshall and John Grant) will be elected to replace outgoing Councilmen Chris Bishop and Mitch Tucker.

After all, it will be the new council, which takes office in May, that will have to deal with the consequences of the decision.

The airport’s future presents a dilemma. Whatever choice is made, we are gratified that Dixon, with its relatively new city manager form of government, has greater professional expertise on its side to help make the correct one.


Rockwell Collins Confident on Jet Ramp: CEO expects new jetliner deliveries to continue to rise through end of decade

A worker assembles a liquid-crystal-display screen for Boeing aircraft at the Rockwell Collins production facility in Manchester, Iowa.

The Wall Street Journal
Updated Jan. 20, 2017 1:49 p.m. ET

New jetliner deliveries should continue to rise through the end of the decade even with the dip in orders that has spooked investors, the head of one of the aerospace industry’s largest suppliers said Friday.

Rockwell Collins Inc. Chief Executive Kelly Ortberg also expressed optimism that the new administration could be a catalyst for the long-awaited recovery in the business-jet market after years of flat or declining sales.

Mr. Ortberg said he expected a repeat of the previous cycle for big jets when backlogs at Boeing Co. and Airbus Group SE sustained production even as orders dipped and more airlines sought to defer new aircraft.

“We’re going to continue to see the narrow-body because of the strong backlog, continue to ramp up at both [companies],” he said, forecasting that the order cycle would continue through 2020 when Boeing’s new 777X jet is due to enter service.

Boeing and Airbus last year both secured new orders that fell short of their deliveries but still plan to boost output over the next three years for most models, the exception being some widebody jets where demand has weakened over the past two years.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Rockwell Collins has doubled down on what some analysts call a supercycle that has amassed a $1 trillion order book for the two big plane makers, including 10,000 more fuel-efficient narrow-body jets that will become the backbone of the global airline industry.

Rockwell Collins in October agreed to pay $6.4 billion for B/E Aerospace Inc., one of the biggest makers of aircraft seats and interiors, marrying it with its own specialty in cockpit and communication systems.

The proposed deal received a mixed reception from some analysts who viewed it as pricey and questioned the timing, but Mr. Ortberg said investors had warmed to the potential synergies and expected a shareholder vote in March. Subject to investor and regulatory approval, he expects it to close by May. France’s Safran SA this week agreed to pay $9 billion for the other large seat maker, Zodiac Aerospace SA.

His comments came as Rockwell Collins opened the aerospace and defense reporting season with fiscal first-quarter profits that fell short of expectations because of costs related to the B/E Aerospace deal, though the company reaffirmed its full-year guidance. Its shares were recently up 1.6% at $90.65 in a weak session for a sector that has underperformed so far this year.

Rockwell Collins also has a large defense business, providing systems on jets such as the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 and Boeing’s Pegasus refueling tanker. Sales are expected to grow with rising military spending, though Mr. Ortberg said they could be crimped this year if the temporary Pentagon budget that runs through April is extended.

The defense and business jet markets have weighed on Rockwell Collins over the past few years, but the run-up in stock markets and potentially more supportive tax policies from the Trump administration have increased optimism that the latter will also start to improve.

“I’m hopeful the new administration will create confidence in the marketplace,” said Mr. Ortberg. “It could be the catalyst we need,” he said.

Rockwell Collins reported profits of $145 million for the quarter compared with $135 million a year earlier, with per-share earnings rising to $1.10 from $1.02. Revenue increased 2.1% to $1.19 billion.

Original article can be found here: