Saturday, February 11, 2017

Federal Aviation Administration apparently gives Salt Lake City mulligan on Wingpointe

The Federal Aviation Administration has given Salt Lake City another swing at saving Wingpointe Golf Course, though the city's position may be no better on its second attempt.

A memo sent last month by an FAA official and a recent follow-up phone call has the mayor's office "cautiously optimistic," said spokesman Matthew Rojas. The city hopes to negotiate a change in the FAA's by-the-letter stance on the course, which closed in November 2015 and was minimally sustained through December 2016.

"When [Mayor Jackie Biskupski] took office, we were told that it absolutely could not happen," Rojas said.

FAA Associate Administrator Benito De Leon wrote in January that "[w]e encourage the city to provide the FAA with a proposal that would allow the Wingpointe Golf Course to reopen and allow the airport to meet its federal grant requirements."

A challenge now for the city will be persuading the FAA to dramatically lower its valuation of the land.

A June 2011 FAA compliance review found the city's airport — which in 1988 agreed to a 99-year lease with the city at $1 per year — had effectively subsidized the golf course and violated conditions of the airport's federal funding.

The FAA ruled the city must pay a fair-market rent for the property, which city officials say could be $2.4 million per year after an FAA-required rezone for aeronautical use. That's more than twice Wingpointe's highest-ever annual revenues.

The city opted instead to close the course and return the land to airport management. But Biskupski vowed to revive the links-style course, valued by golfers for its low cost and unique wetland features. In late-November, she wrote to the FAA that the Wingpointe has no aeronautical or commercial use and asked the agency to reconsider its decision.

City Council members, having last summer approved $60,000 to temporarily preserve the course, were dismayed last month to hear the city had yet to receive a response.

Reopening the course would require an investment of about $1.1 million, city officials estimate. Those costs are expected to grow if maintenance isn't continued in the spring.

Rojas said Friday that a reopened Wingpointe would likely be operated by a third party, separate from the six municipal courses in the city's golf enterprise fund.

Story and photo gallery:

Long Beach Airport (KLGB) decision protected residents’ quality of life: Guest commentary

By Rae Gabelich

After reading news articles and opinions related to the Long Beach City Council’s vote to not approve the JetBlue-requested Federal Inspection Service (FIS) facility for Long Beach Airport, a resident commented, “Everyone has the right to act in their own self interest.” The definition of self- interest is “a concern for one’s own advantage and well being.” Well-being: “the state of being happy, healthy or successful.”

Why are the efforts of concerned Long Beach residents wrong when they stand up for their own “self-interest” in protecting their investments and their quality of life concerns? How does that qualify as naysayers, CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything), obstructionists, vocal minorities and other negative titles?

In both the 2013 and 2016 FIS studies, it is stated that the amount of potential incremental passenger activity appears to be limited. A Long Beach State economic forecast report also explained that “the impact on the Long Beach economy will be small” and stated the five reasons for drawing that conclusion. Visit for more specifics.

The Long Beach Airport (LGB) bond debt of $110 million is pledged for Series 2010 bonds through 2040. The Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) annual revenue of $6.4 million is currently allocated at $3.6 million for current debt service and $2.8 million committed to airfield maintenance and PEP projects that include terminal and parking facilities, roadways and rental car improvements. This money is generated from the $4.50 PFC charges per ticketed passenger.

Yes, we currently enjoy a Moody’s high rating of A3, and our city should want to be certain that will not change. Although the Fitch ratings do express some concern over the JetBlue reduction in flights over the past several years. In 2012, JetBlue began to manipulate the formula that would allow it to reduce its LGB flights but still hold the slots. That loss of service resulted in a $2 million to $3 million loss of revenue for the LGB fund. Also, in 2013 LGB pledged to the ratings agencies to issue no future debt within the foreseeable future and cancelled the LGB commercial paper program.

The Jacobs FIS Feasibility Study did say that once operations are fully implemented, $185 million in regional impacts could be realized in Los Angeles and Orange counties while our city benefit will be minimal.

So, what are the economic concerns of many Long Beach residents? For many, their home is the No. 1 business investment for their family’s future. Others have invested in real estate to improve their retirement portfolios to secure their futures. Either way, they too are concerned about their future “bottom line.”

In a commentary for the Press Telegram (“Long Beach Airport vote wasn’t grounded in reality,” Feb. 3), Randy Gordon of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce comments on what a good corporate citizen JetBlue has been with all of its civic involvement and hundreds of thousands of dollars in local donations. He wonders how much longer this good corporate citizen can continue to give to a community whose elected officials signaled they are not wanted here.

The council and the majority of residents who spoke stated they loved JetBlue and the service it brings to LGB, and asked JetBlue to provide even more domestic travel opportunities.

I personally would suggest that more attention be paid to after-hours noise violations that have disrupted residents between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. on 133 nights in the past 12 months.

The 2001-2007 battle over the HNTB study that suggested the airport terminal grow from a 48,580-square-foot facility to a super-sized terminal of 106,000 square feet was won not in spite of airport impacted residents but because of their diligence in standing in support of reasonable sizing for LGB. Today we have a right-sized municipal airport of 89,000 square feet.

It wins awards and is appreciated by the traveling public. Let’s keep it that way!

A respectful thank you to Councilwoman Stacy Mungo and Councilwoman Suzie Price for their willingness to speak on behalf of thousands of Long Beach residents.

All Long Beach matters!

Rae Gabelich was a member of the Long Beach City Council from 2004 to 2012 and is president of LBHUSH2/LB Neighborhoods First.


Quad City Challenger II: Incident occurred February 11, 2017 near Punta Gorda Airport ( KPGD), Charlotte County, Florida

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. A 60-year-old man was hospitalized following a plane crash Saturday afternoon, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

A Quad City Challenger II crashed into the woods around 5:40 p.m. while trying to land at the Punta Gorda Airport, the FAA said. The pilot sustained minor injuries and was transported to the hospital.

No others were on the plane and no flights were disrupted.

The FAA is still investigating the crash.


PUNTA GORDA, FL - A Quad City Challenger II went down in the wooded area near the Punta Gorda Airport Saturday afternoon, according to Charlotte County Fire and EMS.

The call came in at 5:35 p.m.

One 60-year-old man was aboard the aircraft that was found in the trees. He was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries.

The crash happened when the plane was attempting to take off from the airport.

The FAA has been notified of the incident.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.


Police Explain Low Flying Aircraft in Warren, New Jersey

WARREN, New Jersey - Don't be alarmed. 

Expect to see low flying aircraft on the east side of Warren from 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. Saturday for a deer census in the Watchung Mountains, police advised.


Delta halts flights in May at Greater Binghamton Airport (KBGM)

TOWN OF MAINE (WBNG) -- Delta will halt its flights at the Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM) come May.

On Friday, Broome County Commissioner of Aviation Dave Hickling announced the airport's primary runway will undergo major reconstruction in May to fix pavement deterioration. He says it will have an impact on the airport’s flight schedule in May, with all traffic being diverted to BGM's secondary runway.

It was also announced a new flight is coming to BGM in March. Airport officials said SkyWest Airlines, which operates as a Delta connection between BGM and Detroit International Airport in Detroit, will add an additional flight beginning March 1. The afternoon flight will be on a 50-seat plane, Hickling said, and will complement the schedules of flights at the airport, spreading them throughout the day.

But BGM officials said Saturday that "SkyWest Airlines who is providing the Binghamton to Detroit service for Delta Airlines has made the decision to not operate using the shorter alternate runway during this project. This aircraft is capable of using our alternate runway however it would likely have to do so at reduced capacity. In other words, rather than selling 50 seats for each flight they would be restricted to say, 35 seats and this could have a negative impact on their profitability for that month. 

Officials also said "SkyWest Airlines has expressed to us that they are pleased that we are addressing the runway and they look forward to resuming three daily flights to Detroit Metro Airport in June."


Beech T-34B Mentor, Air 906 LLC, N18PS: Accident occurred February 11, 2017 at Albert Whitted Airport (KSPG), St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA138
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 11, 2017 in St. Petersburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2017
Aircraft: BEECH T 34B, registration: N18PS
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that, after maneuvering in the local area for about 45 minutes, he returned to his home airport for landing. During the final approach, the airplane sunk below the proper glidepath, and he increased the power three separate times, but the airplane continued to sink. Subsequently, the airplane struck a seawall located about 380 ft from the runway threshold, which resulted in the propeller separating from the propeller hub and the collapse of the landing gear.

The fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector who interviewed the pilot after the accident, the pilot reported that the engine did not contribute to the accident. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain an appropriate glidepath to the runway.

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

Air 906 LLC: 

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA138
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, February 11, 2017 in St. Petersburg, FL
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported after maneuvering in the local area for about 45 minutes, he returned to his home airport for landing. He further reported that during the final approach, the airplane sunk below the proper glide path and he increased the power three separate times, but the airplane continued to sink. Subsequently, the airplane struck a seawall located about 380 feet from the runway threshold, which resulted in the propeller separating from the propeller hub and the collapse of the landing gear.

The fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector who interviewed the pilot after the accident, the pilot reported that the engine did not contribute to the accident.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The pilot and a passenger were able to walk away from the crash of a Beech T-34 Mentor plane at Albert Whitted Airport on Saturday afternoon.

About 4:20 p.m., a Beech T-34B Mentor plane was trying to land when it came in too low and clipped the seawall. There was minor damage to the plane.

The crash is being investigated by Albert Whitted Airport and aviation authorities.


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A plane attempting to land at a St. Petersburg airport was damaged during an incident Saturday afternoon.

Officials said a Beech T-34B Mentor plane was trying to land at Albert Whitted Airport on 8th Avenue Southeast.

The pilot came in too low and clipped the seawall, causing minor damage to the plane.

The pilot and passenger were both uninjured.

The accident is being investigated by the airport and aviation authorities.


ST. PETERSBURG — A Beech T-34 Mentor plane carrying two people crashed near Albert Whitted Airport Saturday afternoon in an incident that city officials are describing as "minor."

The crash happened about 4:40 p.m., when a Beech T-34B Mentor plane struck the seawall at the end of the airport's runway 25 and landed hard in the grass, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

It wasn't immediately clear whether anyone was hurt in the crash.

Bergen said the FAA would investigate the incident.


City, American Airlines reach deal on bigger planes

The Manhattan city government has accepted American Airlines’ offer of a larger airplane at Manhattan Regional Airport and will begin making security modifications.

The city announced the decision Friday in a news release.

ExpressJet Airlines, on behalf of American Airlines, will begin operating a CR7, a 65-seat plane, for the three daily Dallas flights, starting May 5. The current plane types have 44 and 50 seats.

Federal regulation requires additional security measures for any plane with more than 61 seats.

The federally-required security measures will require $347,000 in the short-term as well as $500,000 to $1 million in security-related salaries annually in the future.

The Manhattan City Commission will vote on short-term funding recommendations Tuesday during a special meeting.

City administrators recommend using money from the capital improvement program and economic development fund for the 2017 costs.

Starting with the 2018 budget, city administrators said property taxes, which fund the Riley County Police Department budget, and a transient guest tax, which is paid by visitors at area hotels, increase could fund the required personnel.

Deputy city manager Jason Hilgers said the commission has the authority to raise the guest tax an additional percentage point to 7 percent. He said each percentage point raises $250,000 in revenue. The increased personnel will include seven police officers, an airport supervisor, six full-time and six part-time employees to provide 24/7 security, which currently isn’t required. Earlier this week, commissioners spoke during a meeting about their concerns regarding the price tag and timeline. City manager Ron Fehr called American on Wednesday to inform the company that the city would need to postpone the issue because of the concern, according to a memo.

After further discussions, Fehr called American back at the end of the day Wednesday to ask if the door was still open. American officials called the city Thursday to let administrators know they needed an official answer that day. City administrators then accepted the offer.

According to Friday’s release, the CR7 planes will have more overhead and cargo space, an additional flight attendant, and Wi-Fi capabilities. The planes will accommodate larger group travel and provide 5- to 10-minute quicker inair flight times.

“The community has long had a desire to have larger aircraft for more legroom and luggage capacity, especially for Fort Riley troops,” airport director Jesse Romo said in the release. “We are excited to be able to accept the larger aircraft. There are challenges associated with the security improvements, but we’re taking steps to ensure the long-term viability of air service at MHK.”

In December, the airport opened the second phase of its terminal expansion project. American operates daily flights to Dallas and Chicago from the airport.


Jet setter: Gulfstream CEO Mark Burns

While global demand for business jets is flat to negative, the Middle East’s forecast $248bn worth of orders in the next decade has seen manufacturer Gulfstream turn its attention to the region. CEO Mark Burns talks range, speed and connectivity

Burns believes the demand for business aviation will continue to grow in the coming years.

In a region dominated by burgeoning Boeing and Airbus aircraft, private jet manufacturers are still managing to find a niche.

Orders for the typically customised aircraft — still largely the preserve of the ultra-high net worth individuals, corporates and governments — remain steady but there is a dip on the horizon, according to the most recent ten-year market outlook by Jetcraft, which facilitates the buying and selling of aircraft.

In the Middle East, the impact of low oil prices on government coffers and corporate earnings is impacting business aircraft sales, Jetcraft says.

“The current climate for aircraft transactions is challenging,” Jetcraft’s report says. “Customers in the region are sitting on their hands as a result and deal activity is slow. The few transactions that are closing are likely being facilitated by OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) who are able to extend significant discounts.

“Our outlook for the region throughout the forecast period is that it will under-perform as a result of the significant short-term headwinds.”

But there is one manufacturer breaking through the clouds: Gulfstream.

Jetcraft predicts that of the 7,879 business jet deliveries expected in the Middle East over next 10 years — representing $248bn in revenues (based on 2015 pricing) — Gulfstream will account for 30.6 percent, or $75bn.

The US-based company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Virginia-based General Dynamics, an aerospace and defence company valued at more than $58bn, with a 4.3 percent rise in its quarterly profit in January to $797m.

General Dynamics said its aerospace group – which includes Gulfstream and aviation services company Jet Aviation — reported $2.22bn in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016, up 3.8 percent on the previous year.

While the results do not break down to reveal Gulfstream alone, in its financial statement, General Dynamics referred to Gulfstream’s two new large-cabin business jets as progressing ahead of schedule.

Gulfstream president and CEO Mark Burns says despite a gloomy global market outlook, he remains positive about the Middle East region and expects it will have a very good year. The manufacturer’s bright view is largely due to its expanding family of large aircraft.

Sitting inside one of the Gulfsteam’s market-leading G650 aircraft during a recent visit to Dubai, Burns is keen to underline the long-standing connection the planemaker has to the emirate, and the region.

“Dubai was the first place we delivered the Gulfstream to in the region,” he says. “Business continues to be good [in the Middle East]. We’ve got 120 airplanes based here. The G650 continues to be the strongest airplane in the market for us. We’ve delivered over 200 G650s [globally]; 25 of them are here in the Middle East.

“The market is still good, still active. We’ve got a very compelling story with the G650 and the [soon to be delivered] G500 and G600. They all fit this market well. The speed and the range of the airplanes really fit well with the customers that are here in the region.”

Burns dismisses suggestion that the oil price is affecting sales in the GCC, but says geopolitics is a concern.

“Not so much the price of oil, but certainly some of the geopolitical issues in the region have had an impact over the last five to ten years,” he says.

“But our airplanes are still very well received. We sell airplanes in just about every country in the Middle East. I think the price of oil had less of an impact on [Middle East sales]; it probably had more of an impact on our US customers.”

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has the most Gulfstream planes, followed by the UAE. Burns says the customers tend to be companies, corporations, rich individuals or heads of state and thus, their orders are typically for one or two planes at a time rather than the multiples that are associated with larger commercial aircraft operators.

However, that trend was broken with the order of 30 aircraft placed by Qatar Airways for its business aviation unit in May 2015. That order built on from a memorandum of understanding to buy 20, signed six months earlier.

The Doha-based carrier’s purchase includes a variety of G650s and new wide-cabins G500 and G600 for its Qatar Executive fleet. Gulfstream has started to deliver them, as the orders are confirmed.

“These airplanes are unique,” Burns says, speaking about the ultra-long range aircraft that is the mainstay of Gulfstream’s order book.

“The speed and range give us an opportunity to give an airplane to Qatar Executive that they can use for heads of state lift and charter, and things of that nature.

“In the US we see a lot more fractional ownership. It depends on the region and the customer and what they do with the airplane. Here it’s more heads of state, government, high-wealth individuals, and it’s short-term charter.

“I think the fact that Qatar is using this airplane in that executive charter role will expose the airplanes more here in the region.”

Burns says the G650 and the G650ER, with list prices of $65m and $68.8m, respectively, are ideal for a region with two-thirds of the world’s population living within eight hours flight of Dubai.

With a range of 7,000 nautical miles for the G650 and 7,500 nautical miles for the G650ER, the aircraft is also quick, he says. According to Gulfstream, it can fly from Los Angeles to London more than 30 minutes faster than its rival large-cabin aircraft, and from New York to Tokyo almost an hour faster.

In a recent flight from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to Arizona’s Scottsdale Airport, the G650 flew 6,143 nautical miles in a total flight time of 10 hours and 57 minutes. The G650ER is capable of flying from Dubai to New York in 13 hours and 7 minutes.

That range and speed are the two most important factors for business aircraft buyers and renters, according to customers who sit on Gulfstream’s customer advisory board.

“When we were designing these airplanes, we had about 100 customers that actually sat on a board that met a couple of times a year and they gave us feedback on everything from the internet to the skylights in the airplane,” Burns says.

“We designed these planes based on what people need and what they think their business is going to do. Speed was a big one — the airplane has got to go faster.”

In a busy marketplace, where Gulfstream competes with Bombardier and Dassault, Burns says investing in innovation is vital. While there is often much talk about customers’ opulent aircraft fitouts, he says buyers are more interested in making sure the cabins are functional.

“What we’ve been able to do over the last ten years by investing in new products really gives us the most compelling story. G650 and G650ER we can deliver right now; we’ll soon deliver the G500, starting next year, and the G600 the following year,” he says.

“The speed, range and cabin comfort of those airplanes are second to none. G650 kind of stands alone at the upper end of this market for us. To get beyond a G650, then you’re talking about an airliner type configuration.

“For us, this is a good time. We’ve got no competitor to the G650 and continue to deliver at a very high rate for the G650 and G650ER.”

Fast connectivity on board has also become crucial.

“Anecdotally, you hear that it’s five, ten, 15 times faster, but the faster it gets, the more our customers want to use things like streaming video [and have the] ability to conference onto the airplane, where they can do business live,” Burns says. “Anytime you’re on an airplane for eight, ten, 12 hours, you want to make sure those are productive hours.”

Along the list of features in demand is reducing cabin pressure to simulate the feeling of flying at lower altitude.

“Most [commercial] aircraft are pressurised to make it seem like you’re at 8,000 feet. Our aircraft are about half of that, which makes it easier to breathe and it means you’re not so fatigued when you get off the airplane. The noise levels and cabin altitude make a difference on how fatigued you are getting off an airplane,” Burns says.

When Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways revealed its new ultra-luxury suite ‘The Residence’ and its first class ‘Apartments’ in 2014 it billed them as competitors to private business aviation, offering customers a flight that “felt like a business jet for half the price”.

While Burns acknowledges the product is innovative, he does not believe it will lure Gulfstream customers.

“I think it will have an impact further down the business jet line,” he says. “For us, at the large cabin end of [the business jet spectrum], our clients tend to prefer the security, privacy and flexibility of owning the airplane.

“As you get into the smaller jets, I think it may be disruptive but I think for us, at the upper end, it feels less disruptive, though I’m sure there will be instances where it will impact us.”

Gulfstream’s popularity in the GCC has seen it open a distribution centre in Dubai, one of only three regional hubs in the world (the other two are in Hong Kong and London). Inventory has grown to almost $25m, increasing each time a new plane model is added to the fleet.

“Any time you sell as many planes as we have in the region, you have to stand behind the product, the best way you can do that is to add people and parts in the region to service the airplane,” Burns says.

“We do that through Gulfstream and Jet Aviation, but having parts here at Dubai World [Central] as well as the international airport are very important as our client are at both places.”

Looking to the mid to long-term future outlook in the region, Burns sees plenty of growth opportunities in the Middle East.

“We’ve been here for 40 years. We delivered the first GII (a twin engine business jet) back in 1976 and since then this has been a very important market for us,” he says.

“When we’re designing new airplanes, we think about this market. We design airplanes that do the range and the speed that customers in this particular area covet.

"This is going to be a growth area for us. I really believe we’ve got the most compelling argument.”

And Jetcraft’s projected outlook appears to support his confidence, particularly when Gulfstream’s highly anticipated G500 and G600 are launched.


Federal Aviation Administration: Tausani Airline certification process slated for this summer, if airline is ready

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking at the summer of this year to start the certification process of Tausani Airline, provided that the locally based start-up carrier is prepared to begin the process, says FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

Two years ago, Tausani leased the ASG nine-passenger seater plane for Manu’a flights. And the airline’s president, Filifa’atali Michael Fuiava told House members early last year that the company’s application to conduct passenger service for the Manu’a island group has been submitted to the FAA and they are now waiting a decision by the FAA.

Last month, Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga nominated Filifa’atali as Agriculture Department director and he appeared yesterday before the Senate Agriculture Committee for his confirmation hearing, where Manu’a Senate Galeai Tu’ufuli asked for the status of Tausani to operate the territory’s domestic flights.

Filifa’atali responded they are still in contact and in discussions with the FAA, and are now waiting for the federal agency to come down to the territory to inspect the aircraft.

Responding to Samoa News’ request for comments, Gregor said the FAA is working to free up resources to begin the certification process for Tausani Airlines. “We expect to start the process this summer, provided that Tausani is prepared to begin that process,” Gregor said yesterday via email from Los Angeles.

Also during yesterday’s confirmation hearing, Galeai asked about the loan the airline received from the Development Bank of American Samoa, to which Filifa’atali said the approved loan was $400,000, but the airline company has not received all of that money at this point.

Galeai asked for the amount of the loan “advanced” by DBAS to the airline and Filifa’atali replied it was $250,000. (See Monday’s edition of Filifa’atali’s confirmation hearing before the Senate.)

Galeai said DBAS does not have a lot of money and to ‘start up’ businesses is the target of DBAS’ limited financial resources. He pointed out that a lot of DBAS money has gone into the airline, which should move forward with its operations. Additionally, there are still people in the dark about the airline — when it will operate as well as the loaned money.

Galeai was very critical of DBAS loaning money to Tausani when news of the loan first surfaced in 2015. He told reporters at the time that DBAS should make sure the airline has sufficient assets for collateral (Tausani leases the plane from ASG), as well as making sure the loan can be paid back.

During her Senate confirmation hearing last week, Port Administration director Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Tuia Poumele was asked about the status of Tausani and she responded that ASG’s aircraft has been leased to the airline and Filifa’atali would be the main source to provide an update.

Asked about the cost of the ASG plane, which was acquired a few years ago during the Togiola Administration, Taimalelagi replied that the estimate is around $1million, and it’s not a new plane. She was then asked by one of the senators about a new plane for Manu’a, and she responded that a similar type of plane, such as the one leased to Tausani, would cost around $6- $7 million.

With no US carrier to operate the territory’s domestic flights, the Samoa government owned Polynesian Airlines has been granted 30-day waivers by the US Transportation Department to fly between Tutuila and the Manu’a island group, since 2014.

Story and comments:

New Rapid City Regional Airport (KRAP) strategy seeks additional flights

The Rapid City Regional Airport is trying a new approach to increasing its business this spring, which officials hope will eventually add more flights.

A new digital marketing strategy was approved by the Airport Board of Directors this week to market the airport and the Black Hills as a destination to people in Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas. 

This is the first time the airport has attempted to market to inbound traffic rather than outbound, said Toni Broom, deputy airport director for finance and administration.

In the past, the airport had winter campaigns in local media to stimulate outbound traffic.

"So this is a bit of a change for us," Broom said. 

The board approved the 2017 Spring Digital Strategy with Lawrence & Schiller, a Sioux Falls-based advertising agency, in the amount of $56,000 on Tuesday. 

It is a small part of a larger marketing plan for the airport, which will include a full analysis of data to determine final markets and target audiences for the next one to two years, according to a memo from airport executive director Patrick Dame to the airport board. 

It was approved ahead of the full plan because officials hope to make an impact this summer.

Data shows travelers typically book flights 45 to 55 days in advance, according to the memo. 

The Chicago and Minneapolis markets are already targeted by the South Dakota Department of Tourism, and the Dallas area "indexes high with our potential audiences," Dame said in the memo. 

"We chose those three for this particular campaign because we know the South Dakota Department of Tourism and other tourism entities are marketing heavily in Chicago and Minneapolis," Broom said. "Dallas also shows a high propensity of people who would come to the Black Hills."

Lawrence & Schiller will create a new home page for the airport. This is needed to direct travelers to an interactive, clean and professionally designed page where flights can be booked along with a complete Black Hills vacation package, Dame wrote. 

The airport is planning a website overhaul in the near future, and the new home page will be incorporated into that, he said. 

The media strategy will focus on introducing the option to fly to the Black Hills while communicating the benefits of flying. The markets are recommended based on current inbound airport traffic, market population and driving distance to Rapid City. 

The target audience is families that are active, affluent and spend time outdoors. They will also target active empty nesters. 

The campaign will run until early April.  

Story and comments:

Cessna 140A, N5612C: Fatal accident occurred November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, Santa Clara County, California

Kiely Vaca
The Cessna 140A was piloted by Jon Dennis, 69, who along with passenger Kiely Vaca, 18, were killed on November 8th, 2014.

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration- Flight Standards District Office - San Jose FSDO-15, California;
Textron Aviation - Wichita, Kansas;
Continental Motors Group - Mobile, Alabama.

Aviation Accident Factual Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

Jon R. Dennis:

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA039 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 140A, registration: N5612C
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 November 8, 2014 about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 140A, N5612C, collided with power lines and terrain near Gilroy, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from Frazier Lake Airpark, Hollister, California about 1430 with an intended destination of Monterey Bay Academy Airport, Watsonville, California.

A family member of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the evening of November 8, 2014, after becoming concerned when the pilot and passenger had not arrived. The FAA issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) for the missing airplane, and the wreckage was located the following day within a heavily wooded valley about five miles north of Frazier Lake Airpark by search and rescue personnel.

Overhead power distribution lines had separated near their mid-spans over the valley near the accident site. The lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies, separated at a distance of about 1,500 feet, and were about 300 feet above ground level near the accident site. Residents near the accident site reported a power outage around the time of the accident. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) revealed that the airplane collided with steep terrain and remained intact, with exception to the propeller assembly, which was located near the main wreckage. The main wreckage was about 600 feet south of the distribution lines. Braided wire striations were observed on the propeller assembly and outboard area of the right wing.


The pilot, age 69, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine and multiengine land, airplane single-engine sea, instrument airplane, and rotorcraft rating. Additionally, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate with ratings in single- and multiengine land airplane, and a basic ground instructor certificate. A second-class airman medical certificate was issued on May 14, 2014 with restrictions that he must have available glasses for near vision. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 22,000 total flight hours and 30 hours in the last 6 months.


The two-seat, high-wing airplane, serial number (S/N) 15545, was manufactured in 1950. It was powered by a Continental C-90-14F engine, serial number 42725-0-14, rated at 90 horsepower, and equipped with a McCauley fixed pitch propeller.

A review of the maintenance records revealed that during the last annual inspection on August 2, 2014, the airframe and engine both had a total time of 5,484 hours, with 1,092 hours on the engine since major overhaul.


The closest weather reporting station to the accident site was located at Salinas Municipal Airport, Salinas, California, which was located 26 miles southwest of the accident site, at an elevation of 84 feet msl. At 1453, several minutes prior to the accident, the station disseminated an automated observation report; wind 7 knots at 270 degrees, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 24° C, dew point 12° C, altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.

According to the US Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department, in the town of Hollister, the sun was located at 20.1 degrees above the horizon at an azimuth of 228.9 east of north at 1500. Sunset was at 1702.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the aircraft had been flying to the south and the wreckage was located on an east-facing slope of a wooded valley about five miles east of Gilroy, California. The wreckage was substantially damaged and there was no debris field. The first identified point of contact was tree strikes near the top of surrounding oak trees directly above the main wreckage. An area of disturbed dirt was found uphill from the wreckage on steep terrain. The area of disturbed dirt was about 25 feet in length and had paint transfer marks on rocky outcroppings. The propeller assembly was found near the main wreckage and had impact damage. The airplane was upright and was facing uphill in the direction of about 340 degrees magnetic. The engine and cowling had impact damage and were crushed rearward into the cabin area. Both wings had leading edge damage. The main gear legs were bent rearward. The right wheel separated from the landing gear strut. All primary flight controls were attached to the airplane. The right horizontal stabilizer had impact damage.


The Santa Clara County Coroner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on November 10, 2014. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries due to airplane crash."

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and all results were negative.


The right wing leading edge and right wing strut had impact marks consistent with a wire strike, and electrical arcing signatures were visible on one of the propeller blade leading edges. The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. For further information, see the postaccident examination summary in the public docket for this accident.
 Volunteers searched on November 9th, 2014 for the victims of a plane crash near Gilroy, California. -Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA039
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 140A, registration: N5612C
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 November 8, 2014 about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 140A, N5612C, collided with power lines and terrain near Gilroy, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from Frazier Lake Airpark (1C9), Hollister, California about 1430 with an intended destination of Monterey Bay Academy Airport, Watsonville, California.

A family member of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the evening of November 8, 2014, after becoming concerned when the pilot and passenger had not arrived at their intended destination. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) for the missing airplane. The wreckage was located on November 9 within a heavily wooded area about 5 miles north of 1C9 by search and rescue personnel.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane collided with steep terrain and remained intact with exception to the propeller assembly which was located near the main wreckage. Both wings had leading edge damage, the engine and forward fuselage was severely crushed rearward, and the empennage remained attached with impact damage to the right horizontal stabilizer. All primary flight controls remained attached to the airplane. The separated propeller assembly revealed that one of its blades had multiple s-type bending and a small portion of that blade's tip was missing. The other blade was slightly bent rearward. Braided wire striations were observed on the outboard area of the right wing and propeller.

Overhead distribution power lines located a few hundred feet from the main wreckage were found separated near their mid-spans. The lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies at a distance of about 1,500 feet and spanned the valley below, about 300 feet above ground level. According to residents near the accident site reported a power outage around the time of the accident.

The airplane wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

'Real American' singer guilty: kept gun on plane, in airport

ATLANTA (AP) - Rock guitarist Rick Derringer has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $1,000 fine after stepping off a Delta Air Lines flight from Mexico with a loaded handgun in Atlanta's airport.

Derringer told a federal air marshal he kept his gun with him on commercial airline flights 30 to 50 times a year, and never before had a problem carrying it through airport checkpoints, prosecutors said.

TSA spokesman Mark Howell said earlier that the agency investigates such statements when it can, but there's no way to substantiate claims dating back years.

In 2015, some U.S. Congress members said fake weapons, explosives and other contraband went unnoticed in 67 out of 70 tries - about 96 percent of the time - at TSA airport checkpoints.

Derringer's plea this week involves a single charge: Carrying a Kel-Tec pistol on an airplane and in a secure area of Atlanta's airport on Jan. 9.

"It was just a mistake, a simple human mistake," said Kenn Moutenot, his manager and the drummer in The Rick Derringer Band. Nothing like it will happen again, "not even a water pistol," he said Friday.

Derringer, 69, of Bradenton, Florida, sang the 1965 hit "Hang on Sloopy" and later recorded "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo."

Derringer has also been a writer and producer, helping to shape the careers of artists including Cyndi Lauper, Steely Dan and "Weird Al" Yankovic, and he's not done yet, embarking on a nationwide tour next month, Moutenot said.

Derringer is now working on a remake of his 1980s song "Real American," which has been used as theme music by pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. He's hoping the new version and its music video will transcend politics and bring the nation together, Moutenot said.

ATLANTA (AP) — Rock guitarist Rick Derringer carried a loaded gun in his carry-on bag on a Delta Air Lines flight from Cancun, Mexico, but was stopped after landing in Atlanta and now faces a criminal charge, authorities said.

Derringer told a federal air marshal that he flies 30 to 50 times per year with the gun in his carry-on bag, and has never had a problem, a court affidavit states.

Days earlier, the musician had also managed to pass through security with the gun at a Florida airport on his way to Mexico, the court records say. And an airport official in Mexico told The Associated Press Friday that authorities must investigate what happened at the Cancun airport.

“Derringer explained that he was aware that his pistol was in his carry-on bag but he thought that it was acceptable to carry a pistol on an airplane,” according to the criminal complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

He was charged this week with unlawfully entering the Atlanta airport’s secure area Jan. 9.

The Kel-Tec pistol with six rounds of ammunition was found during a search of Derringer’s tan bag after his flight had landed in Atlanta authorities said. Since he had arrived on an international flight, he was was being re-checked by security in order to continue on to Sarasota when the weapon was found, the court records indicate.

Derringer meant no harm, and will work with the government to clear his name, his manager Kenn Moutenot said in a statement.

He thought he was permitted to have the gun because he has a license to carry one, Moutenot said in the statement given to the AP and WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Derringer has a Florida pistol permit that’s valid through 2020, the court records indicate. But numerous signs are displayed in the Atlanta airport warning passengers that they are not allowed to carry guns on airplanes.

On Jan. 5, Derringer had been processed through the Sarasota, Florida, airport by its screeners and then flew to Atlanta and on to Cancun, records indicate.

“The person who missed this in the screening was terminated,” said Rick Piccolo, president and CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. “This is one where it got through, and the person did not do what they’re supposed to do or trained to do.”

“Unfortunately in this business you have to be right 100 percent of time,” Piccolo added.

Derringer told the air marshal during questioning in Atlanta that he had also passed through security in Cancun and was able to board the Delta flight.

Passenger carry-on bags are checked at that airport, and guns are not allowed, said Adolfo Castro, the director of Grupo Aeropuertos del Sureste, which runs the Cancun airport.

Castro said he didn’t know how Derringer could have boarded a flight with a weapon, adding “this will have to be investigated.”

“I am very surprised that he would say he flies 30 times per year with a gun,” Castro said.

A Transportation Security Administration spokesman had no immediate comment but said he would check on the matter. Delta Air Lines representatives had not yet returned a message late Friday.

Derringer sang the 1965 hit “Hang on Sloopy” with The McCoys and later recorded “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo.”


Senators Land Funds for Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport (KITH)

The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport in the village of Lansing has received a $250,000 grant for promotion and marketing, announced by three local state senators at the airport Friday.

Pamela Helming (R-Canandaigua), James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref-Oneonta) and Tom O’Mara (R/C/I-Big Flats) secured the money, which comes from the senate’s Statewide Opportunities for Airport Revitalization program (SOARS) and is administered by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport Manager Mike Hall expressed thanks to the “advocacy” of the three senators on behalf of the airport.

“Their leadership was critical in securing this grant which will help market and promote all that we have to offer,” Hall said in a press release. “ITH is a vital part of a strong economy that provides jobs for residents throughout Central New York.”

According to the release, the airport generates more than $30 million for the local economy and nearly $456,000 in sales tax revenue. Over 200,000 passengers utilized the airport last year.

The airport’s online presence is at In recent days the news section has included a “meet the employee” feature, a piece answering “can I bring my dog on the plane?” and a brief piece of history on the first African-American stewardess to fly from Ithaca to New York City in 1958.

“The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is a key component of our local economy,” Senator James L. Seward said. “Educating individuals and businesses about the full range of services available at the airport will boost usage and draw people from all walks of life to the region.

“When travelers touch down at ITH they should know they have arrived somewhere important. This investment by the state will lead to needed upgrades that will help convey that impression.”

In endorsing the grant request from the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, the Finger Lakes senators stressed the airport’s value as an economic and transportation hub for the entire region. The senators specifically pointed to the importance of the airport to growing local businesses and colleges.

“The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport plays a critical role in our region’s economy by helping to attract new business opportunities, expand job growth for our local workforce and uniquely serves world class higher education institutions such as Cornell University and Ithaca College,” Senator Pamela Helming said.

“These state resources will help ITH expand its presence in the competitive air travel industry, and will help this important regional airport provide greater service to those traveling to and from the Ithaca Tompkins area.”

Senator Tom O’Mara (R, C, I-Big Flats), Vice-Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said, “The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regional aviation industry, of which the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is a cornerstone, has an enormously positive impact across the local economy and local communities.

“This state investment in the airport’s future will bolster our overall efforts to enhance regional competitiveness, deliver economic growth and create other opportunities. I look forward to continuing to work with my partners at the state, local and federal levels to keep achieving the goals we share for the future, including investments like this one in our local aviation infrastructure that will lead to so many vital short- and long-term benefits for the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.”


Developer makes case for landing choppers at condo complex

A helicopter takes off from Deerfield Valley Regional Airport (4V8) during Friday’s Act 250 hearing for the Snow Vidda development.

DOVER- On Friday, commissioners from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation came to Snow Vidda Loop to see for themselves the site where Brady Sullivan Properties LLC is proposing to construct a helipad. The site visit was followed by a demonstration of a helicopter landing and takeoff at Deerfield Valley Airport, which is 4.6 miles away by car. The commissioners and the district two coordinator were joined by residents of the condominiums who are opposed to the idea of a helicopter landing near their homes.

Officials from the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Dover police chief Randy Johnson also came to the site visit and to the airport, and testified in favor of the proposal at a public Act 250 hearing that was held later the same morning at the town municipal building.

Fifty-six units have been approved at Snow Vidda and only about a portion of those have been built. During the site visit to the condominium development, at a signal from Brady Sullivan’s representatives, construction workers fired up a rock hammer drill that struck rocks at the rate of more than 60 times a minute, and an excavator commenced operation as well, creating a din of noise that made it difficult at times to hear all that was being said. Attorney Robin Stern, who was representing Brady Sullivan, said that the demonstration with the construction equipment showed that the noise levels at the condominium development were already far from normal, even without a helicopter.

“It’s not a meadow,” said Stern. “It’s a construction site.”

At the airport, Snow Vidda residents, lawyers, and government officials waited in the cold until the company’s helicopter approached flying low, touched down briefly, and took off again in a very short period of time.

Before taking expert testimony in the meeting room of the town offices on the potential impacts of sound on Snow Vidda residents, lawyers for the developer argued the commission had no say in whether noise levels would be excessive, claiming that decision was pre-empted by the Federal Aviation Authority. Stern said that other district commissions had declared themselves to be pre-empted by the FAA on noise.

Guy Rouelle, Vermont’s aeronautics administrator for the agency of transportation, which has granted permits for the project, concurred. “This would be a startling precedent if the commission did not acknowledge that the FAA pre-empts their authority to regulate noise from a helicopter,” he said. “Once an aircraft leaves the ground it is in national airspace. That’s just the way it is.” He cited examples of other commission chairs in other districts declaring that they were pre-empted, and stated that the issue of pre-emption had already been worked out in state Superior Court. “I would be very very concerned if we set a precedent here, for noise, for the first time in Vermont. I just want to be clear on that.”

“Can I ask a quick question?” Stephanie Gile, DEC district two coordinator, asked Rouelle. “Are you being paid by the applicant or are you here for the state of Vermont?”

“Excuse me?” asked Rouelle.

“I was just wondering because I know you have consulted for applicants in the past, and I was wondering if you are consulting for the applicant,” she said.

Rouelle said that it was a good question. “I am here for the state of Vermont and I am not being paid beyond the pittance I get from the state. But I won’t charge overtime,” he said, which drew laughter by the audience.

Rouelle also said that no applications are processed by VTrans unless the applicant had provided a letter from the town stating its approval of a project, and that Brady Sullivan had such a letter from the town of Dover.

Gile said she was the determiner of jurisdiction, not the commission, and she had already made the decision that the commission did have jurisdiction over this case, including criteria related to noise. The commissioners’ responsibility was to determine the merits of the case, not whether or not they had jurisdiction, she said.

Rouelle said there had been a sound study using EPA-approved methodologies, and that while sound was preempted and he did not consider sound in his decision-making process, the study found that noise levels associated with this particular project were within EPA guidelines. “It showed that it was far below the EPA’s thresholds, and all the things that the EPA looks at, including noise abatement, are not a factor for this particular helicopter operation.”

Meiky Huang, a resident of Snow Vidda, said the sound levels she experienced in her Snow Vidda residence when Brady Sullivan landed their helicopter without a permit in 2015 had greatly disturbed her. “The whole house was shaking. I thought something was coming onto the roof. I was so scared, and so worried.”

Snow Vidda resident Joe Lanzetta agreed, and said that the sound had startled and alarmed him. After hearing further testimony that average sound levels were used to determine the acceptability of noise impacts, Lanzetta said that any methodology that used average noise levels was not the right way to regulate noise exposure for people in their homes.

Nathan Stearns, attorney for the Snow Vidda residents, had two main points related to sound.“We are not arguing that the EPA standard is wrong,” he said, “and certainly if we were talking about aircraft flight, I agree that there would be no opening. The noise from aircraft flight is clearly regulated by the FAA. But we are talking about the location of a private landing pad for a helicopter in close proximity to homes.”

Stearns also said that he was intrigued by Rouelle’s testimony that sound had not even been considered in the permitting process of VTrans. “I was interested to hear that the state did not even consider noise. The question of federal pre-emption has come up but where there is no review of noise, where noise is not even a factor that is considered, there is a regulatory vacuum that is created.”

“I am not sure when to ask this question but why can’t you use the Deerfield Valley Airport?” commissioner Julia Schmitz asked Brady Sullivan’s representatives.

General counsel for Brady Sullivan Marc Pinard replied, “We can use the airport. But the problem with using the airport is that it is not nearly as efficient as being able to land at a project. When the airport is utilized, you have issues regarding transportation over to the condo site. We have a truck at the airport, and it gets cold here. You can get there and the truck battery can be dead. When there is not a vehicle there it can be almost impossible to obtain a ride from a cab service. There is an efficiency here that really benefits the community. If we can build out this condominium development in an efficient manner it’s going to benefit the community and the tax base. We can be in Snow Vidda, finish up a quick meeting, head to a project in New Hampshire, and then on to a project in Rhode Island. The airport can be used, but it’s simply not as efficient. We look at it (the helicopter) simply as another kind of vehicle.”

Stern said that the airport was “the obvious elephant in the room. There is an airport. They could use the airport but this (traveling to project sites) is part of their business model.” Stern also said the airport was a private one that had been sold recently, and that it had not always been plowed in the past.

According to Bob Harrington, an engineer working for Brady Sullivan, the helipad was a temporary one, and would be dismantled in four years.

Chris Campany, executive director of the Windham Regional Commission, asked Stern whether the town of Dover was prevented from talking about the matter. Stern repeatedly made replies that Campany said did not answer whether the town government had lost the ability to voice future concerns about the landing pad. Campany said that he was responsible for providing advice to towns. Stern eventually stated that she would not make any comments on Brady Sullivan’s agreement with the town.

Chair Jim Olivier asked if no one from the town was available to explain the chronology of Brady Sullivan’s obtaining permission from the town to construct the helipad. There was a brief silence.

In testimony about the potential for contamination of well water or the local streams with aviation fuel, Rouelle said that there was no plan to store fuel at the site, and that the helicopter would contain less than 50 gallons of fuel when it landed at Snow Vidda. Furthermore, he said that the company’s helicopter had a lined tank, giving it an extra level of protection from spills.

Johnson said that he and fire chief Rich Werner were supportive of the construction of the helipad, because it created a place where, in the event of an emergency, medical helicopters could land without the need for extra personnel to cordon the area off.

Olivier said that no decisions would be made until the commission had a chance to thoroughly review the testimony taken.

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