Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking, N39894: Accident occurred March 01, 2017 at Carson Airport (KCXP), Carson City, Nevada

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Reno, Nevada 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N39894

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA072
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in Carson City, NV
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N39894
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 March 1, 2017, about 1250 Pacific standard time, a Bellanca 17-30A, N39894, experienced a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff from the Carson Airport (CXP), Carson City, Nevada. The pilot, sole occupant, was seriously injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and it is unknown if a flight plan was filed. The flight was destined for an unknown location.

A witness reported that they observed the airplane takeoff normally, with the exception that the landing gear remained in the down position. At the end of the runway, when the airplane was no higher than 300 feet, it sounded as if the engine decreased to idle. The airplane made a right 180 degree turn and descended rapidly before impacting the ground. 

The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.



Carson City Sheriff’s Office says there was a plane crash at the Carson City Airport on Wednesday afternoon. 

Officials say a small plane was in the ditch on the north side of the runway.

According to the Nevada Appeal, the plane was a 1973 Bellanca registered out of Kingman, Arizona and that the pilot was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

Story and video:  http://www.ktvn.com





CARSON CITY, Nev. (KOLO) - The pilot of a small plane was flown to Renown Regional Medical Center Wednesday after his plane went down in Carson City.

Sheriff Ken Furlong says it happened about 12:50PM March 1, 2017. The pilot, a Carson resident, had just taken off from the Carson airport but turned around and crashed at the north side of the airport. He was the only person on board.

No status about his condition has been released, but Furlong says he was conscious when he was taken to Renown.

There is no word yet regarding why he turned around or what led to the Viking 2-seater to crash.

The airport was temporarily closed during investigation and cleanup, but has since reopened.

Story and video:  http://www.kolotv.com







CARSON CITY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — The Carson City Sheriff's Office has confirmed a small plane crash at the Carson City airport.

According to Sheriff Ken Furlong, the pilot of the plane was unconscious and is being transported to Reno via CareFlight.

The crash was reported around 12:50 p.m.

Officials say the perimeter is being secured and the airport is closed.

No one else was on board at the time of the crash.

Source:   http://mynews4.com

Carson City Sheriff's Office 
Subject: Airport Temporarily Closed
Date: March 1, 2017
Time: 1:45 p.m.

(Carson City, NV) The Carson City Airport is temporarily closed until further notice. At about 12:50 p.m. dispatch was notified of a possible aircraft crash on the north side of the airport. According to Sheriff Ken Furlong the aircraft was identified as a local aircraft. At the time of the crash the aircraft had one occupant. The extent of the occupant’s injuries are unknown at this time. He has been Care Flighted to Renown for treatment.

Maule MX-7-180A, RJ Properties Inc., N600XX: Accident occurred March 01, 2017 in Live Oak, Sutter County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA168
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in Live Oak, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2017
Aircraft: MAULE MX7, registration: N600XX
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, while on base for his private grass airstrip, he noticed he was high, so he added flaps to increase his descent. He added that, on final, the airspeed was a little fast and during the landing, he flared the airplane “a little high.” After touchdown, the pilot applied the brakes, but the airplane did not respond, so he applied “a little more brake”; subsequently, the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the empennage.

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

The pilot reported as a safety recommendation that he should have performed a go-around instead of attempting to “salvage the landing.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain a stabilized approach and his subsequent incorrect brake application during the landing roll, which resulted in a nose-over.

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Sacramento, California 

RJ Properties Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N600XX 

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA168

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in Live Oak, CA
Aircraft: MAULE MX7, registration: N600XX
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 of the tailwheel equipped airplane reported that while on base for his private grass airstrip, he noticed he was high, so he added flaps to increase his descent. He reported that on final the airspeed was a little fast and during the landing, he flared the airplane "a little high". The pilot further reported that after touchdown, he applied the brakes, but the airplane did not respond, so he applied "a little more brake"; subsequently, the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted.

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

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

The pilot reported as a safety recommendation that he should have performed a go-around instead of attempting to "salvage the landing".



LIVE OAK, Calif.  —   A man was injured Wednesday afternoon after his plane crashed in Sutter County, officials said.

The pilot suffered minor to moderate injuries and drove himself to the hospital, the Sutter County Fire Department said.

The single-engine plane crash around 3:45 p.m. near Live Oak.

The fire department said the pilot was landing on a grass landing strip near Pennington and Hedger roads when the plane flipped over.

The pilot was the only person on board.

No other details were released. 

Source:  http://www.kcra.com

Spring Training: CAL FIRE Air Tankers Exercise over Nevada and Placer Counties



NEVADA CITY, Calif. March 1, 2017 –  Airtankers used by CAL FIRE to fight wildfires are currently training in the airspace over Nevada and Placer Counties. The training will continue for the next few days. The tankers and their pilots use the regularly scheduled “spring training” to get back into fighting shape. The Grass Valley air attack base is home to two ST2 tankers, two spotter planes and one helicopter. During the winter season, all air tankers are stationed at Sacramento’s McClellan base.

In 2016, year five of the drought, CAL FIRE and the Forest Service brought additional resources on earlier than ever to fight any new starts. Traditionally, CAL FIRE’s air tankers make their way from McClellan to Grass Valley in June.



The Grass Valley Emergency Command Center processes an average of 24,000 calls yearly and is jointly run by CAL FIRE and the Forest Service. Throughout the fire season, the Forest Service staffs the ECC from 7:00 am-7:00 pm and CAL FIRE dispatch center is operated 24 hrs a day. The joint ECC is staffed by 10 dispatchers, daily, during the fire season.

From late April through October, 4 pilots, 2 air attack officers, and additional staff are daily on duty for initial attack at the GV Air Attack Base representing both CAL FIRE and the Forest Service. There are two assigned CAL FIRE tankers, 1 CAL FIRE air attack plane, 1 Forest Service air attack plane and the Forest Service Bell 407 helicopter, complete with the Helitack crew.

Source:  https://yubanet.com

Cessna 172S Skyhawk, St. Pete Air, N22904: Accident occurred March 01, 2017 at Albert Whitted Airport (KSPG), St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

V L Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N22904


NTSB Identification: GAA17CA163
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in St Petersburg, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/22/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N22904
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The student pilot reported that, during a solo flight, he was performing takeoffs and full-stop landings in the traffic pattern. During the landing roll, he configured the flaps to 0 and applied full power. The airplane pulled to the left, and he overcompensated the right rudder pedal application. “In an immediate reaction to reverse this I applied left rudder to quickly and went immediately to far left causing a fishtailing effect.” The airplane exited the runway to the left and struck runway signage and a fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing, the landing gear attachment points, the horizontal stabilizer, and the elevator.

The student pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The student pilot’s overcompensation of right rudder pedal application during the landing roll, which resulted in a loss of directional control and impact with runway signage and a fence. 

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA163
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in St Petersburg, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N22904
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The student pilot reported that during a solo flight he was performing takeoffs and full stop landings in the traffic pattern. During the landing roll, he configured the flaps to zero and applied full power. The airplane pulled to the left and he overcompensated the right rudder pedal application. "In an immediate reaction to reverse this I applied left rudder to quickly and went immediately to far left causing a fishtailing effect." The airplane exited the runway to the left and struck runway signage and a fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing, the landing gear attachment points, the horizontal stabilizer and the elevator.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.





ST. PETERSBURG — A student pilot escaped injury Wednesday morning when his small plane crashed while attempting a landing at Albert Whitted Airport, according to St. Petersburg police.

The male pilot was practicing takeoffs and landings, according to police, when he crashed in front of the airport tower while attempting a landing around 11:20 a.m.

The pilot was alone on the plane and was not injured, fire officials said. "Pilot error" led to the crash, according to St. Petersburg police, but the agency declined to identify the pilot.

The Cessna 172S Skyhawk ran off the side of Runway 7 and struck a fence after landing, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

She said the FAA is investigating the crash to determine whether any regulations were violated, although that process could take months. The National Transportation Safety Board will determine what led to the crash, Bergen said.

Fire officials said the crash damaged the plane's landing gear and caused a minor fuel leak.

Airport manager Richard Lesniak said the student pilot was taking lessons with St. Pete Air. Company officials declined to return calls for comment.

The fixed wing single-engine plane, which was manufactured in 2005, is registered to VL Aviation LLC in Snell Isle.

Source:  http://www.tampabay.com







ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A small plane crashed in front of the airport tower at Albert Whitted Airport Wednesday morning.

The airport is located at 107 8th Avenue SE in St. Petersburg.

When the fire department arrived on scene they found a Cessna 172S Skyhawk that had crashed in front of the tower, primarily damaging the landing gear. Police say the pilot was a student that was practicing takeoffs and landings and while attempting to land, the plane crashed near the tower. 

The male pilot was the only occupant on board the aircraft at the time of the crash. No injuries were reported. 

Fire officials handled a minor fuel leak. The FAA was notified of the crash and will complete the investigation. 

Story and video:  http://www.abcactionnews.com

Transportation Security Administration documents reveal security lapses at Stewart International Airport (KSWF)



NEW YORK — Sensitive documents leaked after a data exposure at an upstate New York airport have revealed several major security lapses in recent years.

Dozens of files seen by ZDNet list a catalog of security failings over the past few years at Stewart International Airport, about 60 miles north of Manhattan, which serves hundreds of thousands of passengers each year, including high-profile guests and private charter flights.

The cache build up a unique picture of insider threats, breaches, and lapses that acknowledge the difficulty in keeping airside security to a high standard, even at smaller airports.

In one such instance, documents seen by ZDNet show how airport staff was for an unknown period in 2010 unable to screen names against the U.S. government’s watchlist of suspected terrorists who were forbidden from flying in its airspace.

A response letter by the airport manager confirmed that the airport “did not have access to the list,” and therefore badge-holding staff at the airport were not being screened properly.

The airport had to enlist the help of neighboring Westchester County Airport to carry out the checks, the letter added.

ZDNet

The government’s “no-fly” list currently prevents around 47,000 passengers from flying within, into, or out of U.S. airspace, according to leaked documents, a figure that rocketed during the Obama administration.

But the list has proven controversial, not least because it’s shrouded in secrecy. Only a select few people who have challenged their membership are even aware that they have been on the list, which includes regular citizens, diplomats and politicians. CBS News obtained a copy of the no-fly list in 2006, which showed that the list was riddled with mistaken identities, wrongly added names, and even dead people.

It’s not clear what led to the screening mishap, but emails found in the cache of exposed file show one security-cleared employee of AVPorts, a third-party operations provider that manages the airport, regularly downloaded the no-fly list from a secure Homeland Security portal.

A former head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) explained that both passengers and airport staff are checked against the no-fly list centrally, making it more difficult to slip through the cracks.

“All airline passengers are screened for the no-fly list automatically by TSA centrally when a flight reservation is made,” said Kip Hawley, who helped to found the agency following the September 11 attacks. “It looks like the airport is supposed to screen badge-holders against the no-fly list, and maybe they weren’t doing that so they got the notice of violation,” he said.

But Hawley said that the so-called “insider threat” remains a concern.

One email seen by ZDNet showed that the airport was concerned about the issue following an arrest of a Long Island, New York resident, which resulted in the discovery of a counterfeit badge for LaGuardia Airport. The email said that had staff not properly checked the badge, it may have allowed an uncleared person to enter the airport’s secure area.

“Please keep in mind that this could happen at any airport and we must be vigilant,” read the email sent by a senior security official at Stewart Airport.

Federal agencies continue to put greater scrutiny on the security protocols and policies of smaller airports, including Stewart, in light of the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.

Among the concerns are that potential fighters who try to join the terror group on the ground in Syria and Iraq may aim to travel through smaller, regional airports in order to avoid detection by the authorities.

One field intelligence note found among the exposed files, published by Homeland Security in April 2016, said terrorists “may continue to choose smaller airports… as preferred, more attractive departure points for foreign fighter travel,” because security is perceived to be not as strict as at larger international airports.

That makes the risks greater and the need to ensure tight security controls all the more important.

A review of various letters of investigation received by the airport over the past decade point to as many as 15 separate investigations carried out by the TSA each year as a result of security lapses at the airport.

TSA inspectors wrote in one letter of investigation in 2010 that card readers installed in the airport’s corporate transit zone allowed direct access to the Air Operations Area, a highly restricted area of the airside tarmac where aircraft depart, arrive, and maneuver.

Another letter of investigation from 2011 found an unsecured baggage carousel key, which provides direct access to the airport’s secure area. The key was lent by a member of one airline’s staff to another, but it was later left on a ticket counter when the borrower returned the key.

And, a letter of investigation from mid-2012 detailed a list of multiple claimed violations, including unsupervised and unescorted access to non-cleared contractors and visitors to highly sensitive and restricted parts of the airport, known as Security Identification Display Areas.

But a concerted effort by the airport to improve security over the past three years has paid off.

One email sent by the airport’s security manager earlier last year confirmed that the TSA had not sent any letters of investigation during 2015.

Also, a comprehensive security review by TSA inspectors in the same year concluded with no findings of concern, the email said.

In a statement provided to CBS News, the TSA said:

“The documents we’ve seen referenced appear to be copies of old inspection reports that demonstrate that TSA has been performing our mission of security oversight at the airport. When we find issues that need to be addressed we point them out and work with the airport to get them resolved.”

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates the area’s transportation facilities, including Stewart International Airport, said in a statement that its network “has not been compromised” and that issues identified several years ago have been addressed:

“Based on our investigation, the Port Authority network has not been compromised and remains sound. AVPorts, an independent contractor that handles various airport functions including serving as security manager at Stewart International Airport, maintains a separate system for administering those responsibilities. Our investigation into AVPorts separate system is ongoing.  The TSA findings in the documents in that system from several years ago were addressed at that time to the satisfaction of the TSA and are no longer relevant.”

This article originally appeared on ZDNet.com.

Source:  http://www.wdef.com




NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York, is a fairly small airport with a big problem.

Chris Vickery is a data security expert in California. Part of his job is to find private information exposed to the public and then let the companies or agencies know about their security lapse. That is exactly what he did with Stewart International Airport earlier this month. 

"I found that what's known as the remote synchronization service at this IP address was open and exposed to the entire world," Vickery said. "Anybody with an Internet connection could have downloaded from it."

Chris was then shocked to see the documents he easily downloaded from the server: tons of information about Stewart International Airport.

"When I opened it, it contained all sorts of airport data," Vickery said. "It had folders named 'HR,' 'Payroll.' It had employees' Social Security numbers as well as 107 gigabytes of email correspondence."

Chris says he immediately called the airport management company and then the Port Authority, which owns the airport. He let them know about the dangerous security breach. Several hours later, the public server shut down.

In a statement, the Port Authority said: "Based on our investigation, the Port Authority network has not been compromised and remains sound. AVPorts, an independent contractor that handles various airport functions including serving as security manager at Stewart International Airport, maintains a separate system for administering those responsibilities. Our investigation into AVPorts separate system is ongoing."

We also reached out to the TSA, which said it takes these allegations very seriously and is reviewing the incident. 

Story and video:  http://www.fox5ny.com

XtremeAir XA42, N342AW: Accident occurred March 01, 2017 at North Palm Beach County Airport (F45), West Palm Beach, Florida

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf  

http://registry.faa.gov/N342AW

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA122
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 01, 2017 in West Palm Beach, FL
Aircraft: XTREMEAIR GMBH XA42, registration: N342AW
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 1, 2017, about 1315 eastern standard time, an Xtremeair GMBH XA42, N342AW, was substantially damaged during a forced landing after takeoff from North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport (F45), West Palm Beach, Florida. The airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the accident flight was the first flight of the day, and the airplane had about 20 gallons of fuel on board. During takeoff, when the airplane was approximately 150 feet above ground level, the "engine suddenly quit as if the mixture went to idle cutoff." The pilot attempted to restart the engine without success and elected to land the airplane straight ahead in a field. During the landing, the airplane touched down on soft terrain and skidded about 60 feet prior to coming to rest in the upright position. The pilot then egressed from the airplane.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the two-place, conventional gear, low-wing airplane was manufactured in 2015, and was registered to the pilot at that time. It was powered by a Lycoming AEIO-580 series, 315-horsepower engine. According to a photograph, the engine oil filter exhibited a date of February 28, 2017, and a time of 321.5 hours.

Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed that the firewall and engine mounts were substantially damaged during the forced landing. Furthermore, all three propeller blade tips were impact damaged.

The engine was retained for further examination.


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (CBS12) — An XtremeAir XA42 slid off the runway and came to rest in a marsh at the North Palm Beach County Airport, the FAA said Wednesday.

The incident happened just after 1 p.m. and drew multiple rescue crews from Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue.

According to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, one aircraft is 75 yards out in a swampy area and there are no reported injuries.

The FAA said the pilot was the only one on board.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is on scene, assisting with the investigation.

Fire Rescue reported the incident involved two aircraft. It's unclear at this moment how the second aircraft was involved.

Source:   http://cbs12.com






PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -- Palm Beach County Fire Rescue crews are investigating a plane accident at North Palm Beach County Airport.

Two aircraft were involved in the incident, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

Officials with the FAA say an XtremeAir XA42 aircraft slid off the grass runway and came to rest approximately 75 yards into a marsh area. No injuries were reported. Only the pilot was on board.

The FAA did not disclose details of a second aircraft being involved in the accident.

Source:  http://www.wptv.com

With aging jets and a shortage of pilots, the Air Force weighs buying throwback ‘light-attack’ planes



The U.S. Air Force, faced with a potentially protracted war against the Islamic State, aging fighter jets and a shrinking force of pilots, is examining the adoption of a new fleet of “light-attack” planes that are both a throwback to earlier U.S. operations and a current staple of militaries in South America and the Middle East.

The aircraft would be able to carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State and other militants for less money than the F-16 Fighting Falcon or the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Options available could include Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano propeller plane, which the United States has delivered to Afghanistan and other allies, and Beechcraft’s AT-6, a version of which the U.S. military already uses in pilot training.

Air Force generals have discussed the proposal several times in recent weeks, saying that the planes could supplement existing aircraft, including drones, in regions where there is no enemy capable of shooting down U.S. planes. Gen. David Goldfein, the service’s top officer, said the proposal is part of an ongoing dialogue that dates back years and could soon include an experiment in which private companies demonstrate what the planes can do.

“I’m not interested in something that requires a lot of research and development here,” Goldfein said during a recent appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I’m looking for something that I can get at right now, commercial, off the shelf, low-cost, that can operate in an uncontested environment, that can deliver the capabilities that we need, that can also be something that perhaps our allies and partners that are in this fight with us” use.

Goldfein added: “If you assume this fight will be going on for a little bit of time, there is room and time for us to get after this.”

The experiment will follow related efforts in Iraq and the United States. In the most recent, U.S. Central Command deployed two Vietnam-era, twin-engine OV-10G Broncos on loan from NASA to Iraq in 2015, flying them in missions against the Islamic State to assess how light-attack planes might help in the air war.

The experiment was described by Navy Capt. Andy Walton in an article last year in Proceedings Magazine, a publication of the U.S. Naval Institute. He detailed one mission over Iraq in an OV-10G in which he and a colleague observed militants for hours as they traveled down the Tigris River in canoes, and then fired on them with laser-guided rockets.

The use of the planes was the latest step in a program called Combat Dragon II, which dates back nearly a decade and involves Special Operations Command. Goldfein cited it recently, noting that some testing was carried out when he was the commander of Air Forces Central Command from August 2011 to July 2013. One of his bosses at the time was Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, now defense secretary, who supported the program as chief of U.S. Central Command.

The Air Force published a paper in 2008 that identified the need for a plane that could carry out both attacks and aerial observation. It called the plane “OA-X” and said continued reliance on other aircraft, ranging from the B-1 bomber to the F-16, at “rates that are much higher than planned and programmed” would wear them out.

The Air Force, the paper said, “faces a critical gap in its ability to conduct air support for extended periods in the Long War,” a reference to counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations worldwide. It recommended that the aircraft should have an armored protection for the crew and engine, missile warnings and countermeasures, among other features.

Air Force officials estimate that the cost of flying a propeller plane like the A-29 or AT-6 would be a few thousand dollars per hour. In comparison, it costs about $18,000 per hour to fly the A-10 attack jet. Other hourly costs are: $19,000 for the F-16; $24,000 for the F-15E; $42,000 for the F-35A; $44,000 for the AC-130J; $62,000 for the F-22A; $63,000 for the B-52; $77,000 for the B-1B; and $120,000 for the B-2, according to service statistics.

The light-attack effort has new momentum in part because one of its chief critics in Congress, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has shifted his opinion on the U.S. military experimenting with the aircraft. In 2011, he criticized research the Navy wanted to do for Combat Dragon as unnecessary because of the existence of the A-10, the slow-moving jet that has long carried out close-air support for U.S. troops in combat. At the time, light-attack planes were seen as a potential replacement for at least some A-10s, which McCain has long championed.

However, the service, which once said it would retire all 283 snub-nose “Warthogs” to save an estimated $4.2 billion, now plans to keep them because of their utility in the fight against the Islamic State. McCain said in a recent report titled “Restoring American Power” that the Air Force should not only keep its A-10s but also buy 300 “low-cost, light-attack fighters that would require minimal work to develop.” The planes could carry out counterterrorism operations, perform close-air support and help to season pilots as the Air Force addresses its pilot shortfall, the report said.

The shortfall has become an increasing problem as pilots leave the military at a rate that Goldfein and then-Air Force Secretary Deborah James declared a crisis last summer. Data released to The Washington Post showed there were about 723 fighter pilot vacancies in the service among 3,495 jobs, leaving 21 percent unfilled.

The Air Force has attributed the shortage to recruiting by the commercial airline industry; frequent deployments keeping pilots away from their families; and a reduction in stateside training amid budget constraints. It says it sees the new light-attack plane as an inexpensive way to get entry-level military pilots into planes as quickly as possible.

“When they end their commitment at the end of 10 years, we’re losing a lot of them to the airlines,” said an Air Force official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive personnel matter. “Just to keep up … you have to match that exit every year in the production and seasoning of pilots. You’ve got to have cockpits for those pilots to go to to get that experience and seasoning after you do initial training.”

Source:  http://www.spokesman.com

Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP, Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, N499ER: Accident occurred February 28, 2017 in Ormond Beach, Volusia County, Florida

Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N499ER

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office:  Orlando, Florida 

Aircraft while enroute, struck birds.  Landed without incident.  

Date: 28-FEB-17
Time: 02:45:00Z
Regis#: N499ER
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C172
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
City: ORMOND BEACH
State: FLORIDA

Piper PA-46-500TP, Vetnet Services LLC, N40MA: Incident occurred February 28, 2017 at Space Coast Regional Airport (KTIX), Titusville, Brevard County, Florida

Vetnet Services LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N40MA

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Tampa, Florida

Aircraft on landing, nose gear collapsed. 

Date: 28-FEB-17
Time: 20:30:00Z
Regis#: N40MA
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA46
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: OTHER
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: TITUSVILLE
State: FLORIDA

Socata TB21TC, Chuck Henry Sales Inc., N2802W: Incident occurred February 28, 2017 at Salina Regional Airport (KSLN), Saline County, Kansas

Chuck Henry Sales Inc:   http://registry.faa.gov/N2802W

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Wichita, Kansas

Aircraft landed gear up.

Date: 28-FEB-17
Time: 20:38:00Z
Regis#: N2802W
Aircraft Make: SOCATA
Aircraft Model: TB21TC
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SALINA
State: KANSAS

Air Tractor AT-802A, Airbourn Aviation LLC, N422BR: Accident occurred February 28, 2017 at Prentiss-Jefferson Davis County Airport (M43), Prentiss, Mississippi

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Jackson, Mississippi

Airbourn Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N422BR

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA164 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 28, 2017 in Prentiss, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/2017
Aircraft: AIR TRACTOR INC AT 802, registration: N422BR
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, during takeoff in gusting tailwind conditions, as the tailwheel lifted, the airplane drifted to the left and off the runway. He aborted the takeoff and applied “maximum braking” and reverse thrust. During the runway excursion, the airplane impacted a ditch and spun 180°.

The pilot added that, as he exited the cockpit, he observed “dark smoke coming from the exhaust and cowling with smoldering burning grass.” He reported that he discharged the onboard fire extinguisher into the engine exhaust, main landing gear, and grass. He added that hydraulic fluid leaking from a severed brake line and fuel leaking from the cowl and lower right wing were feeding the postimpact fire. Shortly thereafter, the local volunteer fire department arrived and extinguished the fire.

The fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that the wind was from 180º at 15 knots, gusting to 28 knots. The closest automated weather observation station, located about 38 nautical miles from the accident site, recorded wind from 180° at 14 knots, gusting to 22 knots. The airplane took off from runway 30.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to take off with a gusting tailwind and his subsequent failure to maintain directional control.

The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during takeoff in gusting tailwind conditions, as the tailwheel lifted, the airplane drifted to the left and off the runway. He aborted the takeoff and applied "maximum braking" and reverse thrust. During the runway excursion, the airplane impacted a ditch and spun 180°. 

The pilot added that as he exited the cockpit, he observed "dark smoke coming from the exhaust and cowling with smoldering burning grass." He reported that he discharged the onboard fire extinguisher into engine exhaust, main landing gear, and grass. He added that hydraulic fluid leaking from a severed brake line and fuel leaking from the cowl and lower right wing were feeding the post-impact fire. Shortly thereafter, the local volunteer fire department arrived and extinguished the fire. 

The fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported the wind was 180º at 15 knots with gusts to 28 knots. The closest automated weather observation station, about 38 nautical miles from the accident location, recorded a wind of 180° at 14 knots, gusting to 22 knots. The airplane took off runway 30.

Cessna 172R Skyhawk, Cheyenne LLC, N430U: Incident occurred February 20, 2017 at Allegheny County Airport (KAGC), West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

Cheyenne LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N430U

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

Aircraft on landing, struck propeller.  

Date: 20-FEB-17
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N430U
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: WEST MIFFLIN
State: PENNSYLVANIA