Friday, March 17, 2017

‘They’re not waking up’: Four children call 911 after their parents’ suspected drug overdose



The four children woke up and were about to start getting ready for school when they found their parents, Brian and Courtney Halye, unresponsive and cold in their bedroom.

The children, ages 9 to 13, dialed 911.

“My mom's on the floor and my stepdad's basically pale and they're not waking up,” Courtney Halye's daughter told an emergency dispatcher through tears.

Indeed, they were dead, and Montgomery County, Ohio, Coroner's Office Director Ken Betz told the Dayton Daily News that the “preliminary indication is probable accidental drug overdose.” Authorities think the culprit may be heroin that was mixed with fentanyl — a deadly combination that has claimed countless lives across the country.

In a second 911 call Thursday from the home in southwestern Ohio, another child, a 13-year-old, tried to answer a dispatcher's questions as his siblings could be heard wailing in the background.

“Are they breathing?” the dispatcher asked.

“I don't think so,” the boy responded.

“Have they been feeling ill?” a medic asked.

“No, they were just fine,” he replied. He called out to his sisters, “Guys, did you see anything? What was wrong with them?”

“They said that my stepdad's face was pale and there was black lines all over his face,” the boy then said.

“Are they warm or cold to the touch?” the medic said.

“They were very cold,” he responded.

“Do you guys have gas appliances?” the medic asked.

“What is a gas appliance?” he replied.

When authorities arrived, the boy could be heard directing them to his parents' bedroom at their home in Centerville, not far from Dayton: “My parents are upstairs to the left — the last door to the left.”

The boy continued talking to the dispatcher, telling her that he had stepped outside. When asked whether he was cold, he replied, “A little bit; I'm fine.”

He could be heard sniffling as the recording cut out.

As with much of the United States, Ohio is in the throes of a ruthless opioid epidemic that shows no signs of abating.

Children have become innocent victims; some have seen their parents shoot up and overdose, occasionally with fatal consequences. Others have unwittingly and unwillingly faced overdoses themselves.

In September 2016, a chilling photograph distributed by the authorities captured the innocence lost on a 4-year-old’s face in East Liverpool, Ohio, where a man and woman were seen slumped over after overdosing in a vehicle, the boy still strapped into his car seat in the back. A week later and 600 miles away, at a Family Dollar store in Lawrence, Mass., a hysterical toddler was captured on a cellphone video as she tried to wake her mother after an apparent drug overdose.

The video showed the toddler, dressed in pink-and-purple “Frozen” pajamas, pulling her mother’s fingers, then sitting down beside her and shaking her mother’s face.

In October, a 7-year-old girl in McKeesport, Pa., told her school bus driver that she hadn’t been able to wake the adults in her house for days, and that their bodies were beginning to change colors. She had been caring for three other children in the home — ages 5, 3 and 9 months — and had gotten herself back and forth to school, police said. Her parents were dead.

Then, a couple in Washington state made news when authorities said they had been injecting their young children with heroin, reportedly calling it “feel good medicine.”

Synthetic opioids, including heroin and its deadlier cousin, fentanyl, are the main drivers of overdose deaths across the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Ohio Department of Health reports that the number of opioid-related deaths in the state skyrocketed from 296 in 2003 to 2,590 in 2015 — a 775 percent jump over a 12-year period. These numbers include deaths involving prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl, which is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times as potent.

Centerville police spokesman John Davis said Brian and Courtney Halye were the city's fifth and sixth fatal overdose victims this year. Last year, there were just five.

“It doesn't matter who you are or where you are — this epidemic knows no boundaries,” Davis told The Washington Post, adding that the Centerville case illustrates that.

Davis said the couple's deaths appeared to be drug-related because drug paraphernalia was found at the scene and that it “meets all the criteria” for a heroin-fentanyl overdose. But authorities are awaiting the toxicology results, he said.

Davis said the danger is that, in many cases, drug dealers have no idea what they are selling — and users have no idea what they are buying.

Brian Halye, a 36-year-old pilot for Spirit Airlines, married Courtney in 2013, according to his obituary. Each had two children from previous relationships, police said.

Spirit Airlines said in a statement that Halye had worked for the company for more than nine years and had flown his final flight March 10.

“Our hearts go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Captain Halye,” Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry said in a statement.

Berry said that Transportation Department and Federal Aviation Administration regulations require airlines to conduct tests for pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and dispatchers, including “random and reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing.” If someone in one of these “safety-sensitive positions” tests positive, that person would be “immediately removed from their position,” he said.

Another spokesman said the company would not be providing any further comment.

Courtney Halye, 34, was described in her obituary as “a kind loving generous soul.”

“She had a smile that lit up a room which made her very much loved by all her family and friends,” it read. “Courtney was a wonderful nurturing mother to two beautiful children.”

The Dayton Daily News reported that Courtney Halye apparently had a history that involved drugs. In 2007, Jacob Castor, her then-husband and father of her children, died of a drug overdose, the newspaper reported, citing the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

In 2009 she was convicted of felony drug possession, although the case was later expunged, according to the Dayton Daily News.

The Dayton Daily News also reported:

In January of 2016, Nancy Casey, Courtney Halye’s mother, contacted Centerville police and said she felt her daughter threatened to harm herself and was abusing narcotics.

Casey told officers her daughter had been “hooked on drugs” on and off for about seven years. The mother suspected her daughter was high when talking with her that day, the report said.

In that same report, which covered events of Jan. 5-6, 2016, Brian Halye contacted police after he had returned from Detroit, where he worked for Spirit Airlines as a pilot. Brian Halye told officers he had called and texted his wife, who had hung up on him and would not tell him where she was.

Police used her cellphone to determine she was in east Dayton but did not immediately find her. When officers found her vehicle, Courtney Halye was not there.

Later on Jan. 6, 2016, Brian Halye told police his wife had returned to their house but had locked him out. He worried that she was trying to get to two unloaded guns he kept inside, so he forced entry.

Courtney Halye was holding both guns, the report said, and her husband took them from her just as officers arrived there.

Police said that she appeared mentally unstable and possibly intoxicated or having a medical issue related to diabetes. The officer requested medics, who took her to the hospital for treatment.

Brian Halye told officers that day his wife had battled heroin and cocaine addiction “for quite some time.”

Casey recently told NBC News that Courtney Halye had Type 1 diabetes and was on medication for depression; but she said she did not think her daughter and son-in-law had a persistent drug problem.

“I don't know if they decided they were going to party, or went and they got ahold of this bad stuff going around town,” Casey said. But she added that she had been concerned since she talked to them the day before the couple was found dead.

“I had this dreadful feeling all day,” she told NBC News. “Something was off with her and something was off with him.”

Original article can be found here:  https://www.washingtonpost.com





The Spirit Airlines pilot whose death authorities call a likely overdose may not have been drug tested in years, because while federal regulations require airlines to drug test under certain conditions, airline pilots are not drug tested during yearly physical exams.

Centerville police have not indicated whether they believe Brian Halye, 36, had used drugs on occasions prior to his March 16 death alongside his wife, Courtney Halye, 34, who had a history of drug use, according to police reports. Nor has Spirit Airlines said whether and when its 9-year veteran pilot was drug tested, though the company said it follows the law.

“I’d be surprised if he went through there nine years and never got tested, but it could happen,” said Shawn Pruchnicki, an Ohio State University Center for Aviation Studies lecturer, former Comair Airlines pilot and pharmacist who is trained in toxicology. “It’s a numbers game.”

Federal regulations require airlines to administer pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, reasonable cause and follow-up testing for drugs and alcohol, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said.

“In other words, there are several times during a pilot’s air transport career when he or she will be tested,” said Elizabeth Cory, an FAA spokeswoman, by email.

But the exact operating specifications that cover each airline’s operations, including crew training, testing, and oversight are proprietary, Cory said, and cannot be released under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

A Centerville police spokesman said the department reached out to Spirit Airlines as part of the investigation, but could not elaborate on the nature of contact. Officer John Davis, the department spokesman, said whether the pilot used drugs during his time as an airline pilot is not the main focus of the death investigation.

“That’s a whole other issue for people to worry about,” Davis said. “Right now we’re trying to get a full picture of what led up to (the deaths) and how things occurred.”

Spirit Airlines said the carrier operates “with the highest degree of safety” and is “fully compliant” with FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations regarding drug use and testing on “safety-sensitive employees,” including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and dispatchers.

“In the event that someone in a safety sensitive position tests positive, they would be immediately removed from their position,” airline spokesman Paul Berry said in an email statement. The airline has not addressed the newspaper’s requests for the dates and results of Halye’s drug tests.

Pilot medical exams required by law might not detect drug use either, experts said.

Pilots must possess valid medical certificates to fly. For pilots under age 40, the first-class medical certificate must be updated every 12 months. In Halye’s case, his last medical certificate was issued in September 2016, at which time he would have been required to undergo a medical exam.

But the corresponding medical exam would not have required a drug test, Pruchnicki and other experts said, as urine collected during the exam isn’t tested to detect drugs, but diseases. The OSU lecturer said the cost of drug testing is cost prohibitive and burdensome to pilots who may be victim to false positive results.

“Just because someone tests positive for a drug does not mean you’re under the influence of it,” said Pruchnicki. “There are thousands and thousands of these (medical exams) done per day … (drug tests) would completely bog down the medical systems.”

“From what we’ve seen, drug abuse of medication, illicit medication, is quite small,” he said. “Just sitting in the cockpit, if you smell alcohol, everything comes to a screeching halt. A lot of times, not all the time, you can tell if someone is under the influence of alcohol or heroin or Vicodin.”

Pruchnicki also said all pilots who die in crashes are screened for drugs, but with the exception of some over-the-counter medications “we’ve just never had an accident where someone has tested positive for anything.”

Original article can be found here: http://www.daytondailynews.com




Brian J. Halye

Age 36, of Centerville, Ohio, passed away unexpectedly Thursday Morning, March 16, 2017 at home.

He was born November 26, 1980  in Kettering, son of James & Cindy (Groves) Halye.   On June 29, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio, he married Courtney Castor Halye, who also passed away on March 16, 2017.

Brian worked as a  Pilot Captain for Spirit Airlines, had attended the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and was a 1999 graduate of the Spring Valley academy.

In addition to his parents, other surviving family members are his daughters- Elaina & Lydia Halye, both of Centerville; mother of the children- Rochelle Dyer, Centerville; step-children- Coby & Carly Castor, both at home; sister- Kathleen (Jorge) Delgado, Delaware, OH; brother- Myles (Jessica) Halye, Jamestown; Paternal grandmother- Nayon Halye, Hamburg, PA; maternal grandparents- Clarence & Marge Groves, Flagler Beach, FL; and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. 

Funeral Services will be held 10 AM, Tuesday, March 21, 2017  at Fisher-Edgington Funeral Home, 97 West Locust Street at North Mulberry Street, Wilmington with Pastor Roy Lawinsky  officiating.  Interment will follow in the Miller Cemetery, Wilmington, Ohio.

 Friends will be received from 4-7 PM Monday evening, March 20 at the Fisher-Edgington Funeral Home, Wilmington.

 Contributions may be made to the Wings of Mercy Inc., 100 South Pine Street, Suite #393, Zeeland, MI 49464.  To sign the online guest book, please go to edgingtonfuneralhomes.com.

Source: http://www.edgingtonfuneralhomes.com 



HALYE (Castor, Casey)

Courtney Ann Age 34 of Centerville, Ohio. Born February 25, 1983 in Kettering, Ohio, died March 16, 2017.

Courtney was a kind loving generous soul. She had a smile that lit up a room which made her very much loved by all her family and friends. 

Courtney was a wonderful nurturing mother to two beautiful children. She is preceded in death by her sister Kelly Casey, husbands Jacob Castor and Brian Halye. 

Courtney is survived by her children Coby and Carly Castor, step-daughters Elaina and Lydia Halye, mother Nancy Casey, her "two dad's" Daniel(Cheryl)Casey and Matthew(Abby)Tyner, grandparents Ann (John) Hogberg and extended family and friends. 

Family will receive friends 4:00PM to 6:00PM Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at the TOBIAS FUNERAL HOME-Far Hills Chapel; where service will be held 6:00PM Tuesday with Jeffrey Campbell of St. John's UCC officiating. 

In lieu of flowers contributions can be made in Courtney's memory to the American Diabetes Association 2555 S. Dixie Dr. Dayton, Ohio 45409.


Source:   http://www.legacy.com




March 17--Federal Aviation Administration officials said the medical certifications of the deceased Spirit Airlines pilot from Centerville who died of a likely drug overdose were up-to-date but have not said why the agency's publicly-available database used by crash investigators suggests he was unable to fly any aircraft in the United States.

The four children of Brian Halye, a pilot, and Courtney Halye found the couple dead in the bedroom of their Centerville home Thursday in Montgomery County Coroner's Office Director Ken Betz called a "probable accidental drug overdose."

Betz said examinations on the couple have been completed, but a final determination on the cause and manner will take six weeks until toxicology reports are completed. Since Jan. 1, Montgomery County has had 155 accidental drug overdoses, Betz said.

The case attracted national media attention Friday.




Officer John Davis, Centerville Police spokesman, said, "I think maybe just where it occurred, and what occurred, has drawn some attention to that. I know that the speculation as to Mr. Halye's employment has also drawn attention to it. That's not the focus of our investigation at this time."

Investigators have not given any indication the Spirit Airlines pilot used drugs prior to his death. Brian Halye's last flight for the company before his death was March 10, a Spirit Airlines spokesman said.

Questions remain about why a federal database did not show up-to-date information on Brian Halye.

Aviation safety expert Shawn Pruchnicki of Ohio State University told the Dayton Daily News the database is one of the tools used by the National Transportation Safety Board during investigations of air disasters.

The FAA told the Dayton Daily News on Thursday that Brian Halye had a valid first-class medical certificate allowing him to fly. But the agency could not definitively answer why the public database of airmen indicated the certificate expired more than four years ago.



The Dayton Daily News has filed a federal Freedom of Information Act request for Brian Halye's medical certificates.

Pilots must hold valid medical certificates in order to fly. The Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which he held, requires a first-class medical certificate, which must be updated every 12 months for a pilot under the age of 40. Brian Halye was 36.

The FAA database lists Brian Halye's medical certificate date as September, 2011, more than five years ago. No class of pilot is allowed to go that long without a medical exam. Asked Thursday to double check, Cory said Brian Halye's certificate was up-to-date, with it due to expire this fall.

"I'm not sure why the online database does not have that information," Cory said in an email to the Dayton Daily News on Thursday. "The system could be in the process of update."

The database is updated each federal working day at midnight, according to the FAA's website.



Cory said she asked another FAA employee on Thursday to check Brian Halye's medical certification. The employee, a medical doctor, Cory said, "went into the airman's file and looked it up."

"The online database is one of many that we have," she said Friday. "It is a very basic listing of name and certificate. It is separate from an in-depth medical file. It is not the only database we have."

Pruchnicki, a lecturer at OSU's Center for Aviation Studies and a pharmacist, said he's never had a problem seeing his medical certifications in the airmen database.

"I've always been able to pull up my own medicals to see," said Pruchnicki, a former Comair pilot, after hearing about the FAA's response to the newspaper.

The newspaper has asked Spirit Airlines if it is conducting an internal investigation into Brian Halye's death. The airline did not respond at time of publication.

Martin Rottler, also an OSU lecturer, said he did not expect "anything nefarious" was going on with the FAA's records.

"They have several hundred pilot records that are in there," Rottler said. "The carriers and the FAA have better records and far greater records than what you'll find on the FAA database."

Brian Halye had two children from a previous marriage, as did Courtney Halye. Her former husband, Jacob Castor, died in August 2007 from an accidental drug overdose, according to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office.

Two of the children attend Centerville schools. The other two attend Spring Valley Academy.

Spring Valley released a statement Friday that read in part: " ... we are doing all we can to provide all appropriate support for them and all their classmates who are affected by this heartbreaking loss. As a Christian community we take comfort in the promise of ultimate healing, restoration, and resurrection but at the moment we are deeply grieving with our students and their families."

Original article can be found here:  http://www.4-traders.com



Authorities on Friday were investigating the deaths of a Spirit Airlines pilot and his wife whose bodies were found by their children in their southwestern Ohio home. A coroner said the preliminary cause of death for both appears consistent with a drug overdose.


Pilot Brian Halye, 36, and wife Courtney, 34, were found dead Thursday in a bedroom of their home in Centerville, south of Dayton, police said. 


 The couple's children can be heard on a 911 call after their parents failed to wake them for school.


"They were very cold," their son told a dispatcher while his three sisters can be heard crying in the background. 


 The son added that they found their parents in bed not breathing and that his sisters described their father's face as "pale and there was black lines all over his face."


Spirit Airlines confirmed Friday of Halye's appointment and said his final flight was March 10.



Brian Halye with the couple’s three children



"Captain Halye served at the airline for just over nine years," Spirit Airlines said in a statement, noting that they run random drug and alcohol tests on all employees.


The airlines said anyone who tests positive for drugs is immediately fired. 


 Although authorities are still investigating, they say the deaths appear to be drug-related and are consistent with a heroin or fentanyl overdose. A toxicology report will take four to six weeks.


Centerville police added that the deaths appeared to be drug-related because narcotics paraphernalia was found at the scene.


The director for the Montgomery County Coroner's Office said heroin overdoses have reached "record numbers for January and February."


Courtney Halye's mother, Nancy Casey, said her daughter was a Type 1 diabetic, suffered from depression and was on medication. But Casey, 51, believes heroin or drugs were not a persistent problem in the parents' lives, and added that her daughter was well-liked and described her as "a light in the room."


"I don't know if they decided they were going to party, or went and they got a hold of this bad stuff going around town," she told NBC News, noting that her daughter should not be characterized as an "addict" or "low-life."


But she had a bad feeling after she talked to them earlier in the day.


"I had this dreadful feeling all day," Casey said. "Something was off with her and something was off with him." 


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



Brian Halye and son


CENTERVILLE - Four children found their parents – including their airline pilot father – dead Thursday in their Centerville, Ohio, home in what investigators said appears to be the latest incident in a scourge of drug deaths plaguing Montgomery County and Ohio.

The husband, Brian Halye, was an active pilot for Spirit Airlines, flying for them nine years, and captaining a passenger jet as recently as last Friday.

He and his wife, Courtney Halye, were found in a bedroom of their home on East Von Dette Circle, a suburban cul-de-sac.

The deaths appear “drug related due to paraphernalia found at the scene,” Centerville Police Officer John Davis said. Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, said the incident resembles other opioid cases and “could be consistent with what we’re seeing with fentanyl products in our community.”

“We’ve been talking about this for how long now?” Betz said by phone. “Here I go again … year-to-date, accidental drug overdoses exceeded 160 already this year.”

Official causes of death for the couple have not been released, as a full medical exam will be performed today.

‘They were very cold’

The couple each had two children from previous marriages. In two 911 calls to Centerville police shortly before 8 a.m., the children ages 9 to 13 told dispatchers their parents are on the floor and “not waking up.”

“They were very cold,” said the oldest child, politely answering “yes, ma’am” to the dispatcher as his sisters cried in the background.

The children ran outside the home to relatives as police conducted an investigation. By 10:30, police and emergency response vehicles cleared the usually tranquil neighborhood.

The Halyes purchased their home in summer 2013. The neighborhood, Pellbrook Farm, is just southwest of the Ohio 725-Wilmington Pike intersection. The quiet suburban cul-de-sac features homes valued around $150,000 to $225,000.

Warren County Court records show Brian Halye was divorced in 2011 in a shared parenting case. Courtney Halye was convicted of a felony drug possession charge in 2009, but the case was expunged. Her previous husband Jacob Castor, the father of two of the children, died in 2007 at age 27.

Neighbors were stunned by Thursday’s news.

“There’s never much activity going on over there,” said a neighbor, who declined to be named. Added another neighbor, “That’s what surprises us, because he was an airline pilot, and he flew for Spirit.”

Pilot flew last week

Halye last flew for Spirit on Friday, according to the “ultra low fares” carrier. The pilot’s social media accounts indicate he was based at its Detroit operations center. The airline does not provide service to Dayton International Airport.

“Captain Halye served at the airline for just over nine years,” Paul Berry, the company’s spokesman, said in a statement expressing the company’s sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues.

The Dayton Daily News asked Spirit Airlines officials to provide more details about Halye’s last-flown routes and upcoming flights, as well as the dates and results of any drug screenings. Spirit declined to answer.

Federal regulations require employers to administer drug and alcohol testing in pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, reasonable cause and follow-up situations, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said.

Pilots must hold valid medical certificates in order to fly. The Airline Transport Pilot certificate, which Halye held, requires a first-class medical certificate, which must be updated every 12 months for a pilot under the age of 40. Halye was 36.

The FAA database lists Halye’s medical certificate date as September, 2011, which would mean the certificate expired more than four years ago. Asked to double check, Cory said Halye’s certificate was up-to-date, with it due to expire this fall.

“I’m not sure why the online database does not have that information,” Cory said in an email to the Dayton Daily News. “The system could be in the process of update.”

Dr. Richard Garrison is among the doctors who conducts such tests locally. Garrison said that exam is roughly similar to an annual physical, and also includes vision testing and EKG heart tests for pilots over a certain age. But he said those exams do not include substance-abuse testing.

Drug issues everywhere

Multiple-death overdoses at a single site happened at least four times in Montgomery County in 2016 — including to Jamie Haddix and Darrell Morgan, who were found dead on Christmas Eve. The place where they died, a four-unit apartment building on Wiltshire Boulevard in Kettering, isn’t ground zero in the region’s opioid crisis because there is no ground zero.

“You always hear, ‘It can’t happen in my neighborhood,’ ” said Michael Link, who lives around the corner from the Halyes in Centerville. “But it does.”

Centerville ranked comparatively low on Montgomery County’s 2016 overdose list, with only five residents dying from drug causes, according to preliminary coroner’s data. That’s much lower than comparably sized Trotwood (17), Miamisburg (14) and Riverside (13). But nearly every community in the county had a spot on that list, which included 355 deaths. 

Two of the children attended Centerville’s Tower Heights Middle School and two attended another district. Centerville schools Superintendent Tom Henderson said the district “continues to support friends of the students who were part of this family. Centerville had guidance counselors “on call and on deck as needed.”

Henderson said so many students know each other not only from school, but from sports and other cross-community activities that a tragedy like this can have a wider impact that people might think.

“These two students have come up through our district, so we try to be cognizant of that and get out to the other buildings they’ve attended,” Henderson said. “We’ll be ready (Friday) when students come in, and we’ll be ready when the students (in that family) come back to attend school again.”

Story and video:  http://www.wpxi.com

The Federal Aviation Administration and Spirit Airlines “quickly became aware” of pilot Brian Halye’s likely drug overdose death, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said Monday.

Spirit Airlines also released new information to the Dayton Daily News and NewsCenter 7 about how it drug tests pilots, though the company has not said if it is internally investigating Halye’s death.

Halye, 36, of Centerville, and wife Courtney Halye, 34, were found dead Thursday by their four children. Their deaths appear to be drug-related, according to Montgomery County Coroner’s Office Director Ken Betz.

Investigators have not given any indication the Spirit Airlines pilot used drugs before the incident that led to his death. Halye’s last flight for the company before his death was March 10, a Spirit Airlines spokesman said.

Airline explains drug tests

The Dayton Daily News last week asked Spirit Airlines to provide more information about Halye’s employment, including the last route he flew and scheduled flights, the dates and results of any drug screens during and before his employment, and whether the carrier was aware of Halye’s apparent drug use.

The company initially declined to respond, though the Dayton Daily News continued to ask for comment over the weekend. On Monday, Spirit Airlines provided the newspaper with additional details about the airline’s drug policy, but the company did not say if it is internally investigating the matter, or the last time Halye was tested.

“Spirit Airlines is required by federal regulations to operate with the highest degree of safety,” said Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry in an emailed statement.

U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration “regulations require that the airline conduct various drug and alcohol tests on all safety-sensitive employees including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and dispatchers,” Berry said.

“These tests include, but are not limited to, pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing. Spirit Airlines is fully compliant with these DOT and FAA regulations,” Berry said.

“In addition, Spirit Airlines has implemented and maintains a number of programs, in cooperation with its pilot union, that exceed any federal mandates, designed to detect, report and assist employees with potential life challenges,” he said.

“In the event that someone in a safety sensitive position tests positive, they would be immediately removed from their position,” Berry said.

FAA database had ‘discrepancy’

The FAA and Spirit Airlines stay in “constant contact,” an FAA spokeswoman said, noting both organizations “quickly became aware” of the pilot’s death.

On Monday, the FAA confirmed the agency’s public database of pilots was updated to reflect the most up-to-date medical information about Halye, following the newspaper’s discovery of a discrepancy in agency records.

Last week, the federal agency’s database of pilots suggested Halye’s last medical certification was issued in September 2011, though the spokeswoman said Halye’s medical certification was up-to-date.

The discrepancy was due to a duplication of files in the agency’s master database when Halye elected not to use his Social Security number when filing his certification, something that “happens occasionally,” according to FAA Spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory.

“The elimination of the Social Security number means the airman was assigned a random number, and ended up with two files in the master database,” Cory said. “They were merged in the master file, which enabled me to answer the question about whether he had an active medical so quickly on Thursday.”

The updated database lists Halye’s last medical certification as September 2016. While a urine sample is taken during the tests, the sample is tested for diseases but not drug use.

Source:   http://www.daytondailynews.com

MIRAMAR, Fla. (WDTN) – Spirit Airlines, based in Florida, released a written statement after the death of one of their pilots and his wife last week in Centerville from an apparent overdose.

Spirit Airlines Spokesman Paul Berry said:

“Spirit Airlines is required by Federal Regulations to operate with the highest degree of safety. The DOT and FAA regulations require that the airline conduct various drug and alcohol tests on all safety-sensitive employees including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics and dispatchers. These tests include, but are not limited to, pre-employment, random and reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing. Spirit Airlines is fully compliant with these DOT and FAA regulations.

In addition, Spirit Airlines has implemented and maintains a number of programs, in cooperation with its pilot union that exceed any federal mandates, designed to detect, report and assist employees with potential life challenges.

In the event that someone in a safety sensitive position tests positive, they would be immediately removed from their position.”

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Thursday Brian Halye, 36 and his wife Courtney Halye, 24 were found dead in their Centerville home after an apparent overdose.

Police said at the time they believed the deaths to be related to the drugs that were found in the home.  There were four children inside the home when the deaths happened.

Source: http://wdtn.com

Missouri governor to sell one state airplane

JEFFERSON CITY • Gov. Eric Greitens’ administration is taking a page from his counterparts in Illinois when it comes to the state’s fleet of aircraft.

Just as former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, and current Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, moved to jettison state-owned airplanes in the Land of Lincoln, Greitens is planning on selling one of the state's two passenger planes used by his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

Word of the grounding and potential sale of the state’s 1999 Beechcraft King Air C90 is contained in the latest budget proposal being mulled in the Missouri House of Representatives.

In the Department of Public Safety spending proposal, it calls for a $37,000 reduction in aircraft maintenance costs due to the sale of the twin-engine, six-passenger plane.

Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles, said the agency’s new director, Col. Sandy Karsten, gave the green light for the budget maneuver soon after she was sworn in earlier this month.

“She said we really did not have the need for the plane,” Conway told the Post-Dispatch Friday.

The decision comes after Greitens, a Republican who took office on Jan. 9, has said he is not planning to use the state plane.

That practice is a switch from the Nixon era, when the chief executive was routinely rapped by Republican lawmakers for his regular use of a taxpayer-funded state airplane to traverse the state.

However, now Democrats are complaining about Greitens use of private airplanes because the governor is not disclosing who is financing his flights.

In early March, the Post-Dispatch reported that the private plane that ferried Greitens from Jefferson City to Springfield to Las Vegas and to Washington, D.C. was owned by a company that operates newspapers and television stations from Missouri to California.

The governor’s office and top officials with the St. Joseph-based News-Press & Gazette Co. said the plane was leased by a third party because the company was not using it at the time.

Although taxpayers are not being billed for Greitens’ air travel, aides have not disclosed who is paying for the trips.

In Illinois, Quinn first announced the sale of nine of the state’s airplanes in 2014. Rauner inherited four unsold planes and one helicopter when he took over in 2015.

In the end, Illinois received $2.5 million for the aircraft and the reduction of an estimated $1 million in inspections and maintenance costs.

It was unclear Friday how Missouri might go about selling the airplane and how much it might bring into state coffers. When Illinois sold its 2000 King Air in 2015, the selling price was $1.7 million.

Conway said the remaining planes in Missouri’s fleet are not being eyed for grounding. The Department of Public Safety aircraft fleet consists of four helicopters, eight single-engine Cessnas and the King Airs.

Original article can be found here:   http://www.stltoday.com

Piper PA-28-180, N4722L, N4722L: Incident occurred January 16, 2017 in Camarillo, Ventura County, California

http://registry.faa.gov/N4722L

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys WP-01

Aircraft went off the runway after landing resulting in nose gear damage. 

Date: 16-MAR-17
Time: 18:22:00Z
Regis#: N4722L
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA-28-180
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: CAMARILLO
State: CALIFORNIA

Piper PA-34-200, Golden Eagle Enterprises Inc, N4574T: Incident occurred March 16, 2017 at Madera Municipal Airport (KMAE), California

Golden Eagle Enterprises Inc dba:  http://registry.faa.gov/N4574T

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fresno WP-17

Aircraft nose gear collapse on landing

Date: 16-MAR-17
Time: 00:00:00Z
Regis#: N4574T
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: 34
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: MADERA
State: CALIFORNIA


MADERA, Calif. - A plane drifted off the runway in Madera on Wednesday after a report that it was going down, the Madera Police Department said.

The plane landed at Madera Municipal Airport, police said. The plane initially made a safe landing on the runway, but then the front landing gear appeared to have possibly malfunctioned causing the plane to drift off the runway.

The plane was piloted by an instructor and a student pilot.

No one was hurt during the crash.

Source:   http://www.yourcentralvalley.com

Aircraft  nose gear collapsed after landing. 

Date: 16-MAR-17
Time: 00:00:00Z
Regis#: N4574T
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA-34-200
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: MADERA
State: CALIFORNIA

Rans S-10 Sakota, N198PH: Incident occurred March 16, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida

http://registry.faa.gov/N198PH

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; South Florida SO-19

Aircraft veered off the runway after catching a gust of wind.  

Date: 16-MAR-17
Time: 21:36:00Z
Regis#: N198PH
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL RANS
Aircraft Model: S10 SAKOTA
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: WEST PALM BEACH
State: FLORIDA

Cessna 172P, Civil Air Patrol Inc., N239TX: Accident occurred March 16, 2017 in Ontario, Canada

Civil Air Patrol Inc:   http://registry.faa.gov/N239TX

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Eastern Michigan GL-23

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances.  

Date: 16-MAR-17
Time: 05:49:00Z
Regis#: N239TX
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: MANITOUWADGE
State: ONTARIO CANADA
Country: CANADA

Cessna 152, C-FGOI and Cessna 152, C-GPNP: Fatal accident occurred March 17, 2017 near Saint-Hubert Airport, Quebec, Canada



Cargair, the school that was training two pilots who crashed mid-air over a South Shore mall Friday, does not think mechanical problems, the weather or language barriers were factors in the accident.

The students — both from China — were studying to be airline pilots. One of them died, the other was seriously injured. There were no passengers on the planes, both of which had taken off from the nearby St-Hubert Airport.

One of the planes ended up in Promenades St-Bruno’s parking lot, the other on the mall’s roof.  

“The cause is not obvious,” Daniel Adams, operations manager and director of flight safety at Cargair, said in an interview. He said it’s the first such incident in the company’s history.

On Friday, “there was no reason to think something like this could happen. The conditions were perfect. It was a storm of good weather: there was no wind, it was magnificent, the visibility was excellent. So what happened?”

Adams, who has spoken with investigators from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the cause “doesn’t seem to be a mechanical problem. Zero risk doesn’t exist but we do everything we can every day to attenuate that risk.”

He said both pilots spoke English well and the control tower was communicating with them in English. 

A recording of the communication between the air-traffic control tower and one of the planes indicates that seconds before the collision, one of the pilots did not respond to four attempts to contact him about his altitude. 

The planes crashed after one of the pilots inexplicably changed altitude, said Adams, who has been a pilot for 20 years.

Friday was a sunny day but Adams said he does not think the sun played a role in the collision.

“When you’re at the same altitude, yes the sun can be a factor but if a pilot is descending or ascending and not following instructions from the tower, then it’s not a question of the weather but of the piloting.”

The 21-year-old man piloting the plane that landed in the parking lot died, while the other pilot, a 23-year-old man, was seriously injured. Doctors do not fear for his life. Their identities have not been made public.

The man who died had a student-pilot permit and had 40 hours of flight time after seven months at the Cargair pilot academy, Adams said. 

The injured man had a private-pilot license and had 140 hours of flight time after a year at Cargair.

Before they took off, the pilots’ instructors would have checked whether conditions and the pilots’ planned routes, Adams said.

They were both flying Cessna 152 aircraft, which are “the most used planes for pilot training,” he added. “They are very forgiving, very reliable and relatively simple to maintain.”

Mid-air collisions rare, but some have occurred in Canada

Cargair, which describes itself as Canada’s largest private pilot school, instructs about 150 pilots every year for airlines in China, where training facilities can’t keep up with demand, Adams said.

The flight training, which Cargair has been providing to Chinese students for more than a decade, takes about 15 months, with pilots graduating with a commercial license that requires a minimum of 200 hours of flight time.

Chinese students are taught in English.

“It’s clear that language comprehension was not an issue here, both students spoke English and met the language requirements for the training,” said Adams, who heard part of the recording of the communication between the tower and the pilots.

Investigators are to meet with the surviving pilot as well as the pilots’ instructors. They will also review the tower-pilot  communication, as well as radar data showing the planes’ flight paths.

Cargair, which also has facilities in Mirabel, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay, trains about 250 pilots a year. The company, founded in 1961, has 130 employees and owns 60 planes used for training.

Promenades St-Bruno, which closed after the accident occurred early on Friday afternoon, said it will reopen on Sunday morning.

Original article can be found here:  http://montrealgazette.com



Controller tried to contact pilot four times

Seconds before the fatal collision between two small aircraft above the Montreal suburb of St-Bruno, the air-traffic controller at the St-Hubert Airport tried to contact one of the pilots four times.

The pilot did not respond.

In a recording of the air-traffic controller’s communication with aircraft in the area, the controller is heard addressing the aircraft registered GPNP four times, twice asking the pilot to maintain an altitude of 1,600 feet as he approached the runway.

The controller contacted the pilot to tell him another aircraft, registered FGOI, was taking off a mile ahead. 

FGOI crashed into the parking lot of the Promenades St-Bruno shopping mall and its 21-year-old pilot was killed. GPNP fell onto the roof of the mall, where a thick layer of snow lessened the impact. The 23-year-old pilot suffered serious injuries.

Story and video:  http://montrealgazette.com



One pilot is dead and another critically injured after two small planes collided in the air near Promenades St-Bruno shopping mall south of Montreal just before 1 p.m. Friday, police and witnesses said.

Two other people who saw the crash unfold were being treated for nervous shock, Longueuil police told reporters at the scene. Just after 5 p.m., police added that they didn’t fear for the life of the injured pilot.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced it was deploying a team of investigators to the site. The TSB said in a statement that both planes were Cessna 152 aircraft operated by Cargair Ltd., a pilot-training academy in nearby St-Hubert.

One plane crashed onto the roof of the shopping mall, its fuel leaking into the snow on top of the building. The other plane slammed into the parking lot, splintering into pieces that one witness said looked like broken Lego blocks.




Antonio Chirita, who works at a Videotron store in the mall, said he heard a loud bang, smelled what he thought was kerosene and heard people screaming. He raced outside to discover the plane strewn across the parking lot, its fuel also leaking.

“Somebody was going around the plane, and trying to see what was happening, and there was another guy from a store who came out, and told him to go away because there was kerosene on the floor,” Chirita said. “It’s highly flammable. … But I think they realized the people in the plane were in pieces. “

“I know the pilot in front of the store was dead,” he added. “The plane was totally in pieces. It was like a Lego toy.”

Longueuil police clarified that each aircraft had only one individual on board, the pilot. Police did not release their identities, but said that the pilots were male, aged 21 and 23. The older pilot was in the hospital.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Premier Philippe Couillard expressed sympathy for the victims of the crash and those who were inside the shopping mall at the time.

“Our thoughts, above all else, are with the families of the victims and the injured,” he said, adding it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the accident.




“We don’t want to go too far (into this) too rapidly. There will be an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board. It could be pilot errors. It could be anything. We live in a large metropolitan zone, and there will always be a certain amount of aerial traffic, especially with small planes. We have to know that.

“The investigation will look into what happened and why, but today we have to think of the victims and the injured and the people who were in the Promenades St-Bruno. I understand that the people (inside) were very worried but they were far from the accident, which was a good thing.”

Cpt. Nancy Colagiacomo, of Longueuil police, echoed Couillard’s remarks about drawing conclusions prematurely.

“Right now we’re exploring all possible hypotheses,” she said. “We’re looking into every possible scenario.”

Firefighters succeeded in quickly plugging the leak of the plane in the parking lot. The roof of the shopping mall did not sustain structural damage.

A TVA helicopter captured images of the crumpled Cessna on the roof, showing that its fuselage had smashed on a rooftop natural-gas pipe. But the pipe was undamaged, a fire department official said.

The shopping centre was evacuated and a security perimeter was set up. St-Bruno is about 25 kilometres south of Montreal.

A woman who was shopping at the mall was visibly shaken as she recalled witnessing the crash. 

“I saw it and I never want to see anything like that again,” the woman told the Montreal Gazette after being interviewed by investigators. “The plane spiralled down and into the parking lot. It was horrible. I can’t stop thinking about it.”

The woman declined to give her name, saying she was too overcome with emotion.

Nheil Martinez, who works inside the mall, was outside smoking a cigarette when he glimpsed the shadow of a plane and heard its motor.

“I heard the motor so low to the ground and then a loud boom,” he said.

“Then we saw pieces of plane fall out of the sky everywhere.”

Martinez then ran to the plane and saw a man inside, whose body was crushed.

Jonathan Vanasse was eating in a restaurant in the mall next to the crash site. He said he and several others scrambled outside and saw the plane wreckage and leaking fuel.

“There was just shredded metal,” he said, referring to what was left of the aircraft.

Cargair announced in a news release Friday evening that it was working with authorities and offered its sympathies to the families of the pilots.

“We are concentrating our efforts to support our employees and students who are part of the Cargair family,” the company said, adding it wouldn’t be issuing any further comment.

Cargair was founded in 1961. The company’s website says it operates two flight training schools in Mascouche and St-Hubert with a “large fleet of Cessna and Piper aircraft.”

Story and video:   http://montrealgazette.com















One person has died and three are injured after two small planes collided in the air near Promenades St-Bruno south of Montreal just before 1 p.m. Friday.


The numbers were confirmed by Premier Philippe Couillard and Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux as they attended an event in Montreal.


The identity of the victim and the conditions of the injured were not clear.


Earlier, Longueuil police said each plane only had a pilot on board and that both were injured.


One of the planes crashed on the roof of the Promenades Saint-Bruno, while the other slammed into the parking lot.


A security perimeter was set up near the shopping centre in Saint-Bruno, about 25 kilometres from Montreal.


Witnesses at the scene described hearing a loud bang.


Nheil Martinez, who works inside the mall, was outside smoking a cigarette when he saw the shadow of a plane and heard its motor.


“I heard the motor so low to the ground and then a loud boom,” he said.


“Then we saw pieces of plane fall out of the sky everywhere.”


Martinez said he ran to the plane and saw a man inside, whose body was crushed.


Jonathan Vanasse was eating inside a mall restaurant next to the crash site.


He said he and several others ran outside and saw the plane, which he said was leaking fuel.


“There was just shredded metal,” he said, referring to what was left of the aircraft.


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced it was deploying a team of investigators to the site.

The TSB said in a statement both planes were Cessna 152 aircraft operated by Cargair.

Cargair is a pilot-training academy based in nearby Longueuil.

The company did not want to comment when reached by The Canadian Press.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal, Premier Philippe Couillard expressed sympathy for the victims of the crash and those who were inside the shopping mall at the time.

“Our thoughts, above all else, are with the families of the victims and the injured,” he said, adding it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the accident.

“We don’t want to go too far (into this) too rapidly. There will be an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board. It could be pilot errors. It could be anything. We live in a large metropolitan zone, and there will always be a certain amount of aerial traffic, especially with small planes. We have to know that. The investigation will look into what happened and why, but today we have to think of the victims and the injured and the people who were in the Promenades St-Bruno. I understand that the people (inside) were very worried but they were far from the accident, which was a good thing.”

Source:   http://montrealgazette.com