Monday, March 20, 2017

Cayman Islands: Police helicopter strikes tethered kite at 400 feet

The police helicopter on Friday struck the line of a tethered kite flying more than 400 feet in the air, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reported.

According to police, the helicopter was in the West Bay area when the line of the kite, which police described as a fishing line with a swivel attached, became entangled and snapped in the helicopter’s main rotor head.

“The kite itself was not seen by the helicopter crew during the flight,” according to an RCIPS statement issued Monday.

“The crew of the helicopter were immediately aware of the encounter with the line and completed emergency checks in accordance with their training. They immediately returned to the airport and landed without incident,” the statement said.

None of the crew was injured, police said.

An inspection by the helicopter’s engineers revealed the rotorcraft to be fully airworthy and it returned to service at 5 p.m. Sunday.

“The body of the helicopter sustained multiple scratches in the incident, which does not affect its airworthiness. This will be subject to ongoing assessment and costing for repair,” the police statement said.

Meanwhile, West Bay officers are trying to identify the kite’s owner.

According to police, the flying of kites higher than 100 feet is prohibited under Air Navigation legislation without authority from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands. No such permission had been given in this case, police said.

“Numerous warnings relating to such activity have been issued by the Authority and the RCIPS,” the police statement said. Following Friday’s incident, the RCIPS immediately notified the Civil Aviation Authority and a mandatory occurrence report will be submitted as part of the investigation. The RCIPS is also in communication with the government’s aviation insurers.

Read more here:

Cargair student pilot forced Porter Airlines flight to abort descent last year

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

Transportation Safety Board of Canada investigator Isabelle Langevin examines a plane that landed on the roof of Promenades St-Bruno after colliding with another plane on March 17, 2017.   

A student pilot at Cargair Aviation who had not reported his or her location forced air traffic controllers at Trudeau airport to abort the descent of a Porter Airlines flight last year, Transport Canada records show.

The incident is one of several communication problems involving Cargair flights recorded over the past year in Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System (CADORS), which tracks incidents that could affect aviation safety. 

Two men studying at Cargair to be pilots for Chinese airlines crashed their Cessna planes in mid-air over St-Bruno March 17. One pilot died. Seconds before the crash, one of the pilots did not respond to four attempts to contact him by an air traffic controller at St-Hubert Airport. 

Before the March 17 crash, the most serious reported incident involving Cargair over the past year appears to have been one that occurred on July 5, 2016.

A Cargair Cessna aircraft “flew over Laval at 2,000 feet without contacting Dorval tower or the Montreal terminal about its departure from St-Hubert Airport,” the CADORS report said. “No radio contact.”

Air traffic controllers told the pilot of a Porter Airlines de Havilland turbo-prop aircraft to abort its descent into Trudeau airport in Dorval. The Porter flight was told to keep its altitude at 3,000 feet “to maintain distance from the other aircraft,” the report said.

In an update posted two months later, a civil aviation safety inspector reported that after the incident “there was a meeting between the instructor and the student. All the flight phases were reviewed to ensure that the student understood the nature of the events that had occurred.”

On Monday, Cargair said no one was available to comment. But in an emailed statement, the company told the Montreal Gazette the Trudeau airport episode was an isolated incident.

“In the very rare cases where something like this happens, we get the details quickly and once the pilot lands, we meet them to go over every phase of the flight to make sure the pilot knows his position at all times.”

Edward McKeogh, a pilot who is president of Canadian Aviation Safety Consultants, said student pilots should avoid the Dorval area “like the plague.”

A pilot would only end up close to a major airport without alerting the tower “if they’re not well instructed, or they’re not thinking well, or if they’re not looking,” McKeogh said.

“On a clear day, you can see Dorval from St-Hubert, and there’s no reason to miss all those runways and hangars. You just steer clear of anything like that.”

Aircraft landing at and taking off from Trudeau “take up a lot of vertical space,” McKeogh said. On take-off, for example, “they’ll whip right up through 1,000 and 2,000 feet very, very quickly as they’re on their way to 40,000.”

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. The company owns 60 planes used for training.

The CADORS database indicates that on at least 14 occasions over the past year, Cargair pilots reported radio failures during flights. 

Fourteen communication errors involving Cargair were also cited in the CADORS system. For example, in May 2016, a Cargair Cessna “took off without authorization when the tower had only asked it to line up.”

In its statement, Cargair said because it is based at the busy St-Hubert airport, incidents involving its planes are more likely to end up in the CADORS system than those involving planes owned by companies at private airports or in areas without air-traffic control towers.

The company said its planes are flown about 25,000 hours per year.

Cargair’s operations manager has previously said the company didn’t think mechanical problems, the weather or language barriers were factors.

The nationality of the pilots involved in the Cargair incidents is not indicated in CADORS.
Cargair says Chinese student pilots must be proficient in English to attend the school. They are taught in English and communicate with air-traffic control towers in English, the company says.

An aviation school that teaches Chinese students in Northern Ontario recently told a local newspaper that “the students arrive with a basic English level and we teach them aviation English.”

The preliminary incident report about the March 17 crash notes that one of the students was supposed to stay at 1,500 feet, while the other was instructed to increase his altitude to 1,100 feet. It’s unclear which pilot did not follow directions.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the St-Bruno crash. A spokesperson said it’s unclear how long the investigation will take.


Harmon Rocket II, N729PS: Fatal accident occurred March 24, 2016 near Cheraw Municipal Airport (KCQW), Chesterfield County, South Carolina

Final report still not in on last year's deadly plane crash in Chesterfield County

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not issued a final report on a deadly plane crash last March in Chesterfield County.

The NTSB's accident status investigation only lists the preliminary report.

The deadly plane crash occurred on March 24, 2016 in Cheraw.

The preliminary report says the, "aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances."

It describes the aircraft's make as a Harmon and its model as a Rocket.

Walker Jeter Hester, 59, from Atlanta, was in town flying his plane, stationed at the Cheraw Airport, when it crashed on a small island in the Great Pee Dee River, killing him, according to Chesterfield County Coroner Kip Kiser.

Hester was the pilot of the plane and the only person inside when it crashed.

The plane was found about 100 yards into the woods from the Great Pee Dee River near Legion Road.

It usually takes up to a year before a final report is released on plane crashes.

There's no word on when this final report will be ready.


Walker Jeter Hester served in the United States Navy as a Naval Aviator, call sign “Boxer.” Following an honorable discharge in 1987, he joined Delta Airlines as a First Officer, progressing rapidly to Captain.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; West Columbia, South Carolina 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA139
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 24, 2016 in Cheraw, SC
Aircraft: HALL, WENDALL W HARMON ROCKET II, registration: N729PS
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On March 24, 2016, about 0750 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Harmon Rocket II, N729PS, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain near Cheraw, South Carolina. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Cheraw Municipal Airport (CQW), Cheraw, South Carolina, about 0715. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Witnesses observed the airplane flying at or near "treetop height" at several locations in and around the town of Cheraw on the morning of the accident. One witness, who was working alongside the Pee Dee River, stated that just prior to the accident the airplane was flying along the river at tree top level when it struck a power line.

Examination of the accident scene by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that two power line cables were found severed about mid-span between two towers, one on each either side of the river. The airplane came to rest on a wooded island about 150 yards north of the power line crossing, and about 50 yards west of the river bank. Damage to the trees surrounding the wreckage was consistent with a near vertical descent. The airplane came to rest in a nose down, inverted attitude.

The upper surface of the engine cowling and canopy were crushed, both wings exhibited leading edge damage consistent with several tree impacts, and the left main landing gear had separated at the fuselage. The empennage was partially separated from the fuselage and bent upward and forward with severe crushing in the aft direction. One section of power line cable was found next to the fuselage, another was found wrapped around the engine cowling. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the control stick and rudder pedals to the ailerons and rudder, and from the control stick through an overload fracture in the push-pull tube, to the elevator.

The engine crankshaft was fractured in overload just aft of the flywheel. The flywheel, propeller, spinner, and hub remained attached to one another and were found near the rear of the main wreckage. The propeller exhibited gouge marks in the leading edge that were the size of the power line diameter, as well as scrape marks on the leading edge and rear of the blade that were consistent with impact with the cable. Both blades exhibited S-bending.

According to FAA records, the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, as well as a flight engineer certificate. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued February 25, 2016. He reported 13,289 total hours of flight experience, and 31 hours in the six months prior to that date. A witness reported that the pilot had accrued approximately 35 hours in accident airplane make and model.

An electronic primary flight display and engine monitor system was recovered from the accident site and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder laboratory for examination.

McCarran International Airport (KLAS) viewing lot on Sunset Road to close temporarily Tuesday

Plane-spotters will have to find another place to gaze at jetliners headed in and out of McCarran International Airport on Tuesday.

The airport’s viewing lot on Sunset Road will be closed from noon to 11 p.m. as crews install new trash cans, airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said. 

The lot must be vacated for safety, because heavy equipment will be used to remove the old trash cans.


Central Illinois Regional Airport (KBMI) officials to continue talks over expiring soccer fields

BLOOMINGTON – The clock has been ticking for years on land that’s been used for soccer near Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.

CIRA officials are now under pressure from the Federal Aviation Administration to take back the land citing safety concerns with having large groups of people 500 feet from a runway.

Airport director Carl Olson told WJBC’s Scott Laughlin and Patti Penn the airport is sympathetic to the needs of the local soccer community.

“There’s a good relationship in our community with not only our elected officials but a good working relationship with the FAA,” Olson said. “Everybody is actually quite reasonable and level-headed so there’s good chance to have that conversation to see about some sort of extension.”

The airport already allowed a five-year lease with the Prairie City Soccer League that runs out at the end of the year. Soccer groups have tried unsuccessfully to secure public money for a new soccer complex.

Bloomington mayor Tari Renner said the city’s doesn’t have the capacity to held fund a $16 million recreational complex.

“We’ve got to do something about soccer,” Renner said. “We aren’t going to be able to do $16 million, but that doesn’t mean it all has to be public money.”

Renner added a previous request for Bloomington to raise its sales tax for a new soccer complex was “dead on arrival.” Normal’s tax hike approved in 2015 sets aside up to $1.2 million annually for soccer.

Olson said he is optimistic that all parties involved can come to a reasonable solution.

“I think everyone is going to come together and I think there is going to be a good solution, but I don’t yet know what it is,” Olson said. “I know the (Bloomington-Normal Airport Authority) board is collecting a lot of information. They are going to have more discussion and when the time comes they will make the appropriate decision.”


Beechcraft C35 Bonanza, N5946C: Fatal accident occurred August 16, 2015 in Hicksville, Nassau County, New York

Joseph Milo, left, of Westhampton Beach was killed when the Beechcraft C35 Bonanza plane he was flying crashed on Long Island Rail Road tracks in Hicksville on August 16th, 2015. 

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board:

Joseph Milo and his wife, Nadine

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA313
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, August 16, 2015 in Hicksville, NY
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N5946C
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On August 16, 2015, at 0745 eastern daylight time, a Beech C35, N5946C, collided with a railroad grade crossing cantilever arm and terrain during a forced landing in Hicksville, New York. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Francis S. Gabreski Airport (FOK), Westhampton Beach, New York, and was destined for Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU), Morristown, New Jersey.

The pilot departed FOK about 0720 under visual flight rules, and according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) transcript information, checked in with the New York terminal radar approach control (N90) Islip departure controller while passing through 1,300 ft mean sea level (msl) 2 miles east of FOK. (For the purposes of this report, all altitudes are in msl, unless otherwise noted.) The pilot requested to climb to 6,500 ft to transition to the New York class B airspace en route to MMU. The Islip controller identified the flight at 1,500 ft and directed the pilot to squawk a mode 3 transponder code of 4356. The Islip controller transferred the flight to the John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Jamaica, New York, departure controller at 0730, at which time radar data depicted the airplane was traveling westbound at 140 knots ground speed at 6,500 ft.

The pilot checked in with the JFK departure controller and reiterated his request for a clearance through New York class B airspace. The JFK controller cleared the flight through the class B airspace and directed the pilot to maintain 6,500 ft. At 0738, the JFK controller transferred the flight to the LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Flushing, New York, departure controller.

The pilot checked in with the LGA controller at 6,500 ft and was issued the LGA altimeter setting. About 10 seconds later, at 0738:43, as the airplane was on an easterly heading, it began a slight ascent to 6,600 ft while its groundspeed started to suddenly decrease. The pilot did not report any difficulty to the LGA controller, and the controller did not ask the pilot about the change in the flight profile. About 0740, the LGA controller directed the pilot to turn right heading 360°. The airplane was traveling at 60 knots ground speed at 5,700 ft at the time. One second later, the pilot responded that he was "having a little bit of a problem" and was considering diverting to Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York. The LGA controller acknowledged and asked the pilot to keep him informed of the situation and to let him know if he any needed assistance.

At 0740:31, the pilot advised that he was going to "have to take it down at…the closest spot." The LGA controller provided the pilot with the relative locations of LGA, JFK, FRG, and Westchester County Airport, White Plains, New York, and told the pilot that he could go anywhere he wanted to go. At 0740:55, the pilot responded that FRG was the closest airport but that he was not going to make it there. At 0741:16, the LGA controller asked the pilot to verify that he was going to FRG. The pilot responded, "yeah," and then asked the controller to verify that FRG was the closest airport. At this time, the pilot had started a left turn to the southeast, and the airplane was descending out of 4,400 ft at 70 knots groundspeed. At 0741:26, the LGA controller advised that there was also a landing strip at Bethpage, New York, at the pilot's 10-o'clock position at 5 miles and that the pilot might want to try that airport. The controller advised the pilot that he was about lined up for the runway's extended centerline. The pilot acknowledged, but part of the acknowledgement was unintelligible. At 0742:36, the pilot asked the controller to provide information on the location of the landing strip. The controller advised that the landing strip was at the pilot's 12-o'clock position at 4 miles and that the pilot was set up on the runway's extended centerline. At 0742:50, the LGA controller advised the pilot that FRG was 3 miles southeast of Bethpage in the event that the pilot wanted to go to FRG. The pilot responded that the airplane was losing altitude and that he was doing the best he could to maintain it.

At 0743:36, the pilot again asked for the location of the Bethpage airport and said he was not seeing it. The controller responded that there was a landing strip at Bethpage at the pilot's 12-o'clock position at 3 miles and that FRG was at the pilot's 10-o'clock position at 6 miles. The pilot responded that he was not going to make the 6 miles to FRG. At 0744:01, the LGA controller advised the pilot that Bethpage was a closed airport but that there was a runway there at the pilot's 11-o'clock position at 1.5 miles. At 0744:35, the pilot told the controller "you gotta give me a little better heading on that if you would." The controller advised that the runway was about 10° to the right and added that there was also a parkway nearby. The pilot then asked the controller, "and FRG I got 3 miles right?" The controller responded that FRG was at the pilot's 11-o'clock position at 5 miles. The pilot stated that there was no way he was going to make it to FRG and asked the controller to "show me this strip again if you would I'm sorry." The controller responded that the Bethpage runway was at the pilot's 1-o'clock position at less than 1 mile, that it was a closed airport, and that he had no additional information about the airport. There were no further communications with the pilot.

The passenger reported that they were in cruise flight when he heard a loud "pop" sound and saw a flicker of light from the engine area, followed by an "oil smell." The engine then began to "sputter" and lost power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine without success.


The pilot, age 59, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot was issued a second-class FAA airman medical certificate on December 22, 2014, with the limitation that he must wear glasses for near vision. At that time, he reported 3,300 total flight hours.
Records provided by the FAA revealed that the pilot completed a 14 CFR Part 135.299 line check on June 18, 2015. He was listed as a single-pilot operator under the name Milo Air, Inc., conducting on-demand air taxi flights. The accident airplane was the only airplane used by Milo Air.

The pilot's family provided copies of two pilot logbooks; however, the latest logbook entries were dated May 13, 2008. No recent pilot logbooks were located.


The four-seat, low wing, retractable-gear airplane, was manufactured in 1952. It was powered by a 260-horsepower Continental Motors IO-470-N engine, driving a three-bladed Hartzell model constant-speed propeller. The airplane was modified with two Beryl D'Shannon fiberglass 15-gallon auxiliary wing tip tanks in accordance with a supplemental type certificate.

According to copies of maintenance logbook pages provided by the pilot's family, the most recent annual inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on June 7, 2015. At that time, the airframe total time was 6,979 hours. The airplane's original engine, a Continental E-185-11, was removed and replaced with the Continental IO-470-N engine on December 15, 1998. The total time on the engine at the last inspection was about 2,913 hours, including 1,427 hours since the last major overhaul.

The engine was removed and disassembled on two occasions, on February 23, 2006, and on October 24, 2007, to facilitate inspections following propeller strikes. Engine maintenance records revealed no evidence of a recent disassembly of the engine or removal or replacement of cylinders.


FRG, located about 4 nm east-southeast of the accident site, was the closest official weather station. The FRG weather at 0753 included calm wind, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 9,000 ft, temperature 25° C, dew point 19° C, and altimeter setting 30.12 inches of Mercury.

Velocity azimuth display wind profile data for JFK showed that at 4,000 and 3,000 ft above ground level (agl), the wind was from the northwest at 20 knots. At 2,000 ft agl, the wind was from the northwest at 15 knots, and at 1,000 ft agl, the wind was from the northwest at 10 knots. Data at 5,000 and 6,000 ft agl were not available.


After the pilot determined that he wanted to land at FRG, the LGA departure controller advised that there was also a landing strip at Bethpage Airport, an alternate airport depicted on his radar video map (RVM) 3 miles northwest of FRG and closer to the airplane, and he subsequently provided distance and heading information to the airport. Although Bethpage was still shown on the RVM, the airport no longer existed; it had been closed for several years, and the former airport area was occupied by buildings. The accident site was about 0.25 nm northwest of the former location of the runway 15 approach end. (See the section in this report titled, "RVMs," for more information about the RVMs used by the controllers in the LGA, JFK, and Islip areas.)

Bethpage Airport was removed from FAA sectional charts in October 2012. Bethpage Airport data were removed from the N90 airport display automation database before 2001, but the exact date was unknown. There were no known or reported equipment discrepancies related to N90 RVMs. The Air Traffic Control Group Chairman's Factual Report, located in the public docket for this investigation, includes photographs of Bethpage Airport as early as the 1940s.


The airplane initially impacted a railroad grade crossing cantilever arm. The main wreckage came to rest inverted on the tracks of the Long Island Rail Road. The wreckage debris field was about 100 ft long and about 20 ft wide, oriented on a heading of 150°. All of the airplane's major structural components were found within the confines of the debris field. The outboard section of the right wing was found under the grade crossing cantilever arm, which separated from its mount structure during the initial impact.

The cockpit instrument panel was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. Some of the flight and performance instruments were separated. No useful information was obtained from the instruments. The forward, center, and aft sections of the fuselage exhibited postimpact fire signatures. The nose landing gear was found in the retracted position. The fuel selector handle and valve were damaged from postaccident fire, and a preaccident position could not be determined.

The left wing remained attached to the fuselage. A 6-ft-long section of the leading edge was separated outboard of the fuel tank. The left aileron and the left wing flap remained attached to the wing. The left aileron exhibited impact damage at its midspan area. The left flap was found in the retracted position and was crushed in the forward direction. The inboard section of the left wing was damaged by postimpact fire. The left main landing gear was found in the retracted position. The left wing fuel tank was breached and damaged by postimpact fire, and its fuel cap was installed and secure. During recovery, fuel was noted in the tank; however, the quantity was not determined. Control cable continuity was established to the aileron. The 15-gallon, tip-mounted fuel tank was breached from impact forces, and its fuel cap was installed and secure.

The right wing separated during the initial collision with the grade crossing cantilever arm at a point about 3.5 ft outboard of the wing root. The inboard half of the right wing was damaged by postimpact fire. The right aileron and the outboard half of the right wing flap remained attached to the wing. The separated section of the right wing exhibited no fire damage. The right main landing gear was found in the retracted position. The right wing fuel tank was breached and damaged by postimpact fire, and its fuel cap was installed and secure. No fuel was noted in the area of the right wing tank. Control cable continuity was established to the aileron. The 15-gallon, tip-mounted fuel tank was in place, and its fuel cap was installed and secure.

The left ruddervator remained attached to the aft fuselage. The balance weight and trim tab were in place. The elevator trim actuator measured 1.1 inches, which corresponded to a 5° tab-up trim position. The right ruddervator exhibited impact damage. About 1 ft of the outboard section was separated. Control cable continuity was established from the ruddervator to the cables in the aft fuselage that were cut by recovery personnel.

The propeller assembly separated from the engine during the accident sequence and was located adjacent to the main wreckage. The propeller blades remained attached to the hub and exhibited no rotational damage signatures.

The engine was sent to the manufacturer's facility for examination. A large hole was observed in the bottom of the oil sump. The oil pickup tube was impact damaged. The oil pump gears were intact and coated with oil. The oil filter was opened, and metal particulates were observed in the filter element. All six cylinders were intact with rust in the barrel, and the valves and guides were in place and undamaged. The rocker arms and shafts were undamaged. The pistons were intact and undamaged and had normal combustion deposits, and all of the rings were in place and moved freely.

The crankcase halves were intact with some internal impact damage noted. The right case half had cracks in the forward bearing saddle. The No. 1 bearing was in place, and exhibited heat distress, but it was coated with oil. The No. 2 bearing was dry, exhibited heat distress, and was partially melted and extruded into the crank cheek. The No. 2 main bearing supports exhibited bearing shift and fretting signatures. The No. 2 main bearing had rotated in the bearing support. The No. 3 bearing was in place and exhibited some heat distress, but it was coated with oil. The No. 4 bearing was in place and exhibited heat distress and was impact damaged. The crankshaft was separated at the No. 2 main journal and the crank cheek. The forward area of the crankshaft was impact damaged near the thrust flange. The transfer collar was impact damaged and partly separated from the crankshaft. The connecting rods were not damaged. The rod cap bearings were dry and heat distressed. The camshaft was intact and had impact damage. Torque values obtained during the engine disassembly did not reveal evidence of an undertorqued condition.


The Office of the Medical Examiner, Nassau County, New York, conducted an autopsy on the pilot, and the cause of death was determined to be "blunt and thermal injuries," and the manner of death was "accident." No significant natural disease was identified.

Toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot was performed by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory. Testing identified amphetamine (1.26 ug/ml), oxycodone (0.236 ug/ml), and losartan in the heart blood. In addition, 7-amino-clonazepam, acetaminophen, amphetamine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and losartan were identified in the urine.

Amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant prescribed as a Schedule II controlled substance for the treatment of narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Common trade names for amphetamine include Adderall and Dexedrine. Prescribers and users are cautioned about the high potential for abuse of this drug. The therapeutic range of blood levels is considered between 0.002 and 0.10 ug/ml; levels significantly higher than this suggest abuse. Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic prescribed as a Schedule II controlled substance. It is commonly available in combination with acetaminophen with the names Percocet and Roxicet. Losartan is a blood pressure lowering medication. 7-amino-clonazepam is a metabolite of clonazepam, a sedating benzodiazepine prescription medication used to treat panic disorder and petit mal seizures. It is commonly marketed with the name Klonopin. Acetaminophen is an analgesic and fever reducer available over the counter and is commonly marketed with the names Tylenol and Panadol. Oxymorphone is an active metabolite of oxycodone and is also available as an opioid analgesic with the name Opana.

Oxycodone, oxymorphone, and clonazepam all carry Federal Drug Administration warnings about their psychoactive effects and cautions against operating machinery.

Information on the pilot's medical history was requested from the pilot's widow through an attorney; no information was provided to investigators.


Air Traffic Controller Actions

The N90 LGA area controller, who was working the Harp, Nobbie, Nyack, and LGA departure positions combined, was being supervised by the LGA area controller-in-charge (CIC) at the time of the accident. The CIC had relieved the LGA area front line manager, who was on a break during the accident sequence and out of the facility. The operations manager (OM) was providing overall supervision for the N90 operating floor.

The accident flight had been uneventful when the pilot checked in with the LGA departure controller at 0738 at 6,500 ft. Shortly thereafter, the radar track indicated a decrease of groundspeed from 140 to 100 knots and a slight ascent to 6,600 ft, followed by a slow descent. The LGA controller observed the descent and directed the pilot to turn right to a heading of 360° to prevent the airplane from descending into the LGA departure corridor. The controller did not solicit information from the pilot about the reason for the descent. Immediately following the instruction to turn right to a heading of 360°, the pilot stated that he was having a problem and needed to return to FRG, even though the flight did not originate at FRG. The LGA controller advised the CIC that he thought the pilot had a problem. At that time, the LGA controller and CIC considered the flight to be an emergency.

As the situation was developing, the airplane was in the N90 JFK sector airspace but was being worked by the LGA controller because control of the flight had already been transferred to the LGA area by the JFK departure controller. When providing ATC services to an aircraft in another controller's area of jurisdiction, any deviation from the expected flightpath must be coordinated with the controller responsible for the airspace in which the aircraft is operating. Accordingly, the CIC walked over to coordinate with the JFK controller to advise of a potential deviation from the anticipated flightpath of the airplane and then to the Islip departure controller to redirect other traffic away from the LGA controller.

The pilot did not declare an emergency, and the LGA controller did not request information regarding the nature of his problem or solicit information normally associated with emergency handling. Although the controller had the option to annotate the radar data block of the flight with the letter "E" to indicate an emergency, which would have alerted all of the controllers in the sectors that could see the airplane's data block that an emergency was in progress, he reported in postaccident interviews that it did not occur to him to do so.

The LGA controller was assisted by the CIC and the OM, who both stood behind the LGA controller as the situation progressed. The OM advised the LGA controller that Bethpage Airport was closed and suggested alternate landing areas such as the nearby parkways.

The LGA controller requested information on Bethpage Airport by slewing his cursor to the emergency airplane's radar target and entering the airplane's pertinent information. Bethpage did not show up in the query for the closest emergency airport; however, FRG did.

After the LGA controller lost radar contact with the flight, he was relieved from the position, and he assumed that the airplane had landed at Bethpage Airport. It was not immediately known that the airplane had crashed. A controller from the JFK area called FRG tower personnel and asked them to be on the lookout for the airplane. They reported seeing a smoke plume near Bethpage and called 911. The OM then called the Nassau County Police Department Aviation Unit, which happened to be based at Bethpage. They were able to respond immediately to the accident site but could not confirm the burning airplane's tail number. Once identification of the accident airplane was confirmed, the OM called the flight service station (FSS) to get information from the flight plan about how many people were on board the airplane and the departure airport. According to the FSS, no flight plan had been filed. The OM initially assumed the airplane had departed FRG but was able to determine the departure airport was FOK by talking to the controllers from the Islip and JFK areas.


Although there was geographic overlap between the RVMs used by the controllers in the LGA, JFK, and Islip areas, the information on each area's RVMs was inconsistent. Bethpage Airport was depicted on the LGA RVM but not on the Islip RVM. FRG was depicted on the Islip, JFK, and LGA RVMs, but the symbology used was different. The N90 ATC standard operating procedures (SOP) manual depicted the RVMs for the Islip, JFK, and LGA areas individually. The LGA section of the SOP showed Bethpage as an airport, but the Islip and JFK sections did not. The data provided in the SOP did not correlate with the actual radar presentation the controllers were using. At the time of the accident, the LGA controller was using RVM number N90-3100C, which was included in an N90 system adaptation on December 20, 2013.

Research revealed that the FAA did not require periodic review and validation of RVMs such as the RVM that depicted Bethpage Airport on the N90 area controller's RVM. The only periodic review requirement for RVMs, as defined in FAA Order 7210.3, "Facility Operation and Administration," was a biennial review of emergency obstruction video maps. The FAA also did not have procedures to ensure that closed airports were removed from RVMs systemwide. Since this accident, the FAA has revised and corrected its internal procedures to ensure all nonoperational airports are removed from RVMs in the United States.

Beech C35 Glide Performance

The Beech C35 Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH), Chapter 3, "Emergency Procedures," includes the following maximum glide configuration procedures in the event of an engine failure:


1. Landing Gear – UP
2. Flaps – UP
3. Cowl Flaps – CLOSED
4. Propeller – LO RPM
5. Airspeed – 105 KTS/121 MPH

Glide distance is about 1.7 nm (2 statute miles) per 1,000 ft of altitude above the terrain.

Recorded radar data revealed that the airplane experienced a sudden decrease in airspeed and a deviation in altitude at 0738:43 as it was on an easterly heading at 6,500 ft. At this point, the airplane was about 7 nm northwest of the approach end of runway 14 at FRG. At 6,500 ft, the lateral glide distance at the maximum glide configuration would have been about 10.8 nm, assuming calm wind conditions. The msl altitude at the accident site was about 125 ft.

The pilot continued on a westerly heading for 2 minutes 18 seconds after the sudden decrease in airspeed, and the airplane lost about 2,000 ft of altitude before he turned the airplane left toward the Bethpage area. At the farthest point from FRG, the airplane was about 8.8 nm at 4,000 ft. At this point, the maximum glide distance was about 6.6 nm, assuming calm wind conditions. Wind conditions at the time were from the northwest about 15 to 20 knots. Once the airplane was on a heading toward FRG, or a southeasterly direction, the prevailing tailwind would have improved glide performance. Several golf courses were located at the pilot's 10- to 12-o'clock positions if he had continued to descend on a westerly heading.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA313
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, August 16, 2015 in Hicksville, NY
Aircraft: BEECH C35, registration: N5946C
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 16, 2015, about 0747 eastern daylight time, a Beech C35, N5946C, collided with a railroad grade crossing cantilever arm and terrain during a forced landing at Hicksville, New York. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and one passenger received serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on demand air taxi flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Westhampton Beach, New York (FOK) and was destined for Morristown, New Jersey (MMU).

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) voice communication and radar position information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was flying at 6,500 feet above mean sea level on an easterly heading, about 8 nautical miles (nm) northwest of Republic Airport, Farmingdale, New York (FRG). The pilot reported to ATC that he was "having a little bit of a problem" and may need to return to FRG. The pilot then reported that he would have to "take it down…" The controller provided the relative locations of LaGuardia and JFK Airports, and stated that Westchester Airport was to the north and FRG was to the southeast. The pilot responded that FRG was the closest airport to his location. The pilot then indicated that he may not make FRG. The controller then provided information on "Bethpage strip" and informed the pilot that the airport was closed; however, there was a runway there. The airplane was then observed tracking toward the Bethpage area while descending. The next several transmissions between the controller and pilot revealed that the pilot was unable to see the runway while the controller continued to provide heading and distance to the Bethpage runway. Radar and radio contact were eventually lost and emergency responders were notified of the accident.

The passenger was interviewed after the accident. He reported that the flight was in cruise when he heard a loud "pop" sound, with a flicker of light from the engine area, followed by an "oil smell." The engine then began to "sputter" and lose power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine without success.

The pilot, age 59, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multi-engine, and instrument airplane ratings. He reported 3,300 hours total flight time on his most recent application for an FAA second-class medical certificate, dated December 22, 2014. Records provided by the FAA revealed that he completed a Part 135.299 line check (check ride) on June 18, 2015.

The main wreckage was found inverted and burned, on the railroad tracks for the Long Island Rail Road. The wreckage debris field was about 100 ft in length and about 20 ft wide, oriented on a heading of about 150 degrees. All major structural components of the aircraft were found within the confines of the debris field. The propeller assembly separated from the engine during the accident sequence. The right wing was found under the grade crossing cantilever arm, which separated from its mount structure during the initial impact. The engine was retained for further examination.

An examination of the area of the former Bethpage Airport revealed that industrial buildings occupied the former runway surface area. The accident site was located about 0.25 nm northwest of the former runway's approach end.

Edra Aeronautica Super Petrel LS, Super Petrel West LLC, N345ZF: Incident occurred March 19, 2017 McNary, Hudspeth County, Texas

Super Petrel West LLC:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico 

Aircraft crashed into McNary Reservoir under unknown circumstances after attempting a touch and go.  

Date: 19-MAR-17
Time: 19:05:00Z
Regis#: N345ZF
Aircraft Model: SUPER PETREL LS
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
State: TEXAS

HUDSPETH CO., TX (KTSM) - Texas Department of Transportation and the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office are investigating a plane crash into a lake near McNary.

According to DPS, the plane was discovered in a water retention lake south of I-10 at the McNary exit, just east of Fort Hancock.

It initially appears as though the pilot abandoned the plane's wreckage after the crash, as no sign of any pilot was found at the scene.

Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office is heading the investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been called into investigate. 


Aircraft Recycling buys Universal Asset Management

Aircraft Recycling International Ltd. has acquired Universal Asset Management Inc., a Memphis-based aircraft recycling and repair company

The new owner, a Hong Kong-based unit of China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Ltd., named Christina Ng as chairwoman of UAM and said the Memphis firm will continue to be led by chief executive officer Keri Wright and president Shawn Kling. The transaction was announced Monday.

The acquisition comes 3½ years after Wright bought UAM and its wholly owned subsidiary, Universal Air Repair LLC.

Wright is a board member of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

UAM operates aircraft disassembly and parts distribution facilities in Tupelo and Verona, Mississippi, and has global sales offices in London and Singapore.

The sale marks the second prominent Memphis company affiliated with Chinese owners. In 2013, Wright Medical Group Inc. sold its OrthoRecon unit to Shanghai-based MicroPort Scientific Corp., which operates the business in suburban Arlington.

Universal's new owner is building a $2 billion aircraft recycling facility in Harbin, China, that the firm says  will be the world's largest. China Aircraft bought 100 percent of the equity in Universal.

“UAM will retain its brand name and continue to operate in the same manner with the same management team, while all staff will remain in place across all its business units,”  the firm said in a statement released Monday.

“While ARI will leverage UAM’s well-established global brand and track record of serving over 1,000 customers in 150 countries to expand into overseas markets, UAM will leverage ARI’s growth capital, and draw upon CALC’s network and resources, to advance changes in the aviation industry through the delivery of technological solutions and the further growth of its portfolio,” the statement says.

Universal was founded in 1992. The firm buys used aircraft and removes and sells the engines and components.

Wright said, “I am pleased that UAM will be working with ARI, and I am very impressed with the commitment it has shown to creating value for shareholders, customers, employees and suppliers. Together, we will draw upon our common vision and aim to help deliver positive and much needed change to the industry.”

With the acquisition, UAM becomes a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Aircraft Recycling International, responsible for its aircraft recycling business overseas, and a part of its global disassembly and distribution platform.

Ng said the acquisition will help the company better serve a rapidly growing demand for aircraft maintenance services, components and parts in Asia Pacific and China.

Last month, Hong Kong-based China Aircraft Leasing sold five-year $300 million and seven-year $200 million bonds in Asia and Europe to help finance acquisitions.

China Aircraft Leasing made headlines worldwide in 2015 when chief executive Poon Ho Man, under investigation in a corruption probe, abruptly resigned along with the chief financial officer. Poon reappeared in Hong Kong six months later, the Independent, a British newspaper, reported in an article this month recounting the mysterious disappearances of Chinese billionaires linked to Beijing security agencies. Poon's absence was tied to the investigation of China Southern Airlines, which had leased aircraft from China Aircraft, according to the South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper.

In  January, China Aircraft Leasing renamed Poon chief executive and said he had resigned temporarily to assist authorities with the investigation,  the trade paper AirFinance Journal reported, saying Poon during his absence from the company also remained busy looking for new business opportunities for China Aircraft.

China Aircraft chairman Chen Shuang added chief executive duties when Poon departed and relinquished the CEO role in January.

In 1998, Poon founded  Friedmann Pacific Asset Management, a major shareholder in China Aircraft.  Poon also founded China Airport Synergy Investment in 2014, which acquired a 49.9-percent stake in Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France.

China's state-owned China Everbright Group was the largest stakeholder in China Aircraft, controlling 42 percent of the company last year, the South China Morning Post reported.

Poon's wife, Christina Ng, owns 10 percent of Friedmann, which manages $2 billion worth of assets, the South China Morning Post reported.

In 1995, Poon graduated from the University of Hong Kong with an engineering degree. He is a political adviser for China's northeastern Heilongjiang province, home to Harbin, a city of about 5 million people.

Original article can be found here:

Minnesota’s Small Business Person of the Year for 2017, Shirley Wikner, Flies Past the Competition

The U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year for 2017, Shirley Wikner conquered her fear of flying to build Aviation Charter and Executive Aviation in 1988 with her husband, Roger. When he died suddenly in 2012, she fought on several fronts to preserve the company and emerged stronger than ever. Today, thanks to her tenacity - and with a bit of help from the SBA and their resource partner WomenVenture - Shirley employs 54 people in Eden Prairie, Minn.  The business works throughout the contiguous United States, Canada, and Mexico providing corporate flights, flights to organ transplant teams, patient transport, and airline freight. In addition to her role as employer, Shirley’s gifts of both time and money truly enrich her community, including her role as a primary fundraiser for LifeSource, a medical nonprofit that promotes organ, eye, and tissue donation and her longtime financial support of the Minnesota Vikings Children’s Fund which supports Make a Wish Foundation and others.

The oldest of six children from a working class family, Shirley grew up handling responsibility. Her father owned a dry cleaners and restaurant business, so she grew up wearing many hats and then honed her work ethic and management skills with a degree from the Minnesota School of Business. When she met Roger Wikner, her future husband/business partner, he was an investment banker with a love of flying. Originally afraid to fly, Shirley conquered her fears by obtaining her private pilot's license. In 1988, Shirley and Roger obtained their aircraft charter certificate and Shirley became 51% owner of Holte Naslund, the umbrella S-Corp. of Aviation Charter/Executive Aviation, where she was responsible for day-to-day operations. In 2012, Shirley became sole owner of the business with the untimely passing of her spouse.

In 2014, Aviation Charter secured a SBA guaranteed loan from Venture Bank and more recently Shirley graduated from the Scale Up! Twin Cities program, which was offered by WomenVenture, a SBA Women's Business Center in Minneapolis, MN. The Scale Up! program provides critical resources and support to established women-owned businesses that have a proven track record and are ready for exponential growth, with a goal of increasing revenues and creating jobs.

Today, Aviation Charter is a 24-hour, on-demand air charter company, run in conjunction with Executive Aviation, their terminal and maintenance facility. She employs a staff of 54, including office support, flight crews, and mechanics. Through Aviation Charter, they provide passenger transport by air, as well as freight transport. They offer 10 aircraft, ranging from twin-turbine prop jets to small business jets. Executive Aviation provides a first-class terminal for clients, hosting incoming business aircraft, and selling fuel and maintenance.

Over the years, Aviation Charter has developed niche markets that are sustainable during economic downturns. They are the primary carrier for the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic organ procurement teams. They also work for LifeSource, providing air transport for organ transplant teams in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. This is a federally-mandated program that is not reliant on a thriving economy. They distinguish themselves by having 24-hour availability, including weekends and holidays. Another key market is shuttling aircraft parts and mechanics for the airline industry. Delta is a primary client and their expeditious, on-time delivery has made them Delta's go-to provider for a number of years.

Within 5 years of obtaining air carrier certification, the company constructed their flagship facility, Executive Aviation. This 30,000 sq. ft. facility was completed in 1994. The location is in a prime real estate area, home to many of the Twin Cities CEO's. As the business grew, they added a 12,000 sq. ft. storage facility in 1998 to house managed aircraft and their growing fleet, and purchased a commercial fuel farm to pump fuel at cost and provide an additional revenue stream.

Aviation Charter has faced a variety of obstacles in its operating history. Aviation is subject to global volatility. It's the first industry to suffer during economic duress. In 2007-08, they weathered the bankruptcies of hometown carriers Northwest Airlines, Sun Country and Mesaba Aviation. As a result of the collapse, they were forced to write-off receivables from these “too big to fail” behemoths. They shifted their focus to developing relationships in niche markets, particularly the medical transport industry, not affected by cyclical business.

In 2011, Shirley's husband suffered a traumatic brain injury. Without warning, she was left running the business solo. Her husband had been their financial adviser, whereas Shirley's financial acumen was negligible and she was unable to advocate for herself. During this time, their longtime bank was acquired and the company was placed in their workout department, despite never having a late payment. A woman-run aviation business was not in their risk profile. While searching for a new banking relationship, Shirley was also sued by an opportunist and her company became a takeover target. The frivolous lawsuit was finally settled in arbitration. Today, Aviation Charter has a new bank, a new SBA loan, another new plane, and renewed profitability.

For the past 25 years, Shirley has been a primary fundraiser for LifeSource, a medical nonprofit that promotes organ, eye, and tissue donation. She has played a key role in planning meetings, designing philanthropy objectives, and networking to raise funds to support their mission to provide assistance to organ transplant recipients and members of donating families. Shirley spearheaded and implemented a "Hunt for Hope" pheasant hunt to raise funds for organ donation awareness in the state of South Dakota. The 3rd annual hunt will be held this year and they have raised a cumulative total of $100,000.

For over 20 years, Aviation Charter has been a key sponsor of the LifeSource Golf Classic. Additionally, the company donated $100,000 to their capital campaign to build a new LifeSource headquarters, a dream that reached fruition last year.

The company has also been a sponsor of the Minnesota Vikings Children's Fund for many years. Their annual fundraiser donates to a variety of children's organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Make a Wish. Their silent auction donation of a free flight to a Vikings/Packers game is the grand prize highlight of the auction, often garnering multiple $10,000 bids. Shirley has also served on the LifeSource Ambassador Program Board and the Philanthropy Advisory Board, and has been honored twice with their “Advocate of the Year” award.

Company Name:  Aviation Charter and Executive Aviation

Location: Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Original article can be found here: