Monday, June 19, 2017

Life Flight team delivers emergency service by air

Life Flight pilot George Kuba
 
 Life Flight paramedic John Jankowski
 
 Life Flight Nurse and Program Director Jerry Splitt
 
 
 Life Flight Medical Director Dr. David Schoenwetter



DANVILLE — Lisa Haas barely remembers being on a helicopter.

She came to briefly after she had been loaded onto the chopper following a horrific Christmas Day crash just outside of Kulpmont in 1988. The then-14-year-old had been riding in a car with three other friends, and the 16-year-old boy who was driving took the curve too fast, she said.

Haas suffered broken ribs, a broken collarbone, head trauma, she was bleeding internally and her spleen was removed in surgery. She barely remembers events from that day. The brief times she was awake she felt cold — and afraid.

But the 43-year-old Coal Township woman is forever grateful a Life Flight helicopter was there to get her to the hospital.

“Not until I was older and I thought about it, (I realized) I was alive because of a helicopter and someone was there to man it on Christmas Day,” she said. “I’ve often said if it wasn’t for that Life Flight, I wouldn’t have made it.”

Whether it’s flying trauma patients from a highway crash or transporting an ill infant from one hospital to another, Life Flight and its crew — a pilot, paramedic and a flight nurse — tend to the patient in life-critical situations and guide the aircraft to the waiting facility in a fraction of the time it would take on the ground.

“I’m humbled every day, month after month after month since I’ve been doing this, there are people who are alive because of Life Flight,” said Dr. David Schoenwetter, medical director of Geisinger Health System’s emergency medical services, of which Life Flight is a part. “It’s almost routine. Their ability to get people to the right care — that’s what Life Flight is all about.”

That is especially beneficial in rural areas, where the nearest trauma center can be counties away.

“In February of this year, we hit a milestone,” said Jerry Splitt, Life Flight’s program director.

The service transported its 60,000th patient.

Seven helicopters, five bases

Geisinger’s medical helicopter program has come a long way since it started out at the Danville hospital with one helicopter in July 1981. It now operates seven helicopters out of five bases in the health system (two of the helicopters are backups), employing a staff of more than 100 on a $15 million budget. Geisinger’s Life Flight helicopters travel roughly half of the state, responding to emergencies or transporting patients from one hospital to another.

Despite its name, Life Flight also provides critical care ground transport in vehicles staffed by a paramedic and flight nurse who can provide advanced life support, for incidents in which the helicopter cannot fly due to inclement conditions.

“A lot can happen in the back of an ambulance,” said Splitt, a registered nurse and paramedic who also covers shifts on the helicopter as a flight nurse.

The program started with a single-engine Alouette III helicopter, but later moved on to a twin-engine aircraft. Life Flight now has five twin-engine EC145 helicopters, one at each of the bases, and two slightly less roomier BK 117 helicopters as backups.




Based at Geisinger

Geisinger’s Life Flight helicopters are based at Geisinger Medical Center, State College, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, Williamsport Regional Airport and outside Minersville in Schuylkill County. While they are closer to patients in the Geisinger coverage area, Life Flight services the entire Valley.

At the medical center, helicopters that are bringing in patients land on the roof, and the patient is taken down the nearby elevator to the emergency room or the operating room, Splitt explained.

“There is a huge focus on clinical staff,” he said. “We have some of the most certified staff.”

Splitt started with Life Flight as a part-time dispatcher in 1985, when he was in college. In 1988, he became a paramedic and left for a few years. He returned to the program in 1993 as a flight nurse and has been in a leadership role since 1998 and program director the past few years.

The program used to contract out for helicopters, pilots and maintenance. Geisinger had less control over the personnel and the aircraft. In 2012, the program was brought all in-house, and Life Flight obtained an air carrier certificate.

Now the Federal Aviation Administration office in Harrisburg oversees the program, and Geisinger owns the helicopters and employs the pilots and mechanics.

The program now essentially is its own airline as defined by the FAA. “We used to rely much more heavily on outside agencies,” said Tom Weir, associate chief administrative officer whose responsibilities include Life Flight.

“As we got larger, it became more imperative that we do things on site and do them more rapidly.”

The helicopters themselves cost millions of dollars — the last one purchased cost $7.9 million — and they have a useful life of about 20 years, Splitt said.

Weir said the program is a major investment in very advanced technology and people. The 24/7 program invests a lot, too, in training and education.

“All our crew require licensing and education throughout the year,” he said. “They all need to function together.” 



Kids remembered most

Most of the flights — 65 percent — are transports from one hospital to another, while the other 35 percent of the calls are to accident scenes.

“Unfortunately, the kids are the ones you remember the most,” said Life Flight paramedic John Jankowski. “It’s like that with all medicine. The very critical inter-facility transfers are the most challenging.”

He said that could be a heart patient with an open chest hooked up to a machine to keep him breathing.

“They don’t like to move patients like that, so you know he’s on the brink (when they do),” said Jankowski, who had to obtain additional certification to work on Life Flight.

Pilot George Kuba, who usually flies out of the Minersville site but was filling in at the medical center site on Thursday, said the flight crew nurses and paramedics are versatile.

“They work in the ER, ICU, then (at an accident scene), they’re crawling into a vehicle,” Kuba said. “When they’re not with a patient, they’re helping me look out for obstacles.”

Jankowski said the pilots, many of them former military pilots, as Kuba is, are very detailed.

Kuba never flew in combat, even when he served with the Army National Guard in Bosnia in 2002-2003, when he was in an administrative role.

But he served with the Guard for 22 years as a pilot and has been a pilot since 1987.

Does anything scare him?

“Birds scare me,” he said then amended his comment. “I don’t get scared. I call it alert.”

GPS, ‘night sun’

 
The helicopter has GPS to guide the pilot around mountainous terrain or around obstacles such as flocks of birds and to find the landing zone, and the crew has night vision goggles for night flying and landing. A “night sun” 40 million candlepower spotlight also illuminates the landing zone at night, if needed. It allows the crew to see details on the ground from 800 feet up in the air, Life Flight Safety Director Pete Carros said.

Schoenwetter said that as medical director, a big part of his role is to oversee staff education and credentialing.

“We want crews to be safe and patients to be safe,” Splitt said.

He said that in the program’s nearly 36 years of operation, there has never been an injury to a patient.

“We’ve had some damage from some hard landings,” he said.

Because of the risk involved in transporting patients by helicopter, safety is a primary focus. That’s why there is emphasis on continuing training.

Carros said there is certain gear Life Flight is required to have, such as for terrain awareness that will warn pilots of obstacles.

“Next year, we are going to be required to have a black box, a flight data monitor, that records voice, video, equipment,” said Carros, a U.S. Navy trained pilot who covers some shifts and takes the helicopters on maintenance flights.

He said the Life Flight program includes a lot of structure and protocol. Part of his job is to ensure the crew does not drift away from standard protocol.

More Information:

How many aircraft in the program?


Today, the program operates seven helicopters. Five bases operate 24/7 and the remaining two are backup helicopters.

How many vehicles (ground support)?

One primary vehicle and one backup. Children’s Miracle Network is a major contributor to the ground vehicles.

What is the number of staff?

Rough numbers:

30 Flight Nurses
30 Flight Medics
10 communications specialists
10 mechanics
20 Line pilots
1 full time director of safety
2 administrative assistants
10 employees who are the leadership team, and also contribute in covering front line duties (covering shifts)
2 Emergency Medicine Physician medical directors.

And cost of the program?

The annual operating budget for the entire program is about $15 million.

SOURCE: GEISINGER HEALTH SYSTEM

Story, video and photo gallery:  http://www.dailyitem.com

de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, N930TG, registered to, and operated by, RDM Pilot/Guide Ltd., dba Alaska Seaplane Tours: Accident occurred June 18, 2017 on Big Goat Lake, Ketchikan, Alaska

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau, Alaska

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

Registered to, and operated by, RDM Pilot/Guide Ltd., dba Alaska Seaplane Tours
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N930TG


NTSB Identification: ANC17LA032
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, June 18, 2017 in Ketchikan, AK
Aircraft: DEHAVILLAND DHC-2, registration: N930TG
Injuries: 5 Minor, 2 Uninjured.

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

On June 18, 2017, about 1330 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 (Beaver) airplane N930TG, impacted water and subsequently sank during takeoff from Big Goat Lake, about 45 miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska. Of the seven occupants on board, the commercial pilot and four passengers sustained minor injuries, and two passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, RDM Pilot/Guide Ltd., dba Alaska Seaplane Tours, Ketchikan, as a day, visual flight rules (VFR) flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand sightseeing tour flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and company flight following procedures were in effect. The flight originated from the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base, Ketchikan, at 1220.

During an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on June 19, the pilot reported the route of flight included a stop at Big Goat Lake for scenery viewing, a stop at Walker Cove for bear viewing, and then returning to the Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base. The sightseeing tour flight, which the cruise ship passengers had purchased from the cruise line as a shore excursion, overflew remote mountainous terrain in the Misty Fjords National Monument. 

The airplane landed at Big Goat Lake around 1300 and the shore-based scenery viewing was completed around 1320. The pilot reported that for the takeoff, he conducted a downwind departure to the west, with the wind condition less than 5 knots originating from the east and a temperate of 65°. He then executed a right step turn to the east. Once established into the wind, he applied full power, and by the time the airplane reached the pilot's go/no-go decision point, the airplane was off the water, and climbing between 100 to 200 feet per minute. He adjusted the flaps and power setting for a climb configuration, the airplane traveled about ¾ over the lake length, and he reported the airplane "wasn't climbing efficiently." The pilot realized the airplane wasn't going to be able to successfully clear a heavily wooded area in the intended direction of departure. He decided to lower the nose and he made a turn to the left, and about 130° into the 180° turn, the airplane impacted the water. 

During the water impact, the two floats separated, and the airplane began to sink. The pilot and six passengers successfully egressed from the sinking airplane and swam to the shore. The airplane subsequently sank to the bottom of the lake. A fellow tour company from Ketchikan operating a de Havilland DHC-2 with one pilot and six passengers onboard conducted a welfare check on the accident pilot and passengers after the water impact. The pilot reported he landed on the lake around 1400 and noticed the water was not glassy, the wind condition was about 5 knots from the east, along with a temperature of 65° with sunshine. After conducting the welfare check, he reported no issues with taking off from the lake. A second fellow tour company from Ketchikan extracted the accident pilot and passengers around 1430 from the shore and brought them to Ketchikan.

The recovery of the airplane from the lake is pending at this time.
========
Preliminary information obtained by the National Transportation Safety Board indicates that Alaska Seaplane Tours floatplane involved in an incident at Big Goat Lake on Sunday afternoon crashed moments after takeoff.

“The little that we know, subject to change, is that one of the wings struck the water just after takeoff and the airplane ended up in the water and unfortunately sank,” Clint Johnson, head of the NTSB office in Alaska, told The Associated Press on Monday.

None of the six passengers or pilot was reported as seriously injured in the crash of the de Havilland Beaver aircraft into the lake in Misty Fiords National Monument about 45 miles northeast of downtown Ketchikan. Everyone aboard the plane was able to exit the plane and reach the shore.

The Alaska State Troopers on Monday morning released the names of the pilot and passengers.

The pilot was Matthew Perron, 30, of Ketchikan, according to troopers. Two passengers, Tim Friedrich, 40, and Catrin Fredrich, 36, are from Germany. The other four passengers were from California: Robert Grover, 63, Debra Grover, 60, Nicole Grover, 30, and Jonathan James, 36.

The incident occurred at about 2:22 p.m. Sunday, according to troopers.

http://www.ketchikandailynews.com

Cessna 172K Skyhawk, N79874: Incident occurred June 18, 2017 in Cube Cove, Alaska

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Juneau

http://registry.faa.gov/N79874

Aircraft on takeoff, wing struck a tree, and went into a ditch.


Date:    18-JUN-17
Time:    22:50:00Z
Regis#:    N79874
Aircraft Make:    CESSNA
Aircraft Model:    C172
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    UNKNOWN
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    TAKEOFF (TOF)
City:    CUBE COVE
State:    ALASKA

Bell UH-1H, N113FD, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District - Air Operations: Incident occurred June 16, 2017 in Auburn, Placer County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District - Air Operations: http://registry.faa.gov/N113FD


Rotorcraft, force landed and sustained minor damage. 


Date:    16-JUN-17
Time:    19:00:00Z
Regis#:    N113FD
Aircraft Make:    BELL
Aircraft Model:    UH1H
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    LANDING (LDG)
City:    AUBURN
State:    CALIFORNIA

Aero Commander 200D, N111JR: Incident occurred June 18, 2017 at San Jose International Airport (KSJC), Santa Clara County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Jose

http://registry.faa.gov/N111JR

Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed. 


Date:    18-JUN-17
Time:    17:42:00Z
Regis#:    N111JR
Aircraft Make:    AEROCOMMANDER
Aircraft Model:    200D
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    LANDING (LDG)
City:    SAN JOSE
State:    CALIFORNIA

Cirrus SR20, N872WT, Endeavor Aviation LLC: Incident occurred June 18, 2017 at Van Nuys Airport (KVNY), Los Angeles County, California.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys

Endeavor Aviation LLC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N872WT

Aircraft on landing, nose gear collapsed and the propeller struck the runway.


Date:    18-JUN-17
Time:    01:22:00Z
Regis#:    N872WT
Aircraft Make:    CIRRUS
Aircraft Model:    SR20
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    LANDING (LDG)
City:    VAN NUYS
State:    CALIFORNIA

Air Tractor AT-402B, N6139V, Russel Armstrong & Danny Hawk dba Onstott Dusters: Incident occurred June 17, 2017 in Yuba City, Sutter County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento

Russel Armstrong & Danny Hawk
dba Onstott Dusters

http://registry.faa.gov/N6139V


Aircraft, during aerial application, sustained damage on landing.


Date:    17-JUN-17
Time:    13:15:00Z
Regis#:    N6139V
Aircraft Make:    AIR TRACTOR
Aircraft Model:    AT402
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    AERIAL APPLICATION
Flight Phase:    LANDING (LDG)
City:    YUBA CITY
State:    CALIFORNIA

Maule MT7-260 Super Rocket, N5501Y: Incident occurred June 16, 2017 at Centennial Airport (KAPA), Denver, Colorado

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver

J K Enterprises LLC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N5501Y

Aircraft on touch and go, nose gear collapsed.


Date:    16-JUN-17
Time:    12:25:00Z
Regis#:    N5501Y
Aircraft Make:    MAULE
Aircraft Model:    MT7
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    UNKNOWN (UNK)
City:    DENVER
State:    COLORADO

Mooney M10, N73PM: Incident occurred June 18, 2017 in Greeley, Weld County, Colorado

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver

http://registry.faa.gov/N73PM


Aircraft force landed in a field.


Date:    18-JUN-17
Time:    14:00:00Z
Regis#:    N73PM
Aircraft Make:    MOONEY
Aircraft Model:    M10
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    UNKNOWN (UNK)
City:    GREELEY
State:    COLORADO

Piper PA-23-160 Apache, N4317Y: Accident occurred June 16, 2017 at George T. Lewis Airport (KCDK), Cedar Key, Levy County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa

http://registry.faa.gov/N4317Y

Aircraft went off the end of the runway into the water.


Date:    16-JUN-17
Time:    17:30:00Z
Regis#:    N4317Y
Aircraft Make:    PIPER
Aircraft Model:    PA23
Event Type:    ACCIDENT
Highest Injury:    MINOR
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    SUBSTANTIAL
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    UNKNOWN (UNK)
City:    CEDAR KEY
State:    FLORIDA




CEDAR KEY, Fla. --     Another small plane overshot the runway at Cedar Key's airport this afternoon.

Witnesses tell TV20 the plane looked like it was coming in too fast and was landing, with the wind, instead of against it.

Norman Merritt says he saw the plane coming in to land, and when he lost sight of it, he rushed over to help.

“I was waiting for him to turn around and come back down there, park it… And he never did and I said, I bet he crashed. I come down here and sure enough, he did,” he said.

Florida Highway Patrol Troopers say there were three people on the plane, and no one was injured.

This crash marks the fifth small aircraft crash in Cedar Key in 2017.

Story and video:  http://www.wcjb.com

Revolution RAI6, N251CW: Accident occurred June 18, 2017 at Williston Municipal Airport (X60), Levy County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando

http://registry.faa.gov/N251CW


NTSB Identification: GAA17CA350
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 18, 2017 in Williston, FL
Aircraft: WARD CHRISTOPHER BARRY RAI 6, registration: N251CW

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

Aircraft on takeoff, crashed. 
 
Date:    17-JUN-17
Time:    13:36:00Z
Regis#:    N251CW
Aircraft Make:    REVOLUTION
Aircraft Model:    RAI6
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    UNKNOWN
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    TAKEOFF (TOF)
City:    WILLISTON
State:    FLORIDA

AirCam 912S, N31RN: Incident occurred June 17, 2017 on Carters Lake, Chatsworth, Murray County, Georgia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta

http://registry.faa.gov/N31RN

Aircraft wing struck a wave on the lake. 


Date:    17-JUN-17
Time:    18:29:00Z
Regis#:    N31RN
Aircraft Make:    LEZA
Aircraft Model:    AIRCAM 912
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    UNKNOWN (UNK)
City:    CHADSWORTH
State:    GEORGIA

Cessna 305C, N305CM: Accident occurred June 12, 2017 at Rexburg–Madison County Airport (KRXE), Rexburg, Idaho

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Saint Louis

Legacy Flight Museum:  http://registry.faa.gov/N305CM


NTSB Identification: GAA17CA346
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 12, 2017 in Rexberg, ID
Aircraft: CESSNA 305C (0 1E), registration: N305CM

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

Aircraft on landing, ground looped.


Date:    31-MAY-17
Time:    20:20:00Z
Regis#:    N305CM
Aircraft Make:    CESSNA
Aircraft Model:    C305
Event Type:    ACCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    SUBSTANTIAL
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    LANDING (LDG)
City:    REXBURG
State:    IDAHO

Beech D-45 Mentor, N617KG: Incident occurred June 18, 2017 at Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport (KBWG), Warren County, Kentucky

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Louisville

http://registry.faa.gov/N617KG

Aircraft on landing gear collapsed and the propeller struck the runway.


Date:    18-JUN-17
Time:    01:29:00Z
Regis#:    N617KG
Aircraft Make:    BEECH
Aircraft Model:    BE45
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    UNKNOWN
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    LANDING (LDG)
City:    BOWLING GREEN
State:    KENTUCKY

Hyannis Air Service Inc dba Cape Air: Incident occurred June 16, 2017 at Nantucket Memorial Airport (KACK), Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston

Hyannis Air Service Inc dba Cape Air:  http://registry.faa.gov/N67909

Aircraft struck a fence with its wing.


Date:    16-JUN-17
Time:    12:15:00Z
Regis#:    N67909
Aircraft Make:    CESSNA
Aircraft Model:    C402
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    OTHER
Flight Phase:    UNKNOWN (UNK)
City:    NANTUCKET
State:    MASSACHUSETTS

Cessna 150, N9851J, LCFS LLC: Incident occurred June 16, 2017 at Tecumseh Municipal Airport (0G3), Johnson County, Nebraska and Incident occurred January 18, 2016 near Council Bluffs Municipal Airport (KCBF), Pottawattamie County, Iowa

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln 

LCFS LLC:  http://registry.faa.gov/N9851J


Aircraft on final, landed short of the runway.  


Date: 16-JUN-17
Time: 15:00:00Z
Regis#: N9851J
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C150
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
City: TECUMSEH
State: NEBRASKA

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Des Moines

Aircraft force landed in a field. 

Date: 18-JAN-16
Time: 16:55:00Z
Regis#: N9851J
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 150
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: None
Activity: Instruction
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: COUNCIL BLUFFS
State: Iowa



(Council Bluffs) -- Council Bluffs Police say two occupants of a small plane walked away from an emergency landing late Monday morning.

Police say the small Cessna aircraft landed in a bean field north of a housing subdivision near East Manawa Drive and Red Tail Road in Council Bluffs shortly before 11 a.m. 

An investigation determined the plane experienced engine trouble after taking off from the Council Bluffs Airport.

The pilot, identified as Travis Yohn, safely landed the plane in the empty field.

The pilot and his passenger, Connor Galvan, were not injured, and the plane suffered no visible damage.

Officers are working with the Federal Aviation Administration and Council Bluffs Airport personnel in removing the airplane from the field.

Source:  http://www.kmaland.com


COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa —A small airplane made an emergency landing in a bean field Monday morning, the Council Bluffs Police Department said in a release.

Emergency personnel were called at 10:59 a.m. to an area of East Manawa Drive and Red Tail Road.

An investigation revealed that the single-engine Cessna took off from the Council Bluffs Airport and began experiencing engine troubles, the release said. 

Pilot Travis Yohn safely landed the plane in the empty field. He and the other occupant, Connor Galvin, were both unhurt.

The airplane sustained no visible damage.

The Council Bluffs Police Department is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and Council Bluffs Airport personnel in removing the plane from the field.

Source:  http://www.ketv.com

Piper PA-31-310 Navajo, N911SD, N Ware Aviation Inc: Incident occurred June 16, 2017 at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (KPSM), Rockingham County, New Hampshire

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

N Ware Aviation Inc:  http://registry.faa.gov/N911SD

Aircraft on landing, struck the propeller.


Date:    16-JUN-17
Time:    22:45:00Z
Regis#:    N911SD
Aircraft Make:    PIPER
Aircraft Model:    PA31
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    UNKNOWN
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    LANDING (LDG)
City:    PORTSMOUTH
State:    NEW HAMPSHIRE

Cessna 182A Skylane, N6196B: Accident occurred June 17, 2017 at Buffalo Municipal Airport (KBFK), Harper County, Oklahoma

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N6196B

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA235
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 17, 2017 in Buffalo, OK
Aircraft: CESSNA 182A, registration: N6196B
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

On June 17, 2017, about 0945 central daylight time, a Cessna 182A airplane, N6196B, flipped inverted after landing on a grass runway at Mike's Place Airport (96OK), Buffalo, Oklahoma. The pilot, co-pilot, and a passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Alva Regional Airport (AVK), Alva, Oklahoma, about 0915 and was destined for 96OK. 

The pilot stated that the approach and landing were normal until the nose wheel touched down and a loud noise was heard from the nose landing gear. The airplane nosed over on the runway and came to rest inverted. 

The responding Federal Aviation Administration inspector stated that the nose wheel was found separated from the fork and the fork separated from the strut. The debris path and witness marks on the runway suggested that the nose wheel was initially tracking through the grass. The single track became two parallel tracks consistent with the width of the nose gear fork. Then the nose gear strut collapsed and made a single track in the grass, along with propeller strike marks. 

The airplane has been retained for further examination.

Cessna 337A, N6297F: Incident occurred June 17, 2017 at Upper Cumberland Regional Airport (KSRB), Sparta, White County, Tennessee

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville

http://registry.faa.gov/N6297F

Aircraft on runway, gear collapsed.  


Date:    17-JUN-17
Time:    18:17:00Z
Regis#:    N6297F
Aircraft Make:    CESSNA
Aircraft Model:    C337
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    UNKNOWN
Activity:    UNKNOWN
Flight Phase:    TAKEOFF (TOF)
City:    SPARTA
State:    TENNESSEE

Souhwest Airlines, Flight SWA116, Boeing 737-7H4, N431WN: Incident occurred June 16, 2017 at Dallas Love Field Airport (KDAL), Dallas, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Dallas

Southwest airlines Company:  http://registry.faa.gov/N431WN

Aircraft engine ingested birds.  Landed without incident. No injuries. 


Date:    16-JUN-17
Time:    12:05:00Z
Regis#:    N431WN
Aircraft Make:    BOEING
Aircraft Model:    B737
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    UNKNOWN
Activity:    COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase:    UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation:    121
Aircraft Operator:    SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
Flight Number:    SWA116
City:    DALLAS
State:    TEXAS

McDonnell Douglas MD 600N, N602BP, Classic Rotors Museum: Incident occurred June 16, 2017 in Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond

Classic Rotors Museum:  http://registry.faa.gov/N602BP

Rotocraft, during powerline patrol, windscreen shattered and force landed in a field.


Date:    16-JUN-17
Time:    20:15:00Z
Regis#:    N602BP
Aircraft Make:    MCDONNELL DOUGLAS
Aircraft Model:    MD600
Event Type:    INCIDENT
Highest Injury:    NONE
Aircraft Missing:    No
Damage:    MINOR
Activity:    OTHER
Flight Phase:    UNKNOWN (UNK)
City:    BLACKSBURG
State:    VIRGINIA

Flight safety 'degraded' by contaminated air



Flight safety could be "degraded" because pilots are breathing contaminated air, a study has warned.

Researchers at the University of Stirling said there was a "clear link" between being exposed to the air on planes and a variety of health issues.

Aircrew who took part in the research reported headaches and dizziness as well as breathing and vision problems.

The air on planes can become contaminated by engine oil and other aircraft fluids.

Unfiltered breathing air is supplied to airplane cabins via the engine compressor.

Stirling University said the study, published in the World Health Organization journal Public Health Panorama, was the first of its kind to look in-depth at the health of aircrew who are suspected of exposure to contaminated air during their careers.

Scientists examined the health of more than 200 aircrew with a "clear pattern" of acute and chronic symptoms.

Dr. Susan Michaelis, from the university's occupational and environmental health research group, said: "This research provides very significant findings relevant to all aircraft workers and passengers globally.

"There is a clear cause-and-effect relationship linking health effects to a design feature that allows the aircraft air supply to become contaminated by engine oils and other fluids in normal flight.

"This is a clear occupational and public health issue with direct flight-safety consequences."

The researchers conducted two independent surveys to review the circumstances and symptoms of crew working in aircraft. The symptoms were then confirmed using medical diagnoses.

One test looked at pilots' health and showed 88% were aware of exposure to aircraft-contaminated air. Almost 65% reported specific health effects, while 13% had died or experienced chronic ill health.

Prof Vyvyan Howard, from the University of Ulster, said the effects could also apply to frequent fliers, though to a lesser extent.

"We know from a large body of toxicological scientific evidence that such an exposure pattern can cause harm and, in my opinion, explains why aircrew are more susceptible than average to associated illness," he said.

However, exposure to this complex mixture should be avoided also for passengers, susceptible individuals and the unborn."

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

Backers want Ohio Aviation Hall of Fame at future monument site



Ohio may be the birthplace of aviation, but it doesn’t have what California, Kansas, North Carolina and New Jersey all have: a state-oriented aviation hall of fame.

A number of aviation enthusiasts in the area want to change that, but money remains a big hurdle.

Backers envision an Ohio Aviation Hall of Fame as part of a proposed $21 million Triumph of Flight monument on eight acres at the southwest corner of Interstate 75 and I-70.

State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, has introduced a bill establishing a nine-member board to oversee the Hall of Fame and a 2022 deadline for construction.

It’s about “tagging our state as one of if not the number one state in aerospace in the country,” said Perales, an Air Force veteran.

In all, 34 states have their own state-specific aviation halls of fame honoring natives who have made significant contributions to the field, a University of Dayton volunteer student-led study found. Ohio is not one of them.

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The National Aviation Hall of Fame, which is tucked inside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, honors legendary Ohio aviation and space pioneers, such as Dayton airplane inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright, and astronauts John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. But backers say there are plenty of noteworthy contributors who otherwise wouldn’t get their due without a state hall.

“There are a lot of people here in Ohio, a lot of Ohioans, who deserve recognition for their accomplishments who will just never rise to the level of the National Aviation Hall of Fame but are still worthy of some recognition,” said Timothy Gaffney, a local author who wrote the book, “The Dayton Flight Factory: The Wright Brothers & the Birth of Aviation.”

Paying for the monument


Backers have attempted to raise money for more than a decade for the Triumph of Flight. They envision a 270-foot monument with a massive stainless steel replica of the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical airplane, at the top of the arching tower.

The Hall of Fame would be inside a $2.6 million, 10,000-square-foot learning center at the base of the monument, said Curt Nelson, executive director of the Wright Image Group campaign and a retired Air Force pilot.

So far, the group has gathered about $2.1 million or 10 percent of the goal. Nelson said the group hopes to land a major donor in the months ahead, someone who would give half the money in return for having their name as part of the monument’s identity. The site itself would be a combination of donated and purchased land, he said.

“We’d like to be in a position later this summer with a significant amount of construction pledges in hand,” he said. “We’re active on that front. We’re talking to lots of folks. We’re very actively looking for that donor and maybe it happens this summer.”

Public money unlikely

 
Finding funding for the Triumph of Flight concept is the biggest challenge of the project, said National Aviation Heritage Alliance Executive Director Tony Sculimbrene.

He researched the history of two world-renowned places — the St. Louis Arch in Missouri and the Sydney Opera House in Australia — and discovered both relied on “substantial” government support to get off the ground, he said.

“I think the Triumph of Flight will require significant government support and that’s tough to do in today’s environment,” Sculimbrene said.

With state lawmakers working to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget in an effort to eliminate a projected shortfall, Perales does not anticipate having state money available.

Likewise, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who once spoke on the House floor to support the monument, indicated that federal funding would not be available.

“Funding for projects like the Triumph of Flight monument would be considered an earmark, which are currently prohibited under House rules,” the congressman said in an emailed statement Friday.

‘Inherently difficult’

Raising money for the Triumph of Flight monument has evolved into a years-long quest.

“Fundraising is difficult inherently and fundraising for things like monuments is a factor of 10 more difficult,” Nelson said.

The project received a $250,000 earmark in last year’s state capital budget, he said.

Gaffney acknowledged the fundraising challenge, but said, “I definitely think it would be a good thing for the Dayton region and the state of Ohio and why not have something on the scale of the St. Louis Arch and the Statue of Liberty because this is the birthplace of aviation?

“The St. Louis Arch marks the gateway to the west, but the Triumph of Flight marks the gateway to the universe.”

The monument would attract more tourists to the National Aviation Heritage Area and give boost to local tourism, organizers say.

TourismOhio Director Mary Cusick said she had not heard of the hall of fame proposal but noted the popularity of similar tourist sites in Ohio.

“I can tell you the National Football Hall of Fame (in Canton) and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (in Cleveland), those seem to get a lot of traction and they’re good for tourism in Ohio,” she said.

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

GE Returns Jet-Leasing Unit to Growth Mode: Capital Aviation Services also plans to order more Airbus and Boeing aircraft



The Wall Street Journal
By Doug Cameron
Updated June 19, 2017 8:01 a.m. ET

General Electric Co. plans to resume growing its big aircraft-leasing business, ordering more jets and sealing a $2 billion joint venture that will allow it to do additional business with fast-growing airlines in Asia.

The company’s GE Capital Aviation Services unit on Monday agreed to buy 120 more Airbus SE and Boeing Co. jets at the open of the Paris Air Show to add to its fleet of 1,270 owned aircraft. It also agreed to form a partnership with Canada’s Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in a new venture to acquire narrow-body jets for renting to airlines.

Gecas, as the business is known, is the world’s largest jet lessor but has shrunk over the past two years by selling aircraft just as rivals including AerCap Holdings NV and China’s Bohai Leasing have significantly expanded their operations.

Rising aircraft-delivery rates have attracted new investors to the industry, notably from Asia, but Gecas Chief Executive Alec Burger said there is now an opportunity for the unit to target “modest growth” and expand its previous order book of 318 aircraft.

“We’re in an industry where there’s more capital and planes than management teams” to handle them, Mr. Burger said in an interview on the eve of the air show. “Our order book is going to go up to historical levels.”

On Monday, Gecas announced a deal for 100 more Airbus A320neo jets and 20 of the new Boeing 737 Max 10 aircraft formally launched at the Paris show.

While Gecas has shrunk its assets to about $41 billion, it is also increasingly important for GE’s cash flow because the conglomerate has sold finance assets such as banks and consumer-lending operations after the financial crisis. The venture attracts increased scrutiny from mainstream investors now.

“In our conversations with investors, we find Gecas is generally misunderstood and underappreciated,” said Barclays analysts in a note to clients last week.

Mr. Burger, a GE veteran, previously oversaw the reduction of the company’s sizable real-estate portfolio, prompting speculation he would then shrink the aircraft business. Gecas promptly sold dozens of aircraft and slowed new orders, but Mr. Burger said this reflected attractive sale prices and regulatory constraints as GE reduced its finance portfolio.

The unit is now the largest in GE Capital and supports the company’s larger aircraft-engine and services portfolio. Some 85% of its aircraft fleet is powered by GE engines—including planes ordered Monday—with much of the repair work steered back to the company.

Caisse de dépôt, an infrastructure specialist, has been examining a move into aircraft leasing for several years because of the attractive yields on offer, said Chief Executive Michael Sabia.

The surge of new money entering the industry has since intensified competition for deals such as sale leasebacks, where lessors acquire aircraft from airlines and then rent them back to the carrier.

“Short-term pressures are probably there,” said Mr. Sabia, who added that the Canadian company was entering the business for the long haul.

The planned joint venture would acquire narrow-body aircraft, the most popular segment of the market, and some deals could be split with existing Gecas operations.

Mr. Burger said this would allow Gecas to take advantage of opportunities in China, India and elsewhere in Asia without breaching existing airline and country risk limits.

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

Yates City, Knox County, Illinois: Tri-County Airport (2C6) embraces the public

YATES CITY — Dave Shipley was happy to share a view he knows well. After taking off from his airport, he looked down at rolling farmland and small strip-mine lakes that sparkled in sunshine just breaking through morning clouds.

“I love flying,” he said while about 900 feet above the ground in his single-engine Cessna. “I could do this all day.”

That’s not always possible, considering he is a Caterpillar Inc. engineer who works in Mossville. But the time he puts into the Tri-County Airport, which he owns with his wife, Cathy, has brought recognition from the state.

Last month the airport, off Illinois Route 8 just west of Yates City in Knox County, was named the 2017 Private-Open to the Public Airport of the Year by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

According to IDOT, there are 438 privately-owned airports in the state. Of those, 29, including Tri-County, are open to the public.

“The airport has a long history of working with the department,” said IDOT spokeswoman Kelsea Gurski, adding that private airports, like larger ones, are inspected every three years to make sure they meet state and federal standards.

“And they did a really good job of engaging with the community in terms of aviation,” encouraging the public to visit the airport and share the experience, she said.

The award announcement cited the airport’s cooperation with IDOT, safety record, service to the community and general maintenance.

Cooperation with IDOT does not include any government money for the airport, Shipley said. “This is all financially by me, personally. Every bit of this. I have never received a dime from the state or the feds.

Shipley is one of four men who bought the airport in the 1980s from Peabody Coal, which operated a strip mine in the area and leveled the land for the airport in the 1950s. Tri-County refers to Knox, Peoria and Fulton counties.

The Shipleys are now the sole owners of Tri-County, which also was named private airport of the year in 2008 by IDOT.

At that time, Dave Shipley expressed his desire to promote general aviation and his belief that flying should not be only for the rich. “Everybody should have the opportunity,” he said.

His philosophy has not changed. “Some of these ultralights you can get for $15,000. That’s cheaper than a Harley-Davidson or a Honda Gold Wing,” he said.

Permanent based radio control airplanes are popular at Tri-County, Shipley said, and because it is far from city lights, the Illinois National Guard and LifeFlight like to fly helicopters there to practice nighttime takeoffs and landings.

Shipley said the airport has gone from 11 hangars in 1987, when it opened to the public, to 31 now. It houses about 30 aircraft — experimental aircraft, ultralights, single-engine planes, even an electric glider.

Over the years he has used vacation time to drive to other airports and obtain those additional hangars, which he would dismantle, haul back and reassemble himself.

Doing that kind of work himself kept costs down, he said. “Otherwise it would have died years ago,” he said of the airport. “The only business I have is the hangar fees.”

The airport’s grass runway, which is nearly 3,000 feet long and 175 feet wide, is a special point of pride to Shipley. “This runway, I keep it rolled and mowed like a fairway on a golf course,” he said.

That grass runway also appeals to pilot Gayle Lewis, 80, of Galesburg.

“It’s easier on the airplane. Easier on the the tires, easier on the brakes. You don’t roll as far,” Lewis said.

Lewis, who has four planes “and one on the way” — a home-built Thorp T-18 — keeps a couple of planes in Kewanee but plans to move them to Tri-County.

It’s closer to his home, and “I like the idea of the grass runway and the security — the fencing coming off the road, and now with Dave and Cathy living right on the premises, it really makes it secure.”

The Shipleys used to live in Elmwood, but now their home is a building that also contains a pilots lounge and a hangar where they keep their Cessna and other vehicles such as motorcycles, a dune buggy and a four-wheeler. Other attractions in the hangar include a bar, and the hood of a 1957 Chevy that hangs on the wall and raises by remote control to reveal a 70-inch flat screen TV.

“This is our retirement home,” said Shipley, who is 59. “I’ve got a little bit of work to do, but eventually I’ll get there.”

That combination home, lounge and hangar is one of the biggest changes at Tri-County since the previous award year of 2008. The other, Shipley said, is his effort to open the airport to fly-in fishing and camping.

He put a 1-acre lake in the front yard and stocked it with croppie, bluegill, redear, and catfish. He plans to introduce bass in the fall. Next to the pond is a cabin.

“I built the cabin for the grandkids to sleep over, and for people to do fly-in camping. Hopefully, they’ll do that,” he said.

While thinking about the future, he does not forget to savor the present.

“When I designed this house, I told everybody that one of my goals was to be able to taxi up to my own bar,” he said as his Cessna came back to earth after a brief flight. “And I made it happen.”

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

Protesters at San Carlos Airport (KSQL) complain of Surf Air noise





Customers of Surf Air arriving or departing from the San Carlos Airport Saturday morning, June 17, were greeted by a crowd of protesters waving picket signs and passionately shouting, "No more Surf Air," and other slogans.

When one of the blue-and-white turboprop PC-12s used by the subscription-based commuter airline arrived, the group of protesters – numbering more than 50 people at times – moved to a chain-link fence to confront the five passengers who disembarked.

"No more Surf Air," the group chanted in unison. "You disturb our lives," shouted one protestor. "We've had it," yelled another.

Picket signs ranged from professionally printed signs that said "No Fair – No More Surf Air" to hand-drawn signs with slogans such as "Like a Bad Neighbor, Surf Air is There," "Horsley – Say Neigh to Surf Air" (aimed at county Supervisor Don Horsley), and "Surf Less, Sleep More." One said simply: "Surf Err."






"There are humans underneath these airplanes who are suffering so a few people can have a convenient service," said North Fair Oaks resident Heather Brinkerhoff, who was there with her 23-month-old son. The planes often wake up her son, she said, and make it unpleasant to be in their yard.

Ms. Brinkerhoff said her family previously lived near the train tracks in Menlo Park, so she's had experience with noise. But unlike train noise, which she said her family got used to, the noise from Surf Air's turboprop PC-12s is grating and impossible to ignore, she said.

One of Surf Air's customers had a suggestion for the protestors. "You guys ought to move," he said, as he exited the terminal and got into his car.

Winn Siegman, who has lived in North Fair Oaks for 29 years, said he'd never really even thought about the fact that there was an airport in San Carlos until Surf Air began using it.






Because Surf Air's Pilatus PC-12s carry fewer than nine passengers, under FAA regulations they may operate out of the San Carlos Airport even though it is a general aviation, not a commercial, airport. The airport is considered a "reliever airport," keeping small planes out of busy regional airports such as San Jose, San Francisco International and Oakland.

Mr. Siegman's sign expressed support for the San Carlos Airport, as did many of the other protestors.

"The airport is not at all the issue. The pilots are not the issue," said Tom Holt of Atherton, who lives under the flight path used most often by Surf Air. The issue is, he said, "just Surf Air and the noise they make."

Anna Traver and her husband, Michael Pagano, and many of their neighbors came from North Fair Oaks, an unincorporated neighborhood between Atherton and Redwood City that is also under Surf Air's flight path.


 

"The noise is getting increasingly incessant," Ms. Traver said, with planes waking her up at 5:45 a.m. and again at 11:30 p.m. "They're growing," she said of Surf Air, which recently announced it would add 48 weekly flights at the San Carlos Airport this summer.

Other protesters came from Sunnyvale and Cupertino, where Tony Guan said he has 200 flights headed to different airports going over his house daily.

"We really cannot take more," he said. Although the Surf Air flights are at a much higher altitude there than they are closer to the airport, the noise from the turboprop planes is impossible to ignore, he said.

The Sunnyvale and Cupertino residents said their main concern is that the attempts by San Mateo County and Surf Air to shift flights away from the communities close to the airport by sending planes over the Bay means more flights are going over their homes.

"It's a shifting of airplane noise," Mr. Guan said.


  


Organizers of the protest estimate that 120 people took part during the 9 a.m. to noon protest, with about 30 to 40 of them from Sunnyvale and Cupertino.

Participants said they plan more protests, and have begun organizing one for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors' offices in Redwood City.

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

Canso aircraft flies again

The first official flight of a restored Canso PBY-5A World War II patrol bomber, one of thirteen aircraft of its kind in the world that are still flight-worthy, was a success. Hundreds of people, including World War II Canso pilot Hal Burns (shown in photo), attended the event at the Fairview Municipal Airport in Fairview, Alberta on Sunday June 18, 2017.


FAIRVIEW – At age 95, former Second World War pilot Hal Burns could be called a living embodiment of Canadian history.


On Sunday, at the tiny Fairview Municipal Airport in northwestern Alberta, he met another one.

Not another veteran, mind you. Rather, Burns reconnected with a newly refurbished Canso aircraft, the very same patrol bomber he had piloted three times on submarine hunting missions during the war.

It was the first time he had seen it fly again in 72 years, and the first time anyone had seen it fly since 2001.

“The Cansos were a big plane and slow plane but there was no purpose in going faster,” said Burns, who spent most of his life in Edmonton but now resides in Victoria. “The idea was to go low and slow when going after submarines.”

The opportunity for Burns to visit Canso, RCAF 11094, again was perhaps the unlikeliest of reunions.

A little under 16 years ago, the aging aircraft was employed in firefighting duty in the Northwest Territories when it crashed on a lake north of the Arctic Circle near Inuvik.

There the plane sat for seven cold years, broken, deserted and left for dead in some of the country’s most inhospitable conditions. Most believed the Canso’s chances of ever seeing the skies again were as remote as the place in which it had been abandoned.

Then six Fairview farmers heard about the historic plane’s predicament and felt it deserved a better fate.

Led by vintage airplane enthusiast Don Wieben, the group staged an elaborate rescue mission of the Canadian-built flying boat that was converted to a water bomber in the spring of 2008.

Using a combination of homegrown ingenuity, audacity and unexpected help from strangers they encountered along the way, the “Canso crew” managed to drag the 6,800-kilogram bird out of the tundra and back to Fairview, home to 3,000 residents.

Yet as difficult as that mission was, restoring the aircraft was a much longer and more complicated process.

For close to nine years, in between farming and family duties, Wieben and company worked diligently on the mammoth project.

Almost every Wednesday night, the group held “Canso bees,” for members to hammer, weld, shape and straighten bits of the mangled plane. Others tracked down leads for old Canso parts and mechanical expertise.

Word of the project eventually spread, attracting other residents of the town and members of the aviation community to lend a hand in various ways, while a charitable organization called the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society was formed to drum up donations and interest.

“We soon realized the project was too big and too important for just a few people,” said Doug Roy, one of the original six who is now serving as president of the restoration society.

The work eventually paid off, culminating in Sunday’s first official flight of the restored aircraft. When it left the Fairview runway shortly after 11 a.m. — in front of an estimated 1,000 people — it became just the 13th Canso in the world still considered airworthy out of the 3,305 that were originally made.

Wieben said the group initially considered just leaving the Canso as a static display. But the members felt it was important to share a piece of Canadian heritage with as many people as possible.

In many ways, the story of the Canso is the story of the country about to celebrate its 150th birthday, Wieben said.

Besides its wartime duties, the 74-year-old aircraft had a long history serving almost every region of the country — from installing radar sites in British Columbia, to hauling fish in northern Manitoba, to fighting fires in Newfoundland.

“All those people who were involved with it are such an important part of Canadian history and it just covers such a broad aspect of the Canadian people,” Wieben said. “We have been very determined from Day 1 that it be a Canadian heritage airplane for the long term.”

For Roy, the tale of the Canso’s restoration is itself a quintessential bit of Canadiana. All throughout its rescue and refurbishment, the Fairview group was sustained by unsolicited help from people they met all across the country.

Among the biggest gifts were the barge company in Inuvik that transported the plane halfway to Fairview, the efforts of 85-year-old Rollie Hammerstedt of Kenora, Ont., donating four weeks of his time each year to guide the restoration work, and the village of St. Anthony, N.L., providing a pair of working engines from a grounded Canso.

"It just continued on, with people willing to donate their time and money,” Roy said. “I think people just got caught up in the spirit of it,”

Besides Burns, Sunday’s event in Fairview attracted five other honorary guests who had history with Cansos. Among them was 99-year-old James McCrae, who survived being shot down by a U-boat in the North Atlantic.

Like Burns, he also got into the cockpit of Canso 11094 a few times, including his last two flights of the war with 162 Squadron.

“They were a little heavy on the controls, but once you got used to them, everybody had a lot of time for them,” said McCrae, who was born near Elnora, Alta., but has lived most his life in Yarmouth, N.S.

“Over the years, attachments grow between pilots and Canso. When I heard they were going to (restore) this, I was very interested and I wanted to come. I just didn’t know if I would last as long as the Canso.”

Peter Austin-Smith, who flew Canso 11094 in the 1950s, shared McCrae’s assessment of the old plane.

‘It was a different experience than any other aircraft. They kind of wobbled through the air,” said Austin-Smith, from Wolfville, N.S. “It was basically brute force you used to fly it.”

From here on, the idea is to treat the plane as a “living museum” that will travel to air shows and communities around western and northern Canada, Wieben said.

At $537 an hour for fuel, the restoration society will be looking for further donations. It is also hoping to attract other heritage airplanes and use the airport at Fairview as a base.

Never ones to sit still, the farmers — most in their 60s and 70s — have already purchased their next project: a tiny, 1946 Aeronca Chief.

“The Canso has been a big project and a long project,” Wieben said, laughing. “For the next one, we decided we should go to the smallest airplane we possibly could find.”

Timeline of Canso 11094:

1943: Canso 11094 is built in Quebec, and put into service by the Royal Canadian Air Force hunting submarines and protecting naval convoys in the North Atlantic.

Postwar, 1945-2000: The aircraft is repurposed for other duties in Canada, including installing radar sites in B.C. and Alberta, hauling fish in northern Manitoba and fighting forest fires in Newfoundland.

2001: In use as a water bomber in the North, the Canso crashes into a lake near Inuvik during a training exercise. Though no one is killed, the plane suffers considerable damage and sinks. The aircraft’s owner, Buffalo Airways, later pulls the plane out of the lake and leaves it after removing its engines and instruments.

2006: Fairview farmer and vintage airplane enthusiast Don Wieben learns about the abandoned Canso, and agrees to buy it ”as is, where is” from Buffalo Airways.

April 2008: Wieben, along with five friends from Fairview — Joe Gans, Brian Wilson, Norbert Luken, Henry Dechant and Doug Roy — stage an elaborate rescue mission to the Arctic. Working in -35 C cold and limited daylight for three weeks, the group mounts the plane on a pair of handmade skis, drags it across the tundra and through Inuvik to put it on a Mackenzie River barge.

October 2008: The Canso is transported south by barge to Hay River, N.W.T., from where Wieben’s group drives it back to Fairview.

2008-2013: In between farming duties, the “Canso crew” works on restoring the aircraft. “Canso bees” are held most Wednesday nights in Wilson’s shop. Old Canso parts, expertise and funding are hard to come by, so the Fairview Aircraft Restoration Society charity is formed to help raise money and interest.

May 2013: The Great Canadian Aircraft Engine Exchange is launched to St. Anthony, N.L., some 6,800 km away. The town, which has a memorial Canso on display that still has a pair of working engines, agrees to let the Fairview group take them back to Alberta. In exchange, the farmers give the memorial a set of inoperative display engines.

May 2016: The Canso is moved out of Wilson’s shop, the wing and engines are mounted on, and the plane is wheeled down the road to the Fairview Airport.

June 18, 2017: The first official flight of the restored Canso takes place at the Fairview airport.

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