Saturday, July 15, 2017

Airline grounds its fleet, owes Little Rock airport thousands

Officials at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field want GLO Airlines to succeed, but at the same time they look askance at the nearly $100,000 in unpaid bills the startup New Orleans-based airline has left at the airport.

The concern comes as the airline indefinitely suspends service today at Clinton National and several Gulf Coast airports while it says it will try to find another company to provide crew and maintenance services for the fleet of three Saab twin-engine commuter aircraft the airline leases.

GLO offers direct flights between Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and other locations in the region, including the Little Rock airport. It also offers seasonal flights between Little Rock and Fort Walton Beach/Destin, Fla.

Clinton National took precautions when GLO began service in 2015, primarily requiring GLO to pay a deposit equal to two or three months of operation, which at the time airport officials estimated at $44,000.

That whittles the airline's outstanding bills to just under $50,000, but about $38,000 of that amount is controlled by a bankruptcy petition the airline filed in April. The total amount outstanding and not protected by the bankruptcy petition is $11,650.

If the airline resumes service, Clinton National will require it to pay down those bills first and replace the deposit, said Ron Mathieu, the airport's executive director.

"For now, we continue to work with them and to encourage them to do all they can because they had a successful operation here," he said. "But at the same time, we tell them, 'Oh, by the way, there is this money there that belongs to us and can you make a deposit today.' This is the business end of it. This is how we keep our lights on."

Mathieu spoke at a meeting Friday of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission's finance committee.

He and other airport officials say they will have little recourse in collecting about $38,000 of the balance GLO owes because it was outstanding before the airline filed for bankruptcy in April. Past experience shows that the airport may collect no more than 15 percent of that amount.

GLO filed for bankruptcy protection amid a contractual dispute between the airline and a Tennessee company, Corporate Flight Management, which provides pilots and other services to the airline. An emergency hearing allowed the airline to continue flying.

But problems have continued with "an excessive number" of flight cancellations because of staffing and maintenance problems, GLO said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Corporate Flight Management, for its part, said it has followed the emergency court order in operating GLO's flights, and the airline had no one to blame but itself for its financial woes, "the result of an unproven business plan in an unforgiving industry."

Clinton National and other small airports have been banking on the success of startups like GLO and Allegiant Air, which try to serve markets the bigger commercial carriers ignore.

To save money, their flights typically are on smaller aircraft like the propeller-driven planes GLO flies or, in the case of both airlines, offered only on a seasonal basis at times when they are the most popular.

Though GLO and Allegiant are a small slice of the overall passenger pie at Clinton National, they have helped propel its passenger traffic higher, appearing to halt a yearslong decline.

Passenger traffic through June 30 rose 2.1 percent compared with the first six months of 2016, to 991,620.

GLO carried a total of 7,968 passengers through June 30, but compared with the same period last year, it represented a 25.5 percent increase, according to airport figures.

"I have to say we hope they figure out some way to recover, that they are able to fly," said Jim Dailey, the airport commission chairman. "They fill a niche that we all hope is going to continue and expand. I am really saddened more than anything that we're having to face this situation."

GLO and other airlines typically are assessed landing fees based on weight every time one of their aircraft lands at an airport. They also are charged rental fees for any space they use in an airport terminal, whether it is space at the ticket counter, a gate or an office or storage space.

Airlines also are required to collect federally mandated fees called passenger facility charges.

Airports use the money to pay for safety, security or capacity improvements. They also can steer the money toward noise-reduction programs or toward increasing air carrier competition.

Almost every passenger flying out of the Little Rock airport pays the $4.50 facility charge, which is set by Congress. Airlines collect the fees and can keep 11 cents for administrative costs but must remit the balance to the airport.

The most recent figures Clinton National officials have compiled show that GLO owes $8,977.55 in passenger facility charges.

Airlines come and go. Vision Airlines, an airline with a similar operating model as GLO, began service at Clinton National and other airports in the southeast United States in 2011, offering seasonal service to Destin in the summer and to Orlando in the winter.

That same year, Mathieu terminated the airline's permit to operate at Clinton National after it tallied $53,565.08 in past-due fees, past-due passenger facility charges and a security deposit replacement.

Flooding from thunderstorm in Ottawa knocks out Nav Canada flight plan system

OTTAWA — The company that operates Canada’s civil air navigation service says flooding from a severe thunderstorm in Ottawa brought down its automated flight planning system early Saturday.

Nav Canada says there were delays, mainly affecting international flights, but the safety of the travelling public was not compromised.

CEO Neil Wilson said in a statement Saturday night that when water affected Nav Canada’s network that handles flight plans, staff were quickly moved to a facility where backup systems are located.

Wilson says there was no impact on air traffic control or communications with aircraft during the outage.

Wilson says the system was restored on Saturday afternoon, but there could be some delays as staff process backlogs. It’s not known how many flights were affected.

He says Nav Canada worked closely with its counterparts — the FAA in the U.S. and NATS in the United Kingdom — to adjust traffic flows during the outage.

“Delays occurred due to problems reinstating connectivity of the system with neighbouring air navigation service providers,” Wilson said in the statement.

“Nav Canada apologizes to customers and all members of the travelling public for any inconvenience arising from this unforeseen incident,” he said.

Mooney M20R Ovation, N57GX, William M. Powell Inc: Accident occurred July 14, 2017 at Venice Municipal Airport (KVNC), Sarasota County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA17CA244
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 14, 2017 in Venice, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/17/2017
Aircraft: MOONEY M20R, registration: N57GX
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot of the single-engine airplane reported that, during landing to the southeast, a wind gust contacted the airplane’s tail from the left side, which caused the airplane to veer left. The airplane departed the runway, crossed a taxiway, and impacted a ditch. 

The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the nose landing gear collapsed and that the propeller was bent aft. The engine firewall was wrinkled below the left engine mount. The recorded weather at the airport, about the time of the accident, included wind from 080° at 10 knots. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during landing in a gusting crosswind conditions.

The pilot of the single-engine airplane reported that during landing to the southeast, a gust of wind contacted the airplane's tail from the left side, causing the airplane to veer to the left. The airplane departed the runway, crossed a taxiway, and impacted a ditch. The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed the nose gear collapsed and the propeller was bent aft. The engine firewall was wrinkled below the left engine mount. The recorded weather at the airport, about the time of the accident, included wind from 080° at 10 knots.

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

William M. Powell Inc:

NTSB Identification: ERA17CA244
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 14, 2017 in Venice, FL
Aircraft: MOONEY M20R, registration: N57GX
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The pilot of the single-engine airplane reported that during landing to the southeast, a gust of wind contacted the airplane's tail from the left side, causing the airplane to veer to the left. The airplane departed the runway, crossed a taxiway, and impacted a ditch. The pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airplane. Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed the nose gear collapsed and the propeller was bent aft. The engine firewall was wrinkled below the left engine mount. The recorded weather at the airport, about the time of the accident, included wind from 080° at 10 knots.

VENICE — The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident involving a small airplane Friday morning at Venice Municipal Airport.

Venice Airport Director Mark Cervasio said a male student pilot and a female instructor had taken off earlier in the day from Page Field in Fort Myers. As the student attempted to land at around 10:40 a.m., he encountered a crosswind and lost control of the plane, according to the instructor, who then took control of the aircraft.

The airplane, a Mooney Ovation2, ended up in a drainage ditch near midfield with damage to the nose gear and propeller. There were no injuries.

The aircraft is in a secured hangar at the airport until the FAA’s Flight Standards District Office out of Tampa completes its investigation.

Bird dog orchestrates aerial wildfire battle

Conair pilot John Grech at the controls of the twin-engine bird-dog plane he flies to help guide the aircraft that are attacking wildfires.

As a bird-dog pilot, John Grech’s role in helping orchestrate the mid-air ballet of the aerial fire attack teams is a critical component of success — but more importantly, safety.

He, along with the B.C. Wildfire Service air attack officer beside him, work as the command and control plane for the multi-aircraft battle of wildfires in B.C.

“I have to assess all the hazards— they’re [airtankers] big, they’re heavy and they have a full load of retardant, so there has to be a very precise way to get them in and, just as important, I have to assess how do I get them out of there, what if they lose an engine? Where would they go? How would they be able to climb out of this mountainous terrain without killing themselves?” said Grech, who is in his first year on the job with Conair Aerial Firefighting.

“But there is still an element of danger.We can’t move the mountains. I’ve flown in many different elements of aviation in my career, but I’ve found this to be the most challenging and the most rewarding.”

That experience includes military and similar bird-dog work in Ontario and operating his own air service in Malta.

At the controls of the powerful, twin-engine plane, Grech must first fly the route the tankers will take to drop the retardant. He will also sometimes lead them in through the smoke or follow as the need dictates.

“We may have five tankers coming in and we have to provide air traffic control for them, find them different altitudes,” Grech said. “I have to manage the air space to make sure there is no conflict or to cause an air-to-air collision. It’s being an air traffic controller while you’re flying the airplane. It’s a lot of pressure, lots of adrenaline, but it’s just part of the job and I love it.”

Veteran Conair pilot Grahame Wilson, who now flies the airtankers, spent five years as a bird-dog pilot himself and knows how critical it is to have someone like Grech doing the job.

“I am looking out at what’s going on, but I need his guidance to point out things that I might not see,” he said. “We are a two-pilot airplane and on the fire my attention is mostly outside, watching what the bird-dog is doing and listening and understanding what he’s telling me.”

STOL CH 701, N422ES: Accident occurred July 15, 2017 in Kenwood, Sonoma County, California

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

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

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA156
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 15, 2017 in Kenwood, CA
Aircraft: SIMMONS GARY F STOL CH 701, registration: N422ES
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

On July 15, 2017, at 1140 Pacific daylight time, an experimental kit-built Simmons STOL CH 701, N422ES, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a small field following a loss of engine power near Kenwood, California. The pilot/owner, the sole occupant, was not injured. The pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Cloverdale Municipal Airport (O60), Cloverdale, California, and was destined for Sonoma Skypark Airport (0Q9), Sonoma, California. No flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported while in cruise flight there was a "severe vibration" that emanated from the engine and he was able to see cooling fluid leaking from the engine. Within 30 seconds the engine lost power. The pilot set up to land in a small narrow field surround by grape vineyards. He stated that during the approach, he could not line up with the field properly, and during the landing roll, the airplane slipped into a ditch, coming to rest nose down.

The pilot of a small, private plane was uninjured Saturday afternoon after making an emergency landing in a field south of Kenwood, authorities said.

The plane landed in the field just off Highway 12 and west of Dunbar Road at 12:20 p.m., said Kenwood Fire District Chief Daren Bellach.

The pilot, whose name was not available, told emergency personnel that he had engine trouble, Bellach said. “He nosed (the plane) right into a ditch,” he said.

The FAA identified the aircraft as a homebuilt STOL 701, which stands for “short takeoff and landing,” said spokesman Ian Gregor. The agency will investigate the incident, Gregor said.

Bellach said the plane was heading toward Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport. The FAA registry listed the plane’s owner out of Petaluma.

The incident comes after a Sonoma Valley plane crash Thursday that killed a University of San Francisco history professor and injured his two children and caretaker.

British company sues Burlington, North Carolina, landing-gear business

A British aircraft parts distributor is suing a Burlington landing gear facility, claiming it failed to deliver landing gear and to reimburse funds due because of the failure to deliver the landing gear.

In the suit, filed June 29, Jenko Aviation Ltd., located near London’s Heathrow Airport, claims it has suffered damages because Royal Technical Group Inc. of Burlington failed to deliver gear and payment.

In January, Jenko ordered three sets of landing gear at a cost of $35,000 each. In February, Jenko ordered an additional set for an additional $35,000. Both parties agreed that Jenko would pay a 50 percent deposit and the balance on collection of the goods.

Jenko says it has paid $120,000 of the overall $140,000. RTG estimated delivery of five to six weeks from Feb. 23, according to the suit, then delayed delivery further to May 17.

On June 2, RTG promised partial delivery of one nose gear, the suit says, and on June 7 notified Jenko’s shipping agents to pick up one nose gear by June 9 as well as pay them an additional $6,500. This payment was made, but the defendant failed to deliver the gear June 9 as promised, the suit says.

Since June 9, Jenko says, it hasn’t received landing gear or requested refunds. Jenko further claims RTG has refused all calls and requests.

Jenko says it’s been damaged through lost goods, lost payments and loss of business, and seeks $10,000.

Royal Technical Group was incorporated in 2013, according to the N.C. Office of the Secretary of State, and repairs and overhauls landing gear for a variety of Boeing aircraft and other manufacturers, according to the company website. Its facility is near the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport on McGrew Drive in Burlington. No one from the company was available for comment.

Sikorsky aims high with experimental aircraft

It was a lofty moment just over two weeks ago for Sikorsky Aircraft after a pilot took off to fly the new King Stallion helicopter cross-country for the first time — the biggest ever built for the U.S. military and the first of three major new programs nearing full production.

It is the coming maiden flight of an experimental aircraft, however, that will determine the heights Stratford-based Sikorsky can hit later this century — if Pentagon planners climb on board.

Archrival Bell Helicopter plans to begin flight tests by September of its entry in a Department of Defense competition to determine the base design parameters DOD will use for rotorcraft — ranging from heavy-lift models like today’s CH-53K King Stallion to all-purpose workhorses like the Sikorsky Black Hawk — to combat aircraft like the Boeing Apache.

Against the Bell V-280 Valor tilt-rotor prototype in the Pentagon’s Future Vertical Lift fly-off, Sikorsky and Boeing are teaming up on the SB>1 Defiant. The companies have yet to make public any flight test schedule for the aircraft, but they’re not expected to begin until next year, according to the FlightGlobal aviation trade publication.

If running behind Bell’s schedule, Sikorsky has already test-flown a similar prototype in its S-97 Raider, which, like the SB>1 Defiant, features a “pusher prop” on the tail boom mounted in the same orientation as a propeller on an airplane wing. On top, stacked sets of rotors whirl in opposite directions, a concept familiar to model helicopter enthusiasts and with which Sikorsky itself had experimented at scale in the 1970s with its S-69 prototype aircraft.

Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin is counting on continued Black Hawk sales and the CH-53K program to maintain its Sikorsky subsidiary in the coming decade, with the U.S. Marine Corps wanting more than 200 King Stallions. Two more programs are on the taxiway pending final federal approvals and funding: a fleet of new presidential helicopters for the White House and one for the U.S. Air Force to conduct search-and-rescue operations for downed pilots and other operations over hostile territory.

But on beyond, Lockheed Martin is hoping the Future Vertical Lift program can accelerate Sikorsky similar to how did the Black Hawk and its variations, which sustained the Stratford manufacturer over four decades as the military’s base utility helicopter in the post-Vietnam era.

The vision is a new category of rotor aircraft that can blow by the Black Hawk for speed, range and payload capacity, with the ability to operate in extreme conditions and to be controlled remotely with no pilot on board. The Department of Defense wants aircraft that will be cheaper to operate and maintain over the 40 to 60 years it expects to field them, and wants to be able to use the winning platform in the design of everything from truck-toting beasts akin to the CH-53K to nimble aerial scouts.

In the digital flight simulator, the SB>1 Defiant exhibits revolutionary flight characteristics, according to Frank Conway, a Boeing experimental pilot who spoke last October at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army, while showcasing an SB>1 flight simulator to the trade publication IHS Janes.

“What that pusher prop ... allows us to do is both rapid acceleration and deceleration with a level body,” Frank Conway said. “Another unique thing I can do is actually decelerate with the nose pointing down, which is not a typical, helicopter-type profile. ... We’re basically hanging on the prop from behind.”

That pusher prop can also drive SB>1 into a steep, accelerating climb, Conway added — particularly valuable in combat zones to get out of range in a hurry from any hostile fighters. And he said the SB>1 promises stable and expansive fields of vision to give pilots the ability and willingness “to get down in the field of terrain,” in his words, at high speeds.

A subsidiary of Providence, Rhode Island-based Textron, Bell Helicopter is going it alone with an update of its pioneering V-22 Osprey aircraft as its candidate for the Future Vertical Lift program, also designing a smaller drone that similarly swivels its wing-mounted rotor sets to fly like an airplane after takeoff.

Bell’s V-280 Valor prototype could begin flight testing by September, only a few months past the original goal articulated by the U.S. Army in 2014. Those tests will be key, with malfunctions and crashes plaguing the Osprey program during early flights in the 1990s and 2000s, including one in 1992 in which congressmen and DOD officials witnessed an Osprey plummeting into the Potomac River during a demonstration, killing seven people on board.

Few have a better idea of what Sikorsky and Boeing are up against then Dan Schultz, whom Lockheed Martin made president of Sikorsky after acquiring the manufacturer in November 2015. While serving in the Marine Corps, Schultz was the program manager for managing the V-22 Osprey program across military branches.

As Sikorsky and Boeing rev up for SB>1 flight tests, Sikorsky is putting its vision to the test against not only Bell but its own corporate parent. Lockheed Martin itself had an existing “skunk works” project with Pennsylvania-based Piasecki Aircraft developing “ducted fan” aircraft — think the futuristic helicopters in Avatar that angle their rotor sets to maximize maneuverability — that continues to this day with an eye on hitting on a revolutionary breakthrough that could elicit future U.S. interest.

And Bell is continuing its own research work with the FCX-001, configured like a conventional helicopter in some respects but with rear rotors embedded inside the tail boom to provide pilots with superior control, among other advances.

Mooney M20C, N9303V, Badger Flyers Inc: Accident occurred July 15, 2017 at Washington Island Airport (2P2), Wisconsin

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Badger Flyers Inc:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA412
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 15, 2017 in Washington Island, WI
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N9303V

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 approach, struck the treetops and force landed short of the runway.

Date: 15-JUL-17
Time: 16:00:00Z
Regis#: N9303V
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)

WASHINGTON ISLAND (WLUK) -- Two people were able to walk away from a plane this morning on Washington Island, according to a former fire chief with the Washington Island Fire Department.

Officials say a 4-seater Mooney airplane came in low and slow into the airport around 11 Saturday morning. That's when it caught an air pocket and crashed just beyond the runway behind a row of trees.

Authorities say there were only 2 people on board and they received minor injuries and were treated on scene.

The plane is a total loss.

The Door County Sheriff’s Office says it will not be releasing any further information until Monday.

WASHINGTON ISLAND - A single-engine plane crashed at 11:35 a.m. Saturday during the 64th Annual Washington Island Lions Club Fly-in Fish Boil. 

There were no injuries but the plane "is a total loss" after it clipped a tree as the pilot was approaching the runway to land at the Washington Island Airport, said Fire Chief Paul Swanson.

There were two people in the plane and their identities were not available.

About 100 planes were at the airport with hundreds of people gathered for the annual fly-in, Swanson said.

"Door County EMS and a fire department crew were on site when it happened," Swanson said. The Washington Island Police Department also was stationed at the airport for the event.

Every year, first responders and medical personnel are stationed at the airport for the fly-in event, he said. 

The annual fly-in fish boil raises funds for the Lions Club that sponsors several community service projects on Washington Island.

WASHINGTON ISLAND, Wis. (WBAY) -- A small plane crashed on Washington Island late Saturday morning.

According to the Washington Island Fire Chief, the single engine Mooney was attempting to land around 11:30 a.m when it came in low, clipping some trees which caused the plane to crash.

The pilot and one passenger were in the plane at the time and suffered minor injuries. Officials say they refused medical help.

The plane is a total loss.

The fire chief said the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash on Sunday.

The two people were flying into Washington Island for the annual Fly-In-Fish Boil.

Between 100 and 150 planes are expected on the island for the weekend event.

Drone crashes into Latter-day Saints temple in Utah; raises questions of airspace rules

SALT LAKE CITY — A drone stuck near the top of the LDS temple in Draper has put a tiny spotlight on the intersection of drone pilots, private entities, cities and the federal government.

Drew Armstrong often flies drones — or unmanned aerial vehicles — on the outskirts of temple grounds to photograph LDS temples. He said he was flying near the perimeter of the Draper Utah Temple grounds on June 26, when someone who identified himself as the temple’s site manager approached him. The man asked him to fly over and get a visual of where a drone was stuck near the top of the temple’s steeple, Armstrong said. It is presumed that the drone, which has been sitting near the top of the temple for weeks, had crashed.

“I had the site manager looking over my shoulder wanting to see what was on my iPad because we were trying to figure out how to get the other drone off,” Armstrong said.

He emphasized that he normally doesn’t fly that close to temples and only did so at the site manager’s request.

“They are worried about somebody damaging the church’s property, and I don’t blame them,” he said.

The stuck drone illustrates the potential problems that can happen as more drones take to the skies and inexperienced pilots push the limits, as well what private property owners and cities can and cannot require when it comes to regulating drones.

Drone pilots typically fall into one of two Federal Aviation Administration categories: commercial or hobbyist. Drone pilots who fly commercially must be certified by the FAA and follow regulations, like agreeing to not fly over people or at night unless they receive waivers from the FAA. Hobbyist drone pilots, on the other hand, are encouraged to fly safely and in accordance with a drone community-based set of safety guidelines.

The lack of consistency in requirements for drone pilots and confusion behind who can order what are where things can get tricky.

For instance, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has discouraged unauthorized drone flights near temples.

“Temples and the grounds that surround them are sacred spaces for worship and reflection, and so we try to preserve an atmosphere of tranquility and peace. For this reason, drone filming is very rarely authorized,” said church spokeswoman Irene Caso. “If a drone were to crash during an unauthorized flight over a temple, we may offer to retrieve it at the pilot’s expense, but in some cases, this may not be possible.”

Along these similar lines, during this year’s legislative session, Utah lawmakers passed SB111, which prohibits drone hobbyists from flying over private property without permission, and says a violation of this rule would be considered trespassing.

“The person operating the unmanned aircraft is not otherwise authorized to fly the unmanned aircraft over the private property or any portion of the private property,” states part of the law.

This law, however, contradicts the FAA’s authority to regulate the U.S. airspace. It also goes against the agency’s request that state and local municipalities not attempt to regulate airspace to prevent a “patchwork” of laws and regulations across the nation that become difficult for pilots to follow.

“This ‘patchwork quilt’ of differing restrictions could severely limit the flexibility of FAA in controlling the airspace and flight patterns, and ensuring safety and an efficient air traffic flow,” reads a statement on the FAA’s website. “A navigable airspace free from inconsistent state and local restrictions is essential to the maintenance of a safe and sound air transportation system.”

So, while the church can prohibit drone pilots from taking off, landing and operating a drone while standing on church property, a FAA spokesperson said as a private property owner, it cannot regulate airspace above a property.

“The FAA is responsible for the safety and management of U.S. airspace from the ground up. Property owners are within their rights to prohibit drone takeoffs and landings on their property, but cannot deny use of the airspace surrounding the site,” a FAA spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Even still, church officials encourage drone pilots to first contact a member of the temple staff before flying near a temple site.

“We’re grateful that most drone pilots and film crews understand and respect this restriction,” church spokeswoman Caso said.

The church would not comment on this specific incident.

Bell 407, N242MT: Rotorcraft issue - El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) UPDATE: One man is dead and a woman is in the hospital in serious condition after a motorcycle crash east of El Dorado. The highway is also back open after a helicopter had issues and was stuck on US-54. 

Sheriff Herzet said the two were on a motorcycle heading west when they crossed the centerline and lost control. Both flew from the motorcycle. Herzet said he doesn't know why they crossed the centerline.

Herzet said a helicopter came and landed to airlift the two to the hospital but after it landed, Herzet said the pilot noticed something was wrong. They decided not to fly back to Wichita until someone could look at the helicopter. That kept the helicopter on US-54 for some time, closing the road.

Herzet said mechanics came on scene and towed the helicopter off of the road to figure out what was wrong. The mechanic said he wasn't authorized to release the issue. But the highway is since back open and the helicopter went back to Wichita.

Both people went to the hospital via ambulance. Herzet said they're from Overland Park but isn't yet releasing names.

Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet confirms a helicopter is stuck on US-54 after responding to a two motorcycle crash from early Saturday morning.

Cirrus SR22T, N411SE, Levy Aviation 1 LLC: Accident occurred July 15, 2017 at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (KMKC), Kansas City, Missouri

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri

Levy Aviation 1 LLC:

Aircraft on landing, nose gear collapsed.

Date: 15-JUL-17
Time: 19:50:00Z
Regis#: N411SE
Aircraft Make: CIRRUS
Aircraft Model: SR22
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

No one was injured when a single-engine plane from Charlotte landed on its nose at a Missouri airport Saturday afternoon. 

According to Joe McBride, who is the spokesperson for the Kansas City Aviation Department, the aircraft was flying from Denver, Colorado to the Charles B. Wheeler airport in Kansas City around 3 p.m. when the incident occurred. McBride said the nose landing gear of the aircraft collapsed upon landing. 

The airport did not close since another runway was available for use, McBride told KCTV5. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the airplane was manufactured in 2014 and most recently registered to an individual in the 6300 block of Mitchell Hollow Road in Charlotte. 

The plane was a Cirrus SR22T (N411SE)  aircraft, according to KCTV5.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two occupants of a small plane escaped a scary situation after making a rough landing Saturday at the Charles B. Wheeler downtown airport.

Joe McBride, a representative with the Kansas City airport, said a small plane’s nose wheel collapsed Saturday afternoon, causing the plane to end up on its propeller.

Two people were on the plane, but did not suffer any injuries. The Cirrus SR22T (N411SE)  was flying from Denver to Charles B. Wheeler downtown airport.

The incident happened 3 p.m. and caused a temporary shutdown of one runway at the downtown airport, but the other runway is still open.

World War II pilot's remains found in tree, return for burial 72 years later

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William J. Gray, Jr., 21, of Kirkland, Washington.

For more than 70 years a tree protected the remains of a World War II fighter pilot from Washington state whose plane crashed in Germany in 1945.

The remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. William Gray of Kirkland were returned to his family Friday for a burial at Tahoma National Cemetery with full military honors.

The 21-year-old Gray was on a dive-bombing mission on April 16, 1945, when his single-seat P-47D aircraft clipped a tree and crashed in Lindau.

The Defense POW/MIA said investigators recovered Gray’s remains last year. Two people who saw Gray’s plane go down told the investigators where to look, Q13 Fox reported Friday. The investigators were in Lindau on another recovery mission. 

“The bones they found were embedded in the tree,” Gray’s niece Jan Bradshaw told the station.

Her brother Doug Louvier added, “It grew over his remains and really protected and marked the spot.”

Gray was buried side-by-side with his best friend—Bradshaw and Louvier’s father.

Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Jim Louvier returned home from the war and was 89 when he died in 2010.

As they went off to the war together after enlisting, Louvier made a pact with his buddy. They each promised to take care of the other’s family if anything happened to either one of them.

Bradshaw told the station that her father kept his word. He married Gray's younger sister, her mother.

“I know he loved her dearly and committed to her for 64 years before he died,” she said of her father.

Louvier was cremated after he died but his children didn’t know what do with the ashes—until Friday.

“We couldn’t decide what to do and now we know why,” Bradshaw said.

Naper Aero Club/Aero Estates (LL10), Illinois: Naperville's 'airpark' subdivision still flying

Former pilot Richard Benck now keeps his collection of antique tractors in the hangar of his home in the Naper Aero Club/Aero Estates flying community, just off Route 59 and 83rd Street. Other homeowners who have stopped flying keep classic cars, boats and other collectibles in their hangars. 

Even by California's sometimes eccentric standards, Jim Carey's neighbors in Long Beach probably thought him a bit odd devoting countless hours to building a light airplane in his home's garage.

But a work-related move to the Naperville area nearly six years ago put Carey in the company of kindred spirits, and in October he made his maiden flight in his Vans RV10 airplane from the Naper Aero Club/Aero Estates subdivision.

The club is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and its 105 equity members are a more eclectic group than one might think. While dozens of homeowners still regularly fly their small, single-engine aircraft from the airport that anchors their community near 83rd Street and Route 59, others are using their personal airplane hangars to house collections of boats, classic cars and, in one case, antique tractors.

There are about 625 private residential airpark communities throughout the United States, 18 of them in Illinois, according to the online Living With Your Plane Association. Naper Aero Club/Aero Estates traces its ancestry to the 1950s and three couples: Alvin and Viola Beidelman, Vern and Mary Kathryn Finzer and Harold and Eva White, the latter of whom founded the Naperville Sun.

"They are the ones who bought the farmland and established Naper Aero (Club), and we then had Unit Numbers One and Two built on the old original Aero Drive" circa 1956, said Suzette Selig, a veteran pilot, flight instructor, nurse and senior member of the club, who serves as their unofficial historian.

Vern Finzer and the Whites were pilots, and the home the Whites built in Aero Estates stands to this day, Selig said.

Developers Harold Moser and Ralph Smykal bought the Feeney family farm aross the street in the 1980s and added Chandelle, Skylane and Stearman drives, the subdivision's three other main streets, Selig said. Most of the homes in Aero Estates were built after 1987, according to the Naperville Heritage Society.

A mother of three now-grown daughters, Selig learned to fly more than 50 years ago while attending high school in Evanston. She is a member of The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots.

In 2013, she and her late husband, Nick, received Master Pilot awards from the Federal Aviation Administration. They bought their home in Aero Estates in 1967.

"There are two grass runways and one paved runway out here," said Selig, who flies a classic airplane and has worked for 38 years as a registered nurse at Edward Hospital in Naperville. Houses and hangars are linked to the runways by taxiways, she said.

About 50 percent of the current homeowners don't fly, Selig said. "The people that don't fly came out here because of the size of the lots and because it has a rural feel. We just want to make sure that the airport remains as an airport for airplanes, (and as) an aviation community."

Homeowner and pilot Mike Pastore is a mechanical engineer with a consulting business, and president of the club's board of directors. He, like Selig, is passionate about the community and its laid-back, tranquil way of life.

"The first thing is, the aviation lifestyle is great," said Pastore, a transplant from Wheaton who has flown out of Aero Estates for 20 years and lived there for the past eight. "But Naper Aero also represents what is known as grassroots aviation, which has been part of the culture of our country for over 100 years.

"I and a lot of people use (our) aircraft for business and for pleasure flights," said Pastore, who flies an antique 1947 Cessna 140. "This is a close-knit community with almost a rural lifestyle, which we all enjoy.

"The airport is functioning the same way it was 40 or 50 years ago," he said. "These are still all small aircraft that fly in and out of here, nothing large."

But things have changed as well, he added.

"Now we do have a lot of newer, more advanced aircraft (on the grounds), and a lot of people like to (use their hangars) for boats or RVs or car collections," Pastore said. "We also have a number of biplanes, including a 1945 Stearman and a T-34" used by the Lima Lima Flight Team, he said.

One homeowner keeps a helicopter on his premises, he said, "and we even have a couple of power parachutists," flyers who outfit their parachutes with small engines.

Carey's position with Toyota Financial Services brought him, his wife Sara and their children to Naperville from California. They were not strangers to the area, having visited the club several times prior to moving.

"It's so unique," Carey said of Aero Estates. "A lot of airparks are out in the countryside, and this is in a nice kind of a suburban setting."

Carey's handmade Vans RV10 is a high-performance, single-engine plane that can carry four people. It took him eight years to complete.

"The thing that appeals to me most of all, even if you're doing something as strange as building an airplane in your garage, is that it's just nice to be with like-minded people who share the same passion for aviation as I do," he said.

Two organizations for pilots — the Naperville Flying Club and the BFC Flying Club — are affiliated with Aero Estates. Some club members lives in the subdivision, while others, like Naperville Flying Club insurance officer Bill Seith, live elsewhere, in his case Hinsdale.

"Ours is an equity fund club" and limited by corporate charter to 50 members, Seith said. Each member owns a share in all four of the club's single-engine planes that are housed at Aero Estates, he said.

"Our club is as old as the airport," Seith said. "Basically, we have a system online" for reserving use of any of the planes, "and we provide flight instruction (exclusively) for our members, from basic training for getting your pilot's license all the way to more advanced ratings."

Aero Estates has proven to be a remarkably safe place. Selig recalled one accident occurring when a pilot "took off westbound and wound up in a willow tree," in the 1970s and another when a flyer "went off the runway and went nose-first" into the foundation of an under-construction house in the 1980s.

The most serious mishap occurred on Oct. 6, 2010, as residents Lloyd and Maureen McKee were flying their Piper PA-32R-300 to Pittsburgh. Lloyd McKee, who was behind the controls, could not gain sufficient altitude, causing the plane to slam into a tower at the XSport Fitness health center southeast of 75th Street and Route 59, in the plane's flightpath.

The McKees were seriously hurt but ultimately recovered from their injuries. No one at the health club and on the ground were injured.

Despite her traditionalist's attitude toward Aero Estates and flying, Selig is friendly with her earthbound neighbors, who include Tom Priz and his wife, Roberta Becker Priz.

Tom Priz received his pilot's license in 1970 while flying at the club. He said he flew 152, 172 and 182 Cessnas over the years from the club's main hangar.

Roberta Becker Priz had her heart so set on living in Aero Estates that when an acquaintance announced he was selling his house there, she bought it without consulting her husband. "We've lived there now for 16 years," Tom Priz said.

Priz said his passion has shifted from flying to collecting and preserving antique and classic cars, several of which he keeps in his hangar. His prizes include a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1959 Chevrolet El Camino, a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1963 Chevrolet Corvair convertible.

His is not even the most exotic collection of vehicles to be found in the area. Priz's friend, Richard Benck, is a collector of antique tractors.

Benck, a former pilot who restored commercial aircraft during his career, has restored an early 1950s-era Allis-Chalmers WD45 tractor and plow. The equipment will eventually be on display at Naper Settlement as part of an agrarian exhibit.

And while such concerns as location and having plenty of elbow room figured into the decision to buy a home at Aero Estates, Priz said he often takes some of the best benefits for granted.

"You can see sunsets and sunrises where we live," he said.

Tri-Cities Regional Airport (KTRI), Blountville, Sullivan County, Tennessee: Speaker Harwell submits letter recommending funding for Tri-Cities Aerospace Park

House Speaker Beth Harwell doesn’t forget quickly.

A couple of weeks after touring the future site of a Tri-Cities aerospace park, Harwell is continuing to support local leaders’ efforts to gain state funding to help fund the economic initiative.

On Friday, Harwell wrote a letter to the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission urging its members to seriously consider the Tri-Cities Airport’s Aerospace Park for a major state grant.

Officials hope to use a mix of state and local monies to grade 140 acres of land adjoining the airport, eventually making it capable of housing aerospace and advance manufacturing industries.

In her letter, Harwell wrote, “The vision for the area is impressive, and I believe it will provide a strong economic boost to the region. (The) Aerospace Park is a prime location available for immediate development. As a Select Tennessee Certified Site, the shovel-ready building site minimizes risk for investors, has utilities already available and requires minimal site preparation.

“Because of the work already in place, I am writing to register my recommendation for grant funding for Tri-Cities Airport and the Aerospace Park.”

Earlier this year, state legislators appropriated $30 million in non-recurring dollars to the Aeronautics Economic Development Fund, allowing airport projects across the state to competitively apply for state funding.

Harwell said it’s her understanding that the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission is responsible for allocating that funding.

Several county and municipal governments, who plan to partner together on the project, have already allocated some funding in this year’s budget to put toward the aerospace park.

Sullivan County, Washington County, Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol and the Tri-Cities Airport Authority have agreed to fund about $8.5 million of the $17 million needed to develop the land. The Airport Authority plans to apply for the state grant to cover the remaining $8.5 million.

“We are pleased Speaker Harwell recommended Aerospace Park to the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission for strong consideration for funding from the Aeronautics Economic Development Fund,” Patrick Wilson, executive director of the Tri-Cities Airport Authority, wrote in a statement.

“Through working together to fund this project, the cities and counties of the Tri-Cities area have demonstrated a strong sense of regional cooperation. The availability of state grant funds to match this local funding effort is very important.”

On July 3, Harwell joined Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable and Tri-Cities Airport Businesses Development Director Mark Canty in a bus tour around the airport property.

During the visit, Canty told Harwell how the park’s vicinity to the airport and the existing taxiway system would make the future aerospace park unique and attractive to investors.

“Just the opportunity to learn about it and see it firsthand gave me an idea of what it could hold for the future in Northeast Tennessee. I really think its a worthwhile project and I just wanted to add my support,” Harwell said.

Northeast State Community College’s nearby aviation program and the potential for future educational opportunities also intrigued the House leader.

“(The aerospace park) is also tied to our higher education initiatives,” Harwell said. “That’s the wave of the future. These young people can be trained in an area where they can find work right there in their hometown. They don’t really have to leave their hometown to find high-paying jobs. That’s really impressive to me.”

Wilson said TDOT has not yet established the grant application schedule, but many expect the Tri-Cities Airport’s project to be a top contender.

Blountville Rep. Timothy Hill applauded Harwell’s efforts and the economic boost the project would provide to the area’s workforce.

“My colleagues and I in the House worked diligently during the 2017 legislative session in order to ensure that this pivotal project receives the necessary funding in order to move forward,” Hill said. “I know Speaker Harwell understands and appreciates the important economic impact it will have on our community, and I am thankful for her support.”

Depending on how the site is developed, the aerospace park could yield around 1,500 to 2,000 jobs.

“I am asking that strong consideration be given to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport for grant funding to complete this project. I believe it will be beneficial for Upper East Tennessee and could become one of the premier sites in the country,” Harwell wrote.