Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Breakfast: More than a start to the day

AT THE CONTROLS: Claude Bergeron (left) and Jody King on their way to breakfast at Block Island. 

By John Howell

“How about breakfast?”

From Claude Bergeron’s tone, I knew exactly what he was asking. This wasn’t a casual invite to join him at one of many breakfast nooks to catch up on life’s events. Rather, this was Claude’s way of saying, I’m going flying and would you like to come? Over the years we’ve ordered omelets and pancakes at the airport restaurant on the Vineyard, which is a good hour’s flight, or taken a shorter hop to put in an order at the Block Island airport eatery.

“I’m thinking Block Island,” said Claude.

Claude has access to a single-engine airplane that’s kept at North Central Airport (KSFZ). It’s a 4-seater and must have thousands of hours under her wings. Claude treats her with the exactitude of a watchmaker. Every detail is scrutinized from the edge of the prop for dings and nicks to the tires, the fuel for possible water, the instruments and the tone of the engine that he listens to carefully after shouting out the cabin window “clear prop” and engaging the starter.

“Anybody else coming?” I inquired. “Maybe Jody would like to join us.”

We made plans to meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Airport Plaza to drive to North Central.

Jody King was intrigued by the invitation although reluctant to commit. He felt compelled to be out on the bay and quahogging and then had lined up a job piloting a powerboat that afternoon. The weather forecast was looking good, but that didn’t sway him.

“Well, let us know,” I said.

On Saturday night I called Claude to see if he’d heard from Jody, learning to my surprise that Claude was at a party and Jody was there serving up cherrystones.

“I’ve been working on him,” Claude reported, “I think I’ve convinced him to come.”

Jody’s brother, Lonnie, is a commercial pilot for a charter jet company that flies people with lots of money in the latest of aircraft. But that’s not the brother that has weighed heavily on Jody’s life since The Station nightclub fire of Feb. 20, 2003. A bouncer to the establishment, Tracey King, lost his life on the night of the fire. Jody was the driving force to the creation of a memorial on Veterans Memorial Drive across from fire headquarters to the 10 Warwick residents lost in the fire and for the memorial that opened in May on the site of The Station in West Warwick. He has made presentation after presentation to raise funds and gain the donation of materials and services to build the memorials, often sweetening his appeals with the presentation of a satchel of quahogs. That effort and the emotional pull it has had on his life has been consuming for the past 14 years.

We met as planned with Jody still questioning whether he should take the time for such self-indulgence. But now he had no choice and after Claude’s meticulous pre-flight inspection we were at the end of the runway with the engine at full throttle. We lifted over the woods of Lincoln, banked to the east and were soon following the bay passing over Rocky Point, Quonset, Newport and then Point Judith on our way to breakfast. We made an aerial tour of Deep Water Wind, looking down on the giant wind turbines looking like misshapen toothpicks stuck in a silver reflector stretching to the horizon.

The Block Island airport was humming. An assortment of single-engine general aviation aircraft – some experimental 2-seater airplanes – were parked on the tarmac while larger aircraft were making runs to and from Westerly delivering a stream of island vacationers. The mood was upbeat and full of excitement.

The terrace tables were full, but we found seats at the counter inside. It was the place to be for local gossip and to chat with breakfast fly-ins. Everyone, it seemed, had a story they wanted to tell. While only less than 50 miles away from Warwick, the venue with its aviation memorabilia and talk of airplanes was a world away. Barely an hour later, Claude was going through another pre-flight and Jody was back behind the stick.

We took a more westerly route back, flying over URI, Green Airport and the Citizens Bank campus under construction off 295 in Johnston before touching down at 10:30 Central. As brief as it had been, breakfast at Block Island served up so much more than eggs and French toast.

As viewed from above, the flight was a reminder of how much this state offers from shoreline to forests, highways, bridges and cities compacted into a neat package. We joke to out-of-states about missing Rhode Island if you blink while driving Route 95 and, indeed, this is a comparatively tiny piece of real estate. But from 2,400 feet up it is a quilt of diversity with the Bay like an artery reaching into the Atlantic.

The flight was also a breakfast of another sort, a means of separation from earthbound concerns and substance for fresh perspectives, a rare treat.


National Transportation Safety Board will hold rare Alaska hearing on Togiak, Alaska, plane crash: Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Hageland Aviation Services dba Ravn Connect, N208SD, fatal accident occurred October 02, 2016

Fatal Alaska Commuter Flight Crash Subject of National Transportation Safety Board Investigative Hearing: https://www.ntsb.gov

Drew Edward Welty
The two pilots that died in the plane crash are identified as Timothy Cline, 43 of Homer, and Drew Welty, 29 of Anchorage. The passenger has been identified as Louie John, 49 of Manokotak. 

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a rare hearing in Anchorage next month to examine the fatal crash of a Ravn Connect flight near Togiak last fall. 

The investigative hearing will be the first held by the board in Alaska since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the first held outside Washington, D.C., in nearly 20 years.

The board is expected to address broader issues behind the crash that killed three, including operational control at Hageland Aviation Services Inc.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Aug. 17 in the Mid-Deck Ballroom of the Captain Cook Hotel.

The board is making the rare trip to Alaska because most of the witnesses live here, officials say. But the unusual location also stems from a spate of fatal plane crashes linked to either flying an airworthy plane into the ground or heading into low-visibility conditions that require help from instruments.

The board's decision reflects a spike in accidents involving charter or commercial operators that often provide essential air service to Alaska villages.

The June 2015 crash of a Promech Air flightseeing floatplane killed nine people near Ketchikan. Another crash a few weeks later near Juneau killed a Wings of Alaska pilot and seriously injured four passengers. Eight people sustained serious injuries in the crash of a Wright Air Service scheduled flight near Anaktuvuk Pass in January 2016.

All told, 40 people have died in 36 aircraft accidents involving "controlled flight into terrain" in Alaska between 2008 and 2016, according to the NTSB.

Hageland Aviation Services aircraft were involved in six accidents since 2013, the board says. Four involved controlled flight into terrain and one involved flight into instrument meteorological conditions.

The NTSB issued two safety recommendations in 2014 asking the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct audits of operators owned by the holding company HoTH, Inc., which included Hageland, one of three airlines that fly as Ravn Alaska.

A Ravn spokesman didn't immediately respond to questions about the hearing Tuesday.

The Togiak crash happened in the Ahklun Mountains 12 miles northwest of Togiak just before noon Oct. 2, 2016. A Ravn Connect Cessna 208B Caravan slammed into a mountainside about 200 feet below the 2,500-foot summit, according to an NTSB preliminary report released last year.

The crash killed pilots Timothy Cline, 48, of Homer, and Drew Welty, 29, of Anchorage, as well as passenger Louie John, a fisherman from Manokotak, who boarded in Quinhagak.

The flight, on an unusual bypass mail route, originated in Bethel. The pilots flew under visual flight rules but poor weather concealed the wreckage from an Alaska State Troopers helicopter until more than four hours after the crash.

An NTSB press release lists several safety issues expected to be discussed at the hearing. Among them:

– Operational control at Hageland, including FAA oversight, organizational structure, and training and guidance for operational control agents;

– Pilot training and guidance related to deteriorating weather conditions including incorporating lessons from previous accidents;

– Safety management, training and oversight resources available to the Alaska aviation community.

Hageland Aviation Services is a participant in the Medallion Foundation's Shield Program. The foundation is a nonprofit partnership between the FAA and industry, created in 2001 by the Alaska Air Carriers Association, with the goal of improving aviation safety in Alaska while reducing insurance rates for commercial air carriers.

Several Medallion members including Ravn, however, have been involved in fatal plane crashes in Alaska.

Generally, NTSB hearings like this one involve a half-dozen witnesses who face questions from the four-member board.

The agency is still building a list of participants for the Anchorage hearing, said Alaska region chief Clint Johnson.

"It's a unique time for the public and especially Alaskans, since we're so dependent on aviation, to be able to peer inside our investigative process," Johnson said.


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska
Pratt & Whitney Canada; Montreal, MB
Hageland Aviation Services, Inc.; Anchorage, Alaska
Hartzell Propellers; Piqua, Ohio

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


NTSB Identification: ANC17FA001
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, October 02, 2016 in Togiak, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 208B, registration: N208SD
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 2, 2016, about 1154 Alaska daylight time, a turbine-powered Cessna 208B Grand Caravan airplane, N208SD, sustained substantial damage after impacting steep, mountainous, rocky terrain about 12 miles northwest of Togiak, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as flight 3153 by Hageland Aviation Services, Inc., dba Ravn Connect, Anchorage, Alaska, as a scheduled commuter flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 and visual flight rules (VFR). All three people on board (two commercial pilots and one passenger) sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the Togiak Airport, Togiak, and company flight following procedures were in effect. Flight 3153 departed Quinhagak, Alaska, at 1133, destined for Togiak.

Earlier, flight 3153 had originated in Bethel, Alaska; made scheduled stops in Togiak and Quinhagak; and was scheduled to return to Togiak before returning to Bethel, the intended final destination for the day. 

According to the director of operations for Hageland Aviation Services, Inc., about 1214, he received a notification from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) that it received a signal from a 406 megahertz (MHz) Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT), which activated about 1208 and was registered to N208SD. After accessing the aircraft location data provided by an on-board flight tracking system and discovering the aircraft had been stationary for about 20 minutes, the Hageland director of operations contacted the Hageland Operational Control Center (OCC) in Palmer, Alaska, to verify the information. At that time, the operator initiated a company search for the airplane.

At 1326, the Alaska State Troopers (AST) were notified by the RCC personnel of an ELT activation near the village of Togiak, within the confines of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge. 

Shortly before 1430, an AST helicopter was dispatched from Dillingham, Alaska, about 67 miles east of Togiak, to the coordinates associated with the ELT signal, but poor weather conditions kept the searchers from locating the accident airplane until about 1630. Alaska State Troopers were able to access the scene on foot shortly before 1730 and subsequently confirmed there were no survivors. 

On October 3, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), along with another NTSB investigator and two Alaska State Troopers reached the accident site. The airplane's fragmented wreckage was located on the southeast side of a steep, loose rock-covered mountainside, adjacent to the Quigmy River, about 12 miles northwest of Togiak. 

An area believed to be the initial impact point was discovered on the northwest side of a mountain ridgeline at the 2,300-foot level. The initial impact point was located north of and about 200 feet below the 2,500-foot mountain summit. The initial impact point contained fragmented portions of fuselage and two severed propeller blades. From the initial impact point, the wreckage path extended southeast to the main wreckage, which was located downslope on the southeast side of the ridgeline at the 1,550-foot level. The outboard portion of the left wing had separated and was located about 200 feet further downslope below the main wreckage site. A postcrash fire incinerated a large portion of the fuselage and right wing.

The airplane was equipped with a Spidertracks flight tracking system, which provides real-time aircraft flight tracking data. The flight tracking information is transmitted via Iridium satellites to an internet-based storage location at 6-minute intervals. According to the Spidertracks data, the airplane's last known location was reported at 1153, about 19 nautical miles northwest of the Togiak Airport, at an altitude of 1,043 feet, traveling at 144 knots across the ground, on a heading of 140 degrees.

At 1156, an aviation routine weather report (METAR) from the Togiak Airport (the closest weather reporting facility) reported, in part: wind calm; visibility 7 statute miles; light rain; sky condition, scattered clouds at 3,900 feet, overcast at 4,700 feet; temperature 45 degrees F, dewpoint 43 degrees F; altimeter, 29.88 inHg.

A detailed wreckage examination is pending. 

The airplane was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney PT6 series engine.

Traffic decline at Quad City International Airport (KMLI) expected to continue

The Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority got a sobering outlook Tuesday, as its consultant predicted the number of passengers flying out of the Quad-Cities International Airport would fall this year. Meanwhile, June figures continued to show a significant drop in traffic.

Meanwhile, the authority approved a budget for fiscal year 2018, which is somewhat smaller than the year before. It also passed a measure that holds the line on its share of Rock Island County's property taxes.

Declines haven't been unusual for the Quad-City airport over the past five or six years, but the number of departures for June dropped 10 percent from the previous year, to 29,288. The year before, departures totaled 32,329.

Much of that decline came from United, which saw a 30 percent drop. But American was down 11 percent and Delta 2 percent. Allegiant saw a 10 percent increase.

The June decline was the third consecutive month in which the airport saw double digit percentage declines in departures. The airport reported declines of 15 percent and 18 percent in April and May, respectively.

Some of the decline in monthly traffic in June could still have come from the loss of the United flight to Washington, D.C., which operated for eight days last June. However, the airport did not collect data for those days, so the extent to which that contributed in the year over year decline isn't clear.

Still, the overall trend was downward. Mike Bown, vice president of Trillon Aviation, the airport's consultant, said he expected the figure for calendar year 2017 to only hit 320,000. That, he said, would be a 10 percent decline year over year.

Bown said that load factor, a measure of how full a plane is, is a major contributor here. Airlines that had been competing on price over the past few years have stabilized their yields, and that's pushed load factors down.

"A lot of it’s being load factor driven, which is being affected by the fares. And based on what the airlines are telling me I don’t expect that to change through Labor Day and probably thereafter," Bown told commissioners. He said it would be "a reach" for the airport to hit 340,000 for the 2018 fiscal year, which is about the passenger numbers included in the authority's budget.

There was some encouraging news. Allegiant has scheduled a twice weekly flight to Punta Gorda, Florida, from mid-December to mid-February. That should improve traffic numbers.

Last year, the flight had operated on an abbreviated schedule, but there is intense interest in some quarters for its return. Cathie Rochau, marketing director for the airport, said the flight is popular with people who have condominiums in Florida. The Punta Gorda flight takes people to the Fort Myers, Florida, area.

Also, Bown said he expects new Florida service to be added next year. He did not elaborate in front of the commission and declined to be more specific afterward.

In other business, the airport authority approved a budget for fiscal year 2018 that appropriates $25.7 million. That's down from $27.4 million in 2016. It also approved a measure that levies property taxes of a little more than $1.4 million. That is the same as it was for fiscal year 2016, said Angela Burch, the controller. The rate also doesn't change.

The authority also approved a collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME Local 3744, which covers about 50 people. The deal calls for a pay increase of 0.75 percent in the first year, 1.25 percent in the second year and 1.75 percent in the third and fourth years. There also were some changes in benefits that will result in savings to the authority.


New Jersey approves plan for Jets' helipad

FLORHAM PARK--The New York Jets Flight Crew will soon include more than the NFL team's cheerleading squad.

Despite opposition from local residents, the state Department of Transportation without any public hearings has okayed a request by the Jets to use helicopters to airlift executives and players in and out of the NFL team's suburban training facility, despite its proximity to Morristown Airport.

The state gave clearance for the construction of a helipad, or so-called "helistop" at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park--which is just a few minutes' drive to the nearby airport.

DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro said the department issued a letter last week approving the project.

"Once the facility is completed it will undergo a final inspection. Upon passing that inspection, a license to operate the facility will be issued," he said.

The Jets declined comment and would not say when construction might get underway.

It took quite some time, but Donald Trump has officially named Woody Johnson the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The team has been seeking a landing zone at the training facility since 2013, when it first went to the Florham Park planning. But the application was soon put on hold amid community opposition over concerns about the noise from low-flying helicopters and the possibility of an accident.

In March, the Jets re-filed the request directly with the state Bureau of Aeronautics, arguing that they were exempt from all local zoning and approvals because the training center property is owned by the N.J. Sports and Exposition Authority, a state agency, according to the filing.

The filing by Florham Park Development LLC, which is associated with the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, said in its filing that the helipad would not be open for public use. Equipped for day and night operations, it was expected to accommodate takeoffs and landings several times during the week during the summer months.

The landing pad would be used "for transport of executives of the training center and injured athletes," according to the state filing.

The request had been opposed by residents in Madison, which opposed the initial application and lodged new objections to the Jets' request in a separate filing with the state. Officials also declined comment, but said in their response that the granting of a license would be contrary to local land use ordinances and the sentiments of residents.

Noting the close proximity of Morristown Airport, they questioned the need and safety as well.

"There is clearly no demand for the proposed helistop from an air operational standpoint, and any purported public benefit from the availability of a helistop for emergency uses is illusive," they wrote to the state.

But following a 30-day public comment period, the DOT approved the Jets' request. Schapiro said a public hearing had not been required.


Piper PA-28-161, N315EF, AMVAL LLC: Incident occurred July 17, 2017 at Van Nuys Airport (KVNY), California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

AMVAL LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N315EF

Aircraft on taxi, struck the wing of a parked aircraft.

Date: 17-JUL-17
Time: 15:20:00Z
Regis#: N315EF
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)

Cessna 172S, N1608S, New Horizon Aviation Inc: Incident occurred July 16, 2017 at Norwood Memorial Airport (KOWD), Norfolk County, Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts

New Horizon Aviation Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N1608S

Aircraft on landing, struck a bird and sustained minor damage.

Date: 16-JUL-17
Time: 13:08:00Z
Regis#: N1608S
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

Luscombe 8A Silvaire, N45609, Flying Wrenches LLC: Accident occurred July 06, 2017 at Central Nebraska Regional Airport (KGRI), Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska

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

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

Flying Wrenches LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N45609

Location: Grand Island, NE
Accident Number: GAA17CA403
Date & Time: 07/06/2017, 0615 CDT
Registration: N45609
Aircraft: LUSCOMBE 8
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

The flight instructor reported that during an instructional flight, when the tailwheel-equipped airplane was at rotation for takeoff, it sharply veered to the left. When safe flight was not assured, the flight instructor took over control from the student pilot, and subsequently landed the airplane in the grass area adjacent to the runway.

Postaccident examination revealed substantial damage to the fuselage.

The flight instructor reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s):  Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/17/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/16/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2062 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1.5 hours (Total, this make and model), 1812 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 41.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4.3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):  None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/05/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/20/2015
Flight Time:  1893 hours (Total, all aircraft), 64 hours (Total, this make and model), 1701 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: LUSCOMBE
Registration: N45609
Model/Series: 8 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2136
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/08/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1260 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3187.47 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: A65-8
Registered Owner:  FLYING WRENCHES LLC.
Rated Power: 65 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGRI, 1856 ft msl
Observation Time: 1053 UTC
Distance from Accident Site:  0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 206°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 18°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 230°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:  30.1 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Grand Island, NE (GRI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Grand Island, NE (GRI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  CDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: Central Nebraska Regional Airport (GRI)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete; Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 1847 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 7002 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:   40.967500, -98.309722 (est)

Ultralight: Incident occurred July 17, 2017 in Dunn County, North Dakota

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fargo, North Dakota

Ultralight, registration unknown, on departure from a gravel road crashed into a field.

Date: 18-JUL-17
Time: 01:03:00Z
Aircraft Make: ULTRALIGHT
Aircraft Model: ULTRALIGHT
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)

Bell 407, N407FC, M & J Leisure LLC: Accident occurred July 16, 2017 in Dubois, Fremont County, Wyoming

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

M & J Leisure LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N407FC

Rotorcraft experienced a tail rotor strike 

Date: 16-JUL-17
Time: 21:30:00Z
Regis#: N407FC
Aircraft Make: BELL
Aircraft Model: 407
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Rotorcraft, during reposition, sustained unknown damage to the tail rotor.

Date: 16-JUL-17
Time: 21:30:00Z
Regis#: N407FC
Aircraft Make: BELL
Aircraft Model: 407
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN

Barron County, Wisconsin: Honor first responders

It was in May when a deadly tornado and fatal plane crash shook the Barron County community. Rescue workers worked long difficult hours to help as many people as possible.

Monday in Rice Lake, the selfless workers that helped the community to when tragedy struck were honored. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald presented 20  lifesaver, and 11 tornado awards to various individuals, utilities companies, and first responders involved in aiding the community during these tragedies. One of the the honorees is a Life Link pilot who arrived in his helicopter to receive his award.

“It's just our job it's what we do day to day, and it's special that I get to meet with all the other agencies and the people who were there,” said Life Link pilot Robert Spenle.

Sheriff Fitzgerald said four local men who were out fishing played a vital role after the plane crash. Tonight they also received life saver awards. At the ceremony the sheriff proclaimed each May in Barron County to be 'First Responder Month'.

"We are Barron County proud. We are community that comes together when things happen, both good and bad, and I think everybody's looking for a little good, and that's what tonight was, to help families bring closure. Thank everybody for coming out, and that's  what is was tonight, it was just a thanks," said Sheriff Fitzgerald.

Community members say that they will never forget the generosity of all those who sacrifice their time to help the community, especially in a time of crisis.

Watch video:   http://www.wqow.com

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

Additional Participating Entity:

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

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

Knutson Family Limited Partnership: http://registry.faa.gov/N35132

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA196

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 24, 2017 in Chetek, WI
Aircraft: PIPER J3C, registration: N35132
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 24, 2017, about 1830 central daylight time, a Piper J3C 65 airplane, N35132, crashed into a river 3.5 miles southwest of Chetek, Wisconsin. The private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight departed a private airstrip near Chetek, Wisconsin, about 1800. 

According to several witnesses in the area, the airplane flew over the witnesses who were fishing on a pond near the river. One witness remarked that the door of the airplane was open and the two occupants were waving at them. The airplane continued to the north and then started a turn to the right. Both witnesses stated that they heard a "pop" noise from the engine which they characterized as a backfire. One witness stated that the engine was at a lower rpm as the airplane flew over him. After the "pop" the airplane descended below the tree line and the witnesses heard the crash.

The airplane wreckage was located in the Red Cedar River. The wreckage included both wings, the empennage, fuselage, and the engine and propeller assembly.

Star Flight Training expands pilot program to student demand, hires more flight instructors

ROANOKE, Va. - As the nation continues to experience a pilot shortage, our local pilot training center is expanding its program.

Star Flight Training says it is seeing more students want to become airline pilots, so the training center has increased the number of flight instructors to meet the demand.

This summer, the program has hired two flight instructors bringing its staff to eight in all. 

Most of the students training at the center say they plan to pursue aviation as a full-time career.

"I am just getting experience being around the planes, working on hours. My goal is to be an airline pilot one day," said student pilot Kala Pait of Star Flight.

“We are seeing a large increase in people who want to be pilots who want to fill that gap. If you compare each month to the previous year, we see anywhere between 75 to 150 percent increase, month to month year to year," Star Flight chief pilot Jon Beard said.

Beard says he's excited to see so many ambitious students working toward a career in aviation.

Watch video: http://www.wsls.com

Klamath Falls, Oregon: Civil Air Patrol flies first mission with own aircraft -- Civilian eyes in the sky have provided support since WWII

Civil Air Patrol pilot Lt. Gary Fink sits behind the controls of a Cessna 182 that just became the squadron's first official aircraft.

Since the early days of World War II, volunteer pilots and crews have served in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Today, their role is three-fold: Emergency services support including search and rescue; aerospace education for youth helping train tomorrow’s pilots and leaders; and as supplemental support for the U.S. Air Force.

For the Klamath Falls Composite Squadron, one of 11 Oregon CAP squadrons, their role is closely tied to Kingsley Air Base as an official auxiliary of the Air Force. Nonprofit and federally chartered, the volunteer organization is a helping hand to the military, a vital cog in times of emergency, and a protector of general aviation for the future.

Last Friday marked a monumental day in the Klamath Falls CAP squadron’s history, flying its first official mission with its own CAP aircraft. Though formed shortly after WWII, Klamath Falls’ squadron has never had an official airplane to call its own, compounding the difficulty of coordinating missions based on aircraft availability to loan.

Flying low-level, a three-member crew comprised of CAP Mission Pilot Lt. Gary Fink, Mission Observer Lt. Rick Flowers and Mission Scanner Capt. Brian Smith, took the CAP’s newly christened Cessna 182 along defined military training routes surveying possible obstructions not already marked on maps.

These routes are used by military aircraft for low-level, high-speed training. To ensure safety, it is the CAP’s mission to fly these routes in advance of missions to check for towers, powerlines or other potential hazards.

The CAP flight helped ensure that aircraft participating in the upcoming Sentry Eagle operations July 21-22 can perform their missions safely.

The Klamath Falls squadron has 20 senior members, seven of which are pilots, and 26 teens in the cadet program. Cadets and members meet every Thursday evening on the base, participating in a range of activities such as rocketry, aircraft operations and search and rescue techniques.

For youth interested in aviation and aerospace, the cadet program offers an introduction to flying. It doesn’t obligate any military service, though after completing initial training, cadets can enter the Air Force at an elevated E-3 pay grade or be eligible for special college scholarships.

Participation includes orientation flights in CAP and military aircraft. Offered to teens ages 12-18, cadets get first-hand experience with search and rescue, radio communications, first aid, survival training, model rocketry, basic military drill and more to help inspire youth today to be tomorrow’s pilots.

“I’ve learned over time to be a really good leader,” said Alana Rising, Chief Master Sergeant of the Klamath Falls Cadet Program. “I do love to fly, and glider flights are also really fun.”

Rising, a 16-year old home-schooled student, doesn’t have future military plans, instead aspiring to one day become a film director, but she has developed a number of skills during her four years in the program.

She has enjoyed the leadership and teamwork aspects of learning search and rescue skills, participating in Emergency Locator Transmitter recovery operations and ground team operations.

Cost for teens to participate is $31 annually, less than the cost of a single half-hour plane ride. The annual fee includes opportunities to get airborne and learn new skills. Recent cadets have used their training and scholarship opportunities well, including one now pursuing a commercial pilot’s license in Montana, and another recent cadet being accepted at West Point.

For adults to join the fees are a little higher and each must first pass a FBI background check to assure safety of the children involved in the cadet program.

For the upcoming Sentry Eagle festivities, CAP and Cadet Program members will be active on the base guiding VIPs, directing traffic and cleaning up the site. Community service is an important aspect of the Cadet Program training, and Sentry Eagle provides a unique opportunity for teens to interact directly with military pilots and crews while volunteering.

The Klamath Falls Composite Squadron meets at Kingsley Field Air Force Base every Thursday from 6:30-9 p.m. Interested teens for the Cadet Program or senior members should email KfallsCAP@gmail.com or visit www.orwghq.org for more information.

CAP history

The CAP’s roots trace back to 1941, when it appeared likely that the United States may eventually enter World War II. That concerned civilian pilots, who urged formation of CAP both as a means to help aid the war effort and to ensure that general aviation wouldn’t be eliminated from access to the skies. Founded on Dec. 1, 1941 and ironically chartered the day after the Pearl Harbor attacks when a nationwide no-fly order was implemented; the purpose of CAP was to patrol American coastlines watching for German submarines, which were wreaking havoc on American shipping.

Initially intended purely as non-combative observers relaying the location of enemy ships to military bombers, an incident off the coast of Florida in May, 1942 involving a German U-boat that had run aground on a sandbar but escaped before the bombers could arrive convinced the military to let the CAP carry ordinance. Small civilian planes were outfitted with depth charges and small bombs, and in July, 1942 a two-person CAP patrol successfully sunk a submarine.

During the war, CAP crews reported sightings of 173 German submarines, attacking 57 of them, and destroying two. They also played key roles in the rescue of ships in distress and aiding survivors, helping to rescue 363 victims of submarine attack. Eventually CAP stopped carrying bombs and returned to their observational role exclusively, but many CAP squadrons pay homage to these early days with an emblem of a small cartoon plane struggling to lift a heavy bomb.

Civil Air Patrol teams aided the war effort serving as convoy escorts, providing courier services, towing targets for anti-aircraft gunnery training, and military pilot training assistance. By the war’s end CAP crews had flown over 500,000 mission hours protecting American coasts and borders, and after the war the organization was transferred from U.S. Army to oversight of the newly formed USAF. While the organization will not serve in direct combat activities ever again, its Congressionally-mandated role remains nonetheless vital in service to both military and the general public.

Today Civil Air Patrol conducts 90 percent of all continental search and rescue flight operations, while leading the cadet program and conducting extensive community outreach. Its volunteers perform survey assessment of disaster areas, being the first in the air to take pictures following Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks. Many CAP aircraft are mounted with speakers and radio repeaters to provide warning information such as tsunami alerts along the coast, or relaying communications during search and rescue operations. Civil Air Patrol also fly missions in coordination with the military, simulating aircraft intercepts in restricted airspace.


Garmin® unveils revolutionary, cost-effective retrofit autopilots for general aviation aircraft

OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Garmin International, Inc. a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced the GFC 600 and GFC 500, solid state attitude-based (AHRS-derived) autopilots for fixed-wing general aviation aircraft. The unique design of these autopilots deliver superior in-flight characteristics, self-monitoring capabilities and minimal maintenance needs when compared to older generation autopilot systems. Boasting a robust feature set, the GFC 600 and GFC 500 incorporate a number of safety-enhancing technologies, including Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP), underspeed protection, overspeed protection, Level Mode, Flight Director (FD) and more. The GFC 600 autopilot is intended for high performance piston single/twin-engine and turbine aircraft that have a wide range of aircraft speed and performance characteristics, while the GFC 500 is intended for less complex piston single-engine aircraft. Built upon the acclaimed performance of the popular GFC 700 autopilot, the GFC 600 and GFC 500 provide pilots with a suite of advanced autopilot capabilities that are an economical addition for a growing number of aircraft. 

“As a long time disruptor in the industry, we are excited to bring two game-changing autopilots to the market and redefine the benchmark that aircraft owners should expect from an autopilot,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “The GFC 600 and GFC 500 bring an affordable, cutting-edge design, a feature set and performance not currently available from mechanical attitude or rate-based autopilot systems. By incorporating unique benefits such as solid state attitude with robust self-monitoring capabilities, ESP, underspeed/overspeed protection, Level Mode, airspeed climb and decent modes, and many more, the GFC 600 and GFC 500 truly set themselves apart from any other autopilot on the market.” 

GFC 600 autopilot for high performance, piston single/twin-engine and turbine aircraft

The GFC 600 is designed as a standalone autopilot that boasts superior integration potential with G500 and G600 glass flight displays, Garmin navigators, as well as a variety of third-party flight displays, instruments and navigation sources. The self-contained autopilot controller incorporates backlit keys and a bright, sunlight readable display that depicts autopilot status and mode selection. An intuitive built-in control wheel also provides convenient adjustment of aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed modes. When the level button is selected, the aircraft automatically returns to straight-and-level flight. Environmentally hardened autopilot servos designed for harsh operating conditions contain brushless DC motors and a gear train that eliminates the need for a mechanical slip clutch, offering improved performance and reducing maintenance requirements when compared to decades-old servo designs on the market today. Standard mark-width design of the GFC 600 ensures the autopilot controller allows for routine installation into the aircraft’s avionics stack. Autopilot mode annunciation is available on the G500 and G600 glass flight displays. The addition of an optional autopilot annunciator panel also displays the selected autopilot mode in the pilot’s primary field of view and retains an identical footprint of third-party autopilot annunciators on the market. Initial Supplemental Type Certification (STC) for the GFC 600 has been completed in the A36 Bonanza and B55 Baron aircraft with the 58 Baron and other high performance piston single/twin-engine and turbine aircraft to follow.

GFC 500 autopilot for certificated single-engine piston aircraft

Built upon the new and very popular G5 electronic flight instrument, the GFC 500 autopilot uniquely integrates with the G5 to provide pilots with an economical autopilot and modern flight instrument. The autopilot mode controller contains large dedicated keys and knobs, a control wheel that allows for easy adjustments to aircraft pitch, airspeed and vertical speed and a level button that returns the aircraft to straight-and-level flight. Similar to the GFC 600, the GFC 500 servos also contain a brushless DC motor and a gear train that eliminates the need for a mechanical slip clutch. G5 provides input and display of altitude preselect, heading, vertical speed target, airspeed target and Flight Director command bars for the GFC 500. An optional adapter allows the GFC 500 and G5 to interface with select Garmin GPS or VHF navigators. Initial STC for the GFC 500 is expected to be completed on the Cessna 172 in Q4 of 2017 with the Cessna 182 and Piper PA-28 aircraft series to follow.

GFC 600 & GFC 500 feature set: cutting edge autopilot design and reliability
The full-featured GFC 600 and GFC 500 autopilots provide thousands of existing general aviation aircraft with a simple, light-weight, cost-effective autopilot upgrade path. The GFC 600 and GFC 500 both incorporate solid state attitude with robust self-monitoring capabilities to provide superior autopilot performance, greater reliability and safety benefits that are similar to the popular GFC 700 autopilot.

In addition to traditional autopilot capabilities such as altitude hold, vertical speed and heading modes, the GFC 600 and GFC 500 also include:

Premium functions and advanced capabilities such as altitude pre-select1 and indicated airspeed hold mode. VNAV will be a growth function when appropriately equipped.

Pilots can select, couple and fly various instrument approaches, including GPS, ILS, VOR, LOC and back course approaches 2,3.

Built-in GPS roll steering capability eliminates the need for external roll steering converters, allowing for smoother navigation tracking when installed with a compatible navigator.

Level Mode button, which automatically engages the autopilot to restore the aircraft to straight and level flight.

Underspeed protection helps prevent the pilot from stalling the aircraft.

Overspeed protection helps prevent the pilot from exceeding aircraft maximum speed (VNE).

With the addition of an optional yaw servo, Yaw Damping (YD) mode minimizes yawing oscillations while also helping to maintain coordinated flight by keeping the slip/skid indicator centered.

Flight Director command bars can be displayed on the G5 with the GFC 500, while the GFC 600 displays Flight Director on a variety of flight displays, such as the G500 and G600 and select third-party flight displays.

Pilots can fly coupled ‘go-arounds’ during missed approach sequencing. A remotely-installed go-around button commands the Flight Director to display the appropriate pitch attitude required for the missed approach procedure and activates a loaded missed approach when paired with a GTN™ 650/750 navigator.

An optional pitch-trim servo adds automatic trim and manual electric trim.

Control wheel steering is available on the GFC 600, which allows the pilot to adjust pitch, roll, altitude hold, vertical speed or airspeed references using the control yoke while the autopilot is engaged.

Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP)

As a standard feature, pilots receive Garmin ESP with the GFC 600 and GFC 500 autopilots, which works to assist the pilot in maintaining the aircraft in a stable flight condition. ESP functions independently of the autopilot and works in the background to help pilots avoid inadvertent flight attitudes or bank angles and provide airspeed protection while the pilot is hand-flying the aircraft.

Should the pilot become inattentive and exceed pre-determined pitch, roll or airspeed limitations, ESP provides gentle nudges on the flight controls to lessen the aircraft’s pitch attitude or bank angle. The correcting force becomes stronger if the aircraft pitch, bank or airspeed exceedance grows further away from the preset limits. In the event the pilot becomes incapacitated and the system detects it has been activated for an extended period of time, the autopilot engages with the Flight Director in Level Mode, bringing the aircraft to level flight until the pilot commands otherwise. For maneuvering flight, ESP can be disabled manually.

GFC 600 & GFC 500 pricing and availability

The GFC 600 autopilot has received FAA STC in the A36 Bonanza and B55 Baron for a suggested retail price starting at $19,995 and $23,995 respectively for a 2-axis autopilot with electric pitch trim. For customers who already have a G5 electronic flight instrument, the GFC 500 for the Cessna 172 starts at a suggested retail price of $6,995 for a 2-axis autopilot. The GFC 500 can be purchased with the G5 electronic flight instrument for less than $10,000. Initial STC for the GFC 500 is expected to be completed on the Cessna 172 in Q4 of 2017 with the Cessna 182 and Piper PA-28 aircraft series to follow. During EAA AirVenture, July 24-30, 2017 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the GFC 600 will be on display in a 58 Baron while the GFC 500 and dual G5 electronic flight instruments will be on display in a Cessna 172 at the Garmin exhibit. The GFC 600 and GFC 500 are also supported by Garmin’s award-winning aviation product support team, which provides 24/7 worldwide technical and warranty support. To express interest for the certification of additional aircraft types for either the GFC 500 or GFC 600 autopilot, please contact aviation.sales@garmin.com and provide specific aircraft make/model information. For additional information including autopilot interface compatibilities and more, visit: www.garmin.com/aviation.

Garmin’s aviation business segment is a leading provider of solutions to OEM, aftermarket, military and government customers. Garmin’s portfolio includes navigation, communication, flight control, hazard avoidance, an expansive suite of ADS-B solutions and other products and services that are known for innovation, reliability, and value. For more information about Garmin’s full line of avionics, go to www.garmin.com/aviation.

For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin's virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmin, twitter.com/garmin, or youtube.com/garmin.

1. Available on GFC 500 or Garmin flight displays.
2. GFC 500 requires a GTN/GNS navigator or GNC 255/SL 30 for navigation and approach functions.
3. GFC 600 requires an external navigator for navigation and approach functions. See website for additional compatibility information.

About Garmin
Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Garmin and GNS are registered trademarks and GTN and G3X are trademarks of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Notice on Forward-Looking Statements:
This release includes forward-looking statements regarding Garmin Ltd. and its business. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and actual results could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting Garmin, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed by Garmin with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file number 0-31983). A copy of such Form 10-K is available at www.garmin.com/aboutGarmin/invRelations/finReports.html. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Garmin undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.