Friday, August 25, 2017

Calalaska Helicopters Inc: New Santa Maria-based helicopter service ready to fly



A new business ready help fight local wildfires and serve industries' aerial needs is the first of its kind to land at the Santa Maria Public Airport. 

Santa Maria Public Airport District Director Dave Baskett recently purchased Calalaska Helicopters Inc., a small, private helicopter charter service, and brought it to Santa Maria with the hope of filling a need in local, private aerial firefighting. 

“In Santa Maria, there are no other helicopter fire operations that are based here. There are helicopters that come in, but they are from other places, like Oregon,” Baskett said.

He added that the fixed-wing aircraft and air tankers are not based in Santa Maria, but rather, in Nevada, Idaho and Colorado. 

Calalaska’s Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter was certified by Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month.

“We are in service now. We are hot and ready to go," Baskett said.

Since the helicopter is registered as an asset, Cal Fire, Santa Barbara County Fire or the Forest Service could utilize the helicopter. 

Beyond firefighting, Calalaska can help leaders in the oil, agricultural or other industries get a bird's-eye view of their fields and operations. 

Mike Holtsclaw, chief pilot for Calalaska Helicopters Inc., is working to develop other types of business for the company when it’s not helping to battle fires, including the option of taking winery clients on special tours as part of their tasting packages. 




The value of private firefighting aircraft

A recent report detailing how private helicopters fit into the overall strategy of fighting wildfires -- prepared by Holtsclaw and the Wildfire Tactics & Atmospheric Research Institute for the Santa Barbara Foundation -- said that community-based helicopters add extra safety.

The Santa Barbara Foundation recently supplied a grant to the institute and Baskett’s company to research how community-based helicopters can work into existing firefighting plans.

“Unlike other aircraft, helicopters can also rescue people and deliver emergency supplies to a home. With a community-based helicopter, the extra safety stays near,” Holtsclaw said.

Holtsclaw said, though it can expensive, “aerial firefighting has been proven to save human lives, and protect valuable property and the environment. In the same way that a community fire station provides a sense of security and comfort, aerial fire tankers, scoopers and helicopters can add a very important level of community value.”

The general cost of any aviation operation is high, but the flexibility of private firefighting helicopters can bring down costs. 

According to the report, the cost of community-based firefighting helicopter is about 41 to 53 percent per gallon of water delivered less than existing strategies.




Ready to answer the call

When Calalaska is dispatched to a fire, more than just a helicopter takes flight.

“Anytime the helicopter goes, the fuel truck will go along. It has about 10 hours of fuel in it,” Baskett said. “I have to have Mike here, and a certified truck driver with Hazmat to drive the fuel truck.”

The support truck carries fuel and has a mobile helipad so the helicopter can land almost anywhere to receive fuel, supplies or passengers.

With a mobile base of operations, Calalasaka’s helicopter is less expensive to run because it carries necessary supplies and doesn't have to return to a fixed base.

“The drivers go and they camp out. They stay there working six days at a time until the fire is out or someone tells them to go home,” Baskett said.

When working a fire, Calalaska’s helicopter is equipped to help with just about any need.

The helicopter has a small tank that can hold and release about 100 gallons of water where needed. The helicopter also can utilize a Bambi Bucket, which is a water delivery system helicopter use to gather and deliver more than 2,000 gallons of water to a fire scene.

But Calalasaka helicopter’s size and maneuverability is suited for other important tasks.

“The lighter helicopters tend to be used for more ‘eye-in-the-sky’ stuff,” Baskett said.

The Santa Maria-based airship is equipped with a dual FM radio system. From high above the fire, the pilot can direct resources, map the blaze and spot potential hazards.

“It has a tracking device, so anyone in the fire service can see where it is, or how fast it is going in the nation,” Baskett added. 


Many firefighting aircraft are privately owned

Public firefighting agencies in California and across the nation employ privately owned aircraft to combat wildfires most of the time, according to Baskett, who said the industry is about 80-percent private.

The Forest Service owns about 20 or 30 aircraft, he said, and contracts with 700. 

“The Forest Service tankers, the DC-10, the 146s and those things, all of those belong to private commercial companies, none of them belong to public companies," Baskett said. "A lot of them are small mom-and-pops.”

Cal Fire is unique in that it owns most of its aircraft and contracts with others when needed, Baskett said. The firefighting agency does contract with a company on a 10-year cycle to fly, maintain and operate those aircraft. 

Private aviation companies have two types of contracts with public agencies: exclusive use and on-call when needed.

Exclusive use means an aircraft has to be ready to fly within 20 minutes of a call for service and has an aircraft team that's readily available. During fire season, the company that owns the aircraft and employs the crew receives a daily rate to be at the ready, according to Baskett. 

Historically, the California fire season was about five to six months out of the year. In recent years, however, the fire season has been nearly year-round.

Calalaska Helicopters Inc. remains at the ready to meet those needs, employing an on-call contract for agencies who need aircraft at any time. 




A larger goal

For the last decade, Baskett’s company, IES LLC, has been working toward its ultimate goal of expanding its operations to include the construction, service and distribution of a large Russian-design firefighting fixed-wing aircraft, the Be-200.

The Be-200 is a water-scooping amphibious firefighting aircraft that has a wingspan of 108 feet, a flight range of 2,051 miles, a top speed of 435 mph and weighs more than 60,000 pounds.

Acquiring and relocating Calalaska to Santa Maria is part of Baskett’s plan to produce the plane here in Santa Maira.

“We will sign that financing document in Paris in the next two months,” Baskett said.

His plan, when complete, could mean hundreds of jobs in the near future, from the construction of the needed facilities to the crews that will build and service the aircraft.

“We are close. The wagon is moving and we haven’t fallen off of it,” Baskett said.

Story, photo gallery and video ➤ http://lompocrecord.com

ICON Aircraft





What onlookers & law enforcement thought was a forced-landing off Cape Neddick turned out to be a very normal occurrence for ICON Aircraft.

Representatives of ICON Aircraft told NEWS CENTER the aircraft was delivered to its owner.


“He landed it on the water normally and it was subsequently picked up and hoisted onto the owner’s yacht -- where he stores it when he is there," said Nathan Strange, Vice President of Marketing and Communications with ICON Aircraft. "The ICON A5 is an award-winning, amphibious aircraft designed to be extraordinarily easy to fly and can safely land on both land or water. Given its popularity and innovative design, the A5 will start to become more and more prevalent. If you live on or around water you can expect to see more of these aircraft in the future.”


CAPE NEDDICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — No one was hurt Friday when a small plane was forced to land off the coast of Cape Neddick, police in York said.

Dispatch got a call around 3:15 p.m. from a person on Short Sands Beach. The caller reported seeing a small plane skip the water a couple times and appear to go into the trees.


Emergency crews then spotted the amphibious plane in the water, which appeared to be under tow from a boat.


Police said York Harbor Master personnel made contact with the pilot and confirmed no one was trapped or injured.


According to an initial investigation conducted by officials, the plane was launched from a large luxury boat anchored off of Short Sands Beach. Shortly after taking off it likely developed mechanical problems, thus forcing the pilot to land in the water.


The plane was towed a short distance back to the boat it was launched from.


The case was referred to the FAA for further investigation.


Original article can be found here ➤  http://www.wcsh6.com


August 29, 2017

Hi,


I’m reaching out on behalf of ICON Aircraft to clarify that the landing referred to in your recent story was in fact NOT a crash. There was no incident. The plane landed on the water and was subsequently picked up and hoisted onto the owner’s yacht – it’s normal operation for them. A bystander on shore reported the incident as a crash which is false.


Amphibious aircraft such as the ICON A5 will start to become more and more prevalent, and those who live on or around water can expect to see more of these great planes.


Please make this correction at your earliest convenience and feel free to reach out with any questions.


Thank you,

Fi

Regards,

Fi Bergandi 

fiorella@thebrandamp.com

CAPE NEDDICK – A plane crash reported over the weekend in the waters off the Maine coast wasn’t a crash at all.

California-based airplane manufacturer ICON said Tuesday that one of its A5 amphibious aircraft landed in the water and was lifted by crane onto a yacht by its owner.


Witnesses who saw the plane skip across the water thought they’d witnessed a crash and notified the York Police Department, which responded accordingly on Friday.


The incident was reported by several media outlets, including The Associated Press.


The police department notified the Federal Aviation Administration. An FAA spokesman said Monday there’s no investigation and the landing was a “routine event.” 


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


CAPE NEDDICK, Maine -  A plane crash reported in the waters off Maine wasn't a crash at all.

Vacaville, California-based airplane manufacturer Icon said Tuesday that one of its A5 amphibious aircraft landed in the water and was lifted by crane onto a yacht — all by design.


Witnesses who saw the plane skip across the water Friday thought they'd seen a crash and notified the York Police Department, which responded accordingly.


The incident was reported by several media outlets, including The Associated Press, based on information from the police department.


The department notified the Federal Aviation Administration. An FAA spokesman said Tuesday there's no investigation and the landing was a "routine event."


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


CAPE NEDDICK, Maine (AP) — A plane crash reported over the weekend in the waters off the Maine coast wasn't a crash at all.

California-based airplane manufacturer ICON said Tuesday that one of its A5 amphibious aircraft landed in the water and was lifted by crane onto a yacht by its owner.


Witnesses who saw the plane skip across the water thought they'd witnessed a crash and notified the York Police Department, which responded accordingly on Friday.


The incident was reported by several media outlets, including The Associated Press.


The police department notified the Federal Aviation Administration. An FAA spokesman said Monday there's no investigation and the landing was a "routine event."


=========



A seaplane was forced to land in the water off York shortly after takeoff Friday afternoon.

No one was hurt in the incident off Cape Neddick around 3 p.m. Friday, according to Sgt. Brian Curtin of the York Police Department.


Curtin said the plane was launched from “a large luxury boat” off Short Sands Beach, but developed mechanical problems shortly after takeoff and pilot was forced to put it down in the water.


The plane was towed back to the boat, Curtin said.


A caller on the beach had contacted police to say that the plane seemed to skip a few times on the water, and appeared to have gone into some trees, but the York harbor master determined that the plane landed safely and was towed back to the boat, Curtin said.


The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted for further investigation, Curtin said.


Original article ➤ http://www.pressherald.com


YORK, Maine – No one was injured after a small amphibious plane launched off of a luxury boat anchored off Short Sands Beach Friday afternoon was forced to land in the water.

Police, York Beach fire officials and the York harbormaster were all called to the scene after the incident was reported about 3:15 p.m. Friday. The incident has been turned over to the Federal Aviation Commission for further investigation, police said.


According to beachgoer Ted Chadwick of Dracut, Mass., the yacht and what appeared to be a large research vessel came into the cove at the same time. From the yacht, a large vessel with three decks, two jet skis and one small boat were put in the water. The plane was also part of the apparatus of the yacht, York Beach Fire Chief Dave Bridges was told.


“Then we see this small seaplane fly by and try to land” on the Concordville side of the cove. Chadwick said it came around three or four times, attempting to land, but was unsuccessful. It then flew out of sight, and was towed back in by one of the small boats a short time later.


The plane and later the jet skis were brought aboard the vessel, which had a flat deck and several antenna dishes mounted to the house.


Bridges said he received a call from someone on one of the jet skis, who told him the one-person plane ran out of fuel. Police said the plane appeared to have developed mechanical problems. The exact cause was unclear Friday evening.


According to police, harbormaster personnel made contact with the pilot and confirmed no one was trapped or injured.


“It was interesting,” said Chadwick. “How often would you see two big boats like that come and one take on an airplane.”


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


CAPE NEDDICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — No one was hurt in a small plane was forced to land Friday off the coast of Cape Neddick, police in York said.

Dispatch got a call around 3:15 p.m. from a person on Short Sands Beach. The caller reported seeing a small plane skip the water a couple times and appear to go into the trees.

Emergency crews then spotted the amphibious plane in the water, which appeared to be under tow from a boat.


Police said York Harbor Master personnel made contact with the pilot and confirmed no one was trapped or injured.


According to an initial investigation conducted by officials, the plane was launched from a large luxury boat anchored off of Short Sands Beach. Shortly after taking off it likely developed mechanical problems, thus forcing the pilot to land in the water.


The plane was towed a short distance back to the boat it was launched from.


The case was referred to the FAA for further investigation.


Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.wcsh6.com


CAPE NEDDICK, Maine —

A seaplane crashed into the water off Cape Neddick shortly after taking off from a "large luxury boat," Friday afternoon, according to the York Police Department.


The pilot was the only person on board and there were no injuries, according to York Police.


The boat was anchored off of Short Sands Beach when the plane took off. The plane then encountered mechanical problems and the pilot was forced to land on the water.


The plane was then towed back to the boat.


The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating the crash.


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


Sources:

http://www.wmtw.com

https://www.usnews.com

http://www.seattletimes.com


http://www.pressherald.com

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA101
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 08, 2017 in Lake Berryessa, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/07/2017
Aircraft: ICON AIRCRAFT INC A5, registration: N184BA
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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.

The commercial pilot departed in the light sport, amphibious airplane during daytime visual meteorological conditions to perform a new employee familiarization flight with the passenger, who the company had recently hired. A witness, who was in a boat on a lake, reported seeing the accident airplane flying about 30 to 50 ft over the water at what appeared to be between 30 to 40 mph. The witness added that, as the airplane passed by his position and entered a nearby cove, which was surrounded by rising terrain on either side and at its end, he heard the engine "rev up and accelerate hard" as the airplane approached the right side of the canyon "in what appeared to be an effort to climb out of" the canyon. Subsequently, the airplane climbed to about 100 ft above the water and entered a left turn as it began to descend before it flew beyond the witness's field of view. The witness stated that he heard the sound of impact shortly after losing sight of the airplane.

Review of recorded data from two separate recording devices installed in the airplane revealed that, about 15 minutes after departure, the airplane started a descent from 3,700 ft GPS altitude. About 7 minutes later, it had descended to 450 ft GPS altitude and turned to a northerly heading, staying over the water between the shorelines. About 46 seconds later, at a GPS altitude of 450 ft and 54 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), the airplane entered the cove. About 20 seconds later, engine power was increased, and the airplane began to climb while it turned slightly right before initiating a left turn. The airplane reached a maximum GPS altitude of 506 ft before it began to descend. Shortly after, the airplane impacted terrain at a GPS altitude of 470 ft and 66 KIAS. Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any preexisting mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

It is likely that the pilot mistakenly thought the canyon that he entered was a different canyon that led to the larger, open portion of the lake. Additionally, it is likely that, once the pilot realized there was no exit from the canyon, he attempted to perform a 180° left turn to exit in the direction from which he entered. Based upon performance information outlined in the Pilot's Operating Handbook for the accident airplane, the airplane's altitude above the water's surface and its indicated airspeed, and the ridge line elevations in the area adjacent to the accident site, the airplane would have not been able to climb out of the rising terrain that surrounded the area, which led to his failure to maintain clearance from terrain.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's mistaken entry into a canyon surrounded by steep rising terrain while at a low altitude for reasons that could not be determined.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 8, 2017, about 0908 Pacific daylight time, an amphibious, light sport Icon Aircraft, Inc., A5, N184BA, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Lake Berryessa, California. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by Icon Aircraft, Inc., Vacaville, California, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Nut Tree Airport (VCB), Vacaville, California, at 0852.

Representatives from Icon Aircraft reported that the pilot was conducting a new employee familiarization flight with the passenger, who the company had recently hired. A witness, who was in a boat on Lake Berryessa near the entrance to Little Portuguese Canyon, reported seeing the airplane flying about 30 to 50 ft above the lake at what appeared to be between 30 to 40 mph. The witness stated that the engine was running smoothly and that the airplane was level. The airplane passed by his position flying in a northerly direction and entered Little Portuguese Canyon. The witness reported hearing the engine "rev up and accelerate hard" as the airplane approached the right side of the canyon "in what appeared to be an effort to climb out of" the canyon. Subsequently, the airplane climbed to about 100 ft above ground level and then entered a left turn as it began to quickly descend. The witness stated that it appeared that the pilot attempted to make a "U-turn in the air" just before the airplane flew beyond his field of view. The witness stated that he heard the sound of impact shortly after losing sight of the airplane.

A second witness, who was located inside a house boat parked in a cove adjacent to the accident site, reported that she saw an airplane fly by her position at a low altitude in a northerly direction and did not see it return. The witness added that neither her nor anyone in her group heard the airplane impact the ground.

The airplane was equipped with a flight data monitoring device that captured data from the flight data computer. In addition, the airplane was equipped with an engine control unit that captured the most recent hour of data from the engine. The recovered data showed that the engine was started at 0839:34, and that, at 0852:00, the airplane departed runway 2 at VCB and then initiated a left turn to a northerly heading. The airplane reached a maximum GPS altitude of about 3,700 ft at 0900:00 and began to descend shortly thereafter. At 0905:25, the airplane turned to the west, crossed the shore of Lake Berryessa near the Monticello Dam, and continued to descend. By 0906:44, the airplane descended to 450 ft GPS altitude and turned to a northerly heading while it remained over the water between the shorelines. At 0907:30, the airplane entered Little Portuguese Canyon at 450 ft GPS altitude and 54 KIAS. At 0907:50, engine power was increased, and the airplane began to climb while it turned slightly east and then initiated a left turn to the west. The airplane reached a maximum altitude of 506 ft GPS altitude at 0908:03 before it began to descend. The airplane struck terrain at 0908:06 at 470 ft GPS altitude and 66 KIAS. Throughout the entire span of the recorded data, all engine parameters were within the normal operating range. For further information regarding the downloaded data, see the Other Devices Factual Report in the public docket for this accident.

Lake Berryessa is a reservoir that is about 23 miles long and 3 miles wide. The southern area of the lake features various coves and canyons, which are mostly surrounded by areas of steep rising terrain. In addition, there is only one entrance to the larger area of the lake from the southern area of the lake. The areas of rising terrain that surrounded Little Portuguese Canyon varied between 780 and 1,420 ft msl. The accident site was located about 0.35 nautical mile (nm) from the tops of 1,200-ft-high ridges to the west, 0.36 nm from the 1,050-ft-high ridges to the east, and 1.34 nm from the 1,200-ft-high ridges to the north. In addition, Little Portuguese Canyon narrowed in width from about 700 ft at the opening to about 300 ft near the accident site and 240 ft near the farthest northern area of the canyon.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine and multiengine land and sea, rotorcraft helicopter, glider, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class airman medical certificate on November 25, 2016, with the limitation that he "must wear corrective lenses." At the time of his most recent medical application, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 4,600 hours total flight time, 14 hours of which were in the previous 6 months.

Review of the pilot's logbook and company flight records revealed that the pilot had accumulated a total of 4,506 hours of flight time, 595 hours of which were in the accident make/model airplane. The pilot had logged 23 hours of flight time in the 90 days before the accident. The pilot's most recent flight review was completed on April 23, 2016.

The passenger did not hold any pilot or medical certificates.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, high-wing, retractable gear, amphibious light sport airplane, serial number 00007, was manufactured in 2016. It was powered by a 100-horsepower Rotax 912IS Sport engine and was equipped with a Sensenitch three-blade propeller. In addition, the airplane was equipped with a ballistic recovery parachute. Review of the airframe and engine maintenance logbook records revealed that the most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on May 5, 2017, at a Hobbs time of 94.8 hours. At the time of the accident, the engine and airframe had accumulated 182.7 hours since new.

The accident make/model airplane's Pilot's Operating Handbook, Section 2.2, "Airspeed Limitations," noted that the published clean configuration stall speed (Vs) was 45 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) at idle power, maximum takeoff weight, and flaps not extended. The published landing configuration stall speed (Vso) was 39 KIAS at idle power, maximum takeoff weight, and flaps extended to 30°.


Section 5.1, "Summary of Performance Specifications," stated that the best angle of climb speed (Vx) with flaps retracted was 54 KIAS and that the best rate of climb speed (Vy) was 58 KIAS. Section 5.4.1 stated that, at maximum gross weight, the stall speeds for flaps retracted, 0°, 30°, 45°, and 60° angle of bank were 45, 48, 54, and 64 KIAS, respectively. Section 5.8, "Rate of Climb," stated that the published climb rate at maximum gross weight, flaps retracted, full throttle, airspeed of 58 KIAS, and 60° outside air temperature would be 629 ft per minute (fpm) at sea level and 592 fpm at 1,000 ft mean sea level (msl).


METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION


At 0853, a recorded weather observation at VCB, located about 13 miles southeast of the accident site, revealed that the wind was from 030° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear sky, temperature 64°F, dew point 52°F, and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted terrain on an approximate 194° heading and came to rest upright in the northern area of Little Portuguese Canyon on Lake Berryessa at an elevation of about 440 ft msl. All major structural components of the airplane were located at the accident site. The fuselage, right wing, and a portion of the empennage were located on the shoreline along a steep embankment, and the outboard portion of the left wing and left side of the empennage were partially submerged in water. A large area of freshly disturbed dirt was observed immediately in front of the right wing. No damage was observed to the surrounding vegetation and trees immediately in front of the right wing or behind (upslope) of the wreckage.


Examination of the fuselage revealed that the fuselage structure, engine nacelle, and wing center section were crushed downward and displaced laterally to the left. The canopy structure was displaced from the airplane and located adjacent to the wreckage. The forward portion of the cockpit area exhibited significant impact damage with most of the instrument panel separated. The empennage structure was separated from the airframe just forward of the vertical stabilizer; however, it remained attached via control cables. The ballistic parachute handle was partially extended, and the pin was removed. The parachute and rocket were intact and not deployed.


The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination; both wings and empennage were removed to facilitate transport of the wreckage. 


The roof structure of the fuselage, which included the wing mounts, was crushed downward and slightly rotated right about 10° and was shifted laterally to the left. The engine remained attached to the fuselage structure. The right sea wing exhibited impact damage and was fractured throughout. The left sea wing exhibited impact damage, was partially separated from the fuselage, and was displaced upward. One of the propeller blades was embedded in the left sea wing. Both main landing gears appeared to be in the "up" position. Both wing lock mechanisms were in the "locked" position.


Rudder control continuity was established from the rudder pedals aft to the area of the separated portion of the empennage. Aileron control continuity was established from the left and right control sticks to the wing root bell crank (cables continuous). The right side aileron bell crank was pulled away from its mount with the cables still attached, consistent with impact damage. Elevator control continuity was established from the control sticks to the separated portion of the empennage.


The right wing leading edge to the wing root remained attached to the wing structure. The wing structure aft of the aileron bell crank at the wing root was separated, extending aft at a 45° angle to about 18 inches outboard of the wing root. The separated portion of the wing structure remained attached to the fuselage. The leading edge exhibited impact damage throughout its span. The flap remained attached via the center and outboard mount. The aileron remained attached via the inboard mount. Flight control continuity to the aileron was established from the wing root bellcrank to the aileron.


The left wing was fractured in half from the leading edge (at the flap/aileron junction) extending outboard at an approximate 45° angle outboard to the trailing edge. The aileron was separated into two pieces. The inboard section remained attached to the inboard mount. The outboard portion of the aileron was separated just outboard of the inboard mount and separated from the middle and outboard mounts. Flight control continuity was established from the wing root aileron bellcrank to the aileron.


The rudder and elevator remained attached to their respective mounts. Flight control continuity of the rudder and elevator was established from the area of separation. Both left and right elevator tips were in the "locked" position.


The engine remained intact and attached to the airframe. The crankshaft was partially rotated by the propeller; however, rotation was limited due to one propeller blade being embedded in the left sea wing. The embedded propeller blade exhibited chordwise striations on the front and aft sides of the blade tip.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION


According to the Napa County Coroner's autopsy report, the pilot's cause of death was "multiple blunt impact injuries," and the manner of death was "accident."


The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory conducted toxicology tests on specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for all tests performed. 


NTSB Identification: GAA17CA213
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 01, 2017 in Key Largo, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/2017
Aircraft: ICON AIRCRAFT INC A5, registration: N672BA
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 amphibious airplane reported that, during a no-flap water landing, he noticed a higher descent rate than expected. He added that he applied full power to initiate a go-around but that the airplane landed hard on the water. The pilot and passenger egressed the airplane and were rescued without further incident.
The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The pilot reported that he believed the airplane encountered “a windshift/shear to a tailwind as [he] transitioned high to low for landing approach toward the [south-southwest].” A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located about 6 miles west of the accident site reported that, about 17 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 090° at 9 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper descent rate during the approach, which resulted in a hard landing.

The pilot of the amphibious airplane reported that during a no flap water landing, he noticed a higher descent rate than expected. He added that he applied full power to initiate a go-around, but the airplane landed hard on the water. The pilot and passenger egressed the airplane and were rescued without further incident.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that he believes the airplane encountered "a windshift/shear to a tailwind as [he] transitioned high to low for landing approach toward the [south-southwest]". A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located about 6 miles to the west of the accident site reported that about 17 minutes before the accident the wind was 090° at 9 knots.
=========

Former Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Phil Condit has joined the board of ICON Aircraft, makers of a small two-person, amphibious sport airplane that has gone through turbulent development.

Former Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Phil Condit, who most significantly led Boeing’s merger with rival planemaker McDonnell Douglas, has joined the board of ICON Aircraft, makers of a two-person, amphibious sport airplane that has gone through turbulent development.


Based in Vacaville, California, ICON delivered its first production aircraft in July 2015 but the following year halted production, laid off workers and announced a one-year delivery pause.


The company also suffered two crashes of its plane, including a fatal crash in May that killed chief test pilot John Karkow and another employee.


A National Transportation Safety Board investigation determined that the probable cause was pilot error not mechanical failure.


In June, ICON resumed deliveries to customers and now plans to ramp up production.


Condit has been an adviser to the company since 2010 and an investor since 2011.


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

Taos Regional Airport (KSKX), New Mexico

Kenyon Rainer, with Star Road Dance Company from Taos, walks across the apron at Taos Airport on Friday. He and his family sang and danced at a grand opening for the new 1.5 mile Crosswinds runway at the airport. 


Federal, state and local officials gathered Friday (Aug. 25) at the Taos Regional Airport to celebrate the official opening of the long-anticipated new runway.

The 8,600 foot runway will aid emergency services and other pilots with an additional, longer runway for the airport and will also divert air traffic away from Taos Pueblo and the lands surrounding it, according to officials. Local officials said the project has been 30 years in the making and are excited to be a part of the construction and completion of the over $24 million project. 

“This is an amazing opportunity for our community,” said Taos County Manager Leandro Cordova during the official opening of the runway.

Entertainment for the ribbon-cutting ceremony was provided by singer/songwriter Michael Martin Murphey as well as Star Road Dance Company from Taos Pueblo. 

While Taos Pueblo members and officials were honored by speakers at the ceremonies, the ribbon cutting took place during traditional ceremonies at the pueblo and pueblo officials could not be present for the event. Mayor Dan Barrone said during the ceremony that he was interested in holding an additional opening even so that officials from Taos Pueblo could be honored for their contributions to the new runway as well.

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



TAOS – After decades of discussion, controversy and litigation, Taos officials threw a party Friday to celebrate a new, longer runway and expansion at the municipal airport north of town.

Town leaders hailed the $26 million project a boon for tourism and economic development, and much more.

“This isn’t just an airport runway,” said Mayor Dan Barrone.

The project “is about new economic opportunities and partnerships that will increase accessibility between Taos and the world, between Taos and new tourism opportunities,” he said.

Work on the about 1.5 mile long runway — perpendicular to the single prexisting runway— started in 2015. Discussion of the project began about 25 years ago.

The new runway, about 3,000 feet longer than the other one, is intended to increase the number of planes that can land at the airport and improve safety at an airport known for windy conditions at high altitude on the Taos mesa.

Federal Aviation Administration director Michael Huerta said at Friday’s event that the second runway would improve pilots ability to land in blustery conditions by providing a second option depending on which way the wind is blowing. The longer runway also makes it easier for all aircraft to land in varying weather conditions, he said. The federal government provided most of the money for the project.

“For me, this is one of the most satisfying projects we’ve completed during my tenure with the agency,” Huerta said. “Because an airport is, in a sense, a treasure. It’s a lifeblood of a community, an asset that leverages so many different things.”

In addition to private planes, Barrone said users will include forest firefighting aircraft, search and rescue teams and those use to transport patients. “Because of this project, lives will be saved,” said the mayor.

Opponents have maintained that more airplanes will mean more pollution and will benefit only the wealthy who can fly in on private planes. About two years ago, a state district court judge rejected a challenge to the airport plans and how it was approved. But opponents have taken the case to the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Barrone said the new, longer runway represents fulfillment of a “sacred pledge” by the town reroute air traffic away from the pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Drummers and dancers from Taos Pueblo were present for Friday’s celebration, but pueblo officials did not attend. They have supported the project following an agreement with the airport that planes can not fly lower than 5,000 feet over their land. The pueblo had in the past opposed the airport plans.

The airport currently sees an average of 400 and 500 flights per month. Airport manager John Thompson said the FAA estimates that the number of flights will increase 5 percent annually for the next five years.

Thompson said within the next three years, the airport would like to start using then new runway for small, commercial flights. “That’s a very strong possibility,” said Thompson

Barrone said they would like to see flights connecting to Santa Fe as well as Denver, so the town can attract national and international travelers.

Mike Garcia, the project engineer, told the Journal that he hopes the town will help those still apprehensive about the runway see its benefits for the entire community.

“Now that it’s done, I hope it helps bring the community together…I hope the community starts to accept it,” said Garcia.

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

Eastern Air Lines ‘golden days’




The original Eastern Air Lines holds a special place in the hearts of those who’ve worked, flown or been a part of the Miami carrier over its history from 1926 to 1991. For a younger generation, though, Eastern doesn’t resonate.

Roland Moore, a former contracts lawyer who worked at Eastern from the 1960s until 1991 remembers walking down a Southwest Airlines jetway two years ago when he saw an Eastern lapel pin on the captain flying the plane he was about to embark on. Moore asked the pilot if he flew for Eastern, who said the pin originally belonged to his father.

A young flight attendant nearby then said she never heard of Eastern. “We both looked at her and asked how old are you?” Moore said. After replying she was 21, they both laughed and exclaimed, well Eastern did end 25 years ago.

Now, the physical history of one of Miami’s greatest airlines is coming home.

Eastern Airlines Retiree Association has donated a large historical archive to the University of Miami. Some of the materials include timetables, instruction manuals, publicity materials, maps, photos, uniforms as well as menus and pins. The university plans to eventually put the archive on public display.

Eastern was founded by celebrated World War I pilot Eddie Rickenbacker, whom Miami’s Rickenbacker Causeway is named after. The airline began as a mail carrier based in New York City and over the years was one of the first airlines to promote tourism in Florida.

“Well, first of all Eastern and Pan American created Miami as a tourist destination,” Moore said. “Eddie built this huge red sign on the Hudson Palisades in New York City which read, ‘Come to Miami, the best tourist destination in the winter!’ So Eastern really promoted Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. We were the No. 1 airline there from probably the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s.”

Michael Zall worked in the airline’s maintenance department from 1979 to 1991 and after all these years he recognizes the nostalgia many still feel for Eastern.

“I believe people still feel like it’s family and they feel like there’s a belonging,” Zall said. “It had a big impact on a lot of people and there was just a lot of great people working there. I just believe it was a great camaraderie everyone had there.”

For other former employees such as Moore and Donna Cole, Eastern helped them get their college degrees while they worked at the company.

Cole worked at Eastern for 38 years in operations, starting as a 17-year-old, but still remembers her early days when Eastern helped pay her college tuition as long as she maintained a “B” average.

“Eastern was my livelihood for such a long time,” Cole said. “I had friends who worked at Eastern for 20 years and after it ended, worked at American for another 20 years before retiring. They told me you just don’t have the same feel as you did with Eastern. It’s something you can’t describe.”

For Moore, Eastern gave him the opportunity to work part-time while he got his degree. The airline even paid for a portion of his tuition at University of Miami Law and Business school.

“Paying for tuition is something that simply doesn’t happen today,” Moore said. “I was eternally grateful and is one of the reasons why I worked at Eastern for some 30 years. It was my career and I loved it.”

Eastern peaked from the 1950s through ‘70s, transporting passengers around the globe during a period many call “the glory days” of flying, Moore said.

During this time, flying was a luxury and not nearly the chore it is today. There were prepared meals from local chefs with a full menu, reclining seats and leg room that would make many of today’s travelers jealous.

“Some of the [airline’s] 747 airplanes introduced to us even had a grand piano and a bar,” Moore said. “It was really a different age.”

Female flight attendants (then referred to as stewardesses) were even required to retain certain measurements on Eastern. For example, flight attendants who were five-feet four-inches tall were required to have a maximum weight of 123 pounds.

“In the early days to be a flight attendant or stewardess it was a very prestigious job,” Moore said. “It was probably harder to be a flight attendant than get into Harvard Law School. They selected one out of 10 applicants who had to be stunning and wear a size four dress. They took great pride in their work.”

Eastern flight attendants called themselves the Silverliners, a group that in its heyday had about 4,000 members. Many are still active today.

Moore says it was also a very different customer base back in the day. Male passengers weren’t allowed to fly unless they had on coats and ties. Also, the cost for flying was much higher.

“Today you can fly from New York to Miami for around $100,” Moore says. “Back then, the airfare was $150 and those were in 1960s’ dollars.”

Eastern’s glory days eventually faded. On Dec. 29, 1972, the airline’s Flight 401 from New York’s JFK Airport to Miami crashed in the Everglades, killing 101 passengers and crew. There were 75 survivors.

In the 1980s, Eastern buckled in large part to airline deregulation and labor disputes under then-company President Frank Borman, the former astronaut.

Michael Zall recalls how he learned of Eastern’s demise from his manager: “In 1991, I wrote up my manager for doing something illegal in aircraft overhaul and presented him a letter of reprimand,” Zall said. “He threw it in the air and said, ‘Didn’t your manager tell you? We’re out of business.’”

Six years ago, Eastern made a comeback, of sorts, based in Miami with charter flights to Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana and Haiti.

“In late 2011, a professional group of airline managers acquired the intellectual property of Eastern Air Lines,” according to the revived Eastern’s website. “They did this with the goal of developing a new business and financing plan for relaunching the airline. The result was the formation of Eastern Air Lines Group, Inc.”

Eastern’s legacy also lives on through the retiree association — fittingly located next to Miami International Airport — which sends out monthly newsletters to each of its 7,400 members.

This association chose to donate the archive to UM because many wanted the legacy to remain in the Miami area.

“I was thrilled because I wanted our collection to stay in Florida. It was where the majority of our employees lived and our headquarters was based there,” Moore said. “I had calls from Purdue, Illinois, Auburn and Texas A&M universities as well as the Smithsonian about wanting the collection, but I knew the right place for Eastern’s history was here in Florida.”

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

Aerostar: Incident occurred August 25, 2017 at Sacramento International Airport (KSMF), California

A private plane slid off the runway during landing at Sacramento International Airport on Friday at noon, forcing closure of one of the airport’s two runways.

Airport officials said 14 flights were either delayed or diverted to other airports during the runway closure.

The Aerostar plane slid into grass beside the runway, spokeswoman Laurie Slothower said. 

The pilot was uninjured. 

The plane had to be towed away.

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

Senator Blumenthal: Federal Aviation Administration must Curb Small-Plane Crashes in Connecticut



Saying that he's "astonished and appalled" by a series of small-plane crashes in Connecticut, Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Friday called on federal regulators to beef up safety measures.

"These planes are falling out of the sky in unprecedented numbers," Blumenthal said at a press conference near the site of a fatal Piper Seneca crash last October. "Eight crashes and six fatalities makes this year one of the deadliest ever."

Blumenthal acknowledged that there appears to be no single link between the wrecks or why they happened. He wants the Federal Aviation Administration to examine all aspects of flying safety from pilot training to plane maintenance.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating most of the crashes, but so far all preliminary reports show no obvious connection such as bad weather or defective engines.

The FAA in the past has said each crash is being thoroughly investigated, but otherwise has not commented.

NTSB records show at least eight small-plane wrecks in Connecticut since this time last year. Six people have died.

Seven of those wrecks occurred since Jan. 1 - during that same period, all the other New England states combined had nine crashes.

"I am demanding today answers from the FAA and action to stop the rising tide of aviation accidents that all too often are fatal," Blumenthal said. "What we see is an unprecedented spike in the number of crashes, but even more alarmingly the number of fatal crashes. The danger is not just to the folks who fly but to people on the ground."

Blumenthal isn't recommending any specific change in regulations, but instead wants the FAA to put forward ideas. He said the agency might want to increase the requirements for a pilot's license, raising the number of hours a new pilot must spend flying accompanied by an instructor. The agency could also consider tighter medical and psychological vetting of prospective pilots, he said.

East Hartford police reports suggest the trainee pilot in the East Hartford crash might have been suicidal, and the NTSB said the wreck appeared to be intentional. The FBI is still investigating.

Blumenthal said no safety measures would be entirely foolproof, but predicted that strengthening them would reduce the crash rate. In a letter Friday to Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta, Blumenthal noted that commercial flights have been largely free of fatal crashes in recent years.

"It is imperative that we bring the same level of safety that exists in commercial aviation to the general aviation sector," he wrote.

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