Monday, August 28, 2017

Lanesboro, Fillmore County, Minnesota: Layton Howerton earns prestigious aviation scholarship

Childhood is the stuff dreams are made of and everyone envisions what they’ll one day become. For most, dreams change and life happens. It’s a rare few who stick to their ambitions and make them a reality. Layton Howerton, a Lanesboro Class of 2017 valedictorian, is taking his childhood dream and soaring.

“I first became interested in aviation when I was little,” says Howerton. “I saw the Blue Angles fly several times in Pensacola, Fla., where my grandparents lived and spent a lot of time at the National Naval Aviation Museum on Pensacola’s Navy base. I can remember flying to Pensacola. It was really amazing and the pilot gave my sisters and I wings. I still have them!” he enthuses.

Last summer, he attended the Aviation Career Education camp at South Dakota State University. It was the first time he had the opportunity to fly in a small aircraft, a Cessna 172. In December, looking to find additional flying time, he discovered the Young Eagles program run by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). “The program inspires young aviators by taking them on a free ride. I needed to become a Young Eagle before I turned 18 in January,” he notes. As fate would have it, an EAA Chapter in Blaine, Minn., had a flight in December and Howerton was able to meet the cutoff. “It was amazing!” he says.

Through Young Eagles, Howerton learned the Blaine Chapter gives an annual scholarship to one student for camp at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The scholarship covers the full camp cost, including flight experiences in both small aircraft and helicopter, workshops, and classroom study.

While searching the internet for other opportunities, he also discovered the LeRoy W. Homer Jr. (LWH)Foundation. The foundation pays homage to the late LeRoy W. Homer Jr., First Officer of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, which went down in a field near Shanksville, Pa., on September 11, 2001.

Howerton opted to apply for both scholarships, not expecting anything. “It was a very long application process,” he recalls. “I had to write several essays and get letters of recommendation. I really wasn’t expecting to win either scholarship.”

In early spring, Howerton was notified he’d been selected to receive the EAA scholarship. “I was very excited and grateful,” he says. In May, he found out he’d also been selected for the prestigious LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Scholarship as well. The scholarship covers all costs related to obtaining a private pilot license.

The process to secure a pilot’s license may be tedious enough, but add a limited timeframe and it takes one determined spirit. In addition to the required minimum of 40 hours of flight time, would-be-pilots must complete 10 hours of solo time, solo cross-country time, a written test, oral test, and a practical test. “There are many specific skills that have to be learned before the training is complete. Isaac Deters, my instructor, has been great. We have had a very tight schedule and he’s been awesome to work with.”

“My solo cross-country trip was a really interesting experience,” recalls Howerton. “I flew my instructor and another pilot to Indiana to purchase an airplane. They flew back in the new plane and I was on my own to fly back from Indiana. It was quite an adventure!”

“The LeRoy W. Homer scholarship has been amazing. It is such an honor to learn to fly in memory of a 9-11 pilot. I think about him often when I’m flying,” he adds. “Brian Florence, vice president of the LWH Foundation, has been great during this whole process. He has been very encouraging, and he even flew to Minnesota to meet Isaac and me.”

The time crunch of obtaining a pilot’s license amid everything else was easily the most challenging for Howerton. “We didn’t start flying until June 21 and I needed to be finished before I went to school at Iowa State August 16. It was a lot of work but definitely worth it!” In the middle of it all, July 19-27, Howerton departed for EAA.

“Each day we had workshop time and classroom time. During the workshop time we built a wing rib, worked with sheet metal, learned to weld, and made a fiberglass clipboard. In the classroom, we studied things like weather, aerodynamics, aircraft systems, aerial navigation, and flight controls and systems. The last two days of camp we were free to roam AirVenture. We watched air shows, visited many of the aircraft manufacturers, and got to check out all of the different aircraft,” he adds.

“This was my first time at AirVenture, and I loved it! It is such a massive airshow. It was fun to see all of the different kinds of aircraft,” Howerton continues. “If it flies, it will be at Oshkosh; from vintage WWII planes to kit built aircraft to all kinds of experimental flying contraptions. I’m really interested in all types of WWII aircraft.”

As luck would have it, the very first LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation scholarship winner was also attending AirVenture in Oshkosh. “Lieutenant Mike Scott, United States Navy F-18 flight instructor and Gulf War veteran, met our son and took him up in a vintage WWII era T-6 Texan trainer. It was an acrobatic experience he will never forget!” adds Christine Howerton, Layton’s mother. “This amazing opportunity would not have happened if Layton had not won both of these amazing scholarships.”

“I can’t really describe how amazing it was to fly in the Texan,” remembers Layton Howerton. “We flew with another Texan ‘in formation.’ We did simulated dogfights and barrel rolls. I was able to fly the plane during part of the flight, and it was awesome flying a vintage airplane. One of the best parts of this whole experience was getting to meet Lieutenant Scott at AirVenture. He was the first recipient of the LeRoy W. Homer Jr Scholarship. The LWH Foundation winners are all very close and they often get together. Next year, they are planning a big event on September 11 and are flying all of the past scholarship winners to New Jersey to attend.” For more information or to learn how to apply for this scholarship, visit https://www.leroywhomerjr.org/scholarships/. Applications are posted each October, with a January 31 deadline.

Plans for Howerton from this point on aren’t all decided yet. “I’ve always known that I wanted to have a career that somehow relates to aviation. I would really love to work for Boeing, Lockheed, NASA, or SpaceX after graduating from Iowa State with a degree in aerospace engineering.”

“The most rewarding part of all of this has been the flying. I love to fly, and it’s really fun to see the countryside from the air,” he adds.

Howerton is the son of Christine and Winston Howerton. He is a student member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the Flying Cyclones at Iowa State.

Original article ➤ http://fillmorecountyjournal.com

ORNGE’s mistakes led to deaths of four in ‘flight into total darkness,’ court told: Sikorsky S-76A, Ornge Global Air Inc, C-GIMY

Night vision goggles could have prevented deaths of two pilots and two paramedics in 2013 helicopter crash, Crown prosecutor charges in labor code case against Ontario air ambulance service.




ORNGE caused the death of two pilots and two paramedics when the company failed to provide night vision goggles, the Crown attorney prosecuting Ontario’s air ambulance service has told a court.

“Despite knowing that flight into total darkness was their No. 1 workplace risk, ORNGE did not give these pilots any way to see in the dark or to see the ground,” prosecutor Nick Devlin told the judge presiding over the labour code case.

More than four years have passed since the 2013 crash that killed ORNGE captain Don Filliter, co-pilot Jacques Dupuy and flight paramedics Chris Snowball and Dustin Dagenais. They died shortly after taking off from Moosonee, Ont., headed to Attawapiskat.

In a hard-hitting condemnation of ORNGE’s safety and management regime at the time, Devlin never mentioned former boss Chris Mazza, but one of his decisions was front and centre: buying 12 state-of-the-art Italian helicopters and outfitting only 10 for air ambulance use. The plan — a failed one, as it turned out — was to one day sell the other two choppers for a profit. That purchase and related matters are part of an almost six-year-old OPP criminal probe, which, despite a statement by the force in March that it was nearing conclusion, now shows no sign of ending.

“ORNGE spent millions of dollars on a money-losing, speculative purchase of non-(air ambulance) aircraft, rather than using those funds to install (night vision) capacity in its fleet,” Devlin said in his submission to court. The helicopters were purchased from AgustaWestland at a cost of $144 million in 2008. Mazza and other senior company executives were gone by early 2012.

The air ambulance firm, which receives $172 million a year from the province, “failed the four men it sent out into the darkness,” Devlin said.

Though it involves the high-pressure field of emergency medical transport by air, the case in Brampton court is in essence a workplace safety case, and the prosecution is taking place under the Canada Labour Code. The maximum penalty against a corporation is a $1-million fine — something that has struck observers as odd, since if a penalty is paid, it will in effect come from Ontario taxpayers.

ORNGE has rejected Devlin’s claims, along with additional allegations that the two pilots were not properly trained or prepared for the flight.

“The pilots had the training, testing, and experience they needed to fly by instruments,” ORNGE said in its submission to court Friday, prepared by lawyers Brian Gover and Fredrick Schumann. “In those circumstances, the employer complied with its duty to ensure employee safety.” The lawyers pointed out that aircraft regulators in Canada do not require pilots to be able to see the ground.

ORNGE, in the wake of the crash, is in the process of outfitting its fleet and pilots with night vision capability.

The job ORNGE was doing in Moosonee, a northern community near James Bay, was routine for the service, which is charged with picking up patients in emergencies and flying others between hospitals. Filliter and Dupuy were flying an older model Sikorsky chopper, not one of the brand new EH-101s that Mazza, as ORNGE boss, had purchased.

Neither type of helicopter was outfitted for night vision, though they had instruments that ORNGE maintains were sufficient for a safe flight.

The Transportation Safety Board investigation of the crash found that shortly after midnight on May 31, 2013, the ORNGE chopper was dispatched from Moosonee to Attawapiskat to pick up an emergency patient. Investigators determined the aircraft climbed to 300 feet and the captain and first officer began carrying out post-takeoff checks. The paramedics on board likely would have been preparing for the medevac ahead in Attawapiskat.

What was described as an “inadvertent descent” began as the chopper was banking left. During the turn, the captain noticed on the instruments that the turn angle was excessive and the first officer said he would correct it. Seconds before impact, the report states the captain “recognized that the aircraft was descending and called for the first officer to initiate a climb.” It was too late and the Sikorsky hit the ground, crumpling and bursting into flames.

Night vision goggles, court heard, would have made it possible for the pilots to quickly orient themselves with the terrain.

ORNGE spokesperson James MacDonald said that the air service is now fully operational with night vision goggles and modified aircraft at its bases in Sudbury, Kenora and Thunder Bay. ORNGE is aiming to have night vision capability in all chopper bases by the end of 2017.

The court case has also delved into the previous management at ORNGE. Prosecutor Devlin said in his submission to court that ORNGE was “run by people with little or no relevant experience,” that three safety warnings concerning the Moosonee pilot’s state of mind, readiness and training were ignored, and that ORNGE had a “corporate culture of ignoring, attacking and ostracizing pilots and managers who expressed safety concerns.”

ORNGE today is under different management, following a series of investigative stories by the Star that led to a massive overhaul of the agency and most senior-level executives being shown the door.

As to the ongoing OPP criminal investigation of Mazza and others over alleged kickbacks and other matters, OPP officials did not return requests for comment last week. On Sunday, a media official with the OPP said an update would be provided this week.

Mazza, a doctor, has bounced around various jobs in Ontario since leaving ORNGE. Once paid millions of dollars a year as a top executive, he has worked at a northern hospital in the emergency room and recently has been doing a stint as a sports medicine doctor in Mississauga.

Read more here ➤ https://www.thestar.com

Drone Shuts Down Air Operations On Rice Ridge Fire



Sunday night, aerial firefighters working on the Rice Ridge Fire were forced to ground their planes after a drone was spotted flying over the fire. This is the third time this summer that drones have interfered with firefighting on the Lolo National Forest.

When fire managers begin using air support to suppress a fire, they set up what’s called a Temporary Flight Restriction, or TFR. The TFR bans any aircraft NOT associated with firefighting from the airspace to give pilots some space to do bucket scoops and retardant drops.

If a drone does breeze through, all that has to stop, says Erin Fryer, a public information officer on the Rice Ridge Fire.

"And so helicopters would go back to their helibase, air attack ends up going back to Helena where they're stationed right now."

Firefighters on the ground Sunday night continued to secure fireline and made some progress despite active fire conditions.

"But when the fire is getting up and moving, and moving fast, it's hard for them to stay ahead of it and take care of those hotspots," Fryer says.

In addition to losing a sorely needed resource, Fryer says this kind of thing weighs on firefighters and the community they’re trying to protect alike.

"Losing that capability of that air support is a huge impact to the firefighters, and it's pretty frustrating and defeating … it's a really unfair impact to our communities to have those operations shut down or hampered because of one person's choice."

This kind of interruption has happened twice on the Rice Ridge Fire and once on the Lolo Peak Fire. All three incidents are currently under federal investigation.

Nationwide, there have been at least 20 cases of drones interrupting firefighting activities this season. That’s according to Jessica Gardetto, spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

"We've had numerous close calls where a drone has come within 50 to 100 feet of a helicopter or an air tanker, and as I mentioned before, that can cause a collision and cause it to crash," Gardetto says.

There are a few layers of federal regulations that prohibit flying drones and other unmanned aircraft systems into active firefighting operations, but the Federal Aviation Administration is the main agency to handle these cases. If an investigator can prove the flight was intentional, the FAA can prosecute to the tune of $20,000.

Gardetto says some states have laws even more stringent than federal regulations to protect firefighting pilots and keep air suppression moving.

"These wildfires grow at a rapid pace, so every hour, every minute that those air tankers and those helicopters are working, counts. So it can have severe impacts on wildfires if they do have to shut down for even an hour or two."

The onus is on the drone operator to know where temporary flight restrictions are in place. A map of no-fly zones is available here.

App for drone pilots: https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/b4ufly/

Story and audio ➤ http://mtpr.org

Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (KPUW), Whitman County, Washington: Regents will consider airport land sale Wednesday



The university’s highest governing body will meet via teleconference Wednesday to consider proposals to turn over land to the airport and relocate parts of a research orchard.

The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport has been seeking to build a bigger runway to accommodate bigger planes for more than a decade. One issue with the project was that parts of WSU animal and horticulture research facilities were located in the proposed runway’s Runway Protection Zone, a plot of land off the end of the tarmac that is supposed to remain clear in case a plane overshoots a landing or does not take off properly.

The airport will propose to purchase the land from the university for $15.3 million, about the same amount it will cost to relocate the facility.

Affected research programs include United States Department of Agriculture studies, College of Veterinary Medicine research and projects associated with the Tukey Horticulture Orchard and some College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences’ animal facilities.

The university plans to relocate the affected programs and facilities to the Tula Young Hastings Farm southwest of Pullman and the Spillman Farm south of Pullman, both of which WSU owns.

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



A project to build a new runway at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport will stay on track if the Washington State University Board of Regents approves a deal Wednesday.

WSU's administration is recommending that the trustees accept the latest counteroffer from the Pullman-Moscow airport authority of $15.3 million. The airport wants to buy about two dozen agricultural research buildings and barns and relocate those operations. The structures are in the way of the landing approach to a new runway.

The university and the airport have negotiated and traded offers and counteroffers for well over a year now. The affected research programs would be relocated to a pair of farms south of Pullman.  October 2019 is the airport's tentative date to christen a wider, longer and realigned replacement for what is now a below-standard runway and taxiway.

The majority of the funding for the $119 million airport reconstruction project is coming from the federal government. The case for the new runway is based on improving the reliability of air service and handling growing demand. 

Since 2006, the Pullman-Moscow airport has needed a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate. The separation between the current runway and the parallel taxiway is less than the 400 feet required by the FAA. The separation distance becomes an issue if large aircraft are using the runway and taxiway at the same time. 

The Pullman-Moscow airport currently has daily commercial airline service from Alaska/Horizon Air using large turboprops and also receives the occasional Boeing or Airbus jet on a charter flight. 

"This land acquisition was the last big one we have outstanding," airport director Tony Bean said in an interview Monday.

The multi-year runway reconstruction project broke ground last summer -- before the airport authority had control of all of the needed land. 

Contractors are working almost 20 hours per day currently, Bean said. This year's primary tasks are earthmoving to build the base for the new runway and installation of an extensive drainage system. Paving should begin next year.

Story and audio ➤ http://klcc.org

Sumner County Regional (M33), Gallatin, Tennessee: Airport lands new operations firm IndyJet

 As the Sumner County Regional Airport Authority prepares for expansion, it has selected an Indiana-based fixed base operator to provide services for aircraft owners.

IndyJet's arrival means complete aircraft servicing for piston and jet engine aircraft, airport Manager Roe Massey said Tuesday. The company will also provide aircraft for those interested in aviation lessons and or pilots wanting to rent a plane for the day. 

The company currently operates as an FBO in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.

Massey said the airport authority put out a request for proposals earlier this year after the lease with GTO Aviation LLC ended. About a half-dozen companies met the deadline.

"In order to provide the services the airport needs as we prepare for expansion, they were the best option by far," Massey said.

The expansion project is expected to cost $6.2 million, with nearly $3 million covered by state funds and another $330,000 in local funds. The balance will be funded by FAA discretionary funds. All told, it's the airport's biggest projects since construction took place in 1962.

In addition to maintenance, IndyJet works with clients to provide charter flights, catering and ground transportation at its two other locations.

The SCRAA has an average daily traffic count of about 80 aircraft. With a runway 6,300 feet in length, the SCRAA is able to handle "just about any kind of aircraft," even a GulfStream 650, Massey said.

About seven part-time workers are employed by SCRAA, but IndyJet should bring another six to 12 jobs, Massey said.

The airport's growth isn't just a win for Gallatin, but for Hendersonville, Sumner County and beyond.

"A business that's coming here, they're going to be flying in. They want somewhere where they can get in and out quickly," Massey said. "And with the music scene like it is, they're able to fly out of here without all the fans being around."

As soon as next month, work will be underway to resurface the area where planes are parked for loading, unloading and refueling. That area will later be expanded toward the west, providing room for nearly two dozen new hangars and terminal.

When Gallatin was in the path of totality for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, that number to between 115 and 130, with an additional 30 jets, Massey said.

"It was a zoo. There were people from all over the world. Some just landed, got off their aircraft and stayed in the shadow of their aircraft, got back on and left," he said.

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

New Super Hornet technology will ease pilot workload, jet noise



VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) --   New technology will simplify the process of landing an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet on an aircraft carrier.

"Magic Carpet" allows pilots to make single-digit flight path corrections on approach to the ship instead of hundreds of corrections. Pilots can control their flight paths more simply and directly without worrying about adjusting roll, yaw, and pitch, adding and reducing power, and predicting how the plane's course will intersect with the moving ship.

"Just within the last few weeks, we've discovered it's going to be accelerated into the fleet, should be fully into the fleet by 2020," said Rick Keys, Director of Aviation Shore Readiness for U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

For people who live around Naval Airs Station Oceana and Fentress Field, there's an added bonus with Magic Carpet.

"We anticipate it will reduce the number of Field Carrier Landing Practice operations required by about two percent per pilot," said Keys. "So, that means less fuel, less noise, and safer landings at the aircraft carrier."

The change is one part of the ongoing switch from older F/A-18 "C" legacy Hornets to the newer, more capable F/A-18 E and F. Super Hornets.

The Super Hornets are more expensive than the older jets. They're larger and heavier, and they are believed to be 5 to 6 decibels louder than the older planes.

Story and video ➤ http://www.13newsnow.com

Pacific Aerospace 750XL, N750UP, Randigo LLC: Accident occurred August 28, 2017 in Harvest, Madison County, Alabama

Randigo LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N750UP










HARVEST, AL (WAFF) -  Emergency personnel responded to multiple emergency calls reported a plane crash in Harvest Monday morning. 

The plane went down near a residential area on Harvest Rd. around 11 a.m. 

“I heard it. It sounded like a clap of thunder. I came out a few minutes later and there he was, right there,” said Crystal Harrison, a nearby resident who witnessed the crash. 

“He said his engine had given out. He was circling, and all of a sudden, he just crashed.”

A spokesperson with the FAA confirmed the pilot was not seriously injured in the crash. There were no other passengers on board.

"He put us on a wrong road for probably a minute, otherwise we'd probably would've been in the path and so it glided out in clear place where it landed where it didn't hit anybody, so definitely there was probably God in the mix today," said Marsha Folks, another witness who lives in the area. 

The pilot was en route from Philadelphia to Huntsville International Airport. 

The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, but the FAA is on the way from Birmingham to investigate. 

According to the plane's registry, it's a fixed wing, single-engine turboprop aircraft. 

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

Patricia and Bill Darby: Couple receive Federal Aviation Administration award

Pilot award: Patricia and Bill Darby



Midlanders Patricia and Bill Darby were among those who received a  prestigious award from the Federal Aviation Administration. The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award recognizes individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as master pilots.

A distinctive certificate and lapel pin are issued after application review and eligibility requirements have been met. Upon request, a stickpin similar in design to the lapel pin is also provided to the award recipient’s spouse in recognition of his or her support to the recipient’s aviation career. Once the award has been issued, the recipient’s name, city and state will be added to a published Roll of Honor.

It is believed that the Darbys are the first husband-wife duo to receive the award on the same day. Both began their flying careers in January 1965 -- Bill in McCamey and Patricia  in Midland. Bill worked as a charter pilot and flight instructor in San Angelo before joining the FAA as an air traffic controller in 1969. Patricia worked as a charter pilot and flight instructor in Midland, Los Alamos, Denver and Dallas before joining the FAA as an air traffic controller in 1967. The couple met in 1965 at a fly-in breakfast in Pecos.

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

Airlines Turned to Plan B to Avert Brunt of the Storm: United sent extra planes to Houston ahead of the storm to handle backlog of delayed traffic when flights resume at its second-busiest hub

The Wall Street Journal
By Susan Carey and  Doug Cameron
Updated Aug. 28, 2017 4:14 p.m. ET


Airlines were ready to give Tropical Storm Harvey a wide berth.

As the storm that is dumping record rain on south Texas formed in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month, American Airlines Group Inc., United Continental Holdings Inc. and other carriers offered fee waivers to encourage passengers to fly before or after the storm.

United sent extra planes to Houston ahead of the storm to have dozens of aircraft in position there to handle the backlog of delayed traffic when flights resume at its second-busiest hub. “We will have the right number of crews to operate planes when we restart there,” a spokesman said.

After Houston’s two big airports closed on Sunday, United received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly 300 passengers from Bush Intercontinental Airport there to its biggest hub at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

United also sent a flight full of humanitarian supplies, including bottled water and raincoats, and employees including flight crews to Houston on Sunday and planned to send two more on Monday, according to the spokesman. He said they would head back to Chicago carrying more passengers stranded in Houston.

Houston-bound United passengers coming to the U.S. from overseas were rerouted to other United hubs. Customers bound for Houston have been put up at hotels to wait for the airport to resume service, the spokesman said.

The FAA said Monday that Bush airport will remain closed to all but military and relief flights until Thursday. William P. Hobby Airport, a big base for Southwest Airlines Co. near downtown Houston, will remain closed until at least Wednesday. Officials allowed Southwest to send five flights from Hobby to Dallas on Sunday to clear that airport of 485 stranded passengers.

More than 1,400 flights to and from Bush and Hobby airports were canceled on Monday, a similar number to Sunday. Air-traffic controllers are on duty at both airports to direct relief flights, the FAA said.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm would likely re-enter the Gulf of Mexico on Monday and make landfall near Houston again later this week. As Harvey moves east, more airports are coming under threat. Local authorities closed the airport in Beaumont, Texas, according to the FAA, and American suspended operations at Lake Charles Regional Airport in Louisiana.

The storm that became Harvey meandered over the Gulf for days before barreling into the Texas coast on Friday night, allowing airlines time to get out a familiar playbook for major storms. For airlines, winter storms and hurricanes move slowly enough to allow time for planning, unlike thunderstorms and flight turbulence that can appear out of nowhere.

United is coordinating its response from the 27th floor of its headquarters in Willis Tower in downtown Chicago. Meteorologists, crew schedulers, dispatchers and air-traffic-control liaisons are working with the FAA, their airport counterparts and customer-service agents to track the storm and its impact on United’s flights. They are also mapping out how to rebuild the flight schedule when the weather clears.

And some of them are eyeing a new threat. Tropical Storm Irma is forming in the Atlantic off the South Carolina coast and is expected to cause heavy rain, gusty wind and rip currents all the way to Virginia. United has already issued waivers covering four airports in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, allowing customers slated to fly Monday and Tuesday to fly as late as Friday.

But Irma isn’t shaping up to be nearly as serious as Harvey, the United spokesman said. “We planned for this,” he said.

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

SkyWest marketing strategy to be rolled out the 'first week of September': North Central West Virginia Airport (KCKB), Bridgeport, Harrison County, West Virginia

Airport Director Rick Rock


Airport Authority President Ron Watson



BRIDGEPORT — The director of North Central West Virginia Airport said the marketing strategy for the airport’s new essential air service provider will be rolled out during “the first week of September.”

Airport Director Rick Rock said the comprehensive strategy to sell the public on SkyWest Airlines has been devised with the help of Volaire Aviation, a firm specializing in aviation marketing and strategic business planning for airports.

“Our strategy includes print, TV, radio, billboards and digital,” he said.

SkyWest, a Utah-based airline, which flies under contract for United Express, will offer passengers daily flights to Chicago and Washington, D.C., on 50-seat Canadair Regional jets, beginning Nov. 1, Rock said.

The members of the Benedum Airport Authority approved a $100,000 budget to market SkyWest’s services during their Aug. 16 regular meeting.

The budget will cover promotions for the new carrier for 12 months, Rock said.

“Basically we already have the strategy, we’re just working on rolling it out,” he said.

The marketing campaign will cover a large portion of the state, Rock said.

“All the away from Parkersburg all the way up to the state line above Morgantown,” he said.

Airport Authority President Ron Watson said the plan will target 17 counties in the central and northern parts of the state.

The campaign will hopefully help the airport be more competitive, Rock said.

“Our ultimate goal is to reverse the idea that we’re losing customers to Pittsburgh and other airports,” he said.

The strategy will hopefully not only attract new travelers to the airport, but will also make returning customers aware of the new services being offered, Rock said.

The airport never fully put in place a marketing plan for its previous essential air service provider, Via Air, Rock said.

Via saw its contract with the airport terminated in April following repeated delays and cancellations of flights.

The key to a successful strategy for the new airline is to ensure that the $100,000 budget is spent as efficiently as possible, Watson said.

“We want to make sure that it’s affordable and that we’re going to get the biggest bang for our buck out it,” he said. “I think what we’ve got is just about everything on the table. Then it’s just trying to prioritize and put some costs with it as to where we go from there.”

One aspect of the strategy includes advertising during West Virginia University sporting events, Watson said.

“We’d like to continue our relationship with the marketing people at WVU,” he said. “We feel that’s a good place to market the new service.”

These advertisements could include branded graphics displayed on screens and scoreboards during football and basketball games, Watson said.

Watson said the marketing strategy is important to the success of both SkyWest and the airport.

“We’re a partner,” he said. “SkyWest certainly will benefit by us working together because it’s a business. And they’re certainly looking to make a profit, and we’re looking to have a carrier that’s dependable and affordable.”

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

Gulfstream American AA-5B Tiger, N28005: Accident occurred August 28, 2017 near Southern Illinois Airport (KMDH), Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois

Aircraft landed off airport, in a field, due to engine failure.

http://registry.faa.gov/N28005

Date: 28-AUG-17
Time: 14:30:00Z
Regis#: N28005
Aircraft Make: GRUMMAN
Aircraft Model: 5
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: CARBONDALE
State: ILLINOIS





JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -  Two men were hurt in a plane crash in Jackson County, Illinois on Monday, Aug. 28.

According to Captain Michael O'Leary with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, someone from the Southern Illinois Airport Tower called the department at 9:10 a.m. to report an aircraft that was in distress about seven miles south of the airport.

Just moments later, 911 calls started coming in about a plane crash in an orchard near Grammer Road south of Murphysboro.

The plane crashed near Kite Hill Vineyard. The plane hit a tree when it went down.

The two men inside the cockpit had major injuries. They were both flown to area hospitals by helicopter.

Witnesses said people who saw the plane go down jumped into action to help the two men who were on board the plane. One of those witnesses, Ashley Clerk, recalls her experience of the crash.

"We were out here working," Clerk said. "And all of a sudden we seen a plane flying around and he just kinda came down real low...almost looked like he was doing a stunt....turned on his side, came back up like he was going to do a figure eight and he just lost it over the tree line right there and just crashed. We took off running as hard as we could, all of us. every one of us out here."

The names and condition of the two men involved are not being released. Investigators believe they were both from out of state. Online records show the plane is registered in Oklahoma.

"It was definitely scary. It was something out of a movie, really. One of the gentlemans head was gashed open across the top...one of them had a wound there above his eye," Clerk said. "You can definitely tell they need medical help immediately. If you see something go wrong, help! that's the main thing. help people! get out there and do something. Don't let people suffer."

No one on the ground was hurt.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration are on the scene.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤  http://www.kfvs12.com












MURPHYSBORO, Ill. • Two people suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to regional hospitals after a small plane crashed Monday morning in a peach orchard near south of here.

According to a news release from Jackson County (Ill.) Sheriff's Office, the plane appears to have struck a tree. One wing appeared to have been sheared off and was under a pine tree.

Lt. Jennifer Lindsey of Jackson County Sheriff's Office was at the scene of the crash. She said the flight was believed to have originated in Oklahoma. She did not know the direction the plane was traveling or its destination.

The crash was reported about 9:10 a.m. Monday via a Southern Illinois Airport tower call regarding an aircraft in distress and several 911 calls from witnesses on the ground.

“Within minutes, we had a dozen or more 911 calls of a plane in distress,” Lindsey said.

When officials responded to the scene, they found that the plane's two male occupants were still inside the cockpit. Both men suffered major injuries, the release said, and both were extracted from the wreckage and flown from the scene to regional hospitals.

Their conditions are unknown, and the sheriff's office is not identifying the two. The release did say the sheriff believes they are both from out of state.

A bystander said both victims appeared to him to be conscious when they were put into the air ambulances.

No individuals or property on the ground were damaged. The cause of the crash is not known, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration were notified about the crash and were expected to arrive on the scene Monday.

In addition to sheriff's office personnel, emergency crews from the Murphysboro, Pomona, Somerset Township Fire Department and the Jackson County Ambulance Services responded to the crash.

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











MURPHYSBORO -- A county sheriff’s office says two people were seriously hurt when a small plane crashed into a southern Illinois orchard.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office reports the plane involved in the Monday morning crash near Murphysboro appears to have crashed into a tree.

The Southern Illinoisan reports there was a Southern Illinois Airport tower call about an aircraft in distress. There also were 911 calls from witnesses on the ground. Responders found two males inside the cockpit. The sheriff’s office says both suffered major injuries and were flown to regional hospitals. Their conditions weren’t immediately known.

The sheriff says the cause of the crash isn’t known. No people or property on the ground were hurt or damaged.

Murphysboro is about 90 miles southeast of St. Louis.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.sj-r.com




MURPHYSBORO -- A small plane crashed just south of Murphysboro Monday morning.

The crash happened near the intersection of Route 127 and Grammer Road around 9:10.

A Jackson County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson tells News 3 that two men were on board the plane. They were still in the cockpit of the badly damaged aircraft when deputies arrived on scene. Both were flown to out of state hospitals from the scene with major injuries.

An initial investigation shows that the pilot made an emergency call reporting a mechanical failure just before clipping a tree and crashing.

FAA officials are aware of the crash and will be in the area to investigate the cause.

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

Beech A36 Bonanza, N87RY: Fatal accident occurred August 28, 2017 in Ellabell, Bryan County, Georgia

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

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

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

Randy D. Hunter: http://registry.faa.gov/N87RY

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA331
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 28, 2017 in Ellabell, GA
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N87RY
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 August 28, 2017, about 849 eastern daylight time, a Beechcraft model A36 airplane, N87RY, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain following a complete loss of engine power near Ellabell, Georgia.. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane sustained damage to all major components during the accident sequence. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV), near Savannah, Georgia, at an undetermined time, and was destined for the Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field (RYY), near Atlanta, Georgia.

The airplane impacted trees and terrain near Ellabell, GA. The airplane was found in a wooded swamp area at coordinates 32.23946, -81.43914, at a GPS elevation of 59 feet. The airplane was upright and facing 323 degrees. There was an impact crater centered about 10 feet directly in front of the nose of the airplane. Beyond the impact crater were trees with broken limbs and trunks that indicated a descent angle of about 45 degrees. The engine was partially separated from the fuselage. The fuselage was buckled in the cabin section with the aft section bent upward. The tail surfaces remained attached to the aft fuselage The elevator was still attached to the horizontal stabilizer, and the rudder was still attached to the vertical stabilizer. The windshield and window posts had been cut by first responders to facilitate extrication of the occupants. The forward fuselage was crushed rearward. Both wings exhibited rearward crushing with the right wing crushing being more pronounced than the left. The crush angles indicated a ground impact that was about 25 degrees from vertical. Both wings remained attached to the fuselage and the flaps and ailerons remained attached to the wings. The location of the airplane and the terrain precluded a comprehensive on-scene examination. 

The airplane was recovered from the accident site and transported to a facility for a more comprehensive examination.

Subsequent examination of the airframe revealed:

• The aft fuselage had been cut off to facilitate removal from the scene 

• The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator had been cut to facilitate removal from the scene 

• The right wing tip had been cut to facilitate removal from the scene. 

• The engine had been removed to facilitate removal from the scene. 

• Aileron control system continuity was verified from the cabin to the control surfaces.

• Elevator control system continuity was verified from the cabin to the elevator with the exception of the cuts made to the cable in order to extract the airplane. 

• Rudder control system continuity was verified from the cabin to the rudder with the exception of the cuts made to the cable in order to extract the airplane. 

• The flaps were found in the up position (0 degrees) 

• The landing gear was retracted. No pre-impact defects were noted with respect to the airframe. 

Examination of the engine revealed a hole in the top right rear of the engine case that was about 2 inches in diameter. The crankshaft was visible through the hole and there was no connecting rod attached to the visible rod journal. The engine was retained for a future teardown examination.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov 


Tyrone pilot Randy Hunter (bottom right) along with Savannah couple (top right) Byron Cocke and wife Catherine Cocke died when the Beechcraft Bonanza they were in (left) crashed in Bryan County on Aug. 28, 2017.



Byron and Catherine Cocke 
In Loving Memory


Randy Hunter of Peachtree City, Georgia 
Hunter Aviation and Consultants




Video released Friday from the Savannah Chatham County Aviation Unit shows what search and rescue crews were up against Monday when they launched a frantic search for a missing plane in Bryan County.

Freddie Howell, the Bryan County Emergency Services Director told us that day that 40 to 50 emergency personnel from Bryan and Effingham Counties were searching, mostly by ground. He said some searchers had been in the area of Croft Road where the plane was later found by air.

Personnel with the Savannah Chatham County Aviation Unit spotted the plane in the wooded swampy area, according to Howell.

Howell told us Monday these operations are always “emotional”, for the first responders. “Our hearts are with the families of the victims, in this case, the family members of this young couple from Savannah.”

42 year old William “Byron” Cocke and his 39 year old wife Catherine were passengers in the plane. Both were killed along with pilot Randy Hunter who had flown the plane from the Cobb County area.

Howell says first responders also suffered that day and “do on many days when they are called to answer emergencies. “So keep them in your thoughts along with the families who suffered in this tragic event,” he told us.

Story and video  ➤  http://wsav.com


Catherine and William Byron Cocke


Celebrating the life of Byron & Catherine Cocke

Passed away on August 28, 2017

William Byron Cocke, 41, and Catherine Montford Cocke, 39, died on impact in a plane crash Monday, August 28, 2017.

Memorial Visitation: Friday, from 2-4 p.m. at Fox & Weeks, Hodgson Chapel.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2017, at St. John’s Church in Savannah. A reception will follow at the Green Meldrim House.

Please sign our online guestbook at www.foxandweeks.com

Memorial Visitation
2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. - Friday, September 01, 2017
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel
7200 Hodgson Memorial Drive 
Savannah, Georgia 31406

Memorial Service
11:00 a.m. - Saturday, September 02, 2017
St. John's Church
1 West Macon Street 
Savannah, Georgia 31401

Reception to follow
- Saturday, September 02, 2017
Green Meldrim House
14 West Macon Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401

http://foxandweeks.com

The wife of Randy Hunter, the Tyrone pilot killed while flying a Savannah couple to Cobb County, has shared her thoughts about her husband.

The statement was released on Wednesday by Sanchez Hayes & Associates, a Fayette County law firm, on behalf of wife, Kristen Hunter.

“Randy had a passion for his family and all things related to aviation and loved flying,” the statement reads in part.

Rudjard Hayes, a partner at the firm, said the 39-year-old pilot had two young girls who “are obviously devastated.”

The charter pilot was flying Byron Cocke, a prominent 42-year-old metro Atlanta real estate developer, and his wife 39-year-old Catherine Cocke, an interior designer once featured on HGTV, when the plane crashed Monday morning.

Hayes said Hunter had flown the Cockes on business trips in the past.

A spokeswoman with Byron Cocke’s company, CF Real Estate Services, said the couple had five children. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cocke family who also lost two beloved and cherished family members in this tragic accident,” the wife’s statement reads.

Soon after Hunter took off, he radioed to air traffic controllers in Savannah saying he was having mechanical trouble and wanted to return before the plane disappeared off the radar at 8:39 a.m., a National Transportation Safety Board investigator told media.

A spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Agency said the plane was flying to Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field from Savannah International Airport when it crashed.

Dozens of emergency workers from several local, state and federal agencies responded to the crash site in Bryan County about 150 feet from the Ogeechee River, Freddy Howell, director of emergency services in Bryan, previously said.

He said a Chatham County Mosquito Control helicopter found the downed Beechcraft Bonanza, a fixed-wing single-engine aircraft, about 11:20 a.m. on Monday, nearly two hours after being notified that it had crashed in a marshy wooded area.

“The Hunter family is sincerely grateful to all the first responders in their efforts to locate the aircraft,” the statement said. “We ask for your prayers for the Hunter family as well as the Cocke family as we all try to deal with this tragedy.”

The NTSB will tear apart and inspect the plane, including its engine, to see if there were any malfunctions as part of its investigation.


http://www.ajc.com



A final determination of a single-engine plane crash Monday in North Bryan County that killed three people could take up to a year, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

John Brannen, a senior air safety investigator with the federal agency, said he should have a preliminary report done within a week after returning to his Chicago office, but that the final report detailing the probable cause of the crash could take six months to a year.

Killed in the crash were William Cocke, 42, and Catherine Cocke, 39, of Savannah, along with the pilot of the chartered plane that was flying the couple from Savannah to Cobb County. The couple leaves behind five children ranging in age from 10 months to 13 years. The pilot has been identified as Randy Hunter of Tyrone, Ga.

Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell said the FAA contacted his agency around 9:30 a.m. saying the plane was flying at an altitude of about 300 feet before it crashed.

The wreckage of the aircraft was found at 11:18 a.m. when it was spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter. Searchers included Bryan County Emergency Services, Bryan County Sheriff's Office, Effingham County Sheriff's Office and Effingham County Emergency Services. Emergency personnel used ATVs to get to the aircraft. It was located off of Eldora and Croft roads.

Brannen said the last radio contact the pilot had with air traffic control at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport was at 8:39 a.m. Monday when he indicated he was having engine problems and would attempt to return to the airport.

The plane crashed in a heavily wooded area near a cotton field in North Bryan near the Effingham County line. Brannen said he is unsure if the pilot was attempting to land in the field or not.

“We are gathering the voice recordings and radar data right now,” he said. “We’ve also located the maintenance records for the plane.”

Because of the location of the crash, Brannen said a company out of Griffin, Ga., has been contacted to remove the plane.

“We can’t do a whole lot of examination on the scene because of where it’s at,” he said.

Once the plane is extracted, the engine will be sent to the manufacturer’s headquarters in Mobile, Ala., for a thorough examination.

Brannen said the final report will take into account “man, machine and environment,” including whether or not Monday’s high winds and rain from a tropical depression off the coast played a part.

Howell said about 40 to 50 personnel were involved in the search, which included two boats on the Ogeechee River. There was no fire from the crash, so Howell said searchers could not locate it by following black smoke. Some media are reporting that the pilot radioed that he was having engine trouble and that he was attempting to return to Savannah.

Authorities have closed off the area.

"It's very heavily wooded," Howell said. "Georgia Forestry cut a path for us to access the site."

The Bryan County Coroner’s Office arrived at the scene about 12:30 p.m. Monday. Officials said all three occupants of the plane died on impact.

Howell said Hunter, the pilot, owned Hunter Aviation out of Peachtree City. He was chartered to fly to Savannah to take the Cockes to Cobb County. Officials are unsure if Hunter flew the plane to Savannah earlier Monday morning or Sunday.

Howell said the Beechcraft Bonanza plane bearing the tail identification of N87RY was chartered from Falcon Field near Atlanta. Brannen said the plane was manufactured in 1994 and its records will be looked at as well as the pilot’s flight log.

A woman driving a vehicle with a Chatham County license plate showed up at the Bryan County Emergency Services staging site at the Georgia Forestry office on Eldora Road around 1 p.m. Monday. She was visibly upset and crying. Howell later identified her as a nanny for the Cocke family.

Howell asked the public to pray for the victims as well as the first responders involved.

“The rescue people are just as traumatized about a situation like this as the general public is,” Howell said of those who located the crash and found the bodies.

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

An official said Tuesday that a pilot of a single-engine plane reported engine trouble at some point before the craft crashed into a heavily wooded area of north Bryan County on Monday, killing three people.

But John Brannen, NTSB senior air safety investigator, stressed that officials are still assessing the site and the wreckage, and investigators have not determined a definitive cause of the crash.

“We arrived on the scene (Tuesday) morning. We have had a chance to assess the scene. The airplane came to rest in a wooded, swampy area. Because of the location of the wreckage we can’t do a whole lot of examination on scene,” Brannen said.

“For that reason I have been in touch with the recovery service that will remove the airplane from the scene. It will be taken to their facility in Griffin, Ga., where we will do more examination over the coming days,” he said.

The crash killed William Byron Cocke, 42, his wife Catherine Cocke, 39, both of Savannah, along with pilot and owner of the plane, Randy D. Hunter of Tyrone, Ga.

“The airplane departed the Savannah airport on an instrument flight plan. So he was in communication with the Savannah air traffic control tower. He communicated by radio to the Savannah air traffic control tower that he was having engine problems. At the time of the accident he was attempting to return to the Savannah airport,” Brannen said.

“For that reason we will also remove the engine from the airplane. It will be sent to the manufacturer’s facility in Mobile, Ala. I will go down at a later date to do a full tear-down examination of that engine.”

Radar data and voice communications between the pilot and the tower are being collected for review. Maintenance records for the airplane have been located and are being taken to the FAA facility in Atlanta.

The single-engine Beech Bonanza en route from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to Cobb County disappeared from radar about 8:30 a.m. Monday.

The plane’s last known altitude was 300 feet, according to Freddie Howell, director of Bryan County Emergency Services, which helped in the search for the plane Monday. “They gave us coordinates close to here. We proceeded to those coordinates and we rode past that area several times. The Coast Guard was dispatched, two helicopters, the Savannah Mosquito Control helicopter was also sent to the area. They searched for some time.

“At 11:18 the Mosquito Control crew notified us that they had identified a downed aircraft off of Croft Road.”

The helicopter crew was able to land in an adjacent field and make its way to the crash site, where they found no survivors, Howell said.

Brannen said most investigations of this type typically take between six and 12 months.

Cocke and his wife had five children. The couple were remembered Tuesday by the Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association as well as Byron Cocke’s company. Cocke was the co-CEO of CF Real Estate Services.

Co-CEO Brett Finkelstein issued a statement on behalf of the company: “On Monday, Aug. 28 our Co-CEO Byron Cocke and his wife Catherine passed away in the crash of a small plane. We are devastated by this tragic loss. They were philanthropic, creative, intelligent, caring and entrepreneurial. Byron and Catherine were devoted to their five beautiful children, who are being cared for by their extended family. As we all cope with this loss, we ask that everyone celebrate their lives and respect the privacy of those who love them.”

Finkelstein said Byron “personified love of family, love of company and love for co-workers. He was laid back – yet motivated us to be the best we could possibly be and to treat the company as if it were our own. … We will always strive for the greatness Byron envisioned. His dreams are still very much alive, as we continue in his honor. We send our love to their family.”

The Savannah DNA also issued a statement on the Cockes: “The Downtown Neighborhood Association Board is shaken and saddened by the tragic loss of a Board member, dear friends and neighbors, Catherine and William Byron Cocke. Mr. and Mrs. Cocke have been active in not only the Downtown Neighborhood Association but also countless other civic organizations. The Savannah community has lost a shining light in this beautiful couple and while our hearts are heavy, we ask for prayers for their surviving five children and encourage that the media respect the family’s wish for privacy.

“Our support is unwavering and those closest to the family are committed to helping them in whatever capacity needed in this difficult time.”

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

Freddie Howell, director of Bryan County Emergency Services


The pilot of the airplane that crashed in a heavily wooded area of north Bryan County killing three people Monday morning has been identified as Randy Hunter of Tyrone, Ga. 

The single-engine Beech Bonanza en route from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to Cobb County disappeared from radar about 9:30 a.m., prompting the FAA to contact Bryan County Emergency Services regarding the possibility of a downed aircraft.

The crew of the Chatham County Mosquito Control helicopter spotted the downed aircraft at 11:18 a.m., landed in an adjacent field and made their way to the crash site where they found no survivors.

Also killed in the crash were Savannah residents William Byron Cocke, 42, and his wife Catherine Cocke, 39.

“We were hoping that they had just lost communications and that they had landed somewhere. It is not what we wanted and our thoughts and our prayers go out to the family members of the pilot and the two passengers who were on board,” Bryan County EMS Director Freddie Howell said Monday.

Hunter was also the owner of the airplane. No prior incidents or accidents had been reported for the aircraft.

Cocke was the co-CEO of CF Real Estate Services. Co-CEO Brett Finkelstein issued a statement on behalf of the company:

“On Monday, Aug. 28 Our Co-CEO Byron Cocke and his wife Catherine passed away in the crash of a small plane. We are devastated by this tragic loss. They were philanthropic, creative, intelligent, caring and entrepreneurial. Byron and Catherine were devoted to their five beautiful children, who are being cared for by their extended family. As we all cope with this loss, we ask that everyone celebrate their lives and respect the privacy of those who love them. Working with Byron was a joy. He personified love of family, love of company and love for co-workers. He was laid back – yet motivated us to be the best we could possibly be and to treat the company as if it were our own. I will continue to lead this solid and growing organization. I’m confident in our senior team and their leadership and we are working together to ensure continuity. We will always strive for the greatness Byron envisioned. His dreams are still very much alive, as we continue in his honor. We send our love to their family.”

Cocke and his wife were members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

A statement from the DNA read: “The Downtown Neighborhood Association Board is shaken and saddened by the tragic loss of a Board member, dear friends and neighbors, Catherine and William Byron Cocke. Mr. and Mrs. Cocke have been active in not only the Downtown Neighborhood Association but also countless other civic organizations. The Savannah community has lost a shining light in this beautiful couple and while our hearts are heavy, we ask for prayers for their surviving five children and encourage that the media respect the family’s wish for privacy. Our support is unwavering and those closest to the family are committed to helping them in whatever capacity needed in this difficult time.”

The Cockes had five children.

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



SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - We're learning more about the Savannah couple killed in a plane crash near the Bryan/Effingham County line on Monday. 

The two were well known around downtown and involved with several local organizations. Catherine and Byron Cocke's charter flight left from the airport around 9:30 Monday morning. They are being remembered as a 'shining light' in the community. 

The Downtown Neighborhood Association says it's 'shaken and saddened by the tragic loss' of 'dear friends and neighbors, Catherine and Byron Cocke.' The couple leaves behind five young children, ranging in age from just 10 months to 13-years-old. They were members of the Historic Savannah Foundation, and both had businesses based in Atlanta. 

Catherine was the owner and designer at Catherine Cocke Interiors, receiving accolades and recognition from Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle and HGTV. She was also involved with the Telfair Museums in Savannah. Byron was the co-founder and co-CEO of CF Real Estate Services. He led the operations, construction, and business development team, and was responsible for the strategic planning and growth of the company. He was also an advisor on the Downtown Neighborhood Association board. They released the following statement Monday afternoon. 

"The Downtown Neighborhood Association is shaken and saddened by the tragic loss of our board member, friends, and neighbors, Catherine and William Byron Cocke. Mr. and Mrs. Cocke have been active in not only the Downtown Neighborhood Association but also countless other civic organizations. The Savannah community has lost a shining light in this beautiful couple and while our hearts are heavvy, we ask for prayers for their surviving five children and encourage that the media respect the family's wish for privacy. Our support is unwavering and those closest to the family are committed to helping them in whatever capacity needed in this difficult time."

Research with the plane's tail identification number indicates it is a 1994 Beech A-36 Bonanza. It's a six seater, single engine plane. According to its registry on the FAA website, the plane belongs to Randy Hunter of Fayette County, GA.

We spoke with one woman who lives near the site of the crash. 

"Little helicopters don't usually fly this low unless it's like first responders that come and they usually land in the field across from us if it's a car accident, but for them to be flying in the field, and then to see a police officer come out of the field, that indicates, okay, something's wrong,' said Tonya Redmond. 

Redmond's parents actually own the land where the plane crashed. She says they will do all they can to assist first responders in their investigation. 

There are no details on funeral arrangements at this time. We'll keep you updated as we get more information. 

Story and video:   http://www.wtoc.com


BRYAN CO., GA (WTOC) - The Bryan County Emergency Management Agency has released the names of two of the victims in a plane crash near the Bryan-Effingham county line Monday. 

It happened on Croft Road, off of Eldora Road. Couple, William Byron Cocke and Catherine Cocke were killed in the crash. The pilot has not yet been identified pending notification of next of kin. 

The dense, wooded area made it difficult for crews to get to the wreckage. Georgia Forestry had to cut a path through the trees. 

Air Traffic Control lost contact with the plane with the three aboard - the pilot and two passengers. A Chatham County Mosquito Control aircraft located the wreckage. 

According to a WTOC aviation source in communication with the Federal Aviation Administration in Georgia, the plane was going from Savannah to Cobb County, GA when they radioed engine trouble. The plane turned around and was trying to get back to Savannah. The plane was a charter from Peachtree City, GA. 

Chief Freddie Howell is asking the public to pray for the victims. 

"I also ask that the public pray for these guys and women that went down to search and rescue and remove these occupants from the plane. The rescue people are just as traumatized about a situation like this as the general public is," said Chief Howell, Bryan County Emergency Services. 

The Downtown Neighborhood Association released this statement Monday evening: 

"The Downtown Neighborhood Association is shaken and saddened by the tragic loss of our board member, friends, and neighbors, Catherine and William Byron Cocke. Mr. and Mrs. Cocke have been active in not only the Downtown Neighborhood Association but also countless other civic organizations. The Savannah community has lost a shining light in this beautiful couple and while our hearts are heavvy, we ask for prayers for their surviving five children and encourage that the media respect the family's wish for privacy. Our support is unwavering and those closest to the family are committed to helping them in whatever capacity needed in this difficult time."

The Federal Aviation Administration, Bryan County Emergency Services, Effingham County Emergency Management Agency, Chatham County Mosquito Control, Georgia Forestry, and the United States Coast Guard all responded.

The FAA is taking over the investigation. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board will arrive Tuesday morning. 

"Luckily, we work well with all of our surrounding jurisdictions, Bryan County included. We have approximately 40 people between Bryan County and Effingham at the moment. We have boats going up and down the Ogeechee River and we also have three aircraft between the Coast Guard and Savannah Mosquito Control," said Clint Hodges, Effingham County EMA Director. 

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



UPDATE: As of 5 p.m., authorities have identified the passengers on the plane as William Cocke, 42, and Catherine Cocke, 39, of Savannah. The pilot still has not been identified pending notification of his family.

Authorities say there are no survivors after a single-engine plane went down Monday morning in a swampy, heavily wooded area of North Bryan near the Effingham County line.

Three people were on board the plane, which crashed about two miles from Highway 280 off Croft Road. Their identities have not been released. 

Bryan County Emergency Services Director Freddy Howell said the Federal Aviation Administration contacted his agency around 9:30 a.m. saying the plane was flying at an altitude of about 300 feet before it crashed.

Howell said the pilot and two passengers died in the crash.

The wreckage of the aircraft was found at 11:18 a.m. when it was spotted by a Coast Guard helicopter. Searchers included Bryan County Emergency Services, Bryan County Sheriff's Office, Effingham County Sheriff's Office and Effingham County Emergency Services. Emergency personnel used ATVs to get to the aircraft. 

Howell said about 40 to 50 personnel were involved in the search, including two boats on the Ogeechee River. There was no fire from the crash, so Howell said searchers could not locate it by following black smoke. He added that the pilot did not send out a distress call before the plane went down.

Authorities have closed off the area. Howell asked that the public stay away from the area. 

"It's very heavily wooded," Howell said. "Georgia Forestry is cutting a path for us to access the site."

The plane had reportedly taken off from Savannah and was headed to Cobb County when it went down. Howell said the Beechcraft Bonanza plane bearing the tail identification of N87RY was chartered from Falcon Field near Atlanta through a private company to pick the passengers up in Savannah and fly them to Cobb County. He added that he believed the couple was married as they shared the same last name. 

A woman driving a vehicle with a Chatham County license plate showed up at the Bryan County Emergency Services staging site at the Georgia Forestry office on Eldora Road around 1 p.m. She was visibly upset and crying. Howell later identified her as a nanny for the passengers on the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, Howell said. Names are not being released until family is notified.

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




A plane crash in a heavily wooded area of north Bryan County killed three people Monday morning.

The single-engine Beech Bonanza en route from the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to Cobb County disappeared from radar about 9:30 a.m., prompting the FAA to contact Bryan County Emergency Services regarding the possibility of a downed aircraft. But finding the plane took some time.

“Its last known altitude was 300 feet,” said Freddie Howell, director of Bryan County Emergency Services. “They gave us coordinates close to here. We proceeded to those coordinates and we rode past that area several times. The Coast Guard was dispatched, two helicopters, the Savannah Mosquito Control helicopter was also sent to the area. They searched for some time. At 11:18 the Mosquito Control crew notified us that they had identified a downed aircraft off of Croft Road.”

The helicopter crew was able to land in an adjacent field and make its way to the crash site, where they found no survivors.

Passengers in the airplane were William Byron Cocke, 42, and his wife Catherine Cocke, 39. The pilot has not yet been identified pending notification of next of kin.

“We were hoping that they had just lost communications and that they had landed somewhere. It is not what we wanted and our thoughts and our prayers go out to the family members of the pilot and the two passengers who were on board,” Howell said.

The search for the downed aircraft was extensive.

“We probably had 40 to 50 people on the ground, in the air and even in boats. We had two boats along the Ogeechee River. Effingham County had a boat, we had a boat, we were doing everything possible to find the airplane. We had the Coast Guard and several people riding the roads just hunting. Actually … several of us rode past the area. It is behind a field, it is wooded terrain, it goes downhill where they are located. You could not have seen it from the road,” Howell added.

The nature of the terrain surrounding the crash site has made the recovery operation difficult.

“We have Georgia Forestry down there cutting a path to the aircraft. The aircraft is in a very heavily wooded, swampy, marsh area. There is going to be a lot of work before this operation is over. We have FAA on the way. They will do a thorough investigation of the plane and site to try to determine what actually happened,” Howell said. “Right now we have 4-wheelers, ATVs and mules down there getting our people in. We have to clear a path to help get the FAA people in there to determine what happened.”

Anne Horn, who lives a few miles from the crash site, said she heard the airplane fly over her house.

“I heard it, it was real low. But I am so used to hearing Army stuff go over I didn’t go outside to check on it. My neighbor saw it and said it was real loud,” she said.

Access to Croft Road and the crash site is being blocked by the Bryan County Sheriff’s Department and the GSP Howell said.


Story and comments  ➤  http://savannahnow.com



The two passengers on board the plane have been identified as William Cocke, 42 and Catherine Cocke, 39 both of Savannah. The name of the pilot has not been released.

ELLABELL, Ga. (WSAV) — Emergency crews announced that all three people on board a small plane traveling from Savannah to Cobb County have died. The missing plane was spotted by a Coast Guard chopper near the Bryan-Effingham County line. Emergency crews reported the small plane crashed near Ellabell. Bryan County and Effingham County emergency management officials are on the scene and will continue their investigation and recovery efforts.

According to officials, the Coast Guard contacted 911 around 9 a.m. to report a beacon signal from a small plane. Air Traffic Control also reported they lost contact with the plane around the same time.

The small craft had a pilot and two passengers on board and the plane was travelling from Savannah to Cobb County.

Story and video   http://wsav.com



SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -  Savannah civic organizations are remembering the couple killed in a plane crash near the Bryan and Effingham County line on Monday for their generosity and contagious spirit.

Catherine and Byron Cocke were well-known in downtown Savannah and involved with several organizations, including the Historic Savannah Foundation and the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra.

"I don't think our reaction is different from anyone else's reaction," said Daniel Carey, executive director of the Historic Savannah Foundation. "I think it's just pure loss, and it's just really sad. We just hope that the family can weather this, and find the silver lining on the other side."

Carey said the couple was more like extended family, and learning they were killed in the crash was surreal. 

"I was dumbstruck, and just really deeply saddened," Carey said. "Really good people, and just the worst thing you could imagine."

Savannah Philharmonic Executive Director Terri O'Neil shared the same sentiment.

"Oh it was heart wrenching. It's just beyond belief, really, for us to hear that Byron and Catherine had this tragic accident. They were not only loyal donors of the arts and Savannah Philharmonic, but when they jumped into our community a couple years ago, I mean, they jumped in with gusto."

Carey said, "They really represented the next generation of philanthropists in Savannah, and that's pretty remarkable because that ethic doesn't always transfer from one generation to the next. But it definitely took seat with them. They had this terrific family, and you knew that their kids were going to get the same message and do the same things and will. That's what we have to hope and be encouraged by is that their kids will live the life their parents lived and do good things."

As well-known as they were for being generous donors, O'Neil and Carey said the Cocke's will be remembered throughout Savannah as friends- almost extended family members- who could change the atmosphere of a room just by being in it.

"Anytime Catherine and Byron walked into the room, I mean, they just lit up the room," O'Neil said. "I mean, they were definitely a couple. They were connected. They were committed. As parents, you just couldn't have wanted a better family unit to have Catherine and Byron as the parent."

Carey said, "Savannah is worse for this, no question. We have all lost something, not just the organizations and family and friends, but the whole community has lost something."

Both had businesses based in Atlanta.

Byron's co-founder and co-CEO of CF Real Estate Services, Brett Finkelstein, shared the same thoughts in a statement released Tuesday.

“On Monday, Aug. 28 Our Co-CEO Byron Cocke and his wife Catherine passed away in the crash of a small plane. We are devastated by this tragic loss. They were philanthropic, creative, intelligent, caring and entrepreneurial. Byron and Catherine were devoted to their five beautiful children, who are being cared for by their extended family. As we all cope with this loss, we ask that everyone celebrate their lives and respect the privacy of those who love them. Working with Byron was a joy. He personified love of family, love of company and love for co-workers. He was laid back – yet motivated us to be the best we could possibly be and to treat the company as if it were our own. I will continue to lead this solid and growing organization. I’m confident in our senior team and their leadership and we are working together to ensure continuity. We will always strive for the greatness Byron envisioned. His dreams are still very much alive, as we continue in his honor. We send our love to their family.”

Catherine was the owner and designer at Catherine Cocke Interiors, receiving accolades and recognition from Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle and HGTV.

The couple was also involved with the Telfair Museums in Savannah, which also released a statement Tuesday.

"Telfair Museums is shocked and deeply heartbroken by the tragic loss of Catherine and William Byron Cocke. The Cockes were supporters of Telfair Museums as well as other local organizations. It is a sad day for Savannah to have lost these two dynamic, caring, philanthropic people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their family, especially their 5 young children."

Byron was an advisor on the Downtown Neighborhood Association Board. It released a statement on Monday.

"The Downtown Neighborhood Association is shaken and saddened by the tragic loss of our board member, friends, and neighbors, Catherine and William Byron Cocke. Mr. and Mrs. Cocke have been active in not only the Downtown Neighborhood Association but also countless other civic organizations. The Savannah community has lost a shining light in this beautiful couple and while our hearts are heavvy, we ask for prayers for their surviving five children and encourage that the media respect the family's wish for privacy. Our support is unwavering and those closest to the family are committed to helping them in whatever capacity needed in this difficult time."

The couple had five children ranging in age from 10 months to 13 years old, and were members of St. John's Episcopal Church in Savannah. There are no details about funeral arrangements yet.

Story and video:  http://www.wtoc.com

A prominent metro Atlanta real estate developer and his wife, an interior designer featured on HGTV, were on a charter plane that crashed near Savannah on Monday, killing them and the pilot, officials confirmed.

Byron Cocke, 42, and Catherine Cocke, 39, died when the plane crashed in a “very heavily wooded area” of Bryan County about 150 feet from the Ogeechee River, said Freddy Howell, director of emergency services in Bryan.

He identified the pilot as Randy Hunter of Tyrone, where records show he lived off of Palmetto Road.

Howell said he spoke on Tuesday with Hunter’s wife, who was doing her best to process the situation.

“Our hearts are heavy for everyone involved,” he said.

A Chatham County Mosquito Control helicopter found the downed Beechcraft Bonanza, a fixed-wing single-engine aircraft built in 1994, about 11:20 a.m. on Monday, nearly two hours after being notified that it had crashed, Howell said.

Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane was flying to Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field from Savannah International Airport when it crashed.

That contradicts earlier information given to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from local authorities that the plane had been flying into Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field in Peachtree City.

Soon after Hunter took off, he radioed to air traffic controllers in Savannah saying he was having mechanical trouble and wanted to return, said John Brannen, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane disappeared off the radar at 8:39 a.m., Brannen told media Tuesday.

Howell said the couple was known in the Savannah area, where they lived full-time, though they had ties to metro Atlanta.

The husband is the co-founder and co-CEO of CF Real Estate Services, a company that formed from a 2013 merger between Cocke Finkelstein, Inc., and Atlanta-based Lane Company, according to its website.

CF Real Estate has properties as far north as Michigan, but is responsible for several metro Atlanta housing projects, including The Lofts at Atlantic Station and Olmsted Chamblee, which features a big sign of the city’s name.

Emergnecy officials weren’t sure whether the couple was flying for business from Savannah, where the company has a student-centric apartment complex named The Hue.

The company’s other co-founder Brett Finkelstein released a statement Tuesday about the couple’s death.

“We are devastated by this tragic loss. They were philanthropic, creative, intelligent, caring and entrepreneurial,” the statement reads in part.

Finkelstein said the couple had five children, who are now being cared for by extended family.

The website for the wife’s interior design business said she was featured on a 2011 episode of HGTV’s “My Big Amazing Renovation,” titled “Going Big in Georgia” showing her 18-month renovation of the couple’s 1950s home.

The Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association also posted a statement about the couple’s death on its website. The statement said one member of the couple was part of the association’s board but didn’t say which.

“The Savannah community has lost a shining light in this beautiful couple and while our hearts are heavy, we ask for prayers for their surviving five children.”

Eric Weiss, a spokesman with NTSB, said Tuesday that after investigators document the crash site, contractors will move the plane to Griffin by Wednesday. There, staff will take apart the aircraft to review its systems.

Investigators will interview witnesses, look at radar data, listen to audio recordings from air traffic controllers and assess the weather at the time of the crash.

The engine will be broken down at a facility in Mobile, Alabama, to determine whether there was a malfunction, he said. 


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

Bryan County, Ga. —  Emergency crews from Effingham and Bryan counties have discovered the wreckage of a downed plane in Bryan County and officials say three people are confirmed dead.

Bryan County Emergency Management Agency Chief Freddy Howell confirmed the names of the couple on board as William Cocke, 42, and Catherine Cocke, 39, both from Savannah.

The pilot's identity has still not been released.


Both the NTSB and the FAA have been contacted and could be on the scene for days.


The plane went down in a heavily wooded area, which is private property, off Eldora Road near Croft Road.


Crews were only able to reach the crash site on foot or by using ATV's.


According Howell, air traffic control lost contact with a plane that had recently taken off from Savannah.


Howell said the Cocke's were heading to Cobb County in Metro Atlanta.


The last known altitude of the plane was 300 feet.


A witness said he saw the plane flying low over his house, just barely above the tree line.


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


Three people died Monday morning after their charter plane crashed near Savannah while heading back to metro Atlanta.

Authorities in Bryan and Effingham counties said they were having trouble notifying the next of kin for the pilot and two passengers and thus have not identified the three.

Clint Hodges, Effingham’s director of emergency management, said the plane was heading for Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field in Peachtree City.

He said a Chatham County Mosquito Control helicopter found the downed Beechcraft Bonanza, a fixed-wing single-engine aircraft built in 1994, about 11:20 a.m. nearly two hours after being notified that it had crashed.

Hodges described the crash site as a “very heavily wooded area” about 150 feet from the Ogeechee River, which is the border between Bryan and Effingham counties. Units from both areas responded.

Freddy Howell, head of Bryan County emergency services, told reporters Monday afternoon that of the three inside the plane, two were men and one was a woman. He said the pilot was a man and a preliminary investigation showed the other two were a couple.

The agency gave the plane’s tail number, which is registered to a man who lives in Tyrone, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Howell said there were 40 to 50 units on land, air and water trying to find the plane. He said some had to use ATVs to get to the plane, which is on private property.

“We were hoping they’d just lost communications and landed somewhere,” he said.

Bulldozers with the state forestry agency had to clear a path to the downed plane, said Byron Haire, assistant district manager for the Ogeechee District of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

He said his agency got the call about noon to help to “punch a hole” to the crash site.

Howell said the plane may remain where it is for days, as the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board investigate.

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


ELLABELL, Ga. (WSAV) – A representative of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is on-scene where a plane crash in Bryan County yesterday, August 28. 

The crash claimed the lives of William ‘Byron’ Cocke, 42, and Catherine Cocke, 39 both of Savannah.

The pilot has been identified as Randy Hunter of Peachtree City, Georgia with Hunter Aviation and Consultants.

John Brannen of the NTSB says parts of the plane are being removed from the scene for analysis, including the engine.

Brannen said air traffic control at the Savannah International Airport lost sight (on radar) of the plane at 8:39 am Monday.

He also said that shortly before that the pilot had told controllers he was having engine trouble and returning to the airport.

Brannen says a preliminary report on the crash may be available in a few weeks, but a final report and, or cause may not be known for months.

He says the engine will be analyzed but that the pilot’s record, plane maintenance, and weather conditions are also considered as possible factors.

The plane was a 1994 Beechcraft Bonanza with six seats.

Bryan County officials say that Hunter and the Cocke both had young children and their hearts go out to both families.

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