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 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 ➤

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 ➤

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:

Story and audio ➤

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  ➤

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 ➤

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 ➤

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.

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

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Randigo LLC:

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA302
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 28, 2017 in Harvest, AL
Aircraft: PACIFIC AEROSPACE LTD 750XL, registration: N750UP
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

On August 28, 2017, about 1109 central daylight time, a Pacific Aerospace Limited 750XL, N750UP, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in a field near Harvest, Alabama. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated about 0630 from Pennridge Airport (CKZ), Perkasie, Pennsylvania, and was destined for Huntsville International Airport-Carl T Jones Field (HSV), Huntsville, Alabama.

The pilot stated that as part of his preflight inspection of the airplane he visually verified each fuel tank was full, and the total usable fuel capacity was 221 gallons. After takeoff, the airplane climbed to the flight planned altitude of 8,000 ft mean sea level (msl), and proceeded towards the destination airport. When the flight was near the planned refueling location of the Rockwood Municipal Airport, Rockwood, Tennessee, the pilot verified that the airplane had an adequate supply of fuel to reach the intended destination. While in contact with HSV air traffic control tower, he requested to descend to 6,000 ft msl, and was subsequently cleared to descend to 4,000 ft msl. At that time, the pilot noted HSV was to his left about 10 miles away. Shortly thereafter, while at an altitude about 3,500 ft msl, warning lights on the annunciator panel, which included a fuel pressure light, illuminated. The pilot declared an emergency with the controller, and the engine experienced a total loss of engine power. According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the controller vectored the pilot to Epps Airpark (00AL), a private airport located in Harvest, Alabama, but the pilot was unable to locate it.

The pilot further stated that he maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing in a field, and he attempted to descend under powerlines, but the airplane impacted a telephone line. The airplane then touched down on the main landing gear near the edge of the field, rolled up a slight embankment, and then onto a road, coming to rest upright. He exited the airplane, and called 911 to report the accident.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed the forward fuel tanks were breached, but there was no evidence of fuel spill across the road. A residual amount of fuel remained in both fuel tanks. The airplane was recovered for further examination.

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 ➤

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 ➤

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 ➤

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 ➤

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

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

Additional Participating Entities: 

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Location: Carbondale, IL
Accident Number: CEN17LA333
Date & Time: 08/28/2017, 0906 CDT
Registration: N28005
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Part(s) separation from AC
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 28, 2017, at 0906 central daylight time, a Gulfstream American Corporation AA-5B airplane, N28005, experienced a propeller separation in cruise flight and impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing near Carbondale, Illinois. The pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the pilot was receiving visual flight rules flight following. The flight departed Louisville, Kentucky, at 0815 eastern daylight time, and was destined for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The pilot reported that about 1 1/2 hours after departure and about 6,700 ft mean sea level, he felt a "jolt" in the airplane as if the airplane struck an unknown object. The pilot realized the airplane propeller was missing, and the engine began to overspeed at a high RPM. The pilot reported an engine failure to air traffic control, initiated an emergency descent, and attempted to land at the Southern Illinois Airport (MDH), Carbondale, Illinois. The pilot was unable to glide the airplane to MDH and executed a forced landing to a field near Carbondale. During the forced landing, the airplane impacted trees and terrain, and came to rest upright. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and fuselage. The propeller, spinner, and spinner bulkhead were missing from the airplane wreckage.

Residential homeowners, located about 9 miles south of the accident site, found separated sections of an airplane propeller in their yards. The separated sections of the fixed-pitch propeller included both blades, the propeller hub, and other propeller installation components. The propeller sections were recovered by law enforcement and the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 66, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/01/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/18/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1400 hours (Total, this make and model), 2000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 37 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N28005
Model/Series: AA 5B B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: AA5B0937
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/25/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:  33 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1506 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A4K
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

A review of the airplane records revealed the separated propeller sections matched the propeller model that was installed on the accident airplane. The most recent annual inspection was completed on January 25, 2017, at a tachometer time of 1,472.96. The tachometer time at the accident site was 1,506.71.

The McCauley model 1A170/FFA propeller was subject to repetitive inspections in accordance with Airworthiness Directive (AD) 82-27-01. The inspections are to be accomplished at intervals of 200 hours time in service (TIS). The inspections include removal of paint from the hub area followed by dye penetrant inspection of the attachment holes, center bore, and entire hub area. The last inspection per the AD was completed on March 20, 2015, at a tachometer time of 1,429.35 hours. According to the mechanic that performed the last recorded inspection, the shop did not use red dye penetrant, and inspections are performed with a fluorescent dye penetrant for higher sensitivity and easier clean-up.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MDH
Observation Time: 0922 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 18°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 10°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Louisville, KY (LOU)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Oklahoma City, OK (PWA)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0815 EDT
Type of Airspace: Unknown

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 37.673056, -89.259167 (est) 

Tests And Research

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Materials Laboratory Examination

The propeller with attached doubler, forward bulkhead, spacer, and attachment bolt pieces (propeller flange lugs) was examined by the NTSB Materials Laboratory.


The propeller was fractured through the hub area with fractures adjacent to and partially intersecting bolt holes. Both fractures were on a relatively flat fracture planes with curving crack arrest marks, consistent with fatigue. The fatigue features on each fracture surface emanated from multiple origins located at the forward face. Fretting contact damage was observed near many of the attachment holes. Pink and red deposits were observed in the attachment and dowel holes for the propeller. No pink or red deposits were observed on the surfaces of the holes in the spacer.

The fatigue fracture region extended across most of the fracture surface. Near the origin, a portion of the fracture surface had a brown color, and an adjacent region with bluish gray tint. A periodic pattern of 17 crack arrest lines was observed between the bluish gray region and the fatigue boundary. No evidence of fluorescent dye was observed on the fracture surface.


Fracture features in the spacer at the forward ends of a bolt hole and a dowel hole had a faceted appearance with the fracture on a plane perpendicular to the forward face, and features consistent with fatigue in the aluminum alloy. Fatigue features emanated from the hole corners at each location.


Portions of the doubler fracture surfaces had flat fractures perpendicular to the surface with curving boundaries, features consistent with fatigue. The fatigue features were located at the edges of the attachment bolt contact faces. The fatigue propagated through the thickness of the doubler, initiating at the forward face in the fractures near 2 holes and initiated at the aft face near one hole.

The thickness of the doubler was measured in a flat area between the holes. The annular regions around the holes corresponding to the head contact area were recessed relative to the adjacent surfaces, and the surfaces were smeared in the circumferential direction consistent with sliding contact with the underside of the attachment bolt heads.

Forward Bulkhead

The forward bulkhead was fractured circumferentially outboard of the propeller attachment holes. Pieces were missing including the entire outer circumference and segments between 4 holes. Portions of the fracture surfaces had flat fractures perpendicular to the surface with curving boundaries, features consistent with fatigue. Fatigue regions were present outboard of each of the propeller attachment holes. The origins were located adjacent to the annular area associated with the attachment bolt heads, initiating at both the forward and aft sides of the bulkhead at each of the locations. The remaining fatigue regions had fracture features that generally propagated radially inboard or outboard and were located between attachment holes that corresponded to the propeller fracture locations.

Around each of the attachment holes, the forward bulkhead was deformed and was slightly dished with the concave side facing toward the forward direction.

Propeller Flange Lugs

Black deposits with silver flakes were observed in the threads and around the inner circumference of the lugs forward of the threads. A sample of the deposits were analyzed. The spectrum was consistent with carboxylic acid. A spectral library search was performed on the obtained material spectrum, and no strong matches were identified. However, there were some similarities to the spectra of several surfactants. Carboxylic acids are used in the production of several classes of surfactants. Carboxylic acids, as well as surfactants, can be found as components or additives to lubricants, greases, and fuels. According to the McCauley Propeller Systems Owner/Operator Information Manual, the torque specifications for propeller attachment bolts on fixed pitch propellers are for bolts installed dry.

Propeller Maintenance Instructions

The McCauley Propeller Systems Owner/Operator Information Manual refers to AD 82-27-01 and indicates the propeller should be inspected with fluorescent dye penetrant. In Section 15: Non-Destructive Procedures of the Information Manual, the inspection procedure for fluorescent dye penetrant inspection includes a note that states in part,

The use of visible dye penetrants (Type II) is not recommended for the inspection of the propeller and propeller hardware. While Type II visible dye penetrants do have limited crack detection capability, the constituents of visible dye penetrants are likely to deposit residue in crack voids. The residue can be extremely difficult to remove from cracks, regardless of the cleaning method employed. Cracks can become fully or partially masked by the remaining residue. Due to these characteristics, visible dye penetrants can make follow-on detection of existing cracks virtually impossible when using other NDI penetrant methods, specifically Fluorescent Penetrant Inspection (FPI).

The McCauley Propeller Systems Owner/Operator Information Manual also indicates fixed pitch propellers such as the accident model should be overhauled after 2,000 hour TIS or 72 calendar months, whichever occurs first (the time limits for overhaul listed in the owner's manual are not a requirement for airplanes such as the accident airplane operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91). The overhaul process includes removal and reapplication of paint to the propeller to facilitate dimensional and FPI inspections. According to a representative from McCauley Propeller Systems, the design logos on the accident propeller were discontinued from use at McCauley in 1998.

Flight Data Information

According to the flight log data provided by the pilot, the airplane accumulated 28 flight cycles and 89.9 hours TIS since the last propeller inspection per AD 82-27-01. No flight cycles were accumulated for more than 100 calendar days on several occasions.

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA333
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 28, 2017 in Carbondale, IL
Aircraft: GULFSTREAM AMERICAN CORP AA 5B, registration: N28005
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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

On August 28, 2017, at 0906 central daylight time, a Gulfstream American Corporation AA-5B airplane, N28005, experienced an in-flight propeller separation in cruise flight and impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing near Carbondale, Illinois. The pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a visual flight rules flight following flight plan was filed. The flight departed Louisville, Kentucky, at an unknown time, and was destined for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who responded to the accident site, the airplane was in cruise flight when the pilot reported an engine failure to air traffic control. The pilot initiated an emergency descent and attempted to land at the Southern Illinois Airport (MDH), Carbondale, Illinois. The pilot was unable to land at MDH and executed a forced landing to a field near Carbondale. During the forced landing, the airplane impacted trees and terrain, and came to rest upright. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and fuselage. The propeller, spinner, and spinner bulkhead were missing from the airplane wreckage.

A home owner, located about 9 miles south of the accident site, found a separated section of an airplane propeller in the residence's yard. The separated section of the fixed-pitch propeller included one blade and about 1/2 of the propeller hub. The propeller section was recovered by law enforcement and returned to the accident site. A review of the airplane records, which were located in the airplane, revealed the separated propeller section matched the propeller model installed on the accident airplane.

The airplane and propeller section were recovered for further examination.

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 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 ➤

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 ➤

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 ➤

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 ➤