Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bellanca 8GCBC, N86885, Team Builders Inc: Incident occurred September 19, 2017 at Alameda Naval Air Station, Alameda County, California

Team Builders Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N86885 




A pilot landed his American Champion Scout single-engine aircraft on Runway 13-31 of the long-closed Alameda Naval Air Station on Tuesday morning. 

The plane was in the business of hauling a banner like the ones typically seen at sporting events. 

The pilot noticed the plane was experiencing mechanical problems and chose the abandoned runway at the old Naval Air Station as the safest place to land. The Alameda Fire Department (AFD) responded. 

No injuries and no damage to the plane occurred, according to AFD Captain James Colburn.

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

Helicopter repairs never stop at Coast Guard’s Air Station Astoria



WARRENTON — On the main hangar floor at Air Station Astoria last week, two Sikorsky MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters sat in varying stages of disassembly.

Coast Guard avionics and mechanical technicians at the air station disassembled, checked and put the helicopters back together. They repaired one after an avionics malfunction and conducted scheduled maintenance on another.

The air station’s three MH-60Ts are part of a fleet delivered to the Coast Guard in the early to mid-1990s, upgraded to a new model in the 2000s and originally meant to fly 10,000 hours. Each of the aircraft in Astoria have logged more than 13,000 hours of flight.

And with a directive to keep flying them through at least 2035, maintenance never stops.




A continual cycle

An estimated 24.4 hours of maintenance goes into each aircraft for every hour in flight. The maintenance starts with inspections before, during and after daily operations. Another list of required checks must be performed after 200 hours in the air.

Zach Painter, an avionics electrical technician, is one of about 50 maintenance personnel at the air station, split between avionics and aviation maintenance. The Coast Guard syncs periods of maintenance based on calendar days and flight hours to create a schedule of upkeep. Many of the components inside a helicopter have their own lifespan. No. 6002, one of three Jayhawks at the air station, has more than 14,000 flight hours. Since last week, the helicopter has been grounded during a scheduled maintenance period after reaching its latest increment of 200 flight hours.

Each flight-hour maintenance period builds in intensity to an 800-hour disassembly, said Chief Warrant Officer John Mitchell, the maintenance officer at the air station.

“The whole head gets disassembled,” he said of the 800-hour period. “We inspect everything on it. The blades come off. And then (we) put it all back together and we basically reset, so we start another 200-hour cycle again.”

A main issue is corrosion, with Coast Guard helicopters operating in harsh environments and close contact to saltwater. Technicians actively monitor for corrosion, replacing worn parts of the frame, spreading sealants to prevent water in between parts and putting dehumidifiers in the aircraft overnight.





‘A freshly built helicopter’

The yellow helicopter Air Station Astoria received last year on a four-year tour in honor of 100 years of Coast Guard aviation was recently sent to San Diego to cover for aircraft responding to Hurricane Harvey. Upon return, the helicopter will go through a 600-hour maintenance period and an engine change, Mitchell said.

The engine will be sent to the Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, where aircraft go for the most intensive programmed depot maintenance. Base Elizabeth City is also the Coast Guard’s training ground for aviation maintenance workers.

Lt. Patrick Wright, a pilot and the assistant engineering officer at the air station, said the Coast Guard’s helicopters go out to stations from the logistics centers on four-year tours before going back for deep maintenance.

“They go back to North Carolina and get completely revamped,” he said. “All the paint comes off. It’s basically down to a bare hull and wiring. They take all the parts off, put them back on. So it’s kind of like you’ve got a freshly built helicopter with an air frame that’s pretty old.”

The aircraft rack up about 2,400 flight hours during each of those four-year tours, said Cmdr. David Feeney, aviation engineering officer at the air station.




Keep them running

Sikorsky gave the fleet of MH-60Ts an “on-condition” rating, meaning they can fly as long as inspections and maintenance keep up on the air frames, Feeney said.

The MH-60Ts are but one of several variants of the Sikorsky H-60, a family of military helicopters flown by different branches of the military since the 1970s. The Coast Guard has received and converted several helicopters from the Navy, including one brought from Air Station Sitka in Alaska, to cover in Astoria, while it covered San Diego.

The MH-60T was an upgrade in the mid-2000s from the similar HH-60J. The Coast Guard finished its upgrades to the fleet of MH-60Ts last year and moved the program into sustainment mode.

With only about 45 MH-60s nationwide, the Coast Guard is too small of a service to make its own order with Sikorsky. In regards to a potential new helicopter, the Coast Guard is waiting to see what happens with the Army’s Future Vertical Lift, an effort to develop a future helicopter to replace H-60s by the mid-2030s, Feeney said.

“That’s why we’ve been pushed back to 2035,” Feeney said. “The other services … they’re starting to look, but they’re not actively needing to replace their fleets until 2035, because they’re getting new H-60s.”

Story and photo gallery ➤ http://www.dailyastorian.com

Boeing ‘Unlikely’ to Deliver First Tanker in 2017: Further delay to tanker program would only have a modest impact on Boeing’s closely-watched cash flow



The Wall Street Journal
By Doug Cameron
Updated Sept. 19, 2017 3:42 p.m. ET


Boeing Co. is unlikely to meet its target of delivering the first of a new fleet of aerial refueling tanker jets by the end of the year, according to a person familiar with the military program.

A further delay to the tanker program would dent Boeing’s recent turnaround in executing new programs on time though only have a modest impact on its closely-watched cash flow.

The KC-46A Pegasus tanker is a heavily modified version of the Boeing 767 passenger jet that’s been hit by design and production problems, triggering more than $1.5 billion in charges.

“Given where the program is today, it appears unlikely first delivery will take place in 2017,” said the person familiar with the company’s progress.

The U.S. Air Force had previously said it didn’t expect Boeing to provide a combat-ready KC-46A tanker to refuel fighter jets and transport planes until next year, even though company executives continued to target a delivery this year.

Gen. Carlton Everhart, head of Air Mobility Command, said at an industry conference on Tuesday that the first “war ready” aircraft is expected in the spring, part of an initial batch of 18 due to enter service by June.

“The Boeing timeline of December does not appear likely from an AMC perspective,” added an Air Force spokesman.

While Boeing has resolved production issues that dogged some of its recent commercial jetliners, delivering the first 737 Max ahead of schedule, some military programs continue to cause issues. Aside from the tanker, it’s also pushed back the first flight of its new manned space capsule and taken a charge on that program.

Senior Boeing executives at the company’s investor day on Tuesday didn’t address the timing of the initial tanker delivery, but said the first 18 would arrive by June, according to people at the event, which wasn’t webcast.

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

Operation Airdrop's soaring compassion: Volunteer pilots canvas the state of Florida with supplies for residents still reeling from Hurricane Irma

Pilot Dylan Leoni, a sophomore pre-med student at Florida State University, flies his family’s Cirrus SR22 down from Tallahassee to LaBelle, Florida, to deliver donated supplies to the rural city that is still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Irma.



As the state of Florida continues to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Irma’s violent pass, rural towns have been some of the slowest to return to normalcy.

Operation Airdrop is playing a role as a stopgap, bringing these communities much needed supplies.

Pilots from around the country are volunteering their time and aircraft to freight goods into towns where residents remained without gas, open markets or electricity. In the city of LaBelle, just inland of Fort Myers, residents are volunteering around the clock to hand deliver goods shipped in by the airborne courier relief project.   





“We’ve got so many in the outlying area, that were either flooded or with no gas, no way to get to town. So, this scenario was perfect. This filled the gap before the big trucks started coming,” said Kim Trimm, a lifetime resident of LaBelle, who worked with pilots delivering goods to the airport and helped distribute the supplies around the city to neighborhoods hit the worst by the storm.

One volunteer pilot, Dylan Leoni, spoke of his drive to help deliver goods around the state.

“It is really sad to see everyone in all of the distress that Hurricane Irma left behind. There being people donating supplies is motivation enough to get them flown places. As long as supplies are coming through the door, me and all the other hundred-something pilots that are volunteering are going to be willing to keep flying until all the supplies are out.”  

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

Drone park construction nearly complete, creates research possibilities




BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Drones will soon fly freely at Virginia Tech without government restrictions.

It will happen inside an enclosed Drone Park that's nearly finished on campus.

Crews worked Tuesday putting up nets. The 80 foot tall cage allows students and researchers to fly drones outside in a controlled environment without the constraints of the FAA.

It eliminates red tape researchers have to cross when experimenting with drones outdoors.

"This allows our Virginia Tech students to have the opportunity to go right out the back door of a classroom, right down the street and test out a brand new prototype, some kind of new algorithm, or other software or technology, without having to worry about approvals and also in a very safe environment," said Mark Blanks, the director of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.

The one million dollar project is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S.

Story and video ➤ http://www.wdbj7.com

Chippewa Valley Regional Airport (KEAU) gets large grant from Department of Transportation



EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local airport is being awarded a hefty grant to help with multiple projects.

Rep. Ron Kind says the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport will receive more than $570,000 from the Department of Transportation, to help make needed improvements.

The airport director says the grant money will go towards helping improve runways and purchasing new equipment.

“A large part of the grant is for design for partial runway reconstruction to our crosswind runway, Runway 1432, we are hoping to get actual funding for construction on that project in 2018-2019.” said Airport Director, Charity Zich.

The airport director says the grant will also help purchase aircraft rescue fire-fighting equipment and snow removal equipment.  She says those items will be bought within the next six months.

Story, video and comments ➤ http://www.weau.com

Cherry Capital Airport (KTVC) Director Honored With State Award



Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport Director Kevin Klein is Michigan’s airport manager of the year.

The award is from the Michigan Association of Airport Executives.

He’s been with Cherry Capital Airport since 2002 and became director in 2011.

Under his leadership the airport has grown, and is working on projects like a new runway and the new Costco on airport property.

Klein says this award is a reflection of everyone’s hard work.

“I was very humbled. It’s a great honor to be recognized by your peers in the industry, but it’s something that really reminds me that it’s about all the people here at Cherry Capital Airport that make it work.”

The runway they’re extending will re-open to flights in October and they’ll be putting finishing touches on it until March.

Story and video ➤ http://www.9and10news.com

East Hampton Poised For New Noise Restriction Attempt



After East Hampton Town’s attempt to regulate aircraft that can enter its municipal-owned airport failed to be upheld in court last year, the town is now left with just one more option to try to curb noisy air traffic.

It’s an option that has only been tried seven times since it became available in 1990, and it has only been successful once.

Four airport owners have abandoned this option after deeming it too costly and time consuming, while two attempts have failed — one after 9 years and $3 million were spent, and another where 10 years and $7 million were spent by airport operators.

But the Federal Aviation Administration told East Hampton representatives in a meeting this summer that their airport may be one of the few that is in a good position to get an approved Part 161 Study under the 1990 Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA), which will allow them to set very specific regulations to control noisy aircraft, says East Hampton Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the town board’s liaison to the airport.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez and the town’s aviation attorneys and consultants held a day-long session of meetings with airport stakeholders and the press on Monday, Sept. 18, in advance of a presentation of the town’s ANCA options at the town board’s Sept. 19 work session.

“HTO is in a unique circumstance, where you don’t have large commercial carriers,” said Bill O’Connor of the town’s aviation counsel, Morrison Foerster, referring to the airport’s code letters. He added that the town also has data and studies from the time before, during and after its restrictions were in place last year before being shot down by a federal appeals court because they were not enacted through the formal ANCA process.

Mr. O’Connor added that a federal judge “had deemed the curfews reasonable,” and the appeals court decision hadn’t refuted that position, it had stated instead that the town did not follow the correct process to enact those restrictions.

The two airports that were denied ANCA noise restrictions were Los Angeles International Airport and Hollywood Burbank Airport, both of which are significantly larger than East Hampton’s airport.

“The FAA pointed out that we’re smaller than LAX and Burbank,” said Ms. Burke-Gonzalez.

The one successful application, made by the Naples Municipal Airport in Naples, Fla., was a ban on Stage 2 aircraft weighing less than 75,000 pounds. The FAA later ruled that the restriction violated federal grant assurances, leading to lengthy litigation, according to Mr. O’Connor’s presentation.

Mr. O’Connor explained that, for the purposes of ANCA, aircraft are divided into stages based on how loud they are, with Stage 1 being the loudest aircraft. All jets must now meet noise standards of Stage 3 and 4 aircraft, while most helicopters are Stage 2, with Stage 3 helicopters now being certified as of 2014. Helicopter companies can make modification to their helicopters so they can be re-certified at a higher stage rating.

He said 42.1 percent of helicopter flights using the East Hampton Airport are Stage 2 helicopters, while 56.8 percent are Stage 3. Since aircraft can later be re-certified at a higher stage rating, he recommended the town look into creating restrictions for both Stage 2 and 3 helicopters.

The Part 161 Study, which Mr. O’Connor said the town could complete by late 2018, requires that six conditions be met, including that the restrictions be reasonable and nondiscriminatory, that they not cause an unreasonable burden on interstate or foreign commerce, that they not conflict with U.S. law, that adequate time is provided for public comment, and that they do not place an unreasonable burden on the national aviation system.

As far as what type of restrictions the town might try to impose, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said “We’re not there yet” but she expects the process of creating them will be a transparent one.

“All stakeholders will have a seat at the table,” she said. “We’re going to take out a clean sheet of paper.”

“All reasonable options are on the table,” added Mr. O’Connor. “We talked to a lot of people today and we heard a lot of good ideas.”




If the town were to decide this month to go forward with the restrictions, he said, a consultant would likely be selected by December of this year, followed by creation of the restrictions by March of 2018, with the study complete by August 2018. Afterward, the town would be required to allow 45 days for public comment before revising their application and submitting it to the FAA in November of 2018. Once the FAA deems the application complete, a process that can be time-consuming in and of itself, it has up to 180 days to decide whether to approve the restrictions.

The whole process, without any resubmissions due to an incomplete application, would cost $1.5 to $2 million, and would take two to three years, said Mr. O’Connor

“That would increase with each round of comments and revisions,” he said. “It’s a fairly aggressive schedule, but we think it’s doable.”

Mary Ellen Eagan of consultant HMMH also provided the press with an update on noise complaints due to operations at the airport through July of this year.

The town’s noise complaint data was complicated in mid-2016 by the introduction of a new online noise reporting system, AirNoiseReport, put together by aviation noise activists based in Queens. Members of the public have taken to this reporting system, which is easier to navigate that the town’s PlaneNoise complaint system, but it does lead to some discrepancies in the data.

“Noise complaints increased by 63 percent relative to 2016,” over the first seven months of 2017, she said, with a 99 percent increase in complaints in the month of July.

Helicopters account for 60 percent of those complaints, up 5 percent from 2016, while complaints about planes (excluding seaplanes) dropped 5 percent to 25 percent.

Ms. Eagan added that the number of unique households reporting complaints appears to be declining, but that data has been difficult to synthesize because AirNoiseReport does not collect complainant’s location data when using their mapping tool.

Story and comments ➤ http://www.eastendbeacon.com

Touch Screens in Cockpits Would Improve Airliner Safety, Research Shows: Four-year study focused on helping reduce pilot workload, devising eye-tracking technology to identify pilot mistakes



The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor 
Sept. 19, 2017 4:49 p.m. ET


Cockpits featuring touch-screen controls, historically considered unreliable in severe turbulence, offer some of the most promising safety enhancements for future airliners, according to new European research.

The findings, portions of which are to be made public Wednesday at an international avionics conference in St. Petersburg, Fla., are the culmination of a four-year study intended to help reduce pilot workload and devise eye-tracking technology to identify pilot mistakes. Dutch government researchers, engineers from French equipment maker Thales SA and a host of other international experts also are developing cutting-edge systems able to alert pilots if they become distracted, sleepy or stray from normal procedures.

Without such advances, “the crew is no longer able to manage all the information” today’s jetliners spew out, Eric Parelon, a senior Thales manager, told an international safety conference in Brussels earlier this year. To further improve safety and enhance pilot decision making, he said, various touch-screen variants are essential because “information has to be provided in a completely different way” than in the past.

Pilots from more than 60 carriers participated in extensive simulator sessions run by the Netherlands Aerospace Centre depicting airborne emergencies, unexpected changes in runway assignments and other stressful situations. Sometimes with only one or two swipes of cockpit displays, pilots were able to respond—even setting up complex instrument approaches for entirely new destinations—while maintaining situational awareness and reducing workload, according to Wilfred Rouwhorst, a senior Dutch researcher.

In addition to speed and altitude during descent, the application automatically factors in runway and weather conditions.

As an additional safeguard, the Dutch organization emphasizes that “both pilots can also supervise each via their own screen” to ensure the autopilot is correctly engaged.

Under the auspices of the European Union, teams of technical experts also investigated technologies intended to track where an aviator’s eyes are focused, or even analyze facial expressions, to determine if flight crews are complying with mandatory flight plans and safety rules. In extreme cases, an emergency mode can take over control from crews unable to swiftly react for some reason, including incapacitation.

Detailed reports about the overall results aren’t yet public, and innovative touch-screen designs and software aimed at enhancing routine operations aren’t expected to be standard on airline flight decks for at least a decade.

But the simulation sessions, Mr. Rouwhorst said in an interview, showed “pilots really would love to have (them) onboard today, especially the younger generation” most comfortable with touch screens on cellphones, other personal electronic devices and increasingly, embedded in car dashboards.

Hundreds of millions of airline passengers already use touch-screen commands for cabin entertainment systems. Many military pilots rely extensively on the same type of cockpit interfaces, while makers of commercial and business aircraft are expanding uses steadily.

Last year, Boeing Co. and avionics supplier Rockwell Collins Inc. announced that the Chicago plane maker’s next-generation 777 model would be the first passenger jet to include touch screens on flight-control displays. Boeing said that after testing prototypes in simulators and actual aircraft, the user-friendly systems performed “as well as or better than current devices” for pilot interactions with displays.

Typically, airliners still use various rotary knobs, touchpads, or buttons to control functions on display screens or flight-management computers.

Rockwell officials have said that to prevent inadvertent commands, they designed the touch screens to require firm pressure. There is a bezel, or lip protruding from the frame, to help pilots brace their hands during vibration or airborne turbulence, and two aviators can manipulate the screens at the same time.

European research further supports the argument that by leveraging the latest ergonomic designs, pilots are now better able to steady their fingers to operate touch screens despite rough air. Manufacturers usually provide rollerballs as a fallback.

In Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft, electronic flight bags used by pilots have touch screens. Before transitioning the technology to main cockpit displays, Boeing and Rockwell also had to work on strict anti-reflectivity standards to ensure pilots can read the displays under various lighting conditions.

Honeywell International Inc., which for many years opposed touch-screen technology as risky in severe weather, now has provided them for some business jets and anticipates rapid spread through airlines world-wide. Longer term, Thales, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins are all working on voice-recognition features to interact with cockpit systems.

Mr. Rouwhorst, however, acknowledged that “wear and tear and maintenance issues” stemming from touch screens still need to be addressed.

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

Piper PA-31-325 Navajo C/R, N59848, GV Air Inc: Incident occurred September 19, 2017 at Yeager Airport (KCRW), Charleston, West Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charleston, West Virginia

 Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed.

GV Air Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N59848

Date: 19-SEP-17
Time: 19:55:00Z
Regis#: N59848
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA31
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: CHARLESTON
State: WEST VIRGINIA




CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A private plane had to make an emergency landing at Charleston’s Yeager Airport after experiencing mechanical problems with its nose gear.

A Piper PA-31-325 Navajo aircraft landed on its nose just before 4 p.m. Thursday after circling the airport for over an hour.

All three people on board were able to exit the aircraft safely. No one was hurt.

“They’re a little nervous, but they’re glad to be off and safe and away from the aircraft at this time,” said Yeager Airport Director Terry Sayre. “I think this was the best outcome we could’ve had here today.”

The plane was removed from the runway just after 5 p.m. There was no significant damage to the plane. The runway was closed for less than an hour after landing. Only one commercial flight was diverted during that time.

The mechanical problem was first reported to Yeager’s Emergency Response Center at 2 p.m. Officials said the nose gear was at a 30 degree angle before landing.

Airport officials said the plane was flying from Frederick, Maryland to do aerial surveying in West Virginia. The aircraft is based out of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Sayre commended the pilot during a press conference moments after the successful landing.

“I thought that pilot did an excellent job at the pace he came in, the way he slowed it down and how he kept it back off the nose gear. I thought he did a really great job,” he said.

The airport was more prepared this time following a fatal cargo plane crash in May, Sayre said.

“We have contractors on standby now with bulldozers in case there’s an aircraft that runs off the runway over the hill. The woods are pretty think here we learned last time,” he said. “We changed our emergency plan and we prepared for that this time.”

Sayre said the plane only used about 2,000 feet of runway out of Yeager’s 6,800 foot runway.

The three people on board were taken to the Executive Air terminal. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to interview the pilot about the incident.

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



After burning off excess fuel for two hours to reduce risk of a possible fire, the pilot of a twin-engine aircraft with malfunctioning nose landing gear and two passengers on board made a safe emergency landing at Charleston’s Yeager Airport on Tuesday as fire trucks, ambulances and other emergency vehicles lined the runway.

Ten minutes before the landing, the Piper PA-31-325 Navajo flew past Yeager’s control tower to allow Federal Aviation Administration personnel to verify if the nose gear failed to deploy, as instruments aboard the aircraft indicated. After receiving word that the gear was only about 30 percent down, the pilot circled the airport a final time and began a landing approach. At about 4 p.m., the aircraft’s rear gear touched down and the aircraft traveled on an even plane down the runway for several hundred yards before decelerating enough to cause the nose gear to contact the runway. A moment later, the plane nosed down and the aircraft pitched forward and came to an abrupt but safe upright stop after using less than one third of Yeager’s runway.


Within a few seconds, an aircraft door opened and two young men in T-shirts and shorts exited the plane and jogged to a nearby fire truck parked along the runway. The man apparently piloting the plane joined them a few seconds later. No injuries were reported.


“I was told the people on board were a little nervous, but glad to be safely off the aircraft,” Terry Sayre, Yeager’s executive director, said a few minutes after the emergency landing.


The identities of the pilot and passengers weren’t immediately known. According to its tail numbers, the aircraft was registered to GV Air Inc in Jersey City, New Jersey, Sayre said.


The pilot was expected to be interviewed by an FAA investigator, who was on the scene at the time of the landing.


Yeager officials said the aircraft was in the process of returning to Frederick, Maryland, its point of departure, after completing an aerial survey job over West Virginia when its instruments indicated a problem with the nose gear.


After the landing, Yeager’s runway remained closed for about 55 minutes while the aircraft was towed from the site and the pavement was swept for debris. One commercial flight had to be diverted before the runway was declared open by FAA officials.


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





CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The runways at Yeager Airport have reopened after a private plane made an emergency landing earlier Tuesday afternoon, the airport reports.

The Piper PA-31-325 Navajo aircraft was experiencing mechanical issues with its nose landing gear, but the pilot managed to touch down safely around 4 p.m.

All three people on the plane managed to escape safely. There was no fire.

According to an airport release, the plane was en route to Frederick, Maryland, where the flight had originated earlier. The team had completed an aerial surveying job in West Virginia.

The runway was closed about 55 minutes as the runway was cleared. One commercial flight was diverted.

Yeager Airport Director Terry Sayre said the pilot made the best of a difficult situation.

"I thought the pilot did an excellent job at the pace he came in and the way he slowed it down and how he kept it back off the nose gear," Sayre said. "I thought he did a really, really great job."




CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A private plane landed safely Tuesday afternoon at Yeager Airport, despite an unconventional touch down that caused the aircraft to pitch forward onto its nose.

All three occupants escaped without injury just before 4 p.m.

About 2 p.m. Tuesday, Yeager Airport's Emergency Response Center was notified that a Piper PA Twin Engine Aircraft was experiencing mechanical difficulties with its nose landing gear.

Several emergency vehicles awaited the plane, which had taken off from Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Piper PA-31-325 Navajo aircraft circled the airport repeatedly to burn off fuel before it touched down.

Yeager Airport reports the plane landed with the gear at a 30-degree angle. It did not flip over after touch down.

Runways at the airport will be closed for an undetermined amount of time, according to the airport. Firefighters remained nearby the aircraft until it was no longer considered to be flammable.

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

Darwin Simpson retiring from Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (KSPA)



Darwin Simpson’s fascination with aircraft began as a child, fashioning model planes out of small sticks.

Simpson, now 74, has been flying airplanes for 53 years, including the one he keeps in a hangar at the Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport.

Nearly nine years ago, the retired U.S. Army general and former chemical company executive was approached about serving as the airport’s director.

His answer was simple – yes, because there wasn’t anyone else willing to improve it.

“I knew a lot about flying, and I knew a lot about government bureaucracy from my experience in the military, but I had really never run an airport,” he said. “I was sent to the airport to fix it.”

Simpson agreed to lead the airport for $1 annually in 2009.

At the end of this month, Simpson will retire from the post where he has worked tirelessly on projects to grow the airport as an economic asset in the city of Spartanburg.

Opened in 1927, the downtown airport was the first airport in South Carolina. Today, nearly 90 percent of airport operations relate to business, with about 10 percent relating to recreational flying, Simpson said.

As a general aviation airport, the downtown site caters to corporate jets, emergency medical transports, organ transplant program flights and cargo and military aircraft. The airport also assists with traffic watch, law enforcement operations, search-and-rescue missions and wildlife and forestry monitoring.

“I cannot emphasize enough how big of an economic machine that this airport is,” Simpson said.

When Simpson took on the role of airport director, there hadn’t been much investment or improvement of the site for about 50 years, he said.

Knowing it would be hard to find another location for a downtown airport and a large task to build the infrastructure from scratch, Simpson set his eyes on projects that would breathe new life into the facility. To date, he’s taken on around 80 projects there.

The largest airport project to date is the runway expansion that launched in March 2016. That project also includes resurfacing the existing runway and upgrading airport navigational and lighting systems.

Simpson said he was able to secure around $35 million from the Federal Aviation Administration for the project.

“It’s been more than 35 years since that runway was resurfaced. Landing here, the runway is pretty rough and has a lot of bumps in it,” he said. “When the runway extension and resurfacing is complete, we will have one of the finest general aviation runways of any airport in the country.”

Other highlights during his tenure as director include renovating the airport terminal building.

Without a single cent to fund the building’s renovations, Simpson said he worked closely with city leaders to secure money for the improvements, which totaled around $5 million and were finished in late 2011.

But Simpson isn’t one to take all the credit.

“There were a lot of community leaders, a lot of people at the city, consultant firms, architects and a host of people and organizations that really helped in the resurrection of the airport,” he said. “The city has a lot of skin in the game as far as supporting the airport.”

Spartanburg City Manager Ed Memmott said during Simpson’s time as airport director, he has selflessly served the community and set a public asset with unrealized potential on a steady course of improvement.

“The Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport has been transformed into one of Spartanburg’s key economic development engines under his leadership,” Memmott said. “The expanded runway and safety zones now under construction will serve larger aircraft and will significantly broaden the airport’s impact.”

Spartanburg Mayor Junie White called Simpson a tremendous leader and someone the city will miss working at the airport.

“Darwin has been a real push down at the airport and made a lot of things happen. He took charge and he’s done a terrific job,” White said. “You hate to see people like him retire; he’s served this community well.”

Looking ahead, Simpson said the biggest obstacle the airport faces is having enough space to store aircraft.

There are more than 40 people on the waiting list for a T-hangar (a hangar for smaller aircraft), and there’s a demand for community hangars to accommodate larger aircraft, he said.

“There are all these people that want to bring their aircraft to Spartanburg and base them here, but we don’t have any hangars here to put them in,” Simpson said. “If that little piece of the puzzle is completed, then the economic impact for the city and county is really going to be tremendous.”

Simpson said it’s been an interesting journey as airport director and that he’s ready to hand over the reins to a new leader.

“Management, after a while, no matter how good you are, you often get stale or locked in to certain ways, and I think it’s healthy to keep bringing in new blood,” he said. “New people and younger people have ideas and are usually pretty productive.”

As for Simpson’s retirement plans, he’ll be working on his golf game and still be a familiar face at the downtown airport when he wants to hop in his plane and go for a flight. He also said he intends to stay active in other community projects.

“Darwin Simpson is a public servant in a true sense of the word. He’s served our city well for several years,” said Spartanburg City Councilman Sterling Anderson, who is a close friend of Simpson’s and who represents the district where the airport is located. “He’s laid the foundation for the future of Spartanburg. His influence and wisdom are unmatched and unparalleled by anyone, and we’re so grateful for his service to the city.”

Story and photo gallery ➤ http://www.goupstate.com

Plattsburgh, Clinton County, New York: Gets more airport money

PLATTSBURGH — Nearly $1 million in federal money has been earmarked for improvements at Plattsburgh International Airport.

The money comes from the Federal Aviation Administration's Airport Improvement Program.

The airport will get $898,329 to renovate the 12,600-square-foot aircraft rescue and firefighting building on Arkansas Road, near the former air traffic control tower.

"Primarily, we will be doing the roof, windows and some work on the exterior of the building," Clinton County Deputy Administrator Rodney Brown said.

INVESTMENT

The Plattsburgh International Airport allocation was part of a $1.7 million pool of funding for Upstate airports.

"Making sure our airports are clear for takeoff is essential for the safety of air travelers and the smooth functioning of the local economy," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement.

He said the money will be used to modernize airports and support New York state’s infrastructure.

"Enabling these critical projects paves the way for local economies and communities in Upstate New York," he said, adding that he will keep trying to bring "meaningful investment" in airports, which will "enhance overall quality and safety for passengers, pilots, and communities."

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand joined Schumer in announcing the funds.

"Investing in our airport infrastructure enables safer, more efficient service for businesses and travelers," she said.

"These funds are a major investment that will provide several airports across Upstate New York with the resources to renovate and upgrade their facilities."

TRUST FUND

The Airport Improvement Program provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems.

The money is drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes and similar revenue sources.

STATE GRANT

Plattsburgh International Airport, which opened on the flight line of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base in the summer of 2007, recently completed a $54 million upgrade of its terminal building.

The county also was awarded $38 million from New York state for other upgrades and renovations on the airport property.

This latest round of federal money is in addition to the state grant.

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

Just plane fun at Splash In

Along with other pilots from across California and neighboring states, Duart Slattery, from San Diego, took his seaplane for a cruise around Clear Lake on Saturday afternoon.



LAKEPORT >> When pilot Allen Low of San Francisco flew to Lakeport last weekend, instead of landing at the airport, he aimed his aircraft at Clear Lake and the plane hit the water belly-first.

But Low’s landing was anything but an emergency.

Instead of sinking or floating when the craft hit the water, the engine continued to roar and the plane slowly headed toward the shore where it taxied up a wooden ramp onto a dirt field and parked.

“I’m here to meet the local people and to have fun,” Low announced after exiting his aircraft during Lake County’s annual seaplane festival Saturday in Lakeport.

The event featured food, beverages and vendor booths along with seaplanes on display on the field, some with their pilots present and eager to discuss their aircraft.

The festival was the centerpiece of the 38th annual Sea Plane Splash In, Clear Lake, last Thursday through Sunday at Natural High Field on the shoreline near 7th and Main streets.

Low flew to Clear Lake in his Seawind seaplane that was built from a kit by someone else, making the trip in about a half-hour. The pilot flew to the Splash In during a break from his day job as a Boeing 747 flight captain for “one of the big airlines.”

Needless to say, Low loves to fly, both airplanes and seaplanes but he seems partial to the latter. “Seaplanes can go a lot more places, on lakes and land,” he said.

Many pilots saw the Lakeport location as a big advantage since they could land on the lake and taxi up a ramp directly onto Natural High Field where they parked.

“It would be nice if they kept the (seaplane) ramp and parking area here permanently,” Low said.

Seaplane co-pilot Steve Hanke of Phoenix agreed. “I think they could make this into a spectacular permanent venue for seaplanes,” he said.

The festival brought in spectators from in and out of the county, including Pamela Harpster and her two grandchildren, Jacob, 3, and Amelia, 5, of Lakeport.

“I’ve been here 23 years and I love this event,” Harpster said. “It’s one of the coolest things we do in Lakeport. We’re totally excited. We were here last night for the fly-in. It was very cool.”

But enough from the adults. What did the kids think of the Splash In?

“I like airplanes a lot,” three-year-old Jacob said. He added that he thought it was “pretty cool” to see the planes land on the water.

Not that Jacob is easily influenced by his surroundings, but when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he replied, “A pilot.”

However, Jacob may have another career in the back of his mind. He pointed to a nearby red and white seaplane and said it was the one he most wanted to fly in.

Why?

“Because it looks like a fire truck,” he said.

Pilot Tod Dickey of Phoenix splash-landed his 1943 Grumman Widgeon, that has a red and white 1940s paint scheme, on the lake before parking in the field.

“I’ve been here every year since about 2005,” he said Saturday. “Coming here is like a pilgrimage for me.”

Dickey described Lakeport as “unique” and called the local citizens “so welcoming.”

He added, “Lakeport is one of the few places where you can land on the water and be a few feet from the parking field.”

Grant Wells, 15, of Napa, was about to go on an unexpected seaplane ride Saturday afternoon but stopped to answer a couple of questions.

There had been a raffle at the festival for a free ride on a seaplane. A Hayward woman won the raffle and gave the ticket to Wells, a Sea Scout volunteer at the event. He had assisted her earlier in the day.

“I’ve never been up in a seaplane before,” he said. “I feel really happy.”

Justina Lindquist of Berkeley was at the festival with her husband and three children, ages four, seven and nine. She heard about the Splash In online.

“We have a place on the lower part of the lake,” she said. “So, we brought our boat up here, parked in the public dock and now here we are. We thought it would be cool to check out the planes.”

She added, “The planes are awesome. It’s nice to see them up close.”

It was the first time at the Splash In for co-pilot Hanke who said he has been flying since 1980. He said of the event, “I love it. I love that the venue here is within walking distance of our hotel and several restaurants. I can’t wait to come back next year.”

When asked about his impression of Lakeport, he replied, “It’s a very walking-friendly town.”

The festival opened in the morning with a pancake breakfast put on by the local Kiwanis Club and ended Saturday night with a barbecue, awards ceremony and raffle for pilots and guests at the nearby Skylark Shores Resort.

Among the many songs played over the loudspeaker at the festival Saturday afternoon, one seemed most appropriate on such a clear, calm and beautiful day: Electric Light Orchestra’s, “Mr. Blue Sky.”

The Splash In concluded Sunday.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.record-bee.com

Loaded handgun found in passenger's bag at John Glenn Columbus International Airport (KCMH)



COLUMBUS, Ohio — A passenger was stopped from getting a loaded handgun onto a plane when a TSA agent spotted it in his bag at a security checkpoint.

The TSA says the man was going through the checkpoint just before 5:00 a.m. Monday when an officer noticed what looked like a gun on the X-Ray. He immediately contacted the Columbus Regional Airport Authority Police Department.

During a search, officers say they found a loaded 9mm handgun.

Authorities haven't named the passenger, or said if he'll face any charges. The TSA says so far in 2017, officers have found 10 firearms at security checkpoints. They say they found 23 firearms in CMH in 2016.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://myfox28columbus.com