Thursday, September 21, 2017

Family receives free plane ride to Philadelphia to help sick son

UNIVERSITY CITY (WPVI) -- A family from Portland, Maine arrived in Philadelphia Thursday for medical treatment at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, thanks to a generous pilot.

Justin and Melissa Hagar are trying to help their one-year-old son Will.

He suffers from a rare, genetic disease - a form of Leukodystrophy that robs him of normal brain development.

The boy's 400-mile trip today was made a lot easier, thanks to the Patient Airlift Services charity.

A volunteer pilot gave the Hagars a free ride on a private plane to the North Philly Jet Center.

"To have this opportunity pop up with a plane ride that takes a fraction of the time and quite frankly, he got out of the plane smiling and happy as compared to being really upset, it's huge. It's huge," Justin said.

Mark Hanson was the pilot of today's flight.

He's been helping families like the Hagars for seven years.

Story, video and comments ➤

Clear Spring, Washington County, Maryland

CLEAR SPRING — Authorities have called off the search for a possible downed plane in a mountainous area north of Clear Spring after finding nothing, according to a Washington County 911 supervisor.

Searchers thought they might have found something related to a plane in the area of Mercersburg Road, but discovered only hunters, the supervisor said.

The search was ended at 8:49 p.m., the supervisor said.

Search crews fanned out in the 13000 block of Mercersburg Road after a resident reported they thought they saw a plane go down, according to the supervisor.

Authorities were not able to learn of any planes that had been missing in the area.

The call of the possible crash was reported at 7:10 p.m., the supervisor said.

Members of the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Department were part of the search, with crews using off-road vehicles and other equipment. A Maryland State Police Helicopter also was involved.

Original article  ➤

Post letter: F-35s

As a retired pilot who spent more than 30 years and accumulated approximately 20,000 hours of flying time — converting jet fuel into noise — the passionate discussion about basing the F-35 fighter aircraft at Gowen Field has been interesting and fascinating to me.

The F-35 is an amazing feat of technology. I am confident that nobody would fly the F-35 better than the pilots in the Idaho Air National Guard. Nobody would obtain higher operational readiness statistics than the Idaho ANG. They are an amazing group of people.

But, I think the question at hand is much bigger than how much noise it makes. The question is: Is this the best airplane for the job? Any job? The F-35 can do amazing things. But are the things it can do necessary and of vital importance to our overall military mission in today’s and tomorrow’s world? I think not.

What our military, specifically our ground troops, need and deserve is a modernized design of the A-10.

The F-35 is a science project run amok. Keep the A-10 and let that design evolve. Our ground troops will thank us.

John Post, Boise

Original article can be found here ➤

Possible drone spotted over Savannah River Site

An unapproved, Unmanned Aerial System, also known as a drone, was reported Wednesday over the Savannah River Site for the first time in nearly 14 months.

For several months last summer, drone sightings occurred over nearly all areas on the Department of Energy owned defense nuclear facility, including the retired K Reactor building.

An investigation was launched, including an FBI interview of SRS Watch Director Tom Clements. There were 12 reported drone cases in 2016, at least eight of which were confirmed in presentations by DOE staff to the SRS Citizens Advisory Board.

After each report, a security advisory is delivered to all personnel on site, including an announcement over a loudspeaker system. Since the first sighting in 2016, no suspects have been found and no equipment has been recovered.

In a statement released by a DOE spokesperson, the organization cited safety as its chief concern.

“The safety and security of the Savannah River Site is a top priority. We take all possible UAS sightings seriously and thoroughly investigate each report,” he said in an email.

According to Federal Regulations, UAS operation in national airspace, like that above the nuclear site, must not create a hazard to the public and must not threaten national security. According to the last presentation given to the CAB regarding drones, the DOE and FAA are working together to regulate UAS operations over sensitive facilities.

The K Reactor building is home to more than 10 tons of weapons usable plutonium. Some of that is earmarked for the beleaguered MOX facility and another portion of that is being sent to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico, through a dilute and dispose method of processing.

The DOE has not said whether they have evidence needed to confirm the sighting.

“When the details of the incident are deemed suspicious, threatening or in violation of any laws we coordinate with the appropriate federal, state and local authorities,” the spokesperson said. “The last confirmed UAS sighting was July 22, 2016.”

Original article can be found here ➤

Cessna R182 Skylane, N4894T, Bar Aviation LLC: Incident occurred September 20, 2017 at Pryor Field Regional Airport (KDCU), Decatur, Alabama

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama

Aircraft landed gear up.

Bar Aviation LLC:

Date: 20-SEP-17
Time: 15:20:00Z
Regis#: N4894T
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 182
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

Plane crash mystery; Wasilla man searches for answers

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Kevin Tubbs of Wasilla and his buddies have gone fishing in the same spot of the Chuit River, 11 miles outside of Tyonek, for almost 30 years.

About 10 years ago, they started spotting small pieces of metal in the river. "This year, we started finding much larger pieces" Tubbs said."Obviously polished rivets and aluminum manufacture, and so that made us wonder what is it we found."

Tubbs and his friends suspected they had found wreckage from a plane crash, but he couldn't find any record of one in that area. "So, we thought it's a real mystery. We found an airplane that nobody had put a dot on the map for."

Tubbs was determined to solve that mystery, because if it was the wreckage of a plane that had vanished and never been found, he wanted to bring peace to the pilot's family.

"Closure is important to a family, and when you find an airplane that has no record of loss, that could help somebody find out 'whatever happened to uncle Don', you know?"

Tubbs recently turned to the Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for help. He says Master Sgt. Gailanne Paculba dug through old records, and found a report of a crash of an F-89 fighter jet, back in 1955, a few miles from where Tubbs and his friends fish.

Tubbs searched the internet and found the story of an F-89 pilot who ejected from his plane. "He wrote that he landed in Cook Inlet, so he must have landed in the water and the airplane continued on" Tubbs said. "We're not sure what happened, but (the plane) continued on for about 14 miles upstream, to near the place where we go fishing every year and crashed, and that was in 1955."

Officials at JBER say while they are not disputing Tubbs conclusions, they can't say for sure if the metal Tubbs and his friends found actually came from that military plane.

"Our office did go out to the Heritage Airpark on base to take a look at a static aircraft (F-89) on a stand and visually, there are similar panels" wrote TSGT Joshua Jasper in an email, "but we cannot say with any degree of certainty that what this gentleman has found is indeed parts of that aircraft that crashed in 1955."

Jasper also said there are records of two non-military plane crashes in the same general area.

JBER officials say they are appreciative of Tubbs' efforts to solve the mystery, and they are willing to help if more information becomes available.

Kevin Tubbs says "if it's not (the F-89), the mystery continues...but I think it's a pretty good chance."

Original article can be found here ➤

Piper PA-11, N4741M: Accident occurred September 13, 2017 in Petersville, Alaska

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA544
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in Petersville, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA 11, registration: N4741M

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Aircraft nosed over while attempting an off airport landing.

Date: 13-SEP-17
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N4741M
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA11
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

Springfield-Branson National Airport (KSGF), Greene County, Missouri: Private 'jet jam' from Wonders of Wildlife dignitaries, celebrities

A record number of private planes flew into the Springfield-Branson National Airport Wednesday, according to airport spokesman Kent Boyd.

An influx of VIPs — including former U.S. presidents, movie stars, music stars and NASCAR drivers — visiting Springfield for Wonders of Wildlife's grand opening caused a "jet jam," Boyd said.

Boyd shared photos of lines of private jets, as well as Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush walking across the tarmac, to the airport's Facebook page.

"To say we ran out of parking spaces is an understatement. The general aviation ramp was full. The cargo ramp was full. Flight school ramp full. The customs ramp? Full. The general aviation staff parked them tight — sometimes wingtip to wingtip," Boyd wrote on social media.

On a typical day, staff working in general aviation — where privately owned planes are parked and serviced — may be responsible for 15 private jets, Boyd said. Four or five may stay overnight.

On the night of the Wonders of Wildlife gala, that number jumped to 63 planes, according to Boyd.

That number doesn't include "drop and goes," Boyd told the News-Leader, when planes dropped off individuals before taking off again.

At one point Wednesday afternoon, eight private jets landed in a span of 20 minutes, Boyd said.

A total of nine general aviation staffers were on duty Wednesday, Boyd told the News-Leader. Among other things, they're responsible for parking and servicing planes, shuttling passengers to the terminal and coordinating ground transportation for customers.

General aviation staff pumped 18,990 gallons of jet fuel in one day, Boyd said. On an average day, they pump about 4,000 gallons.

"A huge shout-out to our general aviation staff!" Boyd wrote.

Boyd said sometimes general aviation staff will take photos with celebrities who touch down in Springfield, but on Wednesday, they were too busy to do so.

Boyd said it was the busiest general aviation day in the airport's history.

The Wonders of Wildlife's star-studded gala guest list included former Presidents Carter and Bush, actors Mark Wahlberg and Kevin Costner, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, country music stars Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, John Anderson, Chris Janson, Tracy Byrd, Easton Corbin and Craig Morgan and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Story and photo gallery ➤

Cessna 210, N7330E: Accident occurred September 20, 2017 at Sacramento Executive Airport (KSAC), Sacramento County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA210
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 20, 2017 in Sacramento, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 210, registration: N7330E
Injuries: 2 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 September 20, 2017, at 1314 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 210F, N7330E, sustained substantial damage to the left horizontal stabilizer after the landing gear collapsed while landing at Sacramento Executive Airport, Sacramento, California. The private pilot and pilot rated passenger were not injured, the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot/owner under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. The local flight departed 1310. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot had recently purchased the airplane, and this was his first flight. His intention was to perform a flight in the traffic pattern and then a touch-and-go landing. He reported that the takeoff and flight were uneventful, and that the landing gear was extended during the downwind portion of the landing approach. The passenger stated that after the gear extended, he observed the green landing gear indicator illuminate, and both occupants reported visually confirming the gear had extended by viewing through the gear mirrors.

During the landing roll, the airplane began to veer to the left, and the passenger reached for the controls and attempted to apply right aileron and rudder inputs, however, the airplane then dropped onto its belly. Post-accident examination revealed that the main landing gear had partially collapsed into the wheel wells, and the nose gear remained extended.

North Little Rock Police Department implementing drones to combat crime

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- North Little Rock police have added a new tool to their arsenal to combat crime.

Drones are used for just about everything these days: from hunting, to package delivery, to disaster relief. No one can forget the powerful images of Houston after Harvey, or Key West after Irma. Now, they have another purpose, law enforcement. And NLRPD is ready to take the skies.

A handful of North Little Rock Police officers spent Thursday afternoon at Burns Park getting a feel for their new drones.

"This is the view from 246 feet altitude,” said one officer, as he showed THV11 the iPhone screen connected to the drone’s remote.

He was hovering the craft over a building nearly a mile away.

Considering North Little Rock just voted on a highly debated tax increase, THV11 asked Lt. Patrick Thessing where the department got the money for the three drones.

"These were all from drug seized money. This is not costing the tax payers a dime,” he answered. 

What will the drones, or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) , be used for?

"We want these to be useful. We want them to come in handy. We want them to help keep us safe, keep citizens safe, that's why we are here,” the officer explained, giving some examples.

Here’s a good one: say there’s a bad guy that has ran from police and now is hiding in a nook at the back of the park. From their vantage point out in the parking lot, police can't tell what he’s up to. Now, rather than sending in officers blind, they can send in a drone. That drone can determine whether or not he’s got hostages, weapons, or even explosives. The police department can develop their tactics from there.

Lt. Thessing provided another example: "We had a situation that happened out at Cooks Landing: an individual in a car, who may have had a hostage, may have had a weapon, we didn't know. We just got a call. That would have been a perfect instance to fly a UAV out there to be able to see in to the car without having to expose an officer to that unnecessary danger."

The few officers that will fly the drones had to go through the same FAA training that your average person would.

"We were actually required to get a commercial drone license with FAA, or a commercial UAV pilot's license. We had to go through the training, we had to take a test, that was a little bit difficult by the way, so yea, we are all certified,” he said.

A lot of people have had questions about privacy. Lt. Thessing said the public has nothing to worry about.

"These are not for general surveillance. These are very mission specific. We are not going to just go up and fly for no reason; look in people's back yards. That's way too man power intensive, and that's not our mission," he said.

Story and video ➤

Cessna 150E, N6250T: Accident occurred September 20, 2017 at Siler City Municipal Airport (KSCR), Chatham County, North Carolina

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA546
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 20, 2017 in Siler City, NC
Aircraft: CESSNA 150, registration: N6250T

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Aircraft stalled on takeoff and came down off the runway in grass. A prop strike was reported. The aircraft subsequently departed.

Date: 20-SEP-17
Time: 19:30:00Z
Regis#: N6250T
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 150
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)

Skywest / Delta Airlines, Canadair CRJ-200, N915EV: Incident occurred September 21, 2017 at Erie International Airport (KERI), Erie County, Pennsylvania

A Delta flight heading from Detroit to Rochester, New York, made an emergency landing Thursday at Erie International Airport.

The Canadair CRJ200, Flight 4906, landed smoothly around 11:15 a.m. without incident at the airport, 4411 W. 12th St., in Millcreek Township.

There were 34 passengers aboard with three crew members. The pilot of the Delta commuter jet operated by SkyWest told airport Police Chief Chris Karotko that he began burning fuel around 40 miles out from the Erie International Airport after an indicator light came on suggesting that one of the engine’s reverse thrusters had deployed.

Reverse thrusters, when activated, decelerate an aircraft by acting against its forward motion.

Fuel was burned to ensure a lighter, safer landing.

The problem was with a sensor, not one of the engines. The reverse thrusters had not deployed. Both engines remained on until the pilot could land the plane safely.

A mechanic was headed to the airport around noon to fix the sensor, Karotko said. All but a few passengers remained on the plane at the airport terminal. An airport official said the plane would resume its flight to Rochester once the problem was corrected.

“We dispatched ...West Lake, Lake Shore, West Ridge, MPS (Millcreek Paramedic Services), EmergyCare,” Karotko said. “We had everybody staged at different locations on the airport property. We did watch the plane land on runway 24, they landed safely, taxied and pulled up to the jet bridge. I spoke to the pilot and there was no issue they needed us for.”

A few passengers exited the plane to rent cars to complete their trips.

“It was nothing,” said passenger Jeremy Smith, 42, of Rochester, who was on a connecting flight home after a trip to Burlington, Vermont. “They just said there was a maintenance issue and landed the plane. That was it. Nothing to it. I think I did see a flight attendant do the sign of the cross. But it was so smooth.”

Airport Executive Director George Doughty said it is not uncommon for indicator lights to activate during flight, prompting pilots to land for precautionary reasons. However, it is the first time in at least a year it has happened to a commercial operator at Erie International Airport, Doughty said. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Beech C90A King Air, N8287E, EagleMed LLC: Incident occurred September 20, 2017 in Amarillo, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Aircraft reported a cracked windshield and smoke in the cockpit after a birdstrike.

EagleMed LLC:

Date: 21-SEP-17
Time: 08:28:00Z
Regis#: N8287E
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 90
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
State: TEXAS

United Nations Aviation Arm Seeks to Establish Global Drone Guidelines: Gathering highlights how agency is considering novel ways to establish oversight of the booming industry

The Wall Street Journal 
By Andy Pasztor
Sept. 21, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET

Prompted by the proliferation of drones, international aviation authorities on Friday will kick off a first-of-its-kind symposium soliciting industry ideas about potential global operating standards.

The two-day event in Montreal, sponsored by the aviation arm of the United Nations, isn’t likely to produce specific rules or even a consensus around general principles. It’s not intended to prompt any country to immediately adopt new regulations.

But the unusual gathering scheduled at the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization amounts to an explicit invitation to drone proponents to offer help and direction. It highlights how rapidly unmanned-aircraft technology is outpacing government controls in most countries, and that the U.N. agency is considering novel ways to establish oversight of the booming industry.

“We are not very well suited to deal with” such rapid growth, said Stephen Creamer, ICAO’s top safety official. The goal, he said in an interview, is “to identify the problem the industry thinks it has” with current regulatory schemes and provide a platform for suggested alternative approaches.

Participants are expected to include Inc., the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Boeing Co. , General Electric Co. , two leading industry trade associations and researchers from China and Brazil.

With the number of users skyrocketing everywhere, traditional regulators face tough safety questions even as they struggle with security and privacy issues they never before had to confront.

Most places around the globe, commercial drone manufacturers and operators are chafing at regulatory limits. In Europe, for instance, aviation experts say a huge chunk of its airspace is off-limits to drones because of terrorism and other security concerns. In Canada, a top aviation regulator recently urged citizens to immediately call police if they see remotely questionable drone activity.

And in the U.S., where commercial drones were basically banned from the skies until 2016, their numbers are projected to top 1 million within four years. Yet the Federal Aviation Administration is likely to maintain most current restrictions for a year or more, until it issues the next round of final regulations intended to authorize flights over populated areas or beyond sight of operators on the ground.

“These aircraft have taken the world by storm” with uses “evolving and expanding on an almost daily basis,” John Duncan, the head of the FAA’s flight standards service, told a U.S.-European safety conference in Brussels earlier this year.

Mr. Duncan said “we all figured out quickly it’s not a fad,” but warned the audience “we can’t afford to be cavalier with integration” of drones and manned aircraft because U.S. airspace is “neither a playground nor a proving ground” for such efforts.

At the same conference, Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, said overseeing drones is “extremely challenging for an organization such as” EASA, because it typically takes years to certify new equipment. Now, “fixes are coming in a matter of hours or weeks” from drone manufacturers, he said.

“It’s completely changing the relationship between stakeholders” and regulators, he added, noting that voluntary compliance with industry standards is the path to pursue. In general, Mr. Ky, who is Europe’s top air-safety regulator, said “we are not going to rely so much in Europe on rules anymore.”

Leaders of ICAO, which comprises 191 member states, seek to serve as catalysts to help simplify and accelerate industry-government cooperation world-wide. Waiting years for individual countries to adopt mandatory rules and then trying to harmonize them into common guidelines spanning so many borders would take too long, Mr. Creamer said last week.

Instead, he indicated ICAO increasingly is leaning toward promoting largely voluntary, industry-crafted standards that would prevail across the globe. Already, a consensus is emerging that a separate air-traffic control network proposed for the U.S. to handle drone traffic at low altitudes will be a private entity.

ICAO, for its part, is considering setting up a centralized information-sharing system for drone registrations. At least that would ensure a way for national authorities to query multiple foreign databases to identify drones spotted over their territories.

Mr. Creamer sees this week’s discussions as the start of a much longer debate. With security officials intent on protecting sensitive sites and airport operators intent on keeping drones out of approach and departure zones, he said “public safety in the age of terrorism is causing concern” world-wide.

As a result, Mr. Creamer said, “the default response in many countries is a blanket ban on flying,” which further frustrates both recreational and commercial users.

Original article can be found here ➤

Cessna T210L, N22650, Pro Air Inc: Accident occurred September 20, 2017 at St. George Regional Airport (KSGU), Washington County, Utah

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

Pro Air Inc:

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA543
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 20, 2017 in St George, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA T210, registration: N22650

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.