Saturday, November 11, 2017

Major General Marion Carl exhibit features restored plane he flew as student

EUGENE, Ore. -- He was the Marine Corps' first "ace" in World War II, was a decorated test pilot and was a proud resident of Douglas County for many years.

The man was Major General Marion Carl.

Directors of the Oregon Air and Space Museum hosted a three-day exhibit and tribute to the famed aviator that ended Saturday.

Marion Carl's Marine Corps career spanned 34 years - from WWII through the Korean and Vietnam wars.

“He became an ace, shot down 18 enemy aircraft, and after WWII he was a test pilot, he and Chuck Yeager,” said Oregon Air and Space Museum President Bruce Lamont. “I think he set the speed record first, then Yeager bested him.”

Lamont says the centerpiece of the exhibit is the fully restored small plane that General Carl first flew as a student at Oregon State College.

It's a 1937 Taylor J-2 Cub on loan to the museum from the Marion Carl Foundation in Douglas County.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

Missouri high court remands dispute between aviation supplier and distributor for new trial

en banc 

Opinion issued October 31, 2017:

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court has issued a mixed ruling in a contractual dispute between a manufacturer of aircraft instruments and a company that distributed its products. 

In a unanimous ruling issued Oct. 31, the full court reversed in part and remanded for a new trial on damages a case before Jackson County Circuit Judge James F. Kanatzar involving Sun Aviation's claims against L-3 Communications Avionics Systems.

Sun Aviation brought a four-count suit claiming L-3 violated the Franchise Act by failing to provide timely, written notice of termination; violated the Industrial Maintenance and Construction Power Equipment Act (IMCPE) by terminating the parties' business relationship without good cause; violated the Inventory Repurchase Act by refusing to repurchase inventory; and fraudulently concealed plans of its parent company's consolidation plans, which ultimately led to the dissolution of the parties' business relationship.

According to background information in the ruling, Sun Aviation distributed L-3's "gyros," which can calculate and display an aircraft's position, and power supply products. When L-3's parent company went through a consolidation process, it decided to end L-3's distributorship with Sun Aviation and directed L-3 to do so, the ruling states.

Prior to a bench trial, Kanatzar granted Sun Aviation's motion for partial summary judgment regarding liability, but not damages on the first, second and third counts, the ruling states. The case proceeded to trial on damages on those counts as well as liability and damages on the fourth count.

Kanatzar awarded damages to Sun Aviation on all counts.

L-3's appeal went to the Missouri Court of Appeals, and later the Supreme Court allowed it to be transferred to the higher court.

Regarding counts II and III, the Supreme Court held that "neither product at issue fits the definition of "industrial, maintenance and construction power equipment, as applicable in the IMCPE Act and the Inventory Repurchase Act."

Regarding count IV, the court held that "L-3 had no duty to disclose its parent's consolidation plan to Sun, which eventually led to the termination of the parties' business relationship. The circuit court's judgment on Count IV is reversed."

Chief Justice Zel M. Fischer wrote the opinion for the unanimous decision.

Original article can be found here ➤

Drone operators could be fined $25K for Alex Fraser Bridge stunts

A group of drone operators whose stunts over the Alex Fraser Bridge sparked two separate investigations last month is facing a potential fine of up to $25,000, CTV News has learned.

Members of Rotor Riot sent a drone zooming up and down the towers of the busy crossing back in October, then uploaded the video to their YouTube page. 

Both the Delta Police Department and Transport Canada launched investigations into the stunts, and on Friday the group said it is facing a stiff penalty in the tens of thousands of dollars. 

Though the video shows a steady stream of cars and trucks crossing the Alex Fraser, Rotor Riot founder Chad Kapper insists they never actually flew the drone over any vehicles.

"I would never recommend people flying over crowds of people or traffic or any place where a mistake is going to make it very dangerous," Kapper told CTV News from Ohio.

Rotor Riot believes its operators were being safe, but local drone experts and police disagree.

Rob Brooks of Candrone, which runs courses on unmanned aerial vehicle use, said the drone in the video was flown too close to cars. He also suggested the operators were breaking the rules by using first-person view goggles to pilot the device.

"Technically their drone is not within the line of sight, so that is a direct violation," Brooks said.

Delta police also feared that if the group had lost control of the drone, it could have plummeted down into a vehicle, potentially triggering a chain reaction crash on the bridge.

Kapper told CTV News the group's pilots are seasoned professionals, and have learned to fly in different climates and conditions all over the world. He did say he is concerned about less-skilled copycats trying to emulate their stunts.

"Always that possibility," Kapper said. "Am I concerned about it? Yeah, to a certain extent, but you can only do so much."

Transport Canada considers YouTube videos like Rotor Riot's to be a commercial operation, meaning they face heavy fines and are subject to stricter rules than recreational users.

The maximum fine faced by hobbyists is $3,000.

Story and video ➤

Grand Junction Regional Airport (KGJT) will keep its file on fraud case closed

The Grand Junction Regional Airport’s internal case file on its investigation into fraud allegations that sparked a federal probe will remain a closed book.

Airport board members noted Thursday that the airport rejected a request by two tenants to see the file now that the case is over.

The tenants, Bill Marvel and Dave Shepard, who had filed a whistleblower case against the airport, sought the file under Colorado Open Records Act statutes.

The file, however, is covered under an attorney-client privilege and contains work product, said board member Chuck McDaniel, an attorney.

It also contains records of discussions with employees that were made under an arrangement that they wouldn’t be made public.

“We intend to abide by that,” McDaniel said.

Marvel said the investigative file ought to be considered an open public record, but “it’s their call and not ours.”

The records relate to an investigation by the airport, which ran parallel to the FBI investigation that became public in November 2013 with a raid on airport offices. The FBI investigation was an outgrowth of Marvel and Shepard’s case, which was filed under seal in federal court.

Marvel and Shepard’s request for the file arrived at the airport as members of the board’s compliance committee were discussing it on Monday.

Jane Quimby, who along with attorney Bill Taylor conducted the internal investigation, received the file from a former airport board member, Rick Wagner, and delivered it to McDaniel, McDaniel said.

“Before that, the Airport did not have a copy — I had asked,” McDaniel said in an email.

Wagner confirmed that he gave the file to Quimby. Wagner sat on the litigation committee during the investigation and dealt with a range of issues, including negotiating a non-prosecution agreement for the board with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also dealt with a range of other matters arising out of the federal investigation.

The compliance committee, which included himself and board member Erling Braebeck and others, were meeting Monday with Quimby “at the time the request arrived in Mark Achen’s email inbox (he attended part of the meeting),” McDaniel said in the email. “The notebook was on the table and was a part of the discussion.”

Marvel said he was aware that the airport had the file “from one of the meetings,” but that he didn’t recall anything specific.

Quimby declined to comment on Friday. Shepard didn’t respond to a request for comment.

McDaniel wanted the committee “to learn a little more about what happened in the airport that caused the investigations so we can deal with references to those times from others and to be sure we plan compliance programs that avoid repeating history,” he said in an email.

“A number of the new commissioners have met with Jane to learn about this history. Since the notebook is the record of the internal investigation, I took it to the meeting.”

Discussion about the notebook centered on how the investigation was done and by whom, and who was interviewed, McDaniel said. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Chapman Memorial Award to help student fly: Top student, Deverick Clingwall, honored by contribution to his aviation dreams

Okanagan College Aircraft Maintenance Engineering student and recipient of the Chapman Memorial Award Deverick Clingwall stands beside Michaela Chapman who established the award in honor of her husband Brad and son Florian. 

Losing her husband and son to a tragic plane crash two years ago led Michaela Chapman to contemplate how she could honour their memory. Today, an Okanagan College student is completing his education with her help, thanks to a memorial award that Chapman has established.

Pilot Brad Chapman and his eldest son, Florian, passed away in October 2015 when their Cessna 207 crashed on takeoff. In honour of her husband and son, Michaela Chapman established the Chapman Memorial Award which enables Okanagan College students in Vernon to reach their educational goals in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME-M) program.

“Okanagan College is virtually in our front yard and I thought it would be a good idea to support our region’s budding aviation professionals and help students carry forward in their education,” says Chapman. “Being married to a pilot and also knowing many pilots, I know how important it is for them to look after their airplanes and for the industry to have people with the know-how to take care of the machines.”

The award was recently given to Deverick Clingwall, an AME-M student based out of Vernon. Clingwall is currently finishing the final 14 weeks of training at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek.

“I was honoured to receive this award and am so deeply thankful for the Chapman family,” says Clingwall. “Being able to meet Mrs. Chapman and talk to her was very personal, it was a new level that I’ve never experienced before, we really connected.”

Like Brad and Florian, Clingwall has a passion and extensive history in aviation. From age two and a half, he knew he wanted to become a pilot and since then has achieved both his private and glider pilot licenses’ as well as float endorsements – all before age 17. Clingwall is now currently working on his commercial pilot’s license while completing the AME-M program.

“My career goal is to be a commercial pilot, which is why I chose to enroll in the college’s AME-M diploma because like any vehicle or machine, if you’re going to be operating it, you should know what makes it tick,” says Clingwall.

Clingwall recently represented the college and placed fourth in the Aircraft Maintenance Competition at Skills BC. He is active in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, volunteers with the bi-annual Salmon Arm airshow and is involved in the Vernon and Salmon Arm flying clubs.

“He’s one of the top students we’ve ever put through the AME-M diploma,” says Dale Martel, Chair of Aircraft Maintenance Program. “Deverick is extremely dedicated to aviation and well deserving of this award.”

Every year the Okanagan College Foundation distributes awards to students like Clingwall. The foundation will present 44 awards totaling $38,150 to students studying at the college’s Vernon campus in the upcoming Student Awards Reception ceremony on Nov. 15.

Original article ➤

Cessna 207, C-GNVZ, Chapman Corporate Air Services: Fatal accident occurred October 16, 2015 in Baldonnel, British Columbia, Canada

Leonard Bradley Chapman, 56, died October 16, 2015 when the plane he was piloting crashed during takeoff.

Florian Chapman with his wife Jillian.

VERNON - A father and son from Vernon died doing something they both loved: going ‘wheels up’.

Brad Chapman, 56, learned to fly in his 40s and passed that passion onto his oldest son, Florian, 26, who got his pilot’s license as a teenager. As key principals in the Chapman Group of Companies, flying offered them a quick way of getting around to the company’s various work sites — but Brad and Florian, both outdoor enthusiasts, also stole time when they could to fly to remote fishing and hunting locations. When it came to balancing work, play and family, Brad and Florian were the classic example of ‘like father like son’ — both found a way to live life to its fullest in all aspects. 

Something went wrong on October 16, 2015, as the pair was taking off from a gravel site near Taylor, B.C. The Cessna 207 they were in crashed and burned on the runway. Father and son didn't make it.

Brad founded LB Chapman Construction in 1989 as a one man operation and grew it into a thriving company now employing more than 50 people and boasting one of the largest gravel crushing operations in the province. Formerly a meat cutter at Safeway, Brad started the construction company with just a single excavator.

With his wife Michaela — his partner in life and in business — they raised five children on a ranch just west of Vernon. It was there that Florian, ‘Flo’ to his friends and family, learned the ethic of hard work. In his spare time, he put his heavy equipment skills to work building a state-of-the-art dirt bike track on the ranch. The Kalamalka Secondary School grad was passionate about sports and the outdoors, with snowmobiling and dirt-biking among his favourite pastimes.

The adventurous family loved to travel and have fond memories of trips to Europe and Africa. Flo’s graduation present was a month-long safari to south Africa with his brother — a trip of a lifetime that left them both with incredible stories to tell.

Travel was something Flo shared with his wife, Jillian, as well. They kept a map of the world hanging at home with coloured pins showing all the places they went together, among them Italy, Germany, Egypt and Tanzania. It was on their trip to Zanzibar in 2014 that Flo proposed. They married on Aug. 2, 2015.

Flo’s family members describe him as gentle, romantic, wise beyond his years and incredibly strong, with ‘a smile as big and honest as the sun'.

Brad was all at once the epitome of family man, businessman and community leader. He built lasting relationships with his corporate family and business colleagues that often turned into personal friendships. A successful and hard-nosed businessman, Brad wasn’t always liked by all who knew him, but he was certainly respected. He was also a champion for his community, and could be counted on to donate to local charities and initiatives around the North Okanagan.

Brad loved flying, but was aware of the potential dangers and had lost friends in plane-related accidents. Still, he never passed up an opportunity to go ‘wheels up'. In honor of his passion for flying, his family asks that memorial donations be made to Okanagan College, where funds will be used for an aviation scholarship.

Original article can be found here ➤

Silverhawk starting its own Net Jets-style program

Silverhawk Aviation has been in the charter flight business for years, ferrying around business and private customers to wherever they want to go.

Now the company is going to give those fliers a chance to own a piece of their own airplane.

Silverhawk is in the process of getting Federal Aviation Administration approval to start a Net Jets-style fractional ownership program.

Mike Gerdes
"We just saw a need," said Mike Gerdes, the company's president.

Gerdes and Gene Luce, Silverhawk's director of maintenance, bought the company from its longtime owners two years ago, and they have continued the growth that was already going on.

Since about 2010, Silverhawk has doubled its workforce to more than 90 employees, and has tripled its fleet of planes from four to 12, Gerdes said.

To deal with that growth and the expected growth from its new fractional ownership program, called Silverhawk Shares, Silverhawk is expanding its facilities at the Lincoln Airport.

The company held a groundbreaking ceremony Friday morning for a new 26,000-square-foot hangar, which it plans to use to house the planes for its fractional ownership business.

In addition, it plans to do a significant remodel of its existing facility. The two projects will cost the company at least $6 million, Gerdes said.

He said that if all goes as planned, the work on both buildings will be complete by next summer, at which time Silverhawk hopes to have its FAA approval for the jet ownership program.

To start, the company is selling shares in two planes. A three-seat Cirrus turboprop plane and an eight-seat Citation jet.

Customers can buy either a 10 percent share in a plane, which gets them 50 hours of flying time, or a 20 percent share, which gets them 100 hours.

The upfront buy-in ranges from $55,000 for 10 hours in the smaller plane, to nearly $500,000 for 100 hours, Gerdes said. Then there are monthly fees of $10,000 to $20,000.

The fact that there are no additional fees, such as fees for flight time or fuel surcharges, makes the program unique from other fractional share programs, Gerdes said.

It all comes out to about $2,400 an hour for flight time on the larger jet or more than $600 an hour on the smaller plane.

That may sound like a lot, but it's for the whole plane, so if the plane is full, it actually could be cheaper on a per-person basis than coach-class tickets.

And that doesn't even account for the time savings and convenience, Gerdes said.

While someone could get that same time savings and convenience by buying their own plane, they also take on a tremendous amount of risk and the additional costs of unexpected maintenance items.

The fractional ownership program offers the best of both worlds.

Gerdes said Silverhawk is targeting customers in a 175-miles radius, an area that includes Omaha, Des Moines, Sioux Falls and Kansas City.

It hopes eventually to expand its fractional ownership program to 10 planes and even has plans to buy even larger jets.

Gerdes said that if it reaches that goal it will mean the need for dozens more employees.

Original article can be found here ➤

Steve Tumlin "The Doctor": Carson City pilot to compete in international race

Carson City's Steve Tumlin is a long-time chief mechanic who turned pilot this year, competing in his second race south east of Bangkok, Thailand.

Nothing can stop Steve Tumlin from soaring.

After a one-year hiatus after a plane crash outside of Minden — and making a comeback by competing in his first race at the Reno Air Races —the Carson City pilot is preparing to fly "Feisty" in Thailand skies against 17 international professional pilots.

"With the truly world-class caliber of pilots going head-to-head for the title, it promises to be an exhilarating competition," he said.

From Nov. 17-19, Tumlin, 55, is contending for the Best Air Racing Pilot title in the Air Race 1 World Cup at U-Tapao airport — southeast of Bangkok — in his 1979 Cassutt IIIM named Feisty.

Decked out in a turbulent yellow, with illustrations of No. 52 and a scruffy black cat by the cockpit, Tumlin might be easy to spot in the tangled terrains.

"Flying it is like giving a cat a bath," he said. "She will bite and scratch you, but it's a smooth flying airplane."

His daughter, Sierra, will be by his side as crew chief; an element of success also comes in the designers, engineering teams and ground crew support in the pits.

To ensure a fair competition between pilots, each plane must be built to a specific formula that covers most aspects of the race plane's characteristics, including wing area, weight, and engine size.

"My biggest obstacle is flying as safe as I can," Tumlin said. "But at the same time, it's no different flying around the mountains. I've had good training."

His gained skills from Steve Temple, a long-time Air Force, airline, and racing pilot in Northern Nevada and California areas. Temple also will be racing in Thailand with Tumlin in his "Quadnickel" — also a Cassutt IIIM.

"Without the confidence, I wouldn't be doing this," Tumlin said. "I got a concussion from the crash and I thought I was done for."

But along with Temple, Tumlin raced Feisty in his first air show competition in September, at the 54th annual National Championship Reno Air Races.

Tumlin placed fourth in two Formula One class race events.

"I may be on the back of the bus, but at least I'm on the bus," he said.

Although this is his first year as a pilot, Tumlin's fervor for flying started at age 8 and influenced his long-time career as a chief mechanic.

Because of his skill and passion in the field, he received the nickname, "The Doctor," from aircraft enthusiasts.

"I worked on 80 percent of formulas in Reno throughout the years," he said. "If people needed parts or had issues with an aircraft, I became the doctor. I always help diagnose issues."

Although Tumlin lived in California for 37 years, he moved to the Carson City area for specific reasons.

"I moved here for air racing," he said. "My flying buddies also live here and I needed to be closer. It was a natural progression and I wanted to adapt their skills."

As a technical and mechanical guru in aircraft, Tumlin has always been a part of races, including Air Race 1 competitions.

But now, Tumlin is making his dream come true as an air race pilot — something he's always wanted to do, he said.

"These races are not for everyone," he said. "I won't know until I get there, but I can do this."

Story and photo gallery ➤

Rutan Long-EZ, N754T: Accident occurred November 11, 2017 at Weedon Field (KEUF), Eufaula, Barbour 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; Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: EUFAULA, AL 
Accident Number: ANC18LA008
Date & Time: 11/11/2017, 0935 CST
Registration: N754T
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Part(s) separation from AC
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 11, 2017, about 0935 central standard time (CST), a Cloud Jeffery Ferrell Long EZ airplane, N754T, landed short of the runway during a forced landing at Wheedon Field (KEUF), Eufaula, Alabama. The private pilot and passenger were not injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The flight was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 visual flight rules personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed Marianna Municipal Airport (KMAI), Marianna, Florida, about 1000 eastern standard time, and was destined for Falcon Field (KFFC), Atlanta, Georgia. However, due to deteriorating weather conditions en route, the destination was changed to KEUF. No flight plan had been filed.

According to a statement from the pilot, while flying about 7,500 ft msl, about 9 miles northeast of KEUF, "suddenly and without warning the aircraft violently began shuddering." The pilot immediately shut down the engine and turned the airplane towards KEUF. During the turn, he noticed the right rudder control surface was damaged. Due to winds and orientation to the runway when the engine was shut down, the airplane was unable to reach the runway and landed about 200 ft prior to the runway edge in a rough, grassy area. Upon exiting the airplane, the pilot discovered a portion of the trailing edge of the propeller had separated and penetrated the lower half of the right rudder control surface, which resulted in substantial damage. The separated portion of the propeller was not located.

The wood propeller, manufactured by Ed Sterba Propellers, was removed from the aircraft and sent to the US Department of Agriculture's Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, for examination under the NTSB supervision. The examination determined that the propeller was manufactured from laminations of defect-free hard maple lumber that was absent of any decay. An inspection of the separation surface, using a low magnification hand lens, indicated that the individual layers of the propeller were laminated together using an adhesive that resulted in a light-colored bond line. The failure surface included an exposed portion of the bond line between two wood laminae that had failed. Examination of this bond line showed minimal wood failure about eight inches in length and between 1/8" and 1/4" wide. It was noted that the amount of cured adhesive observed varied considerably along the length of the failure surface's bond line, with an area of the bond line having minimal adhesive coverage.

According to the propeller manufacturer, the propeller was carved by hand using hard maple lumber. The adhesive used was Weldwood® Plastic Resin Glue. Weldwood is a ureaformaldehyde product that is advertised as "ideal for interior wood application." In a letter to the NTSB from DAP Products Inc., the adhesive manufacturer, it was stated "DAP has not qualified this product for use on any aircraft component such as hand-carven wooden propeller, nor has it been tested for applications where extreme temperature fluctuations, pressure and vibration would be expected."

The closest official weather observation station is Columbus Airport (KCSG), Columbus, Georgia, which is located about 35 miles northeast of the accident site. At 0851, a METAR was reporting, in part, wind 090° at 11 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clouds and ceiling clear; temperature 50° F; dew point 39° F; altimeter 30.35 inches of Mercury.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 47, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/06/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/06/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 248 hours (Total, all aircraft), 177 hours (Total, this make and model), 210 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 21 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CLOUD JEFFREY FERRELL
Registration: N754T
Model/Series: LONG EZ
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 1763-L
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/05/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1425 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 177.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-235-L2C
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 118 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCSG, 392 ft msl
Observation Time: 0851 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 35 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 16°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 4°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots, 90°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.35 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: MARIANNA, FL (MAI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: ATLANTA, GA (FFC)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1000 EST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 285 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Rough
Runway Used: 18
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:  Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None

Latitude, Longitude:  31.958611, -85.128333 (est)

EUFAULA, AL (WSFA) -  A small plane crashed in a Eufaula field Saturday morning.

According to the Eufaula Alabama Police Department Facebook page, an experimental type aircraft had engine trouble about four miles north of Eufaula while traveling from Marianna, Florida, to Atlanta, Georgia. 

The pilot managed to glide to Weedon Field, but a gust of wind forced the plane to the ground just short of the runway. 

Eufaula police and fire crews responded to the scene, and the airport was temporarily closed. 

The two people on board the plane sustained minor injuries. 

The crash will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

Original article can be found here ➤

A plane went down near Eufaula Saturday morning.

Weedon Field was temporarily closed as the Eufaula fire department and police department responded to the crash.

According to Eufaule PD’s Facebook page, an experimental type aircraft en route from Florida to Atlanta experienced engine trouble approximately 4 miles north of Eufaula.

The pilot was able to glide to the airport where a gust of wind forced the plane to the ground just short of the runway.

Two people on board walked away with just minor injuries.

The incident will be investigated further by the National Transportation Safety Board.

LETTER: Opposed to proposed aircraft fee

To the editor:

I read the Alaska DOT's proposed new aircraft registration/fee (TAX) as published in the Legals small print, back page section of the Alaska Dispatch News on Nov. 5. I am definitely OPPOSED to the proposed changes of a new Aircraft Registration section (17 AAC 41) which would add aircraft registration and fees for aircraft in Alaska.

The Walker’s Administration/ADOT proposal to implement a new registration requirement witha proposed annual fee (TAX) of $150-$250 would seem to be illegal (circumventing the normal requirement for the legislative, rather than the executive branch to implement new taxes on Alaska’s citizens). Simply calling it a “fee” rather than its true effect of an additional significant “tax” on Alaskan aircraft owners seems to be a deceitful means for the administration to unilaterally impose a tax on Alaska residents without going through a legislative approval. There is already a federal registration system with tri-annual fees/taxes for keeping track of airplanes in the USA, there would be no additional purpose for an Alaskan registration system other than to impose additional taxes on Alaskan aircraft owners.

It is my understanding the state has serious financial problems and there are costs with operating the state’s airports. Although I do not favor an increase of any taxes, it is my understanding the Governor’s Aviation Advisory Board looked at various options to help increase revenues and supported increasing the aviation fuel tax (which based on a recent poll, apparently over 3 times as many pilots across the state found more acceptable 67% vs. registration fees 20 percent, although a significant number opposed any increased fees or taxes).

A new state aircraft registration requirement/tax would not be a fair or effective method for raising additional state revenue. Additional state bureaucrats would need to be hired to collect and enforce the collection of this tax, reducing the net income to the state. The Mat-Su Borough also tried a similar aircraft registration/tax, but ultimately repealed it in 2012 as it was not deemed to be a fair tax on this single segment of the population and it brought in a relatively small amount of income after subtraction of the borough’s collection costs in implementation. Unlike the state’s current efforts, the addition and subsequent repeal of this aircraft registration fee/tax program was approved properly under the governing body (assembly) rather than being imposed without legislative approval by strictly the Walker administration.

— Sigurd Colberg


Original article can be found here ➤

Incident occurred November 11, 2017 at Clinton National Airport (KLIT), Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas

The three JR Motorsports NASCAR Xfinity teams competing for the series championship at Phoenix will be without their full complement of pit crew members in Saturday’s race.

A ConSeaAir jet carrying several NASCAR team members, including the majority of JR Motorsports’ four Xfinity pit crews, was forced to make an emergency landing in Arkansas on Saturday morning, team officials confirmed.

JRM drivers William Byron, Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier will have to compete in Saturday’s Ticket Galaxy 200 with pit crews all missing a vast majority of their regular team members.

Saturday’s race will determine the four drivers who will compete for the 2017 series championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Ryan Pemberton, director of competition at JRM, said Hendrick Motorsports had dispatched a plane from Phoenix to pick up the JRM members but they will not be back to Phoenix in time to participate in the race.

“A large majority of our pit crew guys are stuck on that plane in Arkansas. So, HMS is going to pick them up but they will not be here in time for the race,” Pemberton said.

“We have some guys that we normally use, we have some guys that are training with HMS and we have a little bit of help from some of our Chevrolet partners. There’s a few other teams that have a few guys who will assist us.

“We’re still working exactly who’s on first and what’s on second. It’s kind of like that routine right now.”

The ConSeaAir plane was also carrying some members of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams that were not planning to compete until Sunday’s race.

According to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro, the flight registered to DynaStar, was an E 145 aircraft flying between Memphis, Tenn., and Amarillo, Texas, when the pilot asked to divert to Little Rock, Ark., due to electrical problems.

The flight landed in Little Rock without incident and taxied to park at a gate, Molinaro said.

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JR Motorsports, which has three of its cars contending for a spot in the championship round, will be without “a little more than half” of its pit crew after a charter plane carrying them made an emergency landing Saturday in Arkansas.

The plane was flying from Memphis, Tennessee, to Amarillo, Texas on its way to Phoenix when it experienced an electrical issue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crew declared an emergency and landed without incident at 7:43 a.m. CT at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas, Ryan DiVita, director of marketing and sales for AeroDynamics, Inc., the plane carrier, told NBC Sports.

“The crew did exactly what they should,” DiVita said.

He said that pilots followed a checklist that the plane should land at the nearest suitable airport.

There were 51 people on the Embraer 145, according to a spokesperson at Clinton National Airport.

The plane was grounded because of the electrical issue and no other plane was available to send the passengers to Phoenix in time for Saturday’s race.

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Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (KCLT) air traffic controller charged with having weapon of mass destruction

(Mecklenburg County Jail)

(Mecklenburg County Jail)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  An air traffic controller at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and another man were arrested Friday accused of having a weapon of mass destruction.

Paul George Dandan, 30, is charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, acquiring a weapon of mass destruction and transporting a weapon of mass destruction. Police say Dandan, an air traffic controller at Charlotte-Douglas, had a homemade pipe bomb he got from another man.

That other man, 39-year-old Derrick Fells, admitted to police that he made the bomb to "use it against a neighbor" with whom he had an ongoing dispute. According to the official report, Fells "changed his mind" and gave the bomb to Dandan.

Fells was charged with three counts of manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that Dandan “only had access to the offsite Air Traffic Control Tower and had no access to the restricted areas of the terminal or ramp.  He did not have access to any aircraft at the Airport.”

The FAA also confirmed that they had "terminated [Dandan's] access to the facility and is investigating."

Law enforcement sources confirmed that the FBI is involved in the investigation as well.

Dandan was taken to the Mecklenburg County Jail and placed under a $45,000 secured bond.

No further information has been released.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a weapon of mass destruction is defined as:

Any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas, including the following: a bomb; grenade; rocket having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than four ounces; missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce; mine; or device similar to any of the previously described devices;

Any weapons that is designed or intend to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors;

Any weapon involving a disease organism; and

Any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.

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Paul George Dandan was arrested Friday after police found a homemade pipe bomb at his home.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Authorities say an air traffic controller at a North Carolina airport has been arrested on charges of possessing a weapon of mass destruction.

Paul George Dandan, 30, is charged with possession of a weapon of mass destruction, acquiring a weapon of mass destruction and transporting a weapon of mass destruction, CBS affiliate WBTV reports. Police say Dandan, an air traffic controller at Charlotte-Douglas, had a homemade pipe bomb he got from another man, Derrick Fells.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said Fells admitted to them that he made the bomb to "use it against a neighbor" with whom he had an ongoing dispute. Fells then changed his mind and gave the bomb Dandan, police said.  

Fells was charged with three counts of manufacturing a weapon of mass destruction and one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

According to WBTV, the Federal Aviation Administration said that Dandan "only had access to the offsite Air Traffic Control Tower and had no access to the restricted areas of the terminal or ramp.  He did not have access to any aircraft at the airport."

The FAA also confirmed to WBTV that they had "terminated [Dandan's] access to the facility and is investigating."

Law enforcement sources confirmed that the FBI is involved in the investigation as well.

Dandan was taken to the Mecklenburg County Jail and placed under a $45,000 secured bond.

U.S. law defines WMDs as ranging from explosive devices to biological weapons. 

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Walt McDaniel: Air Force pilot glad he didn’t become Indiana farmer

Walt McDaniel served as a pilot in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

FAIRFIELD — Walt McDaniel had just bought a used car from a dealer in his hometown of Elwood, Indiana, when the car’s radio announced the news that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.

The 19-year-old and his cousin decided they wanted to fly and not walk, so they signed up for the Aviation Cadet Program at their first opportunity.

On Jan. 1, 1943, McDaniel was called to active duty and eventually ended up at Keesler Field, Mississippi, to start his aviation training. He graduated from flying school May 23, 1944, and his first aircraft was a P-40 fighter.

“It was a tricky little devil with narrow landing gear,” McDaniel said of the venerable fighter.

One time, he bellied in his P-40 during a much-less-than-graceful landing, noting “the plane came apart, but I didn’t get a scratch.”

He married his wife, who he knew in high school, on his first leave, and was sent to England to join the 434th Fighter Squadron in February 1945 to fly F-51 Mustang fighters.

Legendary fighter ace Robin Olds was his squadron commander and took McDaniel up for his check ride and to stress “to be aggressive, but know what you were doing.”

The air war may have been winding down, but the Luftwaffe could still put planes into the air.

McDaniel flew several low-level missions, sometimes passing over POW camps and flying over cities at tree-top level “where there was nothing left but chimneys.”

“In Munich, there were bomb craters all over the place,” McDaniel said. “Aachen, there was nothing but a smoke stack and a lot of rubble.”

McDaniel described the powerful and agile P-51 as “a young man’s thrill,” while he described the C-130 transport he later flew in Vietnam as “the old man’s thrill.”

McDaniel and his squadron got orders for the Pacific, but that war ended when their ship was two days out of Boston.

“I came back thinking that I wanted to be a farmer,” McDaniel said of his post-war plans. “But two weeks later, I realized that I had made a mistake.”

It took McDaniel five years to get back into uniform and into flying, just in time for the start of the Korean War.

After training as a radar controller, and after a transfer to Massachusetts, McDaniel was sent to Korea to K-14, Kimpo Air Base, just as the truce was signed, to maintain F-86 jet fighters.

McDaniel had to deal with truce inspection teams made up of Swedish, Swiss, Polish and Czechoslovakian officers who initially tried driving to the base from Inchon, but who stopped “after the Koreans would throw rocks at them.”

They switched to helicopter transport for what McDaniel described as “an eventful ride” followed by early morning inspections where they would drive down the ramp “as fast as we could” so they could not read tail numbers.

After K-14 closed, McDaniel was moved to Chitose, Japan, in 1955, where the F-86s “would fly up to play cat-and-mouse games” with the Russians.

He came back to the U.S. to an Air Reserve training base in Long Beach where he became a base operations officer and eventually a flight safety officer.

McDaniel was on hand in February 1958 when a C-118 collided with a Navy P-2V Neptune over Norwalk and crashed in a sheriff’s department parking lot.

“I was on the phone to handle the media and coordinate recovery for 48 hours,” McDaniel said.

After a stint at the 4th Air Force headquarters, he went to Tactical Air Command at Langley, Virginia, to travel to Air National Guard and Reserve units for safety inspections.

McDaniel applied for missile training and was sent to Little Rock Air Force Base when the Titan II missiles became operational.

After a 65-mile trip from the base to the missile silos and going through an 800-item checklist, “you had plenty of time to study.”

McDaniel was there when the Cuban Missile Crisis started, “and it got a little touchy because we had nuclear warheads,” he said.

McDaniel got back on flying status and was sent to Hamilton Air Force Base to fly the twin-engine T-29, carrying anyone from high-ranking officers to press.

After a year, he got orders to the 308th Troop Carrier Wing in Taiwan, which flew missions to Okinawa, the Philippines and Vietnam where he would be based at Nha Trang for several weeks at a time.

“We picked up everything from blood plasma to Stars and Stripes magazines,” McDaniel said.

“We also picked up an airborne command upgrade and would fly over the Mekong Delta where they were coordinating fighter strikes out of our back end,” McDaniel said.

His most tense delivery was a 2 a.m. flight carrying a bridge to Tay Ninh near the Cambodian border.

“We found the strip. They lit up a couple of barrels at the end of the runway,” McDaniel said. “We landed and kept calling, but no one showed up. Then we called the general and asked if he still wanted the bridge.”

McDaniel had the engine running when someone finally showed and unloaded the bridge.

Minutes after the last piece was off, McDaniel heard the sounds of Viet Cong mortars starting to work over the runway and took off before they hit his aircraft.

Another flight carrying tightly packed South Vietnamese rangers to Pleiku ended with the rangers delivered and the discovery after landing that ground fire had killed one of them without any of the other passengers noticing.

Khe Sanh was one of his stops during the 1967 siege, carrying 105 mm artillery ammunition.

“We would open the back door, fly about 3 feet off the ground and throw out a drag chute,” McDaniel said of how they made the delivery without stopping.

McDaniel came back to the U.S. and Mather Air Force Base, where he flew with student navigators.

When he figured his number was coming up again for Vietnam, he decided it was time to retire in March 1969 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He put his management and assessment skills learned in the Air Force to work in the banking industry before retiring a second time in 1983.

As for what his Air Force career did for him: “My kids would say, ‘Thank God, you didn’t stay in Elwood, Indiana, you would have been nothing but a dirt farmer.’ ”

“The Air Force opened up a whole different life for me,” McDaniel said.

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