Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Police hope to launch drones over Anchorage — with limits

The Anchorage Police Department wants to start using drones. But elected officials have some concerns.

At a meeting of the Assembly’s public safety committee Wednesday, Captain Kevin Vandergriff presented draft policies on how police would like to use drones in Anchorage.

“Search and Rescue would be a primary,” Vandergriff said in a short interview after the meeting. “Evidence collection for major crimes and major crime scenes like fatality traffic accidents, for example. Also for tactical applications when we’re responding with a SWAT team for officer safety purposes. Those would be the three primary activities we’re interested in utilizing this technology for.”

According to Vandergriff, some core public safety functions can be done more efficiently by small unmanned aerial systems (UAS, as the devices are sometimes referred to) than by humans or equipment currently utilized in department procedures. Overhead cameras can reduce search times for missing and vulnerable adults down from hours to minutes, Vandergriff explained to the Assembly. Documenting a crime scene could similarly be expedited through the use of high-resolution overhead photographs.

In its proposals, APD introduced a limited set of functions for drones. The Department also laid out what they wouldn’t be used for, like warrant-less surveillance.

The idea for a limited roll-out by APD is to give the public time to acclimate.

“We want to utilize this new technology in a very conservative manner, all the time getting feedback from the public on how they believe we’re using the technolog,” Vandergriff said. “We want to be transparent when we use it. So we can put the public’s mind at rest, if you will, that this technology is not being abused by their police department.”

And the public is indeed skeptical. According to results from a poll conducted by Rasmussen and presented by APD, a slight majority of Americans, 39 percent, do not support police using drones, compared to 36 percent of those who do support law enforcement using them (25 percent were undecided).

Even though members of the Assembly were supportive of specific proposals, many said rules should come through new municipal laws.

Assembly vice-chair Forest Dunbar, who is a lawyer, believes there are a number of privacy concerns that merit a slower, more comprehensive legislative approach to the municipality’s drone policies.

“I think we want to strike that balance between the legitimate concerns of law enforcement and the potential for this technology, but also the real worries about privacy,” Dunbar said.

Dunbar was hardly alone among Assembly members expressing reservations. He expects the next step will be the Assembly working with the mayor’s administration on an ordinance that will solicit public testimony before coming up a vote.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.alaskapublic.org

An unidentified aircraft over Oregon had the US air force scrambling to identify what it was




by Jamie Seidel

This should not have happened.

On October 25, an unidentified aircraft was seen flying - in broad daylight - among the airliners in one of the United States' heavily trafficked air corridors in the skies above Oregon.

It had no submitted flight plan. It had no identification transponder active. Nor was it transmitting collision avoidance signals.

Air traffic control stations were reportedly having difficulty following it on radar.

Coming after the events of 9/11, such an unidentified aircraft is not just a matter for UFO cranks and conspiracy theorists.

It represents a potentially serious breach of national security.

Or does it?

The War Zone blog of automotive news service The Drive began digging for an answer after one of its reporters heard scuttlebutt about the incident from aviation industry associates.

At first it sounded like a typical example of an aircraft suffering communications failure.

But then came news, via Reddit, that US air force F-15C interceptor fighters had been launched in response to the sightings.

"Strange! My theory is they were running drugs to Canada. No news yet, not that I could find," a user claiming to have been a pilot in the air at the time posted user 'Duprass'. 

 He described how airliners had been asked to help track an unknown white-coloured aircraft visually for up to 30 minutes as air traffic control radar was having difficulty getting a fix.

While it was in sight of various airliner crews, it was apparently never close enough for its type to be identified.

"The last airplane to see it had to descend into Portland and lost sight of it. The fighters were scrambled out of PDX but flew around for a while and did not find it. And that's that."

War Zone contacted North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), the 142nd Fighter Wing at Portland International Airport, and the Federal Aviation Administration to confirm the incident.

NORAD quickly confirmed it had been asked by the Federal Aviation Administration to help track an unidentified aircraft flying at heights regularly used by commercial aircraft (35,000 and 40,000ft). It said fighters had been scrambled from Portland to investigate - but failed to find anything.

This is in itself odd.

While little is known about the timing of the events (it is possible the fighters were simply activated too late), the F-15C Eagle interceptors have some of the most advanced combat search and tracking radars in the world.

They're also extremely fast.

So while the unidentified aircraft was reported to have been moving somewhat faster than the observing airliners, a F-15 should have been able to catch up easily.

War Zone says the Federal Aviation Administration has refused to add any detail to the story other than to confirm what had already been established. The 142nd Fighter Wing did not respond.

So what was it?

That remains speculation.

Oregon is adjacent Nevada, the well-known home to the United States Air Force's secret aircraft testing facility at Groom Lake (otherwise dubbed Area 51). But flying a secret aircraft among commercial airliner streams in daylight is both dangerous and insecure - and not known to be a common practice.

Was it Russian. Was it Chinese?

It may have been a smuggling aircraft, its cashed-up owners giving it an added dimension of speed and stealth. But there is no evidence to suggest such an aircraft exists.

Alien? If so, they're surprisingly incompetent at avoiding attention. 

Original article ➤ https://www.northernstar.com.au

Cessna 150F, N6488F: Incident occurred November 15, 2017 in Sabin, Clay County, Minnesota

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office

Aircraft force landed on a highway.

http://registry.faa.gov/N6488F

Date: 15-NOV-17
Time: 17:35:00Z
Regis#: N6488F
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C150
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SABIN
State: MINNESOTA



CLAY COUNTY, Minn. – A single-engine plane made an emergency landing about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, roughly two miles south of Sabin along Clay County Highway 52, Sheriff Bill Bergquist said.

The sheriff said the pilot, the lone occupant of the plane, was not hurt.

"There was no crash," he said, adding that the pilot was trying to get to Fargo.

Clay County Lt. Mark Empting said the pilot told authorities the plane had iced up so he had to bring it down. The plane was not damaged during the landing, Empting said.

Federal Aviation Administration officials came to the scene to investigate.

Story and video ➤ https://www.wday.com

Incident occurred November 15, 2017 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP), Pittston Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania



PITTSTON TOWNSHIP -- There were some tense moments as a plane from Chicago came in for a landing in Luzerne County.

The United Airlines flight from Chicago reported issues with its landing gear just before 5 p.m. Wednesday as it approached Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Emergency crews were placed on standby, and the plane landed safely.

Newswatch 16 spoke with some relieved passengers after they got off the plane including a priest from California who is visiting West Pittston.

"Everybody remained calm. The pilot did an excellent job. I did a couple extra prayers, and we landed safely in back here in northeast Pennsylvania, so it's good to be home," Father Paul Mcdonnell said.

No injuries were reported. Officials have not said what was the problem with the plane's landing gear.

Story and video ➤ http://wnep.com

Women pilots dominate Mesquite skies

The flying team of Marge Thayer, center, was part of the Rio Colorado Chapter of the Ninety-Nines air race that began in Mesquite last Friday. Tiva Devitt, left, and Helen Beulen, right, flew with Thayer for the 600-mile, two-day race. While most of the pilots were women, there were a couple “boy teams” in the race as Shannon Hicks Hankins, vice-chair of the Rio Colorado Chapter described the flying field. 



The skies over Mesquite were quite full Friday morning, Nov. 10, as the Rio Colorado Chapter of the Ninety-Nines began a two-day, 600-mile race that took them through three states and ended at Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Sixteen airplanes, most piloted by women, participated in the race taking off at short intervals.

The racing event is a fundraiser for the Ninety-Nines scholarship fund for young women and men wanting a career in aviation. The Ninety-Nines is an international organization of licensed women pilots that Amelia Earhart began in 1929. Of the 117 licensed women pilots during the time of the organization’s founding, 99 became charter members and took the name from their number. The membership was international from the beginning and Earhart was elected the first president. There are now thousands of licensed women pilots from more than 40 countries who belong to the Ninety-Nines.

Shannon Hicks Hankins, vice-chair of the Rio Colorado Chapter, said the racers would hit seven airports in Nevada, California and Arizona. “Last year is the first time we came through Mesquite as part of the annual event,” Hicks Hankins said. “Mesquite was so warm and welcoming, and the airport was wonderful. It’s a beautiful location to fly into. We thought it would be a great place to start our race so we set it up for this year. We’re having a great time.”

Hicks Hankins said seven of the 16 teams are women pilot and co-pilot. Two are husband and wife teams although the wife does most of the flying. “And then the rest are boy teams,” she said.


At 75 years old, pilot Marge Thayer is the oldest participant in Rio Colorado Chapter of the Ninety-Nines air race that began in Mesquite last Friday. Sixteen teams flew 600 miles in two days, ending in Lake Havasu City, AZ. 


Pilot Marge Thayer is the oldest participant in the race at 75 years. A resident of Mesa, Arizona, she’s been flying since 1969. “Air racing for women is like a family reunion,” Thayer said. She has won the biggest Ninety-Nines Air Race Classic four times and is in the top five female air racers for the most wins. “It took me 35 years to do that. It’s tough,” she said. She flies a Cessna 182 RG (retractable gear).

While Thayer is the main pilot in her aircraft, her right-seater is Helen Beulen with Beulen’s daughter Tiva Devitt going along for the ride. “We have three generations of women in our plane,” Thayer said. “I drive and Helen points.”

The planes in the race are four-seat, single-engine, and are limited to less than 600 horsepower. Because of the different engine configurations and capabilities of each plane, all the teams are handicapped according to their airplane’s speed. “We fly a handicap route to see how fast each plane can go. That establishes the handicap,” Hicks Hankins said. “For instance, my handicap speed is 146. So, in the race I want to fly faster than the 146. To do that, you have to fly perfect cross-country, in straight lines, and try to find a good tailwind. You’re not only flying against the other pilots, but you’re racing against yourself.”

Story and photos ➤ http://mesquitelocalnews.com

Cessna T207A Turbo Stationair 8, N9825M, Slickrock Air Guides Inc: Accident occurred November 15, 2017 near Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport (KRKS), Wyoming

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

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

Slickrock Air Guides Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N9825M

Location: Rock Springs, WY
Accident Number: CEN18LA032
Date & Time: 11/15/2017, 1515 MST
Registration: N9825M
Aircraft: CESSNA T207A
Injuries: 2 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:  Public Aircraft

On November 15, 2017, at 1515 mountain standard time, a Cessna T207A, experienced a total loss of engine power and impacted terrain during a forced landing about two miles from Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport (RKS), Rock Springs, Wyoming. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot and one passenger received minor injuries, and two passengers received serious injuries. The airplane was registered to Slickrock Air Guides Inc and operated by Redtail Air, Inc under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a public-use aerial survey flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated from and was returning to RKS after having completed the aerial survey.

The airplane experienced the loss of engine power while on an approximate 3.5-mile base-to-final approach for landing. The left fuel tank contained no useable fuel, and the right tank contained full fuel. The left fuel gauge indication showed about 1/3 fuel remaining. The pilot selected the right fuel tank after the power loss but was unable to restart the engine. The pilot performed the landing on flat brush-covered terrain. The airplane came to rest on the edge of an asphalt road, which did not have any aerial obstructions. The airplane flaps were in the extended position. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N9825M
Model/Series: T207A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Redtail Air, Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RKS, 6765 ft msl
Observation Time: 1454 MST  
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 8500 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 210°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 11000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Departure Point: Rock Springs, WY (RKS)
Destination: Rock Springs, WY (RKS)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Serious, 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:



Rock Springs Sweetwater County Airport Manager Devon Brubaker has released the following statement on the plane crash which occurred today.

Operations are running normally after a small aircraft crashed while approaching Rock Springs Sweetwater County Airport ( RKS ) at approximately 3 :00 PM on November 15, 2017 . 

The Cessna T207A Turbo Stationair 8 was resting alongside HWY 370 approximately 2 miles from the airfield when airport’s Aircraft Rescue Firefighters arrived on scene. There were four passengers including the pilot onboard at the time of the accident. Three passengers were transported t o Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

The airport remained open throughout the response and no operations were affected. Several mutual aid response agencies respond to assist the airport ’ s aircraft rescue fire department including City of Rock Spring Fire Department, Sweetwater County Fire District #1, City of Rock Springs Police Department, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Sweetwater County Sheriff, Bureau of Land Management, and WYDOT,

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Original article can be found here ➤ https://wyo4news.com




ROCK SPRINGS — Operations are running normally after a small aircraft crashed while approaching Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport (RKS) at approximately 3:00 PM on November 15, 2017.

The Cessna T207A Turbo Stationair 8 was resting alongside HWY 370 approximately 2 miles from the airfield when airport’s Aircraft Rescue Firefighters arrived on scene. There were four passengers including the pilot onboard at the time of the accident. Three passengers were transported to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

The airport remained open throughout the response and no operations were affected. Several mutual aid response agencies respond to assist the airport’s aircraft rescue fire department including City of Rock Spring Fire Department, Sweetwater County Fire District #1, City of Rock Springs Police Department, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Sweetwater County Sheriff, Bureau of Land Management, and WYDOT,

The cause of the accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. 

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

Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG) officials courting several replacement airlines

Western Reserve Port Authority officials are talking to several airlines that might offer flights between the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and Chicago, flights to leisure destinations and flights on smaller aircraft.

Dan Dickten, director of aviation for the port authority, which runs the airport, told port authority directors Wednesday that he will meet with SkyWest Airlines a second time in January to further discussion about Chicago flights.

SkyWest, headquartered in St. George, Utah, works with network carriers including United, Delta, American and Alaska Airlines and has 421 aircraft. It operates more than 2,000 flights per day to 226 destinations in North America, according to its web site.

Dickten said a key is SkyWest “already works with United,” which would be crucial if SkyWest were to provide flights to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Aerodynamics Inc. provided flights to Chicago O’Hare for a short time during the summer of 2016, but ADI’s lack of an interline agreement with United to access United’s baggage handling and ticketing network was blamed for the failure of ADI’s service.

Like ADI, SkyWest would require a revenue guarantee from the local airport to start up the flights, but the port authority still has available about $500,000 of the revenue guarantee it offered to ADI, Dickten said.

Meanwhile, Dickten said Sun Country Airlines of Minnesota could become the replacement for Allegiant Air, which is ending its leisure air service at the local airport Jan. 4 after 11 years here.

“They are another ultra-low-cost carrier” that flies many of the same routes as Allegiant, Dickten said.

Story and comments:  http://www.vindy.com

de Havilland Fox Moth: John Lalonde and a team of volunteers have almost finished 20-year project; there are plans for astronaut Hadfield’s brother to fly reproduction aircraft



John Lalonde says “I’ve always been involved in long-term projects.”

One long-term project in which the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre volunteer played a major part in is the all-but-complete construction of a de Havilland Fox Moth reproduction aircraft.

With a team of 14 volunteers, John began building the plane at the Bushplane Museum in 1997.  

“Right now we’re just hooking up the exhaust system and that’ll be it,” John told SooToday.

The de Havilland Fox Moth was a small biplane passenger aircraft invented in the United Kingdom in 1932, 98 of which were built and flown in the UK, another 53 built and flown in Canada (with a distinct DH.83 Canadian categorization).




“It’s quite significant, this aircraft. None of the originals survived,” John said.

“This is Canadian history. If we hadn’t finished it, the children of today would not have known how significant it was in developing the north and the arctic. Some Canadian airlines started with the Fox Moth. Bearskin Airlines, which flies into the Sault, had one.”

The Moth’s wings fold in for easy storage.

The plane can carry three passengers (or cargo) in a tiny compartment in front of the pilot’s cockpit.

“Back in the early 1930s people were only five feet tall and weighed about 120 pounds. On one seat there’s a notch in the middle for seat belts. There would be about 18 inches for your hips. It would be a tight fit,” John chuckled.

“It’s quite durable,” said John of the Moth, which is built with a waterproof plywood fuselage.

“Five years ago there were three to five people here every day, conscientiously working on it”

“We built it by hand. We scrounged everything we could,” John said of his attempt to find and use as many original Fox Moth parts as possible, such as the oil tank and fuel tank, obtained from various locations across Canada.

John said he has over 200 photographs of the process on file.




The plan is for the Fox Moth to be taken to the Sault Ste. Marie airport next year (depending on government paperwork, John said) and flown on a special occasion by pilot Dave Hadfield, brother of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

While a team of dedicated volunteers worked countless hours on the Fox Moth, John has been described by many as the driving force behind it.

“I would say I was ‘quality control’ in most cases.”

“A lot of times they would do something and I would say ‘that’s not good enough, do it over again.’ They weren’t happy sometimes,’” John laughed.

“The aircraft skeleton was on the floor and we decided we would finish it here on the floor or scrap it. They asked ‘anybody want to work on it?’”




John took the project on “as a body willing to get involved.”

“I didn’t know what I was getting into. I didn’t know anything about this aircraft, its not well known in Canada (though many were built in this country).”

John found as many design drawings of the Fox Moth as he could and went from there.

“Another fellow and me, all he and I did for three months was go through the drawings and catalogue them. There are over 1,500 sheets.”




John and his team of volunteers were sure to honor two men involved in aviation when putting the reproduction together. 

RCAF Capt. Al Cheesman’s name is painted on the surface of the plane just below the cockpit, while near the passenger door, there appears the name of his son, Dr. Ken Cheesman (a local dentist who was involved in the Fox Moth project, killed in the mid-1990s in a plane crash north of Sault Ste. Marie).

John, now 77, was born in Saskatoon, raised in Vancouver, and joined the RCAF in 1957, becoming highly skilled in electronics.




He retired from the air force in 1980 and went to work for Transport Canada at the Sault Ste. Marie airport.

When John, a married father and grandfather, retired from Transport Canada in the mid-1990s, he devoted much of his time to volunteering at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

“I always liked aircraft, it was a hobby of mine, so it was a natural thing to come to the Bushplane Museum,” said John, who plans to keep working on various aircraft projects.

Story, photo gallery and comments ➤ https://www.sootoday.com

Pilot arrested for loaded gun in his carry-on luggage at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (KSTL)

Statement Regarding Pilot Arrest for Firearm at STL Checkpoint

Posted on November 15, 2017 in Media Releases

(Nov. 15, 2017- St. Louis)  St. Louis Lambert International Airport police arrested a 51 year old airline pilot Wednesday morning for unlawful use of a weapon after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers discovered a loaded 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage. The pilot, a First Officer who works for Southwest Airlines, was detained shortly before 5 a.m. in the Terminal 2 checkpoint prior to him boarding his aircraft, Southwest flight, #1106 from St. Louis to Las Vegas.

The suspect did not have any conceal and carry permit or any other authorization to carry a firearm. Charges are pending and will be handled through St. Louis County. 

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

The Transportation Security Administration said this Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol was discovered in the carry-on bag of a Southwest Airlines pilot on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. The gun was loaded; it had seven rounds of ammunition in it. The magazine was in the pistol when it was discovered and removed by police for this photograph, said TSA spokesman Mark Howell.



A pilot for Southwest Airlines was arrested at St. Louis Lambert International Airport for having a loaded 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage, officials said Wednesday.

The 51-year-old male pilot was detained at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at about 4:45 a.m. Wednesday. His name wasn’t released.

The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol had seven rounds of ammunition in it, said Mark Howell of the Transportation Security Administration.

The pilot was detained in the Terminal 2 checkpoint before he was to board flight 1106, from St. Louis to Las Vegas, according to Jeff Lea, a Lambert spokesman. It wasn’t immediately clear if the man, a first officer, was a crew member on that flight or was simply flying as a passenger to a next stop.

Lea said the pilot did not have any permit to carry a concealed weapon or any authorization to carry the firearm. Federal rules require anyone who wants to travel with a firearm to make sure the weapon is unloaded and kept in checked luggage. The firearm owner also has to notify the airline.

The pilot was arrested on suspicion of unlawful use of a weapon. Charges are pending. The case will be turned over to St. Louis County prosecutors for consideration of charges.

In an email, Southwest Airlines said, “We are aware of a situation involving a Southwest Pilot at St. Louis Airport. We are currently working alongside the appropriate authorities to gather more information. We have no further information to share at this time.”

The flight was scheduled to leave St. Louis at 5:15 a.m. Online flight records show it left about 45 minutes late.

After the pistol was discovered at the checkpoint, the Transportation Security Administration employees called police and had police take the pilot and the gun away. TSA agents don’t handle weapons. “We don’t want it to go off in the middle of a busy checkpoint,” said Howell, the TSA spokesman.

Howell said he’s not sure what the pilot’s reason was for having a gun in his carry-on bag. “Just the same as everybody else, regardless if an airport employee or a passenger caught with it, 99.99 percent of the time they say, ‘Oops, I forgot it was in my bag.’”

While it’s “rare” for crew members to be arrested for trying to take weapons onto planes, Howell said, the TSA has been finding more and more firearms in bags in St. Louis and nationally.

“It’s continuing to go up, year over year,” he said.

This was the 46th weapon discovered at a security checkpoint in St. Louis this year. Last year, 31 were found.

Nationally, the TSA agents found 3,391 firearms at security checkpoints last year, and so far in 2017 have found 3,733.

TSA requires someone carrying a firearm on a plane to have it unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided container in checked baggage. In addition, the owner of the firearm must declare the firearm and any ammunition to the airline when checking the bag at the ticket counter. Federal law defines a loaded firearm as having a live round of ammunition in the chamber or in a magazine that is in the firearm.

Story, photo and comments ➤ http://www.stltoday.com

Air taxi operator GlobeAir reports strong growth



GlobeAir, the leading air taxi operator in Europe with 16 Citation Mustang jets, logged 2,509 flights between July and September this year –  more than any other Q3 period in its 10-year history and 4% higher than the same period in 2016.

The UK accounted for 299 of GlobeAir’s departures in Q3 this year, a rise of 33% on last year. 

The company attributes its robust growth to three factors.  Its focus on providing the highest possible standards of customer service; a significant increase in business aviation traffic and a growing trend to use smaller aircraft to save money.

Analysis of industry data by GlobeAir reveals that in October there were 72,504 business aviation departures in Europe, which is around 8% higher than the same month a year ago. 

Its analysis also reveals that the number of departures of very light business jets in Europe in September was 3.3% higher than 12 months ago, and year to date, departures of these types of private aircraft in Europe is up 11.3%. The corresponding figures for a midsize jet are -4.2% and -6.7%, and for a heavy Jets they are 2.8% and 2.6% respectively.

Mauro De Rosa, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer, of GlobeAir comments: “Demand for private aviation is clearly on the rise and the very light jet category is one of the main beneficiaries of this.

“However, our growth figures far exceed those of the market, and we believe this is primarily down to our focus on offering the best possible client experience. We provide a 24/7 personal service, we provide quotes within 10 minutes of receiving a request, and with our online booking service flights can be booked within seconds. 

“We also have much greater flexibility than many of our competitors because we have the biggest Mustang fleet in the world.”

GlobeAir’s fleet of Citation Mustang jets is able to connect to more than 1,500 airports around Europe and North Africa, including those with a short runway not accessible to commercial airlines. Travelers appreciate the advantages of being able to cover multiple business destinations in the same day, with a flexible departure time according to their own schedule.

Read more here ➤ https://ftnnews.com

Your Lost Bags May Not Count as Lost: A quirk in Department of Transportation accounting makes it easy for airlines to make their baggage statistics look better than they are — and a fix may be delayed



The Wall Street Journal
By Scott McCartney
Updated Nov. 15, 2017 7:40 p.m. ET

Several airlines have found a slick way to avoid counting some of the checked baggage they lose or delay, skewing comparisons of airline reliability. And it may be 2019 at the earliest before the loophole airlines are throwing bags through gets fixed.

Federal regulations since 1987 have required that airlines tally the number of mishandled bags monthly and report them to the Transportation Department. Specifically, airlines must disclose the number of mishandled baggage reports that travelers file at airline baggage offices—the paperwork where you describe your suitcase and give the airline an address for delivery once it turns up.

That turns out to be a key distinction. American Airlines rolled out messaging that notifies customers when a bag didn’t make a flight and asks for delivery instructions. United and Delta say they are about to do the same. That’s a huge convenience for inconvenienced passengers: No anxious waiting at the baggage carousel for a bag that won’t show. No standing in line for baggage-office paperwork.

But no paperwork means no report, airline executives say, so the lost or delayed bag never gets counted as mishandled in DOT statistics. American and United say they are complying with the regulation, even though they won’t be reporting all their mishandled bags. Delta says it has decided to set up its mobile app to generate the same report as going to the baggage office, and the mishandled bags will be reported to DOT.

A DOT spokeswoman says the agency is aware of what airlines are doing and looking into whether it “impacts the way airlines report mishandled baggage data.”

After American began proactive notification at the end of July, its rate of mishandled bags plunged 32% in August to 2.8 reports per 1,000 passengers, from 4.12 in August 2016. Monthly numbers bounce around because of weather problems or airline meltdowns that affect baggage handling. But these numbers represented by far the best August in four years for American. (August is the most recent month DOT has reported.)

American says the improvement resulted from many initiatives, primarily more scanning of bag tags, so the airline can do a better job of monitoring bags’ whereabouts. The customer notification and reporting change was just one factor, a spokesman says, and “certainly not” the reason for the statistical improvement.

United was scheduled to begin proactive notification last spring but says the baggage alerts have been delayed, with launch now expected for the first quarter of next year.

Delta says it has been notifying customers of baggage status since 2010 but still directs customers to a kiosk or baggage service office to file a report, which does get reported to DOT. That will change, Delta says, but the reporting to DOT will remain the same.

“We are exploring technology that would allow customers to bypass the [baggage service office],” a spokeswoman says.

The reporting dodge came to light after the Middle Seat reported it in March. Some airlines may follow suit. Others say they are talking to DOT about a fix that would level the playing field on baggage-handling performance.

JetBlue , for example, says it doesn’t think airlines should be singled out for reporting operational statistics while bus and rail lines, car-rental firms and hotels don’t have to publicly report performance.

“However, as long as requirements for airlines remain, they should be applied equally across all airlines,” a JetBlue spokesman says. “We would applaud the DOT for closing any loopholes that, left unchecked, would leave the traveling public with a less-than-accurate portrayal of actual performance.”

Southwest reports all mishandled bags to the DOT, a spokesman says. The airline says it has participated in discussions with the DOT and other airlines about mishandled baggage reporting guidelines and awaits further direction from the government.

That may be awhile. The DOT actually issued several changes last year to improve mishandled baggage reporting, including a change to require reporting the number of mishandled bags instead of the number of mishandled bag reports. It also requires reporting the number of bags checked instead of the number of domestic passengers boarded.

DOT currently compares the number of domestic mishandled baggage reports against the number of domestic passengers. But checked baggage fees changed passenger behavior, DOT said in its final order. So it wants to calculate mishandled baggage rates by comparing delayed, lost, stolen, damaged or pilfered bags to the total number of checked bags, instead of the number of passengers. The department calls the current means of measuring mishandled bags “outdated.”

The changes were scheduled to begin at the start of 2018. But last January, the Trump administration issued a temporary freeze on new regulations. A week after the freeze was issued, Airlines for America, the industry’s lobbying organization, requested a one-year delay. The DOT decided to delay the rules change until Jan. 1, 2019.

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

Mooney M20K 231, N96398, Mooney LLC: Fatal accident occurred April 09, 2016 at Ocala International Airport (KOCF), Marion County, Florida

Ross Anthony Grand (natural pilot, captain) died on April 9th, 2016 the only way that seemed fitting by doing exactly what he loved most; flying.   




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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Mooney LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N96398



NTSB Identification: ERA16FA150 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 09, 2016 in Ocala, FL
Aircraft: MOONEY M20K, registration: N96398
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 9, 2016, about 0850 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20K, N96398, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power after takeoff from Ocala International Airport (OCF), Ocala, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the passenger was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which had an intended destination of Lakeland Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida.

Information from the OCF air traffic control tower revealed that the airplane was cleared for takeoff and began its takeoff roll from runway 36 with about 7,000 ft of runway available. About 1 minute after the airplane was cleared for takeoff, the pilot announced, "I'm losing my engine… I'm going down on [runway] 26." Runway 26 was located at the end of and perpendicular to the takeoff runway.

The OCF ground controller (GC) was receiving a clearance by telephone when he overheard the pilot's radio call. He estimated that the airplane was north of the tower about 200 to 300 ft above the runway before it turned west. According to the GC, "The wings rocked a little in the turn, but when he lined up with the runway [26] he looked clean. He still looked high, like he might touchdown past midfield and go off the departure end. He looked stable, but then he turned left. The more he turned the steeper the turn got, and then when the wingtip hit the ground the airplane was 90 degrees."

The passenger was interviewed the day after the accident. She stated that she was not a pilot but had flown in the airplane several times. After landing at OCF the day before the accident, the pilot requested a fuel service of 10 gallons per wing, and they then spent the night with family. On the morning of the accident, they boarded the airplane for a flight to the Sun-n-Fun fly-in event. According to the passenger, engine start, taxi, run-up, acceleration, takeoff, and initial climb from runway 36 were "normal."

The passenger said she heard a sudden noise "like a click," and the engine stopped producing power. The pilot announced the loss of power and his plan for the forced landing over the radio. The airplane was north of both runways, and the left turn westbound was "steady" until the airplane was about over runway 26. The wings began "rocking," and the turn continued to the left until the bank angle was 90° and the left wing struck the ground.

An airport employee said that his attention was drawn to the airplane by a "sputter-cough" sound. Demonstrating what he observed with a model of an airplane, he described a straight-ahead descent, followed by a left turn over runway 26, two "dips" that resembled a porpoising motion, and then a sharp, 90° left turn to ground contact.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on February 7, 2014. He reported 1,670 total hours of flight experience on that date.



AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1981. The maintenance records were not recovered, but a copy of the airplane's most recent annual inspection showed that it was performed on June 10, 2015, at 2,435.2 total aircraft hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather reported at the time of the accident included wind from 010° at 9 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 14°C, dew point 3°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.



WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest on the flat, grass surface of the airport infield, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 212° and was about 300 ft long. The airplane came to rest upright. The engine and its mount were separated from the airframe but remained attached by cables and wires. The propeller was separated and located 45 ft down the wreckage path from the first ground scar.

The firewall, instrument panel, and center console were crushed aft in compression and canted about 45° to the airplane's left. The windshield was destroyed, and the cabin roof was torn spanwise from the door opening to about mid-cabin. The inboard sections of both wings were intact and remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing outboard of the flap was separated by impact. The leading edge of the right wing was crushed aft in compression. Both wing fuel tanks contained fuel.

Control continuity could not be immediately established due to impact damage and the airplane's resting position. As the wreckage was sectioned for recovery, control continuity was established from the cockpit through impact breaks and saw cuts to the flight control surfaces.

The fuel selector handle was found between the "Left Tank" and the "Off" placard positions. Crushed airplane structure surrounded the selector handle and preserved its position at the time of impact.

The engine was rotated by hand through the vacuum pump drive pad. Continuity was established from the accessory section to the valvetrain and powertrain. Compression was confirmed using the thumb method. The turbocharger impeller moved freely when rotated.



MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Medical Examiner for District 5, Leesburg, Florida, performed the autopsy on the pilot and determined the cause of death was blunt chest trauma. The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot; the testing was negative for alcohol and drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Engine-Monitoring Instrument Data Download

The airplane was equipped with an Electronics International CGR-30P, panel-mounted instrument that monitored and recorded up to 66 parameters related to engine operations. The device was downloaded in the NTSB Recorders Laboratory.

The data began at 0741:04, at a point consistent with the engine at idle at device power-up, and the parameters continued through what was consistent with taxi, run-up, and eventually takeoff power application at 0751:04. At 0751:28, there was a rapid decrease in fuel flow, and, at 0751:42, there was a decrease in engine rpm and manifold pressure. Subsequently, manifold pressure and rpm stabilized around 14 inches and 1,300, respectively, and remained at these values until the end of the recording.



Engine Examination/Test Run

The engine was examined and test run in Mobile, Alabama, between May 31 and June 2, 2016. During examination and preparation, the crankshaft was sleeved, and the fractured propeller flange was welded back onto the crankshaft. The aft left oil cooler mount/mount leg and the magneto ignition harnesses were replaced due to impact damage. The magnetos remained secured in their mounts, and timing was confirmed at 20° before top dead center.

The engine starter, Nos. 3 and 5 cylinder intake tubes, and the entire exhaust system were replaced due to impact damage and for compatibility with the engine test cell equipment. The engine's turbocharger and waste gate were intact and installed for the engine test run without modification.

The engine started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously without interruption. The engine was run through the manufacturer's entire test run protocol with no anomalies noted. After completion of the test protocols, the engine was accelerated and decelerated rapidly several times between idle and full power. During the accelerations and decelerations, the engine ran smoothly and without interruption.



Fuel Selector Valve Tests

The 3-position fuel selector valve had detents corresponding to "Right Tank," "Left Tank," and "Off." When viewed relative to a clock face, the detents for "Right Tank," "Left Tank," and "Off" were positioned at 2 o'clock, 10 o'clock, and 8 o'clock, respectively.

As previously mentioned, the fuel selector valve handle was found in an intermediate position between the "Off" and "Left Tank" placard positions. Computerized axial tomography scan imagery revealed that the valve handle was positioned between the "Left Tank" and "Right Tank" detent positions and that all three valve ports were open to each other. The difference between the handle's position according to the placard and its actual position was consistent with the valve placard having been displaced relative to the handle.

The valve was placed on a flow bench in its as-found condition. When fuel was drawn through the selector valve at the engine port, fuel was drawn from both the left and the right tank ports simultaneously.

An exemplar Continental TSIO-360GB engine was placed in a test cell, and the engine fuel system was set up and adjusted to factory specifications of unmetered fuel pressure of 45 to 49.5 pounds per square inch (psi). The engine was then stopped, and the test stand fuel system was disconnected.

Fuel was then provided to the engine from an external fuel tank and a fuel system mockup (left tank, right tank, left and right vapor return, engine supply and return lines) through the accident fuel selector valve. The accident fuel selector valve was tested in the as-found position between the left tank and the right tank detent positions.

The engine was primed using the test cell's fuel system, but it was started and run on an external fuel tank that was positioned about wing level. The engine started immediately and ran continuously without interruption to full power of 2,700 rpm and 40 inches of manifold pressure. During the full-power portion of the run, which was between 8 and 10 minutes, the unmetered fuel pressure maintained 49 psi. Engine power was reduced to idle and the engine continued to run normally.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Step two in the Before Takeoff checklist found in the manufacturer's Pilot's Operating Handbook was: "Fuel Selector … FULLEST TANK."



NTSB Identification: ERA16FA150
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 09, 2016 in Ocala, FL
Aircraft: MOONEY M20K, registration: N96398
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.


On April 9, 2016, about 0850 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20K, N96398, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power after takeoff from Ocala International Airport (OCF), Ocala, Florida. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight intended for Lakeland Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.


The runways at OCF were oriented 18/36 and 08/26. The departure end of runway 36 was just south of the approach end of runway 26. When facing north, the two runways form an inverted "L" configuration.


Preliminary information from the OCF air traffic control tower revealed that the airplane was cleared for takeoff and began its takeoff roll from runway 36 with about 7,000 feet of runway available. Approximately one minute later, the pilot announced, "I'm losing my engine… I'm going down on [runway] 26."


The OCF ground controller (GC) was receiving a clearance by telephone when he overheard the radio call by the accident airplane. He estimated the airplane was north of the tower about 200 to 300 feet above the runway, before it turned to the west. According to the GC, "The wings rocked a little in the turn, but when he lined up with the runway [26] he looked clean. He still looked high, like he might touchdown past midfield and go off the departure end. He looked stable, but then he turned left. The more he turned the steeper the turn got, and then when the wingtip hit the ground the airplane was 90 degrees."


The passenger was interviewed the day after the accident. She stated that she was not a pilot, but had flown in the airplane several times. After landing at OCF the previous day, the pilot requested a fuel service of 10 gallons per wing, and they then spent the night with family. On the morning of the accident, they boarded the airplane for a flight to the Sun-n-Fun fly-in event. According to the passenger, engine start, taxi, run-up, acceleration, takeoff and initial climb from runway 36 were "normal."


The passenger said she heard a sudden noise "like a click" and the engine stopped producing power. The pilot announced the loss of power and his plan for the forced landing over the radio. The airplane was north of both runways and the left turn westbound was "steady" until the airplane was approximately over runway 26. The wings began "rocking" and the turn continued to the left until the bank was 90 degrees and the left wing struck the ground.


An airport employee said his attention was drawn to the airplane by a "sputter-cough" sound. Demonstrating what he observed with a model of an airplane, he described a straight-ahead descent, followed by a left turn over runway 26, two "dips" which resembled a porpoising motion, and then a sharp, 90-degree left turn to ground contact.


The airplane came to rest on the flat, grass surface of the airport infield and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 212 degrees and about 300 feet in length. The airplane came to rest upright. The engine and its mount were separated from the airframe, but remained attached by cables and wires. The propeller was separated and located 45 feet down the wreckage path from the first ground scar.


The firewall, instrument panel, and center console were crushed aft in compression, and canted about 45 degrees to the airplane's left. The windshield was destroyed, and the cabin roof was torn spanwise from the door opening to about mid-cabin. The inboard sections of both wings were intact and remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing outboard of the flap was separated by impact. The leading edge of the right wing was crushed aft in compression.


Control continuity could not be immediately established due to impact damage and the airplane's resting position. As the wreckage was sectioned for recovery, control continuity was established from the cockpit through impact breaks and saw cuts to the flight control surfaces.


The engine was rotated by hand through the vacuum pump drive pad. Continuity was established from the accessory section to the valvetrain and powertrain. Compression was confirmed using the thumb method. The turbocharger impeller moved freely when rotated.


The engine and airframe were recovered from the accident site and retained for further examination.


The maintenance records were not immediately recovered, but a copy of the airplane's most recent annual inspection revealed it was performed on June 10, 2015, at 2,435.2 total aircraft hours.


The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on February 7, 2014. He report 1,670 total hours of flight experience on that date.


Weather reported at the time of the accident included winds from 010 degrees at 9 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 14 degrees C, dew point 3 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.


The man who died in an airplane crash Saturday at the Ocala International Airport has been identified as Ross Grand, 49, of Prairieville, Louisiana.

The crash happened about 8:50 a.m. after Grand reported an issue with the engine and tried to return to the airport after takeoff, according to airport director Matt Grow. A woman aboard the aircraft received minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital.


The airplane was not based in Ocala.