Friday, December 01, 2017

Boeing A75N1 (PT17) Stearman, N63555, Palm Springs Air Museum Inc: Accident occurred March 02, 2016 at Palm Springs International Airport (KPSP), Riverside County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:


The airline transport pilot reported that, shortly after takeoff on the local sightseeing flight, the engine experienced a partial loss of power about 400 ft above ground level. The pilot initiated a turn back to the airport and subsequently landed hard on the runway, substantially damaging the airplane.

During the postaccident engine examination, an obstruction was found in one end of the fuel hose between the gascolator to the carburetor. The firesleeve on the hose was removed, which revealed that the hose entered the fitting at a slight angle that was not visible with the firesleeve in place. To facilitate further examination, the hose was cut close to the obstruction. The inner surface of the hose appeared cut and curled into the hose near the fitting, consistent with the improper assembly of the hose and fitting. It is likely that the curled piece of hose acted as a flapper valve that either restricted or cut off fuel flow to the carburetor. The high demand for fuel during takeoff depleted the supply of fuel in the carburetor and resulted in the loss of power. Although maintenance log entries indicated that the last replacement of the fuel hoses occurred 49 years before the accident, given the condition of the hoses, it is likely that a subsequent replacement was performed but not documented. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
Improper assembly of a fuel hose, which restricted the fuel supply to the carburetor and resulted in a loss of engine power during the initial climb after takeoff.

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

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Palm Springs Air Museum Inc:

Location: Palm Springs, CA
Accident Number: WPR16LA078
Date & Time: 03/02/2016, 1300 PST
Registration: N63555
Aircraft: BOEING A75N1(PT17)
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On March 2, 2016, about 1300 Pacific standard time, a Boeing A75N1 (PT17), N63555, touched down hard during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during the initial climb at Palm Springs International Airport, Palm Springs, California. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries and the passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Palm Springs Air Museum Inc. was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local sightseeing flight was originating at the time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that the engine lost power passing through 400 ft after takeoff from runway 31L. He saw houses and other obstacles straight ahead and decided to turn around to land on runway 13R. The airplane landed hard on the runway centerline but came to rest aligned about 30° left of the runway heading.

During the initial examination, the forward end of the fuselage sustained crush damage around the front cockpit. The throttle lever in the cockpit would not move due to the damage; all linkages were connected from the cockpit to the carburetor. The mixture lever in the cockpit would not move due to the damage; all linkages were connected from the cockpit to the carburetor. Examination of the wreckage established flight control continuity for all flight controls. Portions of the bottom cylinders, numbers four and five, fractured and separated. A clear blue fluid, consistent with the smell of Avgas, was drained from the gascolator, and a water paste test had no reaction indicating that water contamination was not present. All fittings that could be reached were tight. A black fluid consistent with motor oil was evident on the dipstick. There was no external evidence of catastrophic mechanical malfunction.

A follow-up examination revealed that the exhaust tube coloration was light brown in color.

The air filter was clean. There was no discoloration in the intake tube at the filter.

The crankshaft was rotated using the propeller; there were no metallic sounds or binding. All valves except for the damaged bottom two cylinders moved approximately the same amount of lift in firing order. The gears in the accessory case turned freely. Thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders in firing order except for the two damaged bottom cylinders.

The carburetor was removed and disassembled. The floats were metal; the bowl contained no fluid. The accelerator pump operated without resistance. The throttle lever would not move; the housing was crushed; the butterfly valve was almost vertical (fully open). The mixture lever moved freely from stop to stop.

The carburetor heat arm was crushed at the box, and the rod end at the bellcrank fractured and separated along a jagged and angular plane. The fuel line was removed from the gascolator to the carburetor and nothing drained out from the line. The line was connected back to the gascolator and the fuel selector valve was turned on; blue fluid came out of the line. The line was removed again and an obstruction was seen near one end of the line. The firesleeve was removed on the hose. The hose went into the fitting at a slight angle that was not visible with the firesleeve in place. The line was cut close to the obstruction. The inner surface of the hose appeared cut and curled into the hose at the fitting.

An entry in the maintenance logbooks dated October 20, 1967, recorded that all new gas lines were made. There were no entries after that to indicate any work was performed on the gas line hoses.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial; Flight Engineer
Age: 62, Male
Airplane Rating(s):  Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider; Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/08/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/14/2014
Flight Time:  14388 hours (Total, all aircraft), 35 hours (Total, this make and model), 10000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BOEING
Registration: N63555
Model/Series: A75N1(PT17)
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 75-8014
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/30/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2950 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9021 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors Inc
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: WR-670-6N
Rated Power: 220 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: PSP, 477 ft msl
Observation Time: 1253 PST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / -1°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 20000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Palm Springs, CA (PSP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Palm Springs, CA (PSP)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1300 PST
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: Palm Springs International (PSP)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 477 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 31L
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 10000 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 33.824444, -116.506667 (est)

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA078 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2016 in Palm Springs, CA
Aircraft: BOEING A75N1(PT17), registration: N63555
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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

On March 2, 2016, about 1250 Pacific standard time, a Boeing A75N1 (PT17), N63555, touched down hard during an aborted takeoff following a loss of engine power at Palm Springs International Airport, Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs Air Museum was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that passing through 200 feet on the takeoff the engine lost power. He elected to abort the takeoff, and the airplane landed hard.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge and inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the wreckage. Both of the main landing gear fractured and separated at the root, and both of the wings buckled. Portions of the bottom cylinders broke off. Fuel was drained from the gascolator, and a water paste test had no reaction indicating that water contamination was not present. There was no external evidence of catastrophic mechanical malfunction. The wreckage was removed to a recovery facility for further examination.

South Alabama Regional Airport (79J) working to get air traffic control

For the fourth time in the last 15 months, local pilots are needed to fly in and out of South Alabama Regional Airport as the airport undergoes another air traffic control exercise.

SARA Executive Director Jed Blackwell said the exercise will be Monday through Thursday of next week and will go from 8:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.

The airport has been working to get air traffic control back for sometime now.

Blackwell said there is interest in getting the T-1 tower back and possibly SARA constructing another tower down the line.

Blackwell said they wanted to focus on getting the tower back and staffed.

Star-News archives show that an unlucky lighting strike in 2011, paired with federal budget cuts, made the military decide to stop providing air traffic control services locally.

The air traffic control tower and ground-control approach radar, which was due to be upgraded in 2012, was hit by lightning in September 2011.

Last October, Blackwell requested an air traffic control assessment, and the airport had good numbers.

Backwell said then that they needed between 150-200 operations per day to meet the qualifications for a T-1 tower.

Letter: Someone should be fired for snowy owl shooting at Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH)

The shooting of the snowy owl at the airport should be met with the firing of the individual or individuals who exercised such poor judgement. This law was put in place for the "Direct Threat To Human Safety" at commercial airports.

The airports that have regularly used this law are JFK and New Jersey, both of which have thousands of flights arriving and departing daily. To take a small airport like Oshkosh has and hang your hat on killing this bird that could have been caught in minutes and transported to a safer area defies logic.

The law that was in place for true commercial airports and not a "Bugtussle" airport like we have here. Watch management circle the wagons and "excuse their way out of this". 

Jon Gafner

Original article  ➤

Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH)  issues statement regarding snowy owl shooting

OSHKOSH - The Wittman Regional Airport on Friday afternoon issued a statement regarding a snowy owl that was legally shot at the airport this week.

The statement came after USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin reported Thursday on the shooting of the bird, which was near a runway. The airport has gotten blowback on social media since the story became public. 

Its full statement read:

"On Monday of this week, airport crews made efforts to remove a snowy owl that had  been reported within close proximity to Runway 9/27. An arriving pilot had notified  the air traffic control tower of the owl’s location.

Upon notification from tower personnel, members of the airport maintenance crew investigated the report and discovered the owl close to a runway designator sign on Runway 9/27. The owl’s location was inside the designated runway safety area, within 50 feet of the runway edge.

Wittman Regional Airport possesses a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to lethally remove, if necessary for the safety of the airport and its users, a variety of animal species, including Snow Owls, from airport property.

Several attempts, using various approved methods, were made to frighten the owl into moving off the airport. The owl did not respond to any of those methods. Because of the close proximity to the runway and the potential for an aircraft to be damaged by the owl if it flew into the path of an aircraft, the decision was made to lethally take it. That decision was not taken lightly, nor is it the preferred method of removal.

Airport personnel make every effort to preserve the lives of all animals that encroach upon airport operational surfaces; lethal removal methods are not the primary means of removal, but occasionally have to be employed when preferred methods of scaring animals are unsuccessful. Among the more recent efforts at Wittman Airport was the installation of a taller fence around portions of the airport property to help decrease opportunities for deer or other animals to enter airport property and potentially cause hazardous situations. Another measure has been to plant grasses that are unappealing to wildlife. However, sometimes these efforts fail and the animal must be removed by other means.

While bird strikes are rare, the damage can be catastrophic resulting in the loss of both aircraft and even human life. According to a report from the FAA, “Wildlife Strikes to Civil Aircraft in the United States 1990-2015” ( there were a total of 164,444 bird strikes in the US during this time period. 13,558 of these strikes resulted in damage or severe damage to the aircraft. Of those bird strikes, 2,585 were reported as owls, resulting in an average of 129 incidents with owls annually. One hundred ninety-nine (199) of these owl strikes were specifically caused by Snow Owls, averaging 8 strikes each year. Damage to aircraft from bird strikes has occurred to aircraft at Wittman Airport in past years.

The airport has worked with trapping agencies in the past, but in the last such instance, airport staff were required to monitor the bird twenty-four hours each day until the trappers arrived three days later. Fortunately, that owl was in a location on the airport that did not pose an immediate potential conflict with aircraft operations.

This event is certainly unfortunate and the outcome is not what anyone working at Wittman desired; however, Wittman Airport, like all airports in the world, must take extraordinary measures on occasion to ensure the safety of aircraft and their occupants."

Original article can be found here ➤

OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- The shooting of a snowy owl at the Oshkosh airport is raising concerns about why the bird was killed.

The Wittman Regional Airport director says it was a matter of safety.

But advocates for birds say the situation could have been handled better.

It's been three days since a snowy owl was shot and killed at Wittman Regional Airport, but Winnebago Audubon Society President Janet Wissink says she is still upset.

"It's emotional, you know. Bird lovers love snowy owls," said Janet Wissink, Winnebago Audubon Society President.

The big white bird was shot on Tuesday. Airport Director Peter Moll says a pilot spotted the bird in the grass less than 50 feet off the east-west runway.

"The owl did not want to move," said Peter Moll, Wittman Regional Airport Director.

Moll says the maintenance crew often uses a cap gun to scare birds but the truck didn't have one. They did have a shotgun.

"We did try several warning shots into the air, not near it, to maybe scare it, tried the horn on the truck too, tried that. It just wouldn't move. It's not our first choice, we always want to do the best thing to get any animal, or any bird off the airport first without having to kill it. Unfortunately because the safety issues, we had to do it this way," said Moll.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issues airports permits to shoot animals which are deemed a safety hazard. The snowy owl is on the list.

"It's kind of a last-step thing to lethally remove a bird. Non-lethal techniques are tried, and if those aren't effective, then some lethal take may be required for safety purposes," said Tom Cooper, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program Chief.

But Janet Wissink still wonders why. She says local bird groups could trap problem owls and relocated them elsewhere.

"Maybe we can work together to help remedy that. If we have certain people available," she said.

"We'll reach out to those organizations that have offered training and definitely talk with them about what they can do to help us," said Moll.

Moll says in his 12 years on the job, this is the first time a snowy owl has been shot at the airport.

Story and video ➤

Protected snowy owl legally shot at Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH)

OSHKOSH - A snowy owl sitting near a runway was fatally shot at Wittman Regional Airport Tuesday, a legally-permitted move that has left some perplexed.

Pilot Doug Cooper said he and his co-pilot were taxiing into the airport Tuesday when they saw a snowy owl land on a taxiway sign. Thinking it was cool, they mentioned it to the control tower.

But after they stopped in the hangar and were putting the plane away they heard gunshots, he said. The other pilot said he saw a man shoot the owl, Cooper told USA TODAY 

The snowy owl is on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's list of protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

But airport Director Peter Moll said the airport has a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allows them to take steps to remove such birds, including lethal measures — which he said doesn't happen often. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Permits Chief Larry A. Harrison confirmed that Wittman has a permit that authorizes the airport to remove or kill about a dozen species of birds, including snowy owls. 

Airports are granted such permits specific to aviation safety to protect the public, he said.

Moll said a maintenance crew's efforts to make the bird fly off from its perch near the runway were unsuccessful, and they decided not to try to trap it because of time constraints and its proximity to the runway. They felt the bird was an aviation hazard.

"It was done in the interest of safety," he said. "We did try to scare it away from the runway but the bird didn’t respond, and we have to use measures we think are necessary for the safety of pilots and the airport.” 

Janet Wissink, president of the Winnebago Audubon Society, wasn't surprised to hear that a snowy owl wasn't easily startled. They don't tend to be that afraid of humans, she said.

Still, she was upset when she found out the owl had been killed.

"It upset me very much because I just pictured this beautiful white bird as I’ve seen them in the past, just sitting so regally," she said. "They’ll sit for hours on a fence post or on a clod of dirt out in the field and they’re gorgeous birds."

She hopes this incident starts a conversation about how to avoid such deaths in the future, including bringing in a group that's trained to trap and relocate.

"Let's talk about this and figure out a better way," she said.

Story and comments ➤

Belize: Plane Found Burnt In Field - Likely Carried Drug Cargo

November 26, 2017 -   Orange Walk police found a burnt plane in the Orange Walk District. It is believed to have carried a drug cargo - and was most likely destroyed by the traffickers flying it - which is standard procedure. The plane is a large one - believed to be a twin turboprop King Air 200 - and it can carry a heavy cargo, as much as a tonne. It was found crashed and burned in a corn field not far from Hill Bank in the south-central Orange Walk District.

Police told us more:..

ASP Alejandro Cowo, O.C., C.I.B., Belize City
"Yesterday, Orange Walk police received information of a plane somewhere in the Hill Bank area. As a result police and BDF personnel proceeded to the Hill Bank area where they observed in a cornfield an aircraft completely destroyed by fire."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Was there any signs of illicit activity or any reports that illicit activity had been seen in or around the plane?"

ASP Alejandro Cowo
"So far we don't have information that anything illegal was seen in the area. The only information that the police received about this plane in that area, hence the reason they proceed there and they found the plane completely destroyed by fire."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Was it a landing strip or was it that they just landed on corn, or was it just a little landing area carved out?"

ASP Alejandro Cowo
"It just landed on the plain cornfield."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Are you all drawing any conclusions if it was drug-related?"

ASP Alejandro Cowo
"Well, we are looking at that angle at this moment. The police and the BDF are working together to establish exactly what happened out there."

No lives appear to have been lost.

Civil Aviation could not confirm the type of plane because they have not inspected it yet. It was completely burnt and stripped of clues. Our sources tell us these areas in the southern Orange Walk District and Northwestern Belize District are commonly used as landing areas for drug cargo.

Original article can be found here ➤

Belize authorities have discovered an aircraft which was landed in the Orange Walk District. Someone set it on fire, most likely to destroy any sort of evidence. This is an illicit landing, and so, it is suspected that this plane was carrying drug cargo.

Assistant Superintendent Alejandro Cowo, the officer commanding Eastern Division’s Criminal Investigation Branch, confirmed reports of the discovery to the press in the bi-weekly police press conference on Monday, November 27.

ASP Cowo said that on Sunday, November 26, Orange Walk police received information that there was a downed plane in the Hill Bank Area of the District. They quickly deployed to the location, and in a corn field, they came upon the aircraft which was completely destroyed by fire.

Belizean law enforcement don’t yet know the make and model of the aircraft because all identifying features were removed. The experts from the Civil Aviation Department are expected to go out to the location and inspect it, to hopefully make that determination. Those with knowledge of aircrafts, who’ve seen it, believe that this plane is a twin turbo-prop King Air 200. Such an aircraft is reported to be able to carry cargo that is up to a tonne.

Police have not specified if they have reason to suspect whether this corn field is an illegal airstrip in disguise, or if it is only just a corn field. From their inspection, however, it appears that the persons who were using this aircraft simply used the corn field as a landing zone.

If that aircraft is determined to be the twin turbo prop King Air 200, then that means that the users destroyed an expensive asset. Online estimates say that planes of that type cost anywhere from over US $300,000, to about US 1.5 million dollars. It is a standard practice by narco-traffickers to destroy airplanes after a drug cargo is moved from one location to the next. So, if the aircraft was intentionally destroyed, then it is a reasonable speculation that whatever cargo it was carrying is far more valuable.

The cops found nothing else on scene, and no other signs of the users of this plane.

Original article can be found here ➤

Editorial: Washington state should make it a top priority to persuade Boeing to build its next airplane in the Puget Sound region; there is no time to waste

Boeing workers inspect carbon fiber after it was laid down by an automated fiber-placement machine to create a wing for the Boeing 777X in Everett in October. Tax preferences extending to 2040 helped secure the Everett.

By Seattle Times editorial board 

Washington state and the aerospace industry are eagerly awaiting Boeing’s decision on whether to build a new midmarket plane that some have dubbed the 797.

The region’s leaders should not wait, however, to begin a full-court press to be sure that plane is built in the Puget Sound area.

If built, the plane could enter service around 2024 and provide thousands of family-wage jobs for decades.

Despite job reductions and the dispersion of work to other states in recent years, Boeing continues to anchor an aerospace cluster employing 130,000 at 1,400 establishments across the state.

Washingtonians are deeply invested in supporting Boeing and its new generation of fuel-efficient planes. Tax preferences extending to 2040 helped secure the Everett production of Boeing’s upcoming 777X and facilities to build its carbon-fiber composite wing.

Details of the midmarket plane aren’t final, but it would incorporate 777X and 787 advances in composite materials and control systems. In size, it would be between the 737 and 787.

Innovations with the 797 are likely to include further advances in manufacturing technology and support services that Boeing provides to buyers.

Much of that involves complex software systems, giving Boeing’s birthplace an advantage. Every major tech company has a presence in Seattle to take advantage of deep expertise building large-scale systems and services.

State and local officials must be pre-emptive, not reactive, and anticipate what’s needed to retain and grow key employers. This was the lesson of Amazon’s abrupt decision to build a second headquarters elsewhere.

An aerospace industry consortium is working with state officials to land the plane. They’re forming a coalition early next year to make a pitch to Boeing. It will include labor, industry and government.

This should be expedited and elevated, with high-profile support from Gov. Jay Inslee and other leaders.

Inslee met recently with Boeing leadership and the state Department of Commerce plans to step up its 797 campaign early next year.

Backstage preparation is good, but the sense of urgency isn’t clear to the broader community. Inslee’s aerospace web page is woefully outdated, with links to sites that no longer exist. The state’s aerospace liaison recently resigned, and Commerce is strained after $2 million was cut from its $16 million biennial budget.

Still, there is no time to lose. The short 2018 legislative session is just five weeks away, leaving little time to act on any requests by a coalition yet to be formed.

One opportunity may be providing new workforce-training. Potential 797 work should be factored into efforts to boost internships, technical schools and community colleges.

The state previously invested in training for composite-materials careers. More can be done to prepare students for opportunities in advanced manufacturing, including robotics.

State Rep. Drew Hansen, chair of the House higher-education committee, said legislators can move quickly when there’s agreement on urgent needs such as training and credentialing.

“We support helping people get the training they need so they can get a decent job to support their family,” he said.

Much is at stake.

Boeing’s decision on where to design and build the first new plane developed during its second century has major implications for Washington’s future as a leading manufacturer and exporter.

Reminding Boeing that this continues to be the smartest and most lucrative place to build next-generation products and services must be a top priority for Washington’s leadership.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Donna Gordon Blankinship, Brier Dudley, Mark Higgins, Melissa Santos, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

Original article  ➤

Air Methods Receives Media Impact Rating of -0.04

News stories about Air Methods have been trending somewhat negative on Friday, according to Accern. The research firm identifies positive and negative news coverage by analyzing more than 20 million blog and news sources. Accern ranks coverage of public companies on a scale of negative one to one, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. Air Methods earned a media sentiment score of -0.04 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned media stories about the company an impact score of 45.5666682709686 out of 100, meaning that recent news coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the company’s share price in the near future.

Air Methods traded down $0.05 during trading hours on Friday, reaching $42.95. The company had a trading volume of 1,129,900 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,119,255. Air Methods has a twelve month low of $23.75 and a twelve month high of $43.95. The company has a quick ratio of 2.45, a current ratio of 2.75 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.55.

About Air Methods

Air Methods Corporation is engaged in providing air medical emergency transport services and systems throughout the United States. The Company’s segments include Air Medical Services (AMS), Tourism and United Rotorcraft (UR) Division. As of December 31, 2016, its AMS Division provided air medical transportation services in 41 states to the general population as an independent service (also called community-based services) and to hospitals or other institutions under exclusive operating agreements (also called hospital-based services).

Original article can be found here ➤

Pilots expected to get option to steer clear of high-rises on approach to Teterboro Airport (KTEB)

TETERBORO — A flight path to Teterboro Airport that could divert planes away from high-rise buildings and one of the largest hospitals in the country, was recommended to the FAA by a noise abatement committee, and seems more likely to be used by pilots than earlier alternatives. 

The proposed flight path, called the RNAV(GPS) option, would offset incoming flights west of the current approach, so pilots could fly over Maywood and Rochelle Park as they land. 

The Teterboro Airport Noise Abatement Advisory Committee, a group of airport and town officials that oversee noise abatement and recommend action to the FAA and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, voted unanimously to direct Renee Spann, the airport manager, to send a letter to the FAA requesting they move forward with the runway approach. The flight path would divert planes away from the Hackensack University Medical Center and high-rise apartment buildings along the Prospect Avenue corridor in Hackensack.

“Now what we OK'd the other night was that they go ahead with the testing of the procedure,” said Fred Dressel, the co-chairman of the committee. “That doesn’t mean we OK'd the procedure. Other than that they start their investigation into the potential of making changes.”

Upon receipt of the letter, the FAA will take between 16 to 18 months to add the procedure to Teterboro Airport, said FAA spokesman Jim Peters. If the letter is received within the next few weeks, the airport could have the flight path as early as spring 2019.

The letter from the committee is arguably the first tangible step in more than a year of discussion about the path planes take to land at Runway 19 at Teterboro. In their final approach, planes fly low over densely populated areas. Many of the residents of these buildings, most often represented as members of the Hackensack Condo & Co-op Advisory Board, have been at several committee meetings to protest the flight path.

The flight path would not replace the current approach. Instead, it would be an option that pilots could use on clear days, and when visibility is not a factor. Pilots would still have the option of using the current approach, called the instrument landing system, at any time.

Spann, who is also the co-leader of the committee, declined to comment, referring questions to the Port Authority. The Port Authority referred questions to Dressel. As of Friday, the letter had not yet been sent.

In response to resident concerns, last year the FAA implemented a six-month test of a new flight path that would take planes along the Route 17 corridor. The test flight path, dubbed the "quiet visual approach," required pilots to use visual checkpoints such as Westfield Garden State Plaza and the Sports Dome Complex in Waldwick to land planes on the runway.

The path was barely used by pilots, who preferred to use instruments to land their planes rather than the visual cues, said FAA officials. The test flight path was abandoned and residents were angered at the lack of data and the FAA's inability to compel pilots to use the path.

Based on discussions the FAA had with pilots, the latest option seemed more likely to be accepted by pilots, said Dressel. This time around, the FAA is looking to make the RNAV (GPS) option a permanent procedure, said Maria Aviles, program integration officer for the FAA, at a previous noise abatement committee meeting.

"At least it’ll get a good shake," said Dressel. 

The approval for the flight path to begin was terrific, but a hard-fought win, said Connie Bovino, president of the Hackensack Condo & Co-op Advisory Board.

"Well, our group has been fighting it for a year. Prior to that, I don’t think anyone started fighting it for a long time," said Bovino. "I know 10 years ago they were fighting it and got nowhere. This time at least the FAA listened to us, but they had two plane crashes before that." 

Story and video ➤

Atlanta ethics office investigates Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (KATL) conflict of interest issue

Hartsfield-Jackson International awarded a lucrative contract and contract extensions to a concessionaire that’s in a partnership with the wife of an airport executive.

The city of Atlanta’s ethics office is conducting a preliminary investigation into the matter involving airport executive Cortez Carter, according to ethics officer Jabu Sengova.

Carter was placed on paid administrative leave after the city of Atlanta learned that his wife Charisse Works Carter has a business that partnere

Some of the contracts with Hojeij pre-date Carter’s time as an executive for the world’s busiest airport. But the company also has been chosen for several new contracts for restaurants and shops on Concourse B, C and E while he’s been in the job.

The latest contracts hang in the balance, pending approval by Atlanta City Council and the mayor.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s deputy chief of staff Katrina Taylor Parks said “everything is under review.”

Hojeij contract wins

Carter was hired in 2015 to lead an airport division called ATL Business Ventures. But earlier this year he was promoted and added commercial development to his responsibilities — including concessions and concessions development.

In November 2016, the city approved a deal to award contracts for a few new eateries, including a Wendy’s on Concourse B to be operated by a Hojeij joint venture.

Last month, the Atlanta City Council approved an extension of contracts for restaurants at Concourse E, including a contract held by Hojeij. It was the fifth extension of the contracts, following three extensions in 2016 and a fourth in May 2017 — all while Carter was at the airport.

The contract extensions were offered due to delays in the selection of new restaurant contractors, amid turmoil at City Hall.

As part of an Atlanta City Hall bribery scandal, chief procurement officer Adam Smith was fired in February and later pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept more than $30,000 in bribes for helping a vendor win city contracts.

In October and November of this year, while Carter was overseeing concessions, Hojeij was notified it was selected as one of the companies to open new restaurants on Concourse E and selected for a retail contract. Those are among the contracts that have not yet been approved by city council.

The mayor’s office says Carter was not involved in decisions to extend contracts and was not on evaluation committees for other concessions contracts Hojeij competed for.

The ethics office is looking into whether Carter should have filed a conflict of interest disclosure report because of his wife’s partnership. The ethics office website says city officials and employees “must file an online conflict disclosure form when they have a financial or personal interest in a decision, legislation or matter pending before the individual or his or her agency.”

The ethics office does not have any written record of such a conflict of interest disclosure report from Carter, or any record of recusal from decision-making by Carter on concessions contracts.

But there’s more than one way the city can learn about a potential conflict. Concessionaires are also asked about potential conflicts of interest when they compete for airport contracts.

Charisse Works Carter owns AirWorks Concessions, which was chosen in 2015 as a Hojeij partner for a restaurant at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., according to Hojeij.

On a contractor disclosure and declaration form, Hojeij was asked to “disclose any interest held with any City employee or official, or family members of a City employee or official, which may yield, directly or indirectly, a monetary or other material benefit to the Respondent or the Respondent’s family members.”

But if there was any disclosure by Hojeij of a potential conflict, it did not reach the ethics office in the most recent round of contracting. The ethics office does not have jurisdiction over the procurement process, but it is sometimes asked to review documents if there are concerns.

AirWorks and Hojeij

Hojeij said in a statement that AirWorks was part of a mentor-protege program and the two companies did not work together in Atlanta.

Charisse Carter’s LinkedIn profile lists her background in telecommunications with a degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from Loyola University in Chicago.

AirWorks was registered as a business in Illinois in 2012, when Cortez Carter was a managing deputy commissioner for Chicago airports O’Hare and Midway. A Hojeij spokesman said the company was introduced to Charisse Carter in 2014 through another company and signed a letter of intent in February 2015, before Cortez Carter got the job at Hartsfield-Jackson.

“We believe in the integrity of the procurement process and are confident that any awards to HBF will be made based on the merits of our proposal,” Hojeij said in a written statement.

Rick Grimm, CEO of the National Institute for Government Purchasing, said conflict of interest disclosures are aimed at avoiding “optics issues… because it’s about public trust and it’s about transparency.”

As an airport official, Carter was required to fill out an annual financial disclosure. But the questionnaire is focused on direct transactions with the city of Atlanta. That questionnaire may not have applied in this case because AirWorks was awarded business in Washington rather than in Atlanta.

That’s why the city’s ethics office investigation centers on whether Carter should have filled out a separate conflict of interest disclosure.

The narrow focus of the questionnaire may miss relationships in concessions that span different airports. Leading concessionaires such as HMSHost, Delaware North and Areas do business around the country and the world, establishing an array of partnerships with other companies.

“It’s a web of relationships and holdings that are literally multi-national companies,” said Kerwin Swint, a professor of political science at Kennesaw State University. “It complicates the task of accountants and auditors.”

Grimm said the flipside of conflict of interest concerns is that “when you begin to eliminate competition because you think there may be a conflict of interest that may be a few generations removed, that also creates a challenge,” because a goal of public procurement is to maximize competition, he said. “That’s when you get the best value.”

“I know situations where it would be perfectly legitimate for the wife of this husband to be a contractor, as long as she’s not selling directly,” Grimm said. “Other places would say that’s absolutely not acceptable. And that’s why you have a standard in place.”

He said legislating such ethical issues is done “reactively, because some problem has occurred and then we create a legislative framework that says ‘thou shalt’ and ‘thou shalt not.’”

“But it really is about understanding your role in public service, which is to make sure the optics are clear.”

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Federal Aviation Administration: Runway near-misses continue to rise

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport continues its reign as the world's busiest. But that comes with a risk.

Experts say there's an ever-growing number of passengers with airport space failing to catch up. The result is on the ground congestion and confusion, just waiting for disaster.  

It's a problem we've been reporting on for more than two years. But now, the FAA is finally admitting in a new report it's "a major safety issue."

Runway incursions is aviation speak for when an aircraft or vehicle enters another's path without authorization. The FAA released new data which shows incursions are increasing at a rate of about 10 percent each year.

And this year, they're at an all-time high with 1,300 incidents worldwide. 

Six of those were classified as A and B events, which is classified as serious incidents in which a collision is narrowly avoided, or an incident with significant potential for collision.

In other words, by the grace of God, no one was killed.  

"The clock is clearly ticking when you see these near-misses and realize we've come rather close to some bad things happening," says aviation expert Seth Kaplan.

According to the FAA, the majority of these recent incursions are due to "pilot deviation," or aircraft improperly cleared to land or depart on an occupied runway.

ATL, which the FAA says has historically ranked near the top of the list for incursions, has seen its fair share of close calls and continues to. Just last year, a Delta plane on Runway 27R aborted takeoff after an arriving jet crossed its path.

The departing plane had to slam on its brakes.

The FAA has identified four runway hot spots of continual concern at the airport. 

"That's a place where they've known people to cross when they shouldn't cross," says retired pilot Chuck Maire.

The alarming increase in reported incursions -- which continues today -- comes after the FAA launched a national runway safety plan two years ago to reduce runway crossings.

The FAA claims better reporting is one reason incidents are rising so rapidly. None the less, their admission this fall of a "major safety issue" makes it clear the problem hasn't been solved.

Safety experts say, however, that air travel as a whole is the safest its been in years.

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Hartzell remembers beloved owner: James ‘Jim’ Brown Jr. leaves behind aviation legacy

\Jim Brown, former owner and CEO of Hartzell Propeller, right, visits with former Top Gun F-14 Tomcat pilot Dale “Snort” Snodgrass during the 2010 Friends of Hartzell air show at Piqua Airport/Hartzell Field in 2010. Brown passed away on November 20th, at the age of 84.

PIQUA — The owner and former CEO of Hartzell Propeller and a beloved member of the aviation community passed away recently, leaving behind a company of employees and a community of people who remember James “Jim” W. Brown Jr. with fondness and admiration.

Brown passed away on Nov. 20, at the age of 84.

“He was one of my heroes,” Rich Hess, master machinist of Hartzell Propeller, said.

Brown was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, avid pilot, successful businessman, and all-weather, carrier night-landing, qualified fighter pilot.

Brown was born on Feb. 11, 1933, in New Jersey. He graduated from Shaker Heights High School, attended Princeton University, and graduated from M.I.T., a transfer done so he could marry his high school sweetheart, Constance Wright, who was his wife for nearly 65 years.

Brown transferred the business over to his sons, Jim Brown III, and Joe Brown, in 1999, but remained active in the business until 2012, as well as attending the Hartzell air shows in recent years. Jim Brown III, is the president of Tailwind Technologies, Hartzell’s parent company, and also has a vice president role at Hartzell. Joe Brown is the president of Hartzell.

“He was known and loved here,” Hess said.

Hess remembered how Brown treated everyone equally, regularly engaging with all of the Hartzell employees and showing that he cared about them.

“He would come out on a regular basis and talk to the employees,” Hess said, noting how his interactions with Brown felt sincere. “He commanded respect.”

“He cared about the people, and it always came through,” Gary Chafin, vice president of Global Sales and Product Support, said. Chafin added that his wife credits Brown for their marriage, saying, “She says that the reason we’re married is because of Jim. Every time he saw me or he saw her, he said, ‘When are you two getting married?’”

Hess remembered how well Brown treated his wife, Connie, and how they would come together to company events like Farm Day, where he played with and encouraged the children.

A leader in business

Brown purchased Hartzell Propeller in 1987.

“I’ve been with the company for 38 years. I’ve been through two, three ownership changes … and I think that Jim’s purchase of Hartzell Propeller, it was probably a salvation, actually, for this company,” Dean Ward, director of Product Support, said.

Ward described working partial weeks in the early 1980s at Hartzell, calling it a “tough time.”

“I think Jim’s vision for what could be, along with his passion for aviation, commitment to community, and an uncanny, in my opinion, ability to recognize and develop talent, I think were the tools that he used to raise us up from some pretty low areas at one point,” Ward said. “I think that if it had not been for Jim’s interest and faith in the company at that time, we probably would not have lasted to see our 100-year anniversary.”

Hess later added, “He brought us to a world-class company.”

“He always said it was his job to be the poet and the cheerleader,” Chafin said. “He was this driving force behind the company, but it was always humble. He always asked about you and your family before talking about work.”

Brown had faith in his employees, and it showed.

“He always told us we were a great workforce over and over. We believed him, and it was inspirational,” Hess said, later adding, “He had faith and confidence in his people.”

“He had a lot of sayings. One of them was, ‘Hire talented people, and get out of their way,’” Brown’s son Jim said.

Employees at Hartzell admired the culture that Brown created.

“I always told him that I felt he built a company that had Fortune 500 capabilities, but with private company sensibilities,” Matt Jesch, CFO, said. He added, “He was very deliberate in constructing a culture.”

That culture was built on capable employees — making the environment a good place to work — and family values, Jesch said.

One of the first actions they remembered Brown taking at Hartzell was getting rid of time clocks. Jim said that the idea was that they were trusting employees to make flight critical equipment, so they could trust their employees on when they went to lunch. They also do not have assigned parking spots.

“He believed that regardless of the job you have, you matter,” Jim said.

Brown led by example, and going forward, employees hope to follow in Brown’s footsteps.

“You want to succeed even though he’s not with us anymore … I would like to live up to that standard,” Hess said. “We’re better people for knowing him.”

Brown was also revered for his tenacity and his commitment to following his passions by building up the company.

“I admired his risk-taking. He bought the company when he was 54 and kind of put it all on the the line,” Jesch said. “He was an M.I.T.-educated engineer, highly educated, and highly employable. I think he could have gone and run other companies. Instead he bought this company, moved to Piqua, and put it all in. He was all in on this company and his people.”

Later, Jim added, “Another one his sayings was, ‘Figure out what you’re deeply passionate about, and figure out how to get paid to do it.’ It took him a while, but at age 54 when he bought this place, it was a marriage of his passion for aviation and his business acumen coming together in an environment where he cherished the people and working relationships he had.”

Jim went on, saying, “A lot of people, the last chapters of their life may not be the most fulfilling, and for my dad, the 25 years that he was active here at Hartzell were the years that I think he cherished most. I think he thrived as a person in this environment. He was joyful everyday to have a chance to come in here.”

Making an impression

“I think every company wants to say, ‘We’re involved in the community, and we’re making a difference,’” Craig Barhorst, manufacturing manager, said.

For Brown and Hartzell, though, it was about “walking the walk.” Barhorst cited involvement with Positively Promoting Piqua, the Piqua Public Library, and United Way, in addition to attending Farm Day, volleyball tournaments, and more.

“He was instrumental in … getting a group of us to build a shelter house at Mote Park,” Barhorst said.

Brown was also involved in the aviation community, getting to know pilots and other members of the propeller and aviation industry.

“He’s had an influence on people every place he’s gone,” Ward said. Chafin added to that, saying, “Anywhere he’s gone, has made an impact.”

“He flew in the Navy. He was deeply passionate about flying and the pilots … He cared about the industry as well,” Jesch said. “It was more than a job and business, it was a love and understanding of an industry as well.”

Heidi Hennessy, director of Human Resources, recalled how pilots who participated in Hartzell’s air show shared messages about what Brown meant to them.

”His relationship with the pilots is the reason we’re able to have an air show, I think,” Hennessy said. “He touched their lives in such an important way.”

Brown is survived by his wife, Constance W. Brown; his children and in-laws: Judith and Rick Bryan, Ginger and Stuart Van Wagenen, Kate Brown and Michael Halberstam, Peggy and Michael Crosby, Jannie and Jim Brown III, and Kristen and Joe Brown; his grandchildren and in-laws; and his great-grandchildren.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on December 16th, at 4 p.m. at the Hunting Valley Campus of University School, 2785 SOM Center Road, Hunting Valley, OH 44022.

In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 4550 Montgomery Ave., Suite 1100 N, Bethesda, MD 20814 or online at:

Original article can be found here ➤