Saturday, December 16, 2017

Aims Community College to receive new planes at Greeley-Weld County Airport (KGXY)

Aims Community College will receive most of its five newly leased 2017 Piper Archer III TX Aircraft Trainers at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Greeley-Weld County Airport Terminal. The state-of-the-art Piper Archer TX will replace the college's single-engine Cessna 172s. Beginning in January, the new aircraft will provide aviation students the technical skills and modern proficiencies needed to be competitive in the technologically advanced aviation industry, according to a news release.

The Piper Archer TX is a fuel injected, 180 horsepower, four-seat, single engine trainer manufactured by Piper Aircraft, Inc., headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla. Aims is leasing the five new aircraft from Christiansen Aviation in Tulsa, Okla. The flight station features an all-glass advanced Garmin G1000 Avionics Suite, which prepares Aims pilots for the advancements in commercial flight stations.

"Aims aviation has been well known in the industry since 1968, and Saturday will be a great milestone for Aims as we continue to prepare students for a growing, demanding and rewarding industry for the years to come by providing relevant and innovative education to the communities we serve and beyond," said Aims CEO and President Leah L. Bornstein, in the release.

"Through significant modernization efforts, quality instruction and a growing market demand, Aims is striving to become the first choice and recognized leader in aviation education for Colorado as we build a stronger community."

Additionally, Aims is modernizing the Air Traffic Control Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) Lab with an Adacel Tower Simulator. Adacel is a company headquartered in Orlando, Fla., that produces simulation and training solutions, advanced speech recognition applications and operational air traffic management systems. The new Adacel Tower Simulator features a 270-degree visual system that uses five 55-inch ultra-narrow bezel displays and speech recognition technology that simulates ATC tower operations and ultimately prepares Aims student controllers for the demanding training and careers in Air Traffic Control. The new Adacel Tower Simulator will simulate varying weather scenarios, multiple airfields, multiple type aircraft and markings, as well as day/night operations, the release stated. It should be ready for student training beginning in spring 2018.

Original article ➤

Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (KSBA) remains open during Thomas Fire

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara Airport and the airspace surrounding Santa Barbara remains open Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017.

United Airlines has canceled its remaining flights for the day, according to Santa Barbara Airport officials. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights have continued to arrive as scheduled.

However airport officials say, both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines want travelers to check their flight status as that can change as the Thomas Fire continues to threaten Santa Barbara.

Class C airspace is unavailable, which applies to commercial planes like United Airlines.

Class E airspace is available but without tower communication, which means pilots need to talk to each other.

The Santa Barbara Airport tower is closed due to staffing issues due to the Thomas Fire.

Original article can be found here ➤

First Responders Learn To Fly Drones For Emergency Situations

Haw River, NC (WFMY) - Drones are one of the hottest toys of the Christmas season but they're also a tool first responders use to save lives.

Firefighters, police officers, and emergency management officials in Alamance County spent the week learning about drones and how to fly them in emergency situations.

Slowly but surely, Gibsonville Police Officer Josh Taylor is getting the hang of flying a drone.

“I can go left, right, up, down,” said Taylor.

But he has made some mistakes along the way.

"It's definitely a learning curve," said Taylor.

Taylor is part of a group of first responders from across the region learning how they can use the technology in their jobs to keep people safer.

"This machine could in fact save lives and keep us safe out in the field as well,” said Taylor. “It takes some of the risk factor out of it."

Haw River Police, Elon University Police, Elon Fire, and Chatham County Emergency Management each had a representative in the class.

The class spent Thursday and Friday practicing how to maneuver the drones at the Burlington Police Training Center in Haw River.

But before they could take flight, they had to learn the ground rules.

Participants spent a week in the classroom with commercial drone pilots Ralph Newcomb and Mike Sheron with the Public Safety UAS Institute.

Students not only learned the basics of flying a drone, but they also learned the rules and regulations necessary to earn their FAA licenses.

“There's a lot of responsibility with flying these,” said Newcomb. “They need to know where it is and what direction is flying in at all times.”

Outside, the class learned how drones can help them in all different types of emergencies -- like hostage situations or missing persons cases. 

In Friday’s training scenario, instructors placed a suspicious looking package next to a building to simulate a bomb threat.

The students took turns maneuvering the drone close enough to get a good look.

“This is just another tool in their toolbox to be able to save time, save money, and save lives,” said Newcomb.

Drones have proven to be an effective tool for law enforcement in the past.

In November, investigators used a drone to track down a missing woman in a cornfield in Randolph County.

None of the agencies who participated in the class actually have their own drones yet.

But participants say they’re exciting about the possibility of being able to use one in the future to improve public safety.

“I'm always looking to grow as an officer and we're also looking for ways to grow as a department,” said Taylor. “Keeping track and keeping up-to-date with technology and the advancements of machinery and incorporating it into our police field is really going to revolutionize the Public Safety industry.”

Alamance County Community College teamed up with Public Safety UAS Institute to teach the class.

Instructors are offering two classes in January for anyone interested in learning how to fly a drone safely.

For more details, click here.

Story and video ➤

Bombardier Challenger 605, 9H-VFA: Murtala Muhammed International Airport Police Command assures travelers of adequate security

The Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos State Police Command has assured travellers and other airport users of adequate security before, during and after the Christmas and New Year festivities.

The command spokesman, DSP Joseph Alabi, gave the assurance while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Saturday.

Alabi said: “I want to assure travelers and other airport users that police are on ground to guarantee their safety and security during this yuletide.

“Our men have been put on red alert.

“Some of them have been posted to strategic areas at the airport to prevent any unforeseen situation.

“Also, our patrol team is working round the clock to weed out miscreants who may want to capitalise on the season to perpetrate criminal activities.”

He also warned hoodlums to stay away from the airport during the period, saying that police would not hesitate to prosecute them when apprehended.

Alabi, however, advised travelers to go about their business with confidence, promising that police would guarantee security of people and property.

The command’s spokesman also confirmed that investigations had begun into the case of a burgled aircraft, which allegedly occurred recently at the airport.

According to him, the incident was reported to have occurred on a Vista Jet aircraft with Call Sign VJT 584, while taxiing at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

Alabi said the command was working with the Aviation Security of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and other relevant security agencies to unravel how the incident occurred.

Original article can be found here ➤

Less than 24 hours after SaharaReporters broke the news of how airport bandits of attacked and burgled VistaJet aircraft that was taxiing to apron after landing, the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has set up an investigation team to unravel the cause of the incident.

FAAN said that it has set up a combined team of Aviation Security (AVSEC) Department, Airport Police Command and other relevant security agencies to immediately get to the root cause of the incident.

A statement by Henrietta Yakubu, the spokesman of the agency said that the investigative team would immediately commence an investigation into the incident, which took place while the aircraft, a Vistajet with the registration number 9H-VFA was taxiing to the hangar of  Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) Ltd.

Yakubu in a three-paragraph statement said that the authority set up the panel in order to investigate if the incident truly occurred and to prevent a recurrence of such incident in the future.

But, SaharaReporters can confirm that the incident actually occurred on the night of Tuesday, December 12, 2017, when the jet with the registration number 9H-VFA operated by EAN was taxiing to the apron from the runway.

The statement said “The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has commenced investigations into the case of a burgled aircraft, alleged to have occurred on the night of  December 12th, 2017.

“The incident was reported to have occurred on a VistaJet aircraft with Call Sign VJT 584 while taxiing on the night the said date.

“A combined team of Faan's Aviation Security Department, Airport Police Command and other relevant security agencies have swung into action to reveal the perpetrators of this act and to prevent future reoccurrence of such.”

It would be recalled that SaharaReporters had exclusively reported on Friday how a private jet owned by VistaJet was attacked on the runway of the airport.

Information gathered by SaharaReporters had revealed that the jet was taxiing on the 18Right of the runway before the incident.

A source close to EAN had confided in our correspondent that one of a crewmember of the jet discovered that the rear door of the aircraft was opened while taxing to the hangar of EAN.

After an investigation, it was discovered that a big black bag belonging to the air hostess, named Francesca Louis was missing from the jet.

The source told our correspondent that it was not the first time such an incident would be happening at the airport.

Earlier in the year, some bandits allegedly opened a small aircraft door from the rear that was taxiing on the runway and escaped with some belongings of some of the occupants.

Original article can be found here ➤

Fixed Base Operators of the private terminals at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and Aviation Security officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have thrown more light on the alleged burgle of baggage compartment of a private jet while taxiing on the runway.

The sources, who spoke to THISDAY, expressed doubt over the possibility of anybody stealing from a taxiing aircraft.

Earlier reports indicated that the aircraft was attacked on the runway 18R of the airport by unknown bandits when taxiing to the hangar of Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) Ltd. The jet was said to be arriving from Istanbul between 2110 and 2130 hrs after landing in Lagos.

The pilot of the flight was Captain Emma Heering who reportedly discovered that the rear door of the aircraft was opened while taxiing to the hangar of EAN.

A senior official of Aviation Security of FAAN disclosed to THISDAY that when the pilot of the Vista Jet aircraft with call sign VJT 584 called the Control Tower over the alleged incident, security operatives inspected the aircraft and found out that the baggage compartment was not open.

Details later…

Original article can be found here ➤

VistaJet 9H-VFA

The security apparatus at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos was on Tuesday once again called to question as a private jet owned by VistaJet was attacked on the runway of the airport.

Information gathered by SaharaReporters revealed that the jet with the registration number 9H-VFA operated by EAN on December 12, 2017 was attacked on the runway 18R of the airport by unknown bandits when taxiing to the hangar of  Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) Ltd. The jet was arriving from Istanbul between 2110-2130 hrs after landing in Lagos.

A source close to EAN confided in our correspondent that the pilot of the jet Captain Emma Heering discovered that the rear door of the aircraft was opened while taxiing to the hangar of EAN.

After an investigation, it was discovered that a big black bag belonging to the air hostess, Francesca Louis was missing from the jet.

The source told our correspondent that it was not the first time such an incident would be happening at the airport.

Earlier in the year, some bandits allegedly opened the door of a small aircraft from the rear that was taxiing on the runway and escaped with some belongings of some of the occupants.

The investigation further revealed that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) responsible for airport security has only one operational vehicle escorting aircraft that lands on the runway, but at times, there might not be any operational vehicle on the ground to monitor aircraft that is taxiing to the apron for arriving aircraft.

It was reported that this particular jet with call sign VT584 was not escorted by any operational vehicle as at the time of the incident due to lack of any operational vehicles at the airside of the airport, a situation, which made the criminal act to be perpetrated with ease on the said day.

An airline source speaking anonymously with SaharaReporters said: “What actually happened was that when the aircraft was taxiing to the hangar of EAN, the cabin crew discovered that the rear door was opened. So, when the jet taxied to the hangar, it was discovered that one big black bag belonging to their air hostesses was missing. An alarm was raised, but no one could trace the bandit who had forced the door open while taxiing. 

“It is bad that this is happening in an airport, which was recently certified by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has scaling security and safety hurdle. The government should look at the incident and several others that have been happening in the airside because this is not the first time such a thing would be happening at the airport and several others across the country.”

Besides, a similar incident had occurred on Med-View Airline when a stowaway passenger scaled the fence of the airport to enter the wheel well of the Boeing 777 aircraft of the airline to London. The stowaway told security agencies that he had scaled the fence of the airport and spent days waiting to board the aircraft ostensibly with the aid of unscrupulous airport officials.

The stowaway could not, however, disembark from the plane in London and had to be brought back to Lagos before he was discovered by one of the security personnel at the airport.

Till date, FAAN could not explain how the stowaway successfully gained entrance into the aircraft.

Lagos Airport

It would be recalled that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos was certified in September this year by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria (NCAA) after 38 years of opening the airport.

The safety and security certification awarded the airport by NCAA had however received some scepticisms from stakeholders and security experts in the sector.

Security analysts have repeatedly stated that the airport may not have met all the safety requirements to ensure its certification especially in the area of insurance cover and security.

Experts had said that for any airport to be certified, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) minimal standard, such an airport must have adequate maintenance and security programmes in place.

The security expert insisted that airport certification was not about the terminal building, but the facilities installed at such airport, including navigational aids provided by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

With the Tuesday incident, the certification of the airport by NCAA has further raised questions about its authenticity. 

Original article can be found here ➤

After neighborhood fights, Walter J. Koladza Airport (KGBR) adds unleaded gas to fuel options

 After a year of fights with neighbors who said leaded fuel from the Walter J. Koladza Airport in Great Barrington might be contaminating the aquifer, the airport is supplementing its mainstay leaded fuel with Swift Fuels' UL94, a 94-octane, unleaded product. About half of the roughly 50 planes that fuel up at Koladza will be able to use the unleaded fuel, the airport's business manager said. The airport's maintenance shed, left, and its self-serve fueling.

GREAT BARRINGTON — Walter J. Koladza Airport is gradually taking off into a new, unleaded aviation world.

After a year of fights with neighbors who said leaded fuel from the airport might be contaminating the aquifer, the airport is offering a new fuel.

Joining a Federal Aviation Administration program, it is supplementing its mainstay leaded fuel with Swift Fuels' UL94, a 94-octane, unleaded product.

About half of the roughly 50 planes that fuel up at Koladza will be able to use the unleaded fuel, said Mark Roggen, the airport's business manager.

Koladza is the second airport in the state to sell UL94, a relatively new product created by Swift. The company made the gas for interim use until an FAA testing program for an unleaded gas suitable to all small planes is completed in the next few years.

While most commercial planes already use unleaded fuel, a large number of the country's smaller planes have high-performance engines that can't run without the lead additive, Roggen said.

Roggen said unleaded fuel is better for airplane engines anyway, since it prevents other problems.

An underground, single-wall fuel tank was recently removed to make way for a new fiberglass double-walled split tank to hold the UL94 and 100LL, Shell's more commonly used leaded variety, Roggen said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection requires replacement of fuel tanks every 20 years. Last week, the town Planning Board approved the removal of the old tank.

Roggen said the new tank will be installed in the next week or so. Until then, Swift and Shell fuel trucks are dispensing the gas, something that nearby residents say should require more local oversight.

One resident is also concerned about having underground tanks in what is now zoned as a Water Quality Protection Overlay District, since the aquifer below ground feeds the local water supply. The town is weighing whether this requires a special permit in addition to the state's permit.

An earlier inclination to install an above-ground tank was scrapped for safety reasons related, in part, to its location, Roggen added.

"We had some incidents that made us think an above-ground tank would be more vulnerable," he said, noting that gas stations have underground tanks.

He said the decision was made for cosmetic reasons, too.

"Who wants to be looking at a tank?" he asked.

Roggen said the main reason to carry unleaded gas is to be "responsive" to neighbors, "even though we didn't think lead was an issue."

While some neighbors' water tested well above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action level for lead, test results from soil and water at the airport's property was in a range that the EPA considers low.

Neighbor Marc Fasteau, whose well water tested at the EPA action level, said he's still concerned about airborne lead coming from planes that still use it.

And neighbor Holly Hamer said that, while she is happy about the new fuel, she is also worried about it being dispensed from tankers.

The issue arose when Berkshire Aviation Enterprises filed for a special permit to build new hangars. The buildings were to be located in what the town designated as a residential/agricultural zone and a Water Quality Protection District, decades after the airport began operating off Route 71 and Seekonk Cross Road.

Many nearby residents objected to the buildings, saying they might result in an expansion of the airport, and more air traffic and safety risks.

Soon, well and faucet water were tested, research was done and residents learned that the EPA and FAA consider lead emissions from aviation fuel to be an environmental and potential health risk.

That's why the agency, in concert with the EPA, is testing unleaded fuels, and one of Swift's products is in the running.

For now, the hangar plans appear to be on hold, Roggen said. The controversy about the airport's building plans grew so contentious that its owners dropped a special-permit application last summer.

At the time, Koladza attorney Lori Robbins said Berkshire Aviation would instead file for a permit with the town's Zoning Board of Appeals.

Roggen said carrying the Swift fuel puts the airport on a path to an unleaded future in anticipation of the new gas the FAA will eventually unveil.

Story and photo:

Cessna 150C, N7929Z, Bahamas Habitat: Fatal accident occurred December 16, 2017 near Triangle North Executive Airport (KLHZ), Louisburg, Franklin County, North Carolina

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

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

Aircraft crashed.

Date: 16-DEC-17
Time: 19:40:00Z
Regis#: N7929Z
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 150C
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: SERIOUS
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)

Steve Merritt

Louisburg, N.C. — The single-engine plane that crashed in a Nash County field on Saturday, killing the pilot, had experienced engine trouble the previous day, according to fellow pilots.

Steve Merritt, 70, a flight instructor and the manager of the Triangle North Executive Airport in Louisburg, went to retrieve the Cessna 150C plane, which a teenage pilot landed in a field off N.C. Highway 56 on Friday, fellow pilots said Monday. After a mechanic performed some work on the engine, Merritt took off, planning to return the plane to the airport, but it crashed shortly after takeoff, they said.

"What they were doing was very simple – just flying it off a rough field. It wasn’t a problem. He was a very experienced pilot," pilot John Styers said Monday.

"For some reason, he got off the ground, but he didn’t make it back," pilot Ben Cason said. "It's tragic, just tragic."

Merritt, who was from Cary, was the only person aboard when it crashed, authorities said. He died Sunday at WakeMed in Raleigh, according to his family.

"Steve was a huge personality here, and he's the glue that held a lot of us together," aircraft broker Ernesto Ibbott said. "We're all very much deeply feeling his loss today as a friend, as a professional."

Wellington Merritt said his father grew up in Wilmington, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served in Vietnam as a radioman for the Navy. He had various government jobs and owned a printing company before his work as a flight instructor and manager took off, his son said.

Steve Merritt also was heavily involved in various causes in the Bahamas, from animal rescues to building a home for orphan children, and he organized relief flights to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there, family and friends said.

"Everybody loved him. Everybody loved Steve," Cason said.

"He loved flying very much. That rubbed off on many people," Ibbott said. "(He was) one of the most knowledgeable instructors you can find. He instilled a lot of confidence in a lot of student pilots."

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Story and video:

FRANKLIN COUNTY (WTVD) --  According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot involved in a plane crash Saturday afternoon has died.

The pilot was identified as Stephen Merritt, manager of the Triangle North Executive Airport.

The crash happened near N.C. Highway 56 and Walter Collins Road, east of Louisburg just after 2:30 p.m.

According to the FAA, a Cessna 150C aircraft crashed in a field in Franklin County.

They said there was a small fire on the plane when it went down, but fire crews were on scene to put out the flames.

The FAA is investigating the incident; they have yet to comment how the incident occurred.  

Original article can be found here ➤

LOUISBURG, N.C. (WNCN) — The pilot of a small plane crashed Saturday afternoon in Franklin County is in critical condition after surgery, officials said.

The plane went down off Highway 56 just north of Walter Collins Road outside Louisburg, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

The Federal Aviation Administration responded to the scene.

FAA officials later said that a Cessna 150C aircraft crashed around 2:40 p.m. in a field near the town of Castalia.

The pilot, who was the only person on board, was injured and taken to WakeMed for treatment.

After surgery on Saturday, the pilot was listed in critical condition, according to Franklin County Sheriff Kent Winstead.

Story and video:

FRANKLIN COUNTY (WTVD) -- According to the NC State Highway Patrol, Franklin County authorities responded to a plane crash near N.C. Highway 56 and Walter Collins Road, east of Louisburg.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said a Cessna 150C aircraft crashed in a field in Franklin County just after 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

They said there was a small fire on the plane when it went down, but fire crews were on scene to put out the flames.

The FAA said only the pilot was on board and he was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Officials with the FAA will be investigating.

Story and video:

LOUISBURG, N.C. — The pilot of a small plane that crashed Saturday afternoon is listed in critical condition after surgery at Wake Med.

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office responded to a Cessna 150C crash in a field east of Louisburg near N.C. Highway 56.

Multiple agencies, including Highway Patrol and the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, responded to the crash that occurred around 2:45 p.m.

Authorities have not identified the pilot.

Story and video:

Louisburg, N.C. — The pilot of a small plane that crashed Saturday afternoon has been identified by officials as a Franklin County Airport Director.

Steve Merritt, a flight instructor and the manager of the Triangle North Executive Airport in Louisburg, is listed in critical condition Sunday after surgery at WakeMed.

On Saturday, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office responded to a two-seater plane crash in a field east of Louisburg near N.C. Highway 56 around 2:45 p.m.

A witness said Merritt appeared to be conscious while being taken from the scene.

New Alpena County Regional Airport (KAPN) terminal closer to becoming a reality

ALPENA –With each passing day the Alpena County Regional Airport is getting closer to getting its new terminal, according to officials.

At the moment, the airport’s consultant and architect firm RS&H is in the process of putting the design of the terminal together and after that is complete the required application, blueprints and legal paperwork will be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for consideration.

Airport Manager Steve Smigelski said the required information will be submitted to the FAA before July 1 and then it will begin to rate the project against others that are seeking discretionary funds. He said if the terminal project is approved groundbreaking could be as soon as October 2018.

Smigelski said he believes RS&H is probably about 50 percent done in the project’s design phase. He said meetings with Delta Properties and the Transportation Safety Administration need to be scheduled to iron out design details for the areas in the airport they will lease from the county. Then, he said, the finishing touches such as locations and designs of parking lots and how utilities will be moved will be put into the design before being sent to the FAA.

Smigelski said all indications point to the project being selected and if it is, the FAA will fund 95 percent of the cost while Michigan Department of Transportation and the county will each pay 2.5 percent. He said there are a lot of things about the current terminal, which was built in 1952 and updated in 1989, the FAA would like to see corrected and that bolsters the county’s odds of getting the funding.

“The age of it is definitely working in our favor, as well as the fact that the service areas for TSA are inadequate,” Smigelski said. “There is very little room in the security holding area and no bathrooms in it, so people don’t want to go in there until the last minute and then there is a big rush though the checkpoints and to the plane.”

Smigelski said rising enplanements also will be viewed favorably as well as how quickly the airport has utilized and closed out previous grants. He said there haven’t been any reprimands from the FAA and those are things that will work in Alpena’s favor.

“I have been told that we stack up very favorably and that with the needs we have we stand a great chance of getting the discretionary funds,” he said.

The FAA already has paid nearly $1 million to have the new terminal design plans made. It approved the airports request in 2016 for money for the design project and awarded it.

Smigelski said it is likely there will be two large projects going on next to one another at or near the airport. He said the construction of the new jail on the east side of the airport could overlap in part with building the terminal. He said it is likely the terminal project will begin first and it is unlikely any contractors or consultants will be affected by the work at two locations.

“The county doesn’t have to hire, the construction company will do it,’ Smigelski said. “It will post the jobs on its website and any contractors who want to bid on it can.”

The county will issue a bid for qualifications and request for proposals for the construction of the new jail, which also is still in the design stage.

Original article can be found here ➤

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza,N61WB, registered to and operated by Indigo Air LLC: Fatal accident occurred February 18, 2016 in Marshville, Union County, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors Inc; Lucedale, Mississippi

Aviation Accident Factual Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Marshville, NC
Accident Number: ERA16FA108
Date & Time: 02/18/2016, 1910 EST
Registration: N61WB
Aircraft: BEECH A36
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On February 18, 2016, about 1910 eastern standard time, a Beech A36, N61WB, made a forced landing after a total loss of engine power near Marshville, North Carolina. The airline transport rated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by Indigo Air LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight. Night visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated at Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), Daytona Beach, Florida, about 1554, and was destined for Davidson County Airport (EXX), Lexington, North Carolina.

According to a representative of the operator, the pilot flew part-time for Indigo Air LLC. The flight originated earlier that day from EXX, where the airplane was based, and departed with full fuel (80 gallons total, 74 usable). The pilot flew to Piedmont-Triad International Airport (GSO), Greensboro, North Carolina, picked up the company's owner and a passenger, then flew direct to DAB. No fuel was purchased at GSO. At DAB, the pilot parked the airplane at a fixed-base operator (FBO). According to the owner, the pilot told him he was "going to put 15 [gallons of fuel] in a side." The owner went inside the FBO, paid for the fuel, and left because he "was in a rush." The lineman that fueled the airplane stated that the bladder tanks were "bulging" out of the fuel port on each tank. When the lineman, along with the FBO's safety director, pointed out the bulging tanks to the pilot, the pilot touched the bladder, then told the lineman it was okay to fuel. The FBO fueling records indicated that 30 gallons of 100LL fuel were purchased and distributed evenly between the two tanks. The flight then departed for EXX.

About 3 hours into the flight, while at a cruise altitude of 5,000 ft mean sea level, about 50 miles south of EXX, the pilot reported a loss of engine power to air traffic control and requested vectors to the nearest airport. The pilot subsequently made a forced landing about 10.5 miles east-northeast of Charlotte Executive Airport (EQY), Monroe, North Carolina. A witness, who was located about 3.5 miles east of the accident site, stated that he was in his shop when he heard the airplane. He said the engine was cutting in and out like it "ran out of gas." The witness went outside and saw the airplane in level flight about 1,000 to 1,500 ft above the ground. The airplane's landing light and navigation lights were turned on. He said the pilot tried to start the engine 4 or 5 times, but the engine would only start and run for a few seconds, then quit. On the last attempt, the engine started, and it sounded like the pilot pulled the throttle to idle. The witness watched as the airplane descended "in a gradual glide" before it disappeared from view. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/13/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  17000 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, and a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held numerous corporate jet type ratings. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on October 13, 2015, with a restriction to wear corrective lenses. At that time, he reported a total of 17,000 flight hours. The pilot's logbooks were not located.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BEECH
Registration: N61WB
Model/Series: A36 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1983
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: E-2110
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/15/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3651 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 41 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1884.28 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors Inc
ELT: C91  installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-520-BB
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 285 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None

The airplane was a single-engine, 6-seat, low-wing airplane, equipped with a Continental Motors Inc. IO-520-BB, 6-cylinder engine. The engine was equipped with a three-blade Hartzell constant-speed propeller.

The most recent annual inspection was conducted on May 15, 2015, at a total tachometer time of 1,843.60 hours.

A review of the airplane's flight and refueling history revealed that the pilot landed in DAB with about 15 gallons of total of fuel. With the fuel added at DAB about 45 gallons was onboard at the time of departure. According to the airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook, the IO-520-BB engine burned about 15.2 gallons per hour, not including taxi, takeoff and climb. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: EQY, 679 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 247°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 9°C / -2°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 30°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.43 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Daytona Beach, FL (DAB)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Lexington, NC (EXX)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1554 EST
Type of Airspace: Unknown

The 1853 weather observation at Charlotte Executive Airport (EQY), Monroe, North Carolina, included clear skies, visibility 10 miles, and wind 030° at 5 knots. The temperature was 9°C, dewpoint -2°C, and the altimeter setting was 30.43 inches of mercury. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.008611, -80.368611 (est) 

The airplane came to rest upright in wooded area behind a private residence on a heading of 180° magnetic. There was no postimpact fire. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane initially collided with a stand of about 60-ft-tall trees in a left-wing-low attitude and traveled about 134 ft to where it came to rest in a nose low, slightly tail-high attitude. The landing gear and flaps were fully retracted. The firewall, leading edges of both wings, a propeller blade, and the leading edge of the right horizontal stabilizer were damaged. Pieces of the windscreen were dispersed just forward of the engine. The throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were all full forward.

Examination of the airplane's fuel system revealed the fuel selector handle was set to the right tank. A visual examination inside each fuel tank revealed there was a small amount of fuel in each bladder. When electrical power was applied to the airplane, the left and right fuel gauges each indicated about 1/8 full. The remaining fuel was then drained from each fuel tank; just under 1 quart of fuel was drained from each. The fuel was absent of debris and water. The bladder tanks were inspected, and no breaches were observed; however, neither bladder tank was properly seated and they were pushing up on their respective fuel sensor.

There was no fuel staining observed on the airplane. The main fuel line to the fuel pump was removed, and no fuel was found in the line. Air was blown back through the line into each fuel tank and no obstructions were noted. The fuel pump was removed and rotated and no fuel was observed in the pump. The top of the fuel manifold was disassembled, and a small amount of fuel was noted in the manifold chamber. About 2 ounces of 100LL fuel was drained from the airframe fuel filter and the fuel was absent of debris and water. The fuel strainer screen exhibited some light corrosion, but no debris was observed.

Flight control continuity was established for all flight control surfaces. Examination of the airframe revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft propeller flange. The crankshaft flange appeared to be undamaged and no ladder cracking was noted. Two of the three propeller blades were undamaged, and the third propeller blade was bent rearward about 90°.

The engine was removed from the airframe and an initial examination was performed. The top spark plugs were removed and inspected. When compared to a Champion Spark Plug "Check A Plug" chart, the spark plugs appeared to be "normal" with light coloration signatures. The engine was rotated manually via the propeller; thumb compression was verified for each cylinder and spark was produced to each spark plug ignition lead. A lighted borescope inspection on each cylinder revealed that all valves were intact and exhibited normal combustion signatures.

The engine was placed on a test stand for an operational check. The engine ran through all power settings with no abnormalities. There were no mechanical discrepancies that would have precluded normal operation before the accident.

A handheld Garmin 496 GPS unit was found in the wreckage; however, the accident flight was not captured.

Medical Information

Examination of the pilot's lap belt and shoulder harness assembly revealed that it remained intact, but was found unbuckled with the shoulder harness not attached. The pilot's lap belt shoulder harness attachment post elastic grommet was not installed (or found in the wreckage), and, when manually assembled, the shoulder harness attachment buckle would not seat securely to the lap belt attachment post.

According to the death investigator's notes, the pilot was found deceased, slumped over in the left seat, still wearing his seatbelt. Although the airplane was equipped with a single shoulder harness (across the left shoulder), injuries sustained by the pilot were consistent with the pilot not being restrained by the shoulder harness at the time of the impact.

According to the autopsy performed by the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office, the cause of death was blunt force injuries due to airplane crash and the manner of death was accident. No significant natural disease was identified. The pilot's injuries included contusions and abrasions of the face, fractured teeth, contusions, abrasions, and fractures of the torso, disruption of the proximal descending aorta with massive left hemothorax.

At his last FAA medical, the pilot reported hypertension and high cholesterol and was being treated with doxazosin (also called Cardura) and simvastatin (also called Zocor), respectively. Toxicological analysis was conducted by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were positive for doxazosin in blood and urine. Doxazosin is not considered to be an impairing medication.

Mid-Carolina Regional Airport (KRUQ) Advisory Board evaluates expansion proposal

SALISBURY — The Airport Advisory Board met Friday to discuss the possible construction of 10 new T-hangars at Mid-Carolina Regional Airport.

Rowan County Commissioner Craig Pierce proposed the expansion during a commissioners meeting in November. The airport has a long waiting list, he said, and the advisory board needs to decide how it is going to meet the growing need.

In response, the board met to crunch the numbers, evaluating the cost of construction and return on investment. Would the expansion benefit both the business community and Rowan County taxpayers at large?

Airport Director Kevin Davis worked to verify that the waiting list was accurate. He also acquired more information about possible crafts that would fill the developed slots.

In the end, the decision to move forward with construction was tabled as officials pursue other more versatile and potentially lucrative alternatives.

Ten new T-hangars would cost just over $1.8 million, according to estimates prepared by Talbert, Bright and Ellington.

Revenue from rent, calculated at an average of $300 per hangar per month, and tax income based on $1 million worth of property would lead to just $42,625 in revenue annually.

At that rate, it would take just over 42 years to recoup the cost.

The use of an average rent and $1 million in stored property led to much discussion among board members.

Davis said that individuals on the vetted waiting list had been quoted that price.

Randy Baker said the proposed numbers are “absolutely best-case scenario.”

“I wouldn’t have been on a waiting list for $300,” he said.

Another concern of Airport Advisory Board members was the effects the construction could have on potential business development on airport property.

“We have multiple individuals and companies and groups that are interested in working with the airport, potentially bringing business to the airport,” said Davis.

Davis said the larger hangar construction could affect two of the possible business ventures. Federal aviation regulations require a certain distance between tall structures and runways, leaving the proposed project with a large footprint.

After much discussion, Davis proposed an alternative: build a community hangar at a different site, leaving room for business development.

“That real estate has value … , ” he said. “By reducing this amount, we may restrict the growth of other companies that are looking to you because of that footprint that is there.”

“We’ve got to balance this thing,” Baker said. “We’ve got to look out for the average taxpayer, not just 10 individuals that want an airplane in a hangar.”

Original article can be found here ➤

Boeing, Airbus Sales Imperiled as Trump Administration Formulates Iran Plan: White House’s new approach to 2015 nuclear accord could impact plane makers and stoke tension with Europe

One option the Trump administration is considering, a senior diplomat familiar with the discussions said, is allowing a slow delivery of planes by Boeing Co. and Airbus SE to Iran, to ensure the planes aren’t being used for illicit purposes, or that the old aircraft, parts and maintenance aren’t being used for other airlines such as Mahan Air, the firm sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for its support of terrorism.

The Wall Street Journal
By Felicia Schwartz and  Ian Talley
Updated Dec. 15, 2017 4:01 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration is advancing a strategy that could derail efforts by Boeing Co. and Airbus SE to sell hundreds of jetliners to Iranian airlines, U.S. officials said.

The two aerospace giants have lined up deals over the past 15 months that have been left in limbo as the White House reassessed its Iran policy and has threatened to walk away from an international nuclear deal if Congress and European partners don’t address concerns, with only a handful of Airbus planes so far delivered.

Any effort to scuttle these deals, by accident or design, could have far-reaching consequences, both for the nuclear accord and the jet makers. Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for significant sanctions relief, and supporters of the accord fear it would fall apart if Iran doesn’t see the benefits it was promised.

President Donald Trump’s team hasn’t yet presented him with options for addressing the sales, but months of interagency discussions have grown out of administration concerns that Iranian airlines could use the new jets, or old ones, to ferry weapons and military personnel into Syria, the U.S. officials said.

Boeing and engine maker General Electric Co. are the only major U.S. companies to pursue Iranian business.

The options to be presented to Mr. Trump include banning sales, imposing stringent conditions that could halt any aircraft deliveries, or slow-walking approvals, according to the U.S. officials and other people familiar with the matter.

Since the deal took effect in 2016, Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, has delivered three jets to Iran Air but could be restricted by any U.S. ban because of the large U.S. content on its aircraft.

Boeing and Airbus have announced deals to sell almost 300 planes to Iranian airlines valued at $40 billion altogether before industry discounts. Boeing signed a proposed sale to privately owned Iran Aseman Airlines in April, the only proposed deal since Mr. Trump took office. Boeing, unlike Airbus, hasn’t added Iranian deals to its official order book.

The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers allowed for the aviation sales by both companies to go ahead, pending approval from the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Those approvals to export planes were granted by the Obama administration.

Mr. Trump in October refused to certify to Congress that Iran was complying with the deal, but the administration remains a party to it. Mr. Trump faces a mid-January deadline to extend sanctions relief to Iran and is expected to again tell Congress he won’t certify Iran’s compliance with the deal. The Treasury hasn’t issued any Iran-related aviation licenses under the Trump administration.

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council declined to comment on individual licenses issued by the Treasury Department, but said, “The administration’s position is clear: We will not issue export licenses unless we are convinced the aircraft will be used exclusively for commercial passenger aviation.”

A Boeing spokesman said, “We are authorized to deliver [aircraft], but we will continue to follow our government’s lead with regards to all of our activities with Iran.” Airbus had no comment but previously said it had U.S. approvals to deliver the plane and would fully comply with U.S. and other regulatory requirements. The U.S. Treasury didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The scrutiny of the planned jet sales is emblematic of the broader concerns about Iran from Trump administration officials and some lawmakers, over the country’s support of terrorism and wider conflicts in the region such as in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

The U.S. “should not be in the business of selling aircraft to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” said Rep. Roger Williams (R., Texas), vice chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on trade. He sponsored legislation that requires more stringent scrutiny of aircraft sales to Iran before Treasury certifies any deals. The House on Thursday approved the bill, which has backing in the Senate.

Administration officials said they were unsure what Mr. Trump would decide when presented with options. Mr. Trump has forged close ties with Boeing, championing its role as America’s largest exporter. While Boeing wants to tap Iran’s thirst to replace its aging jetliners and not cede the market to Airbus, the urgency has been tempered by its recent success in finding other buyers for its twin-aisle 777 jet. Iran Air wants to buy 15 of the planes.

Losing the Iranian plane deals wouldn’t be financially crippling to either Boeing or Airbus, but both are eager to build a relationship in a country with a large population underpinning potentially major demand for travel. Years of sanctions have left Iran with one of the world’s oldest airliner fleets.

Former officials and supporters of the Iran deal pointed to a January 2016 tweet by Mr. Trump, a day after the nuclear deal was enacted, in which he faulted the deal for disadvantaging American companies, citing the planned Airbus sale.

Any move against the airline deals might also drive a wedge between the Trump administration and Europe if Airbus plane sales don’t proceed. European officials have frequently complained that Europe took more of a hit from sanctions levied on Iran before the deal was reached, because Americans were doing very limited business at that time.

“We were the ones who took all the pain of all the sanctions,” said David O’Sullivan, the European Union’s U.S. ambassador. “We took the pain on Iran... We didn’t do this deal in order to get rid of the sanctions. We held the sanctions until we could all agree we had a good deal.” He also warned that the U.S. risked blowing up the nuclear deal. “Nothing should be done that negates that because clearly you cannot expect Iran to stick to the deal if you take away with the left hand what is given on the right hand on the lifting of the sanctions,” Mr. O’Sullivan said.

A senior diplomat familiar with Trump administration discussions said one consideration is allowing a slow delivery to ensure Iran isn’t using the planes for illicit purposes, or that the old aircraft, parts and maintenance aren’t being used for other airlines such as Mahan Air, the firm sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury for its support of terrorism. Iran Air had also been sanctioned by the U.S. for its support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but was delisted as part of the nuclear agreement. Mahan Air couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Eric Lorber, a senior adviser to the U.S. Treasury’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, suggested this year before he joined the administration that the Boeing and Airbus sales could be structured in a way to keep pressure on Iran, even as many sanctions are lifted under the nuclear deal.

Mr. Lorber, then at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said at a public event on sanctions that Tehran could be required to fund aircraft sales via an escrow account, with the delivery of the vehicles over an agreed period. If the U.S. found any evidence Iran Air wasn’t using the planes commercially, the U.S. could cut off the delivery of the aircraft and potentially confiscate funds held in escrow.

—Doug Cameron, Robert Wall and Asa Fitch contributed to this article.

Original article can be found here ➤