Sunday, December 17, 2017

West Virginia Sen. Chandler Swope: State depends on general aviation

Aviation is something I was born into. My father purchased his first plane in 1947 and got his pilot license because my mother missed her hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

Dad would rather spend an hour and a half in the air than drive for 12 hours on winding West Virginia roadways long before the interstate highway and corridor system came to West Virginia. It was a passion he shared with the family and relied on when he was starting his business. I guess you could say that my fathers’ love of flying was passed down the family.

For me personally, when I owned a construction company, I needed to be able to travel across the state in a short amount of time. In fact, one year I had about seven or eight buildings being constructed, including four schools, that required me to be on-site. If I were to drive to each of these sites, over mountains and up crooked roads, it would have taken me about seven hours. With my aircraft, I was able to fly to all four within an hour and a half.

And for small businesses across the state, it is the same. General aviation serves as a vital tool for small businesses across the state and the country, especially in rural and remote regions where other transportation options are limited and time-consuming.

For example, in our state, general aviation contributes over $1 billion to the state’s annual economy. In Clarksburg, the Bombardier plant just doubled in size and added 150 jobs over the last year.

Beyond the economic benefits of general aviation, the charitable and emergency services that helicopters and small planes provide cannot be understated. The mountainous terrain and winding roads can make it difficult to deliver goods across the state. When a disaster strikes, local airports serve as a vital lifeline that connect communities to the resources they need.

Just last year, severe storms wiped out nearly 1,500 homes and 125 businesses, with damage to another 4,000 homes across the state. The general aviation community quickly responded, delivering 2,000 pounds of water, food, paper goods, shovels and trash bags to our hardest hit communities. Without general aviation, something as small as a tree branch on the road could take hours to resolve when an aircraft can take care of it in minutes.

And as everyone in Fayette County knows, we are proud to provide a home to the Boy Scouts of America for their National Jamboree every four years when 40,000 Scouts come to The Summit.

The Summit itself is not only a cultural point of pride for our state, but also an economic powerhouse that’s expected to inject $25.3 million into the local economy annually. What you may not know is that the Boy Scouts depend almost exclusively on charitable donations; it was my pleasure to fly photographers and charitable givers around the 10,600 acres of the site so they could appreciate the sheer scale of the whole site.

I am deeply concerned by legislation being considered in Washington that would threaten general aviation and this lifeline for our local community. This new legislation would separate our air traffic control system from congressional oversight and place it under the control of a board of private interests, dominated by the commercial airlines.

These are the same commercial airlines that have cut service all across West Virginia already, favoring larger hub airports. I have no doubt that should these airlines control our air space, access for small airports and aircraft across the country would suffer as they put their own interests before smaller communities.

As it stands, our aviation system gives everyone fair access. Let’s keep it that way and keep Congressional oversight in place.

Chandler Swope is a Republican state senator for Mercer and the former-owner of Swope Construction.

Original article can be found here ➤

Former employee sues Tri-State Airport (KHTS) for disabilities act violation

A former Tri-State Airport Authority employee said his former bosses reneged on their efforts to accommodate his learning disability, preventing him from doing his job and ultimately leading them to terminate his employment.

James Cremeans said his supervisors at Huntington Tri-State Airport initially provided support to him, but they later failed to give him the minimum accommodations he needed to complete his job, according to a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of West Virginia in United States District Court last week.

Cremeans said his supervisors violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the West Virginia Human Rights Act causing him emotional distress when they failed to accommodate him, then accused him of lying about his disability.

The Tri-State Airport Authority operates Huntington Tri-State Airport. The authority is named as a defendant along with Brett McCoy and Gail White, who were supervisors at the airport while Cremeans was employed there between April and August.

Cremeans was “severely learning disabled throughout school,” due to a birth defect in his brain, according to the complaint. As a result of the defect, Cremeans is illiterate, according to the complaint.

During the interview process for a cleaning job at the airport, Cremeans said an airport employee helped him by reading aloud questions on the airport’s written employment test. In April, he was hired to clean the airport during a night shift, for which he was paid $9 an hour, according to the complaint.

A few weeks after he started his job, Cremeans said White instituted a checklist process for all cleaning duties. When he informed her he couldn’t read, White told Cremeans at least five times she would review the form with him so he could check off the tasks he completed, but she never reviewed the form with him.

Initially another night-shift employee helped Cremeans fill out the form, but that employee was transferred to day shift in May and wasn’t replaced, Cremeans said.

Cremeans said he talked to McCoy, who was White’s supervisor. McCoy likewise said he would help Cremeans but never did, according to the complaint.

Cremeans was not disciplined as an employee at the airport during his employment there, according to the complaint.

In August, McCoy called Cremeans into his office and confronted him about his paperwork, according to the complaint.

Cremeans told McCoy he was illiterate and was completing his cleaning duties, but he wasn’t able to complete the corresponding checklist, according to the complaint.

McCoy called Cremeans a liar on both counts and he “fired him on the spot,” according to the complaint.

Cremeans is represented by Timothy Rosinsky of Rosinsky Law Office in Huntington.

Cremeans seeks punitive and compensatory damages as well as lost wages and attorney's fees and court costs.

Original article can be found here ➤

Incident occurred December 17, 2017 at Portland International Jetport (KPWM), Portland, Cumberland County, Maine

PORTLAND, Maine —  A fuel issue on a plane flying into Portland International Jetport prompted Portland Police and Fire crews to respond to the airport Sunday night.

They responded shortly before 9:00 p.m., but released few details about the nature of the issue or the potential impact.

They also were not able to specify where the plane was coming from or how many people on board.

Officials at the Jetport could not be reached for comment.

Original article can be found here ➤

Visual Flight Rules encounter with Instrument Meteorological Conditions: Piper PA-28-180, N6433J; fatal accident occurred December 17, 2017 near Branson West Airport (KFWB), Stone County, Missouri

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming aircraft engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Reeds Spring, MO
Accident Number: CEN18FA054
Date & Time: 12/17/2017, 1830 CST
Registration: N6433J
Aircraft: PIPER PA28
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: VFR encounter with IMC
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 17, 2017, about 1830 central standard time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N6433J, impacted terrain near Reeds Spring, Missouri. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal fight. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The cross-country flight departed Gardner Municipal Airport (K34), Gardner, Kansas, about 1700, and was en route to M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (PLK), Branson, Missouri.

The pilot was not in communication with air traffic control during the accident flight; however, review of radar information revealed a flight track that correlated with the time and location of accident airplane. The airplane approached the Branson area from the north/northwest, making several turns including circles, before the target disappeared from radar near the accident site. While en route, the flight reached a maximum altitude of 2,750 ft mean sea level (msl); however, the flight's average altitude was about 2,500 ft msl. The last several radar returns showed the airplane at an altitude of 2,250 ft msl, 2,125 ft msl, and 2,200 ft msl, with the last radar return at 2,050 ft msl, in altitude, and just east of the accident site. The terrain elevation in the immediate area of the accident site, was about 1,300-1,400 ft. msl. 

Several witnesses reported hearing the airplane overhead or circling before the engine went quiet, followed by the sound of a crash. First responders were notified and responded to the accident site. Both the witnesses and first responders reported the weather about the time of the accident was foggy with poor visibility.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine land. A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records did not find any information that the pilot held an instrument rating. His most recent third-class FAA medical certificate was issued on February 17, 2017, with the limitation: "shall possess glasses for near/intermediate vision." At the time of the exam, the pilot reported 0 total flight hours and 0 hours in the previous six months. The pilot's logbook was not available for review; however, family members estimated that the pilot had accumulated about 100 total hours of flight time.

The passenger held a student pilot certificate. Her third-class FAA medical certificate was issued on March 16, 2017, with a limitation for corrective lenses.


The accident airplane was a Piper PA-28-180, which is a low-wing, all metal, single-engine airplane with fixed landing gear, powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming four-cylinder engine, and a fixed-pitch propeller. A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the last annual inspection was completed on June 5, 2017, at an airplane tachometer time of 4,550.9 hours and 231.8 hours since engine overhaul. A previous annual inspection, dated September 22, 2012, listed a tachometer time of 4,538.42 hours and a time since engine overhaul of 219.37 hours. A review of FAA records showed that the pilot purchased the airplane on June 10, 2017.


At 1835, the Branson West Municipal Airport – Emerson Field (FWB), Branson, Missouri, automated weather observation station (AWOS), located about 1.5 miles south of the accident site, recorded calm wind, 1/2-mile visibility, 400-ft overcast ceiling, temperature 46°F, dew point 46°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.08 inches of mercury.

At 1845, the Branson Airport (BBG), Branson, Missouri, AWOS, located about 14.7 miles southeast of the accident site, recorded calm wind, 1 3/4-miles visibility with mist, 200-ft overcast ceiling, temperature 45°F, dew point 45°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.08 inches of mercury.

At 1655 (about the time the flight departed from K34), the FWB AWOS recorded calm wind, 1/2-mile visibility and fog, and a 400 ft overcast ceiling. At 1645, the BBG AWOS recorded calm wind, 3/4-mile visibility in mist, and a 200-ft overcast ceiling.

At 1555, (about an hour before departure from K34) the FWB AWOS recorded calm wind, 3/4-mile visibility in mist, and a 300-ft overcast ceiling. At 1545, BBG AWOS recorded calm wind, 3/4-mile visibility in mist, and a 300-ft overcast ceiling.

The National Weather Service Springfield, Missouri Weather Forecast Office is responsible for the Branson area, but does not issue a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) for PLK. The closest TAF to the accident site was issued for BBG.

A terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) for BBG was issued before the pilot's departure at 1700 and called for light instrument flight rules (LIFR) conditions to prevail with variable wind at 5 knots, 3 miles visibility in mist, and an overcast ceiling at 400 ft above ground level (agl). The two subsequent amendments and the next scheduled TAF also called for LIFR conditions, with visibility deteriorating to 3/4 mile and an overcast ceiling at 300 ft agl.

The NTSB Meteorology Weather Study Report is in the docket for this accident.

There was no record of the pilot obtaining weather briefing. 


PLK is a non-towered, public airport located 1 mile south of Branson, Missouri. The airport has a single asphalt runway oriented 12/30, which is 3,738 ft long by 100 ft wide. Runways 12 and 30 are equipped with RNAV (GPS) instrument approaches.

There are several public airports in the Branson area, including BBG located 6 miles south of PLK, and has an operating control tower and instrument approaches.

FWB is non-towered airport, located 2 miles west of Branson West, Missouri. FWB has RNAV (GPS) instrument approaches to runway 03 and 12


The accident site was located in an open field in a rural neighborhood, about 1.5 miles north of FWB and about 11 miles northwest of PLK.

The on-scene examination of the wreckage and ground scars revealed the airplane impacted terrain in a near-vertical, nose-down attitude. The airplane came to rest near the initial impact point, with the engine and airplane nose buried in a small crater. Several fragments of the airplane were scattered from the impact point and all major components were accounted for at the accident site. There was no evidence of a postcrash fire.

Both wings displayed accordion-type crush damage along their entire span; the main cabin was severely crushed, and the empennage also displayed heavy impact damage. Both wing fuel tanks were breached.

Due to damage, the position of the wing flaps could not be determined; however, the flap cable remained attached to the selector handle. The avionics, instruments, gauges, and cockpit controls were impact-damaged and unreadable. The attitude indicator was removed and examined; the gyro displayed scoring from contact with its housing, consistent with operation at the time of impact.

Left and right wing aileron control cable continuity was established from the aileron bell crank to the chain segment in the cockpit. The chain had separated from the yoke control bar, consistent with overload due to impact forces.

The rudder, stabilator, and pitch trim control cables remained attached to their respective control surfaces and were continuous to the recovery separation cuts. The pitch trim jackscrew was extended about 4-5 threads above the cable drum, consistent with a neutral trim tab position.

The engine sustained impact damage, with the crankshaft broken just aft of the No. 1 main bearing journal, which had separated from the engine. The damage to the crankshaft and camshaft prevented manual engine rotation; a visual inspection of the valve train and the accessory section was conducted. The carburetor was broken from its intake flange. The float bowl and fuel inlet screen were free of contaminants and no pre-impact abnormalities were noted. The carburetor floats exhibited crushing consistent with hydraulic deformation. The oil screen was removed and was clear of contaminants. Both magnetos were impact fragmented. The vacuum pump was removed and disassembled; the internal vanes and rotor were broken, consistent with impact forces.

The top sparkplugs were removed, and the plugs exhibited light colored combustion deposits. The electrodes exhibited normal wear signatures.

The fixed pitch two-bladed propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. Both blades exhibited leading edge gouging and polishing.

Although the examination was limited due to impact damage, no pre-impact abnormalities were noted during the airframe or engine examinations. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 52
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/17/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 100 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 45
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s):
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/16/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N6433J
Model/Series: PA28 180
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-4851
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/05/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4550.9 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360 SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFWB
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0035 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 360°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - Fog
Departure Point: Gardner, KS (K34)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Branson, MO (KPLK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1700 CST
Type of Airspace:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 36.724722, -93.396111 (est)

Medical And Pathological Information

The Stone County, Missouri, Medical Examiner's Office conducted autopsies on the two occupants. The causes of death were determined to be blunt injuries.

The FAA's Forensic Sciences laboratory at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on both occupants. The specimens were not tested for carbon monoxide and cyanide. Specimens of the pilot were positive for ethanol in the liver and negative for tested drugs. The passenger tested positive for ethanol in muscle but negative in the brain. The test was also negative for tested drugs.

The levels of ethanol and finding in one tissue, but not another, is consistent with post-mortem production of ethanol.

Keith and Dawn Curtis

BRANSON, Mo. -- On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration spent the day at a crash site outside Branson, trying to determine the cause of a fatal plane crash.

Keith and Dawn Curtis were the only people inside the 1968 Piper Cherokee. The newlyweds married just last month; Keith was a newly-minted pilot, and his wife was training to be one herself.

They departed from the Gardner Municipal Airport Sunday evening, shortly before sundown. They were on their way to a family holiday in Branson.

The aviation community -- especially those who pilot small planes -- is a tight knit one. Keith Curtis and his wife were eager to be a part of it. Keith had his VFR (Visual Flight Rules) rating, and was working on his IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). Dawn was working on getting her license.

At the Gardner Municipal Airport, where Keith and Dawn Curtis departed on their last flight, their first airplane still sits patiently in a hangar. Their black pickup truck still sits in the parking lot.

Keith and Dawn were in their second plane, a 1968 Piper Cherokee. It crashed just before 7 p.m. outside of Branson Sunday night.

“When I saw the color of the airplane in the footage,” Brent Bitikofer recalled, “I knew who it was.”

Bitikofer is a pilot, and runs the maintenance shop at Gardner Municipal Airport, and said all the pilots there knew Keith.

“He wanted to do things,” said Bitikofer Monday afternoon. “I don’t know about dreamer. I think he was a doer. He had an idea and he was going to do it.”

Keith Curtis ran his own company -- KC All American Moving -- from his home on Lake Road One in Gardner. It is a family-owned company.

The family, which had just last month celebrated Dawn and Keith’s marriage, was gathering in Branson for a holiday celebration. That is why the newlyweds flew down Sunday evening.

The family told FOX 4, in a written statement, “They were the type of people that made you happier when you were in their presence. They loved to travel, were adventurous, and loved life, loving it all the more together.”

The family also said “tragedies like this remind all of us that life is precious and short and should be cherished at every turn.”

Story and video ➤

Dawn Curtis

Stone County, Mo.--12/18/2017) The Stone County Sheriff's Department are still working to figure out what caused a small plane crash near Branson that left two people dead.

Investigators are still looking for answers surrounding a deadly plane crash near Branson West Sunday night.

Sheriff Doug Rader is with the Stone County Sheriff’s Department. He tells FOX5,"Around 7 p.m. m we got a call of an airplane that had went down, deputies arrived on scene, located the plane.

According to Rader, the aircraft crashed into a field while attempting to land at Branson West Airport.

"The two subjects that were in the plane were both deceased at that time."

The Stone County Coroner has identified the two people killed in the plane crash as 52 year old Keith Curtis and his wife, 45 year old Dawn Curtis.

Daniel Cataldo witness the accident and he explains," sad. All we can do is pray man. I mean I feel bad for the family."

In the moments after the crash,people near the crash site like Cataldo began to call 911.

"I jumped over that fence to go see if anybody needed some help, but then when I got down there I couldn’t see anything cause it was so foggy that I made it past that second barn down, but I didn’t see anything."

Witness John Higgins says he saw a single engine plane flying low, which was unusual.

"He sounded low, didn’t sound in distressed,but it was low and he circled like twice and then I’m thinking it’s foggy out, I’m thinking this guy is in trouble and then I heard a thump, a loud thump," says Higgins. 

Moments later, he started hearing from friends nearby about a plane crash.

"My heart really goes out to the families of the people that deceased. It’s not what you’d expect."

Neighbors describe concerns with planes coming into the Branson West Airport.

"Since they opened the airport and we’re right under the flight pattern you kind of always worry about some aircraft coming down."

The FAA is investigating the crash. The NTSB will determine the cause of the crash which investigators say could take up to a year. 

Story and video ➤

A 52-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman died Sunday night after a plane crashed in a Stone County field, officials say.

According to a news release from the Stone County Sheriff's Office, Keith M. Curtis and Dawn M. Curtis — both from Gardner, Kansas — were pronounced dead at the scene.

Family members say Keith and Dawn Curtis got married last month, and they were in the Branson area this weekend for vacation.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene at 6:45 p.m. Sunday and found a 1968 Piper single-engine aircraft, the release said.

The release said the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to investigate the crash Monday.

The Branson West Airport directed a News-Leader reporter to local law enforcement for information on the crash. It's unclear if the plane was headed to the airport.

Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the FAA, said a single-engine plane crashed into a field about 1.25 miles north of Branson West Airport.

Cory said both the FAA and the National Traffic Safety Board will be investigating the crash. Investigations normally take several months and can last longer than a year, Cory said.

Dan Cataldo lives near the scene of the crash. 

Cataldo said he heard a loud noise and saw the plane circling around before crashing into the ground.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

BRANSON, Mo. — A  Gardner, Kan., couple who was recently married died in a plane crash Sunday night near Branson.

Keith Curtis, 52 and Dawn Curtis, 45, were both pronounced dead the the scene. Their plane crashed in the area of Branson West Airport after 6:30 p.m. Sunday. The plane was a 1968 Piper single engine aircraft.

“I kept hearing the plane flying around and it sounded like he was having motor problems,” Martin West told KY3 in Springfield.

“All of the sudden, the motor stopped and I heard a big boom,” neighbor Vicki Morrow reported to KY3.

According to a family member (see full message below), the Curtises were flying to Branson West to begin a four-day pre-Christmas family vacation. They were meeting their parents who are from Belton there.

Authorities do not yet know why the plane went down.

Fox 4’s Rebecca Gannon messaged the family, who released a statement about their loss:

Our hearts are clearly broken as we are all trying to process this tragedy. Dawn Mustain Curtis and Keith Curtis, Sr. Of Garner, Kansas, had just gotten married November 11, 2017 after several years of dating. They were the type of people that made you happier when you were in their presence. They loved to travel, were adventurous, and loved life, loving it all the more together. They frequently traveled to the Springfield and Branson areas via their private plane and had journeyed to Branson West yesterday to begin a four-day, pre Christmas family vacation. Their parents, Norman and Vickey Eagleton, of Belton, Missouri, arrived in Branson yesterday afternoon for that vacation and will remain here until the many details involved can be attended to properly. We would like to thank the Stone and Taney County Sheriff Departments for their compassionate, prompt communication with us, the rescue personnel who responded and the staff at Subway in Hollister, Missouri who stayed way past closing last night to accommodate us in our grief. Also, the witnesses who privately shared their accounts with us nearly immediately through the power of Facebook. Tragedies like this remind all of us that life is precious and short and should be cherished at every turn. We will get through this with the power of faith and the love of family and friends, one day at a time.

-Joyelle Low Buckley, family member

Story and photo ➤

Authorities say a recently-married couple killed in a southwest Missouri plane crash were from Gardner, Kansas.

Stone County Missouri Sheriff Doug Rader on Monday identified the victims as 52-year-old Keith Curtis and 45-year-old Dawn Curtis.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said their Piper PA-28-180 went down Sunday night in a pasture about a mile northwest of the Branson West Municipal Airport.

Relatives said in a statement that the couple was married on Nov. 11 after dating for several years. They were on their way to Branson for a four-day, pre-Christmas family vacation.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.

BRANSON WEST, Mo. (KY3) The Stone County sheriff confirms to KY3 News that two people were killed in a single-engine Piper plane crash near Branson West on Sunday night.

Original reports from authorities listed three victims. However, they later realized that they had mistaken a coat in the plane for another person.

According to the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District, the plane went down in the area of Branson West Airport and Yocom Pond just after 6:30 p.m.

Witnesses who live nearby told KY3 News that they heard the plane flying low to the ground before it crashed.

"All of the sudden, the motor stopped and I heard a big boom," Neighbor Vicki Morrow said.

"I kept hearing the plane flying around and it sounded like he was having motor problems. I told my wife 'It sounds like he is going to crash.' It wasn't but a few seconds later and there was a big 'thump.' It shook the whole floor and the ground and everything and we ran outside and my wife called 911. We went looking for it and there it was over there right in the field," Neighbor Martin West said.

Story and photos ➤

Cape Girardeau to see increased revenue from SkyWest flights

SkyWest Airlines is expected to pay the city of Cape Girardeau more than $426,000 over a two-year period, ending Nov. 30, 2019, city officials said.

That revenue figure is calculated on the basis of a new two-year agreement with the commuter airline, which the city council is expected to approve Monday.

SkyWest Airlines, which also does business as United Express, began offering round-trip flights from Cape Girardeau to Chicago on Dec. 1. SkyWest replaced Cape Air, which had provided flights to St. Louis.

The federal government subsidizes passenger service to and from the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport through the Essential Air Service program.

Airport manager Bruce Loy said SkyWest offers 12 weekly round trips, with half of the trips connecting through Quincy, Illinois.

Loy said Friday the new agreement is expected to generate nearly $235,000 more revenue than under the Cape Air contract.

Fuel sales will account for most of the revenue, Loy said.

The agreement and fees, retroactive to Dec. 1, show annual revenue of more than $213,000, Loy wrote in an agenda report to the city council.

Loy said fuel sales could total $171,000.

"That is an estimate," he said.

The remainder of the annual revenue includes $11,578 for terminal/office space rent, $11,100 in ramp/parking fees and $19,503 in landing fees, Loy said.

SkyWest is renting 804 square feet of space in the terminal for office and baggage operations, he said.

Mayor Harry Rediger welcomed the opportunity for the city to generate added revenue at the airport.

"I knew it was going to be an advantage," he said of landing SkyWest Airlines' service.

"It is all a good thing," he said of SkyWest flights.

Story, comments and photo ➤

Golden Circle Air T-Bird II, N5619Z: Accident occurred December 17, 2017 at Wiscasset Municipal Airport (KIWI), Lincoln County, Maine

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location:  Wiscasset, ME
Accident Number: GAA18CA105
Date & Time: 12/17/2017, 1430 EST
Registration: N5619Z
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Collision during takeoff/land
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

According to the pilot in the tailwheel-equipped, experimental airplane, the airplane bounced to the left side of the runway during the takeoff roll.

He thought that the airplane would "straighten itself out", however, the airplane's tail lifted, and the airplane continued to the left. The left main landing gear impacted a snowbank, and the airplane exited the left side of the runway. The airplane came to rest in the safety area.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the empennage.

The METAR at the accident airport reported that about the time of the accident, the wind was variable at 4kts and the sky was clear.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 66, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Sport Pilot
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Waiver Time Limited Special
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/08/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/21/2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1186.6 hours (Total, all aircraft), 120 hours (Total, this make and model), 1070 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: GOLDEN CIRCLE AIR
Registration: N5619Z
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1996
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 001
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 582DCDI
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 60 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: KIWI, 68 ft msl
Observation Time: 1853 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 8°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: -5°C / -16°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable, Variable
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Wiscasset, ME (IWI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Wiscasset, ME (IWI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1430 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 70 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3397 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 43.961389, -69.712500 (est)

Gusty wind apparently forced an airplane taking off from Wiscasset Municipal Airport Sunday back down and into the snow near the runway, interim airport manager Rick Tetrev said.

Longtime pilot Charlie Gabelmann, the ultralight plane’s lone occupant, was not hurt, Tetrev said in a phone interview Sunday evening. He described Gabelmann as shaken up after the accident, which Tetrev said cracked the plane in half. The plane was later hauled to Gabelmann’s hangar at the airport, Tetrev said.

Tetrev was called to the airport. Wiscasset Airport Advisory Committee Chairman Steve Williams  called the Portland tower to alert the Federal Aviation Administration, Tetrev said. Williams confirmed he did and said he believed Wiscasset police did, as well.

Williams, a pilot, said in a phone interview, he arrived at the airport shortly after the incident on other business. He hadn’t heard about the accident; when he got there and saw an emergency vehicle, he thought it might be there for a Lifelight transport. Then he saw two police cruisers and the aircraft. By then Gabelmann was in a truck that was being set up to haul the aircraft, Williams said.

Despite the damage to the plane, he was not surprised the pilot was unhurt because the cockpit was intact, Williams said. He also was not surprised about the damage, for two reasons: The plane was an ultralight and the snow near the runway didn’t allow the plane to roll as it might have on grass, he said.

The FAA barred all aircraft from landing in Wiscasset; the ban was later lifted and access to the runway returned to normal, he said.

The FAA did not respond to the scene, he said. He expects it will as part of the investigation.

Asked about the incident’s handling, Tetrev said, between the pilots’ professionalism and the town’s response with emergency crews, “It was marvelous. It went smoothly, like clockwork, and that’s how it’s supposed to go.”

The response was stellar, Williams said.

Wiscasset Fire Chief T.J. Merry said the department was dispatched to the airport shortly after 3 p.m. and checked to make sure the craft was not at risk of catching fire; fuel did not leak from the aircraft, Merry said. No ambulance was called to the scene because it was known there were no injuries, he said.

Williams said Gabelmann is a certified flight instructor and an excellent pilot. “He’s very safe and takes extensive retraining,” Williams said.

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No injuries were reported after a small aircraft slid off the runway during takeoff at Wiscasset Municipal Airport on the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 17.

According to Sergeant Craig Worster of the Wiscasset Police Department, the aircraft was on the runway when a crosswind grabbed the small plane pushing it off the paved area and into the snow.

Worster said no injuries were reported as a result of the crash and the pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft when it slid off the runway.

Worster said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board had been contacted regarding the incident.

Worster said he believed the aircraft would be removed from the runway shortly.

Lincoln County Communications paged out the Wiscasset Fire Department at 3:23 p.m.

Joining the fire department at the scene were units from the Wiscasset Police Department.

The identity of the pilot was not immediately available at the scene.

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