Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bill Schiess: A bird’s eye view of winter wildlife

A coyote hunting along the edge of the South Fork of the Snake River near the Byington boat launch, headed for the thick brush as the sound of a helicopter’s blades reached us. A near-mature bald eagle left its perch to hunt up river as the non-nature sounds filled the canyon.

Landing on the snow covered parking lot, Paul Atwood, wildlife biologist for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, climbed out of the whirly bird to visit with me while the rest of the crew refueled the machine.

“After last year’s hard winter, the deer numbers are down a little,” Atwood reported as we shook hands. “And with the lack of snow this year, many are still high along the top of the ridges. We saw about 500 deer in two hours and will fly the canyon until we get 700 counted and then we will head for the Teton River canyon for this afternoon.”

Atwood’s crew were making a mule deer ratio survey in the Palisades Population Management Unit (PMU) to determine what the ratio of bucks and fawns to does are in that area.

After observing 700 deer in each PMU and getting the ratios, those ratios are applied to the whole population of deer taken in the last population count taken when all the deer are on their winter range.

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Cessna 172, PR-PTS: Fatal accident occurred December 23, 2017 near Providenciales International Airport (MBPV), Turks and Caicos Islands

NTSB Identification: ERA18WA057
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Sunday, December 24, 2017 in Providenciales, Turks And Caicos Islands
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The government of the United Kingdom has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a Cessna 172S airplane that occurred on December 24, 2017, in Turks and Caicos Islands. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the Air Accidents Investigation Branch's investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.

All investigative information will be released by the government of the United Kingdom.

Two people were killed when a light aircraft crashed near a fuel station shortly after takeoff from the Providenciales International Airport in Turks and Caicos Islands around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday December 23rd.

Police are withholding the identities of the deceased until their relatives are notified.

Acting Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting said an investigation into the circumstances of the incident is underway and he asked people not to speculate about the cause.

Footage of the plane crash circulated on social media showing the plane engulfed in a huge ball of fire.

“I am aware that footage of the crashed aircraft is being circulated and I would ask that persons refrain from sharing images and video but instead make them available to the Police as part of the investigation,” Botting said in a press statement.

“The scene of the crash was challenging and upsetting but all the services worked together to do all they could for those on board the aircraft. Incidents such as this are a stark reminder of the difficult and challenging work that the emergency services undertake in the service of the communities on the Turks and Caicos Islands."

The UK Aircraft Accident Investigation Board has been notified of the crash, Botting said. 

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 6:24pm Update: Ambulance was unable to save any of the persons in the crash; Reportedly two persons onboard – male and female. A source confirm both died in the crash.

Reports coming in of a plane crash moments ago is now confirmed. The incident is reportedly near Smithco, Providenciales, TCI.

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December 23, 2017 – Providenciales – Tragic events just two days to Christmas as reports are coming in of a plane crash moments minutes ago….reportedly near SmithCo, Providenciales, TCI. 

There is no official report at this time.

One source says that ambulance personnel were unable to save any; reportedly two on board – male and female. 

One firm source says they died in the crash.

One person who witnessed the crash said that, “I was on the road when it happened.  

Some guys tried to out the fire but wasn’t successful and eventually the plane exploded.   

Ambulance got there like 15 minutes after the crash and police maybe 20 minutes along with the fire department. 

It appears that two people were inside.”

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Alpha Air Center at Joplin Regional Airport (KJLN), Joplin, Missouri

Winter flying and concerns regarding it

As people begin their drives across the countries others, are catching planes. But how does winter weather affect our time in the air?

While it may seem scary, dangers from cold temperatures and precipitation aren't as big of an issue for airline pilots as much as they used to be. One of those hazards from colder weather is icing.

"Icing is basically freezing rain or any kind of ice that accumulates on the aircraft. So you'll get into structural icing that will start adhere to the airplane and it changes the surface of the airplane so it affects the air flow,” says Joshua Crooker, Alpha Air Center General Manager.

However, modern aircraft have ways to stop icing before it causes any problems.

The big planes like the airliners. They've got heated wings, so the wings on the leading edges where you’re going to typically accumulate the ice bleed air from the engines so it melts it, so nothing can adhere to the airplane,” says Joshua Crooker.

This is just a portion of what airlines do to ensure customers have a smooth voyage.

"The airlines will make a very safe safe decision to make sure the passengers are taken care of. The biggest thing out there is just to allow some extra time. Maybe delays with de-icing the aircraft, flows getting in and out of busy airports, if there is weather. But overall I say the airlines will make the decision to make sure the passengers are safe,” says Joshua Crooker.

And that goal of keeping flights safe has eased any fear of flying in winter like weather.

"No, it doesn't bother me. I mean it would if it was landing on ice or something,” says Donna Hendricks, one of the many people choosing to fly this time of year.

"Not really. I went to the Philippines earlier this year and that was pretty shaky, so I'm sure it won't be that bad. I’m not too concerned about it,” says Louis Zamaniego.

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After charter school controversy, aviation students look to bright future

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For 17-year-old Liam Fuqua, there's no sound quite like the soft rumble of a Cessna 172.

The high school senior is barely old enough to fly it, but Fuqua is in the pilot's seat for his very first solo flight at Double Eagle Airport.

"I can only describe it as freeing," he said. "It's like the feeling of driving car for the first time in the sky. Go so much farther, see so much…it means so much to me."

It's the culmination of a long journey for Fuqua, given the situation the charter school he attends found itself in. He's a student at the Southwest Aeronautics Mathematics and Science Academy – a name that might ring a bell.

It's one of a group of schools that was part of the southwest learning centers. Its founder, David Scott Glasrud, pleaded guilty to federal theft, fraud and other charges in October, putting the future of the schools in question. 

Glasrud funneled money from the public charter schools for 15 years, which had a trickle-down effect.

"There were a lot of people that dropped, there were several years where the program was almost demolished," Fuqua said. "Since then we've actually had a lot of rocky roads with changing instructors."

For a while, the teen said, he had no idea if his hard work would pay off or if his future there was secure.

But not anymore. For Fuqua and other students, this is a story of recovery, of second chances and something else, too.  

"Within the aviation program, it's really been a story of success. In my mind, it's been a lot of learning and growing as a person and in technical skills," he said. "In flying a plane."

Now Fuqua says he's never been surer of his future. He said he owed it all to this school, and his many instructors. He's hoping to graduate with his private pilot license.

From there, he says, the possibilities are endless.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a former school administrator has pleaded guilty to fraud, theft and other charges stemming from schemes to defraud millions of dollars from the public charter schools he founded.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Mexico announced the plea of 50-year-old David Scott Glasrud on Wednesday.

Glasrud will be required to pay restitution and he could face at least four years in prison under an agreement reached with prosecutors. He has yet to be sentenced.

As head administrator for the Southwest Learning Center Schools in Albuquerque, Glasrud admitted to devising various schemes to defraud the schools.

Prosecutors say at one point he used $199,000 to pay down his personal line of credit, while $50,000 was transferred into his personal bank account. Another $4,000 was spent at a casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Buffalo Niagara International Airport (KBUF) logs first monthly passenger hike in years

You might describe recent passenger traffic at Buffalo Niagara International Airport as in a “holding pattern.”

Recession, high fuel prices, airline mergers and the fluctuating Canadian dollar had all combined to keep the flow of air travelers in and out of Buffalo as healthy but relatively flat for the past several years.

But now the numbers are taking off. All five carriers serving the Cheektowaga airfield reported enplanement increases in November, marking the first time since 2011 that monthly totals of departing passengers reflect a positive trend.

Airport officials call the development “significant” and believe it will continue.

“It was the first time we did not see even one of our airlines have downward numbers,” said William R. Vanecek, director of aviation for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. “It was just amazing to me.”

The trend is expected to continue with the addition of two airlines at Buffalo International. Frontier Airlines began service earlier this month to four Florida cities and will launch nonstop flights to Denver in April. OneJet  starts two daily flights to Albany in February and also plans nonstop service to Raleigh-Durham.

Airport officials are already reporting an enthusiastic response to the new services.

United led the field in November with an 18 percent increase in enplanements, or the number of passengers boarding flights at Buffalo. Southwest, one of Buffalo’s other major carriers, recorded only a 1 percent hike, but Vanecek said it adds up to a positive trend unseen for many years.

Problems loomed for the airport as far back as 2008, Vanecek said, when the recession hit and air travel suffered. Then a round of airline mergers reduced choices, raised prices and discouraged air travel. They included Southwest combining with AirTran, Continental with United, Northwest with Delta, and USAirways with American.

“There was a major consolidation in the industry and Buffalo had all these carriers,” Vanecek said.

Major hubs also experienced similar declines as the many factors combined to depress air travel.

“We saw this downward trend and it was frustrating year after year,” he said.

Vanecek said the improved trends are reported across the country, but are felt most acutely in places like Buffalo that were hit hard by the wave of airline consolidations and the corresponding loss of flights.

Better service that includes direct flights to major airports like Los Angeles has also helped bolster the numbers, he added. Since JetBlue added non-stop service to Los Angeles, Vanecek said, an average of 217 passengers per day board those flights compared to 119 on previous service that required changing planes in Chicago or another hub airport.

“And there have been minimal losses at other airlines,” he said, explaining that carriers still requiring a change of planes en route to Los Angeles have not been affected.

“That’s a big deal for us,” he said. “It also says the long-haul market can work.”

As a result, the NFTA is seriously exploring other West Coast destinations such as San Francisco. And the new numbers can help make the case for expansion to new markets.

“The Bay Area is high on our list,” he said. “This information will be very helpful when we sit down to talk about it with the airlines.”

In addition, Buffalo International continues to record improved numbers from travelers flocking over the border from Ontario. The airport has long lured Canadians because of its ease and lack of congestion compared to Toronto’s Pearson International. And bargains await Canadian patrons because of the deals offered by a stronger U.S. dollar.

“It’s still very solid,” Vanecek said. “We’re are seeing Ontario plates on 30 to 35 percent of the cars parked in our lots.”

Improvements slated for Buffalo International will only help drive up the numbers, he added. Design is 95 percent complete on a new $70 million baggage handling system that will result in a two-story addition when largely completed in 2019. It is the one area that has not received major attention since the new airport opened 20 years ago.

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Jet Air Group - Signature Select at Austin Straubel International Airport (KGRB), Green Bay, Brown County, Wisconsin

Todd and Angela Nelson talk to their 10 guests upon arrival Saturday at Jet Air Group at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay. The Nelsons, who are from the Los Angeles area, flew their friends and family members from Madison to Green Bay for the Packers game against the Minnesota Vikings. On days the Packers play at home, the aircraft service company is inundated with planes that need to parked and refueled so they are for their return flight after the game. Jet Air also provides catered food and drinks. It even offers a "tailgate party" for pilots waiting to fly their passengers back to their destination.

Line technicians Brad Shinnick (left) and Ethan LaRene prepare to tow a Gulfstream G450 jet Saturday at Jet Air Group at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.

Customer service rep Amber Granius-Janssen talks on the radio to a plane about to arrive Saturday at Jet Air Group at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.

GREEN BAY - Some football fans travel to Packer games in Toyota Corollas and minivans and some show up in Gulfstream 4s and Citation Sovereigns.

As traffic on Oneida St. and Lombardi Ave. backs up before every game at Lambeau Field, the private plane terminal at Jet Air located at the east end of Austin Straubel International Airport gets really busy, too.

Sometimes it’s so busy planes are parked practically wing to wing on the tarmac at Jet Air and the other fixed base operator handling private aircraft, Executive Air. The number of aircraft varies from game to game depending on weather, the visiting team and whether the Packers are playing well.

Nick Knoebel gets ready to move a plane that just arrived from California with the help of Brad Shinnick (center) on Saturday at Jet Air Group at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay.

For a Packers playoff game a few years ago, more than 100 planes showed up, said Al Timmerman, CEO of Jet Air Group-Signature Select.

“It’s crazy. It’s just nuts,” said Timmerman. “It depends on who we play, who is injured. You look at ticket prices. When the Packers are doing well and there’s a lot of demand for tickets, we know how busy we’ll be.”

It gets so busy, a Packer game departure system was set up with three staging areas dubbed green, gold and white for planes to get in line for takeoff. Just like fans who travel by car to Lambeau — as soon as the game ends, everybody wants to leave right away. And there's often a backup at the airport, just as there is from Lambeau parking lots.

Brad Shinnick gets ready to tow a plane that just arrived from California Saturday at Jet Air at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.

Everything from Boeing 757s and Cessna 172s can arrive for any Packer game.

Many make reservations with Jet Air but it’s not required. If Timmerman gets 30 reservations, he usually doubles the amount of fuel and catered meals he’ll need to accommodate planes that show up unannounced for games. The number of planes is generally four to five times the amount that comes on a weekend day in good weather, said Timmerman.

On Saturday, Jet Air got 28 reservations, about normal for a game without playoff implications for the Packers in late December when the weather is cold.

Jet Air Group line technicians park a Piper PA-31-350 Saturday at Jet Air Group at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay. 

Todd Nelson, a reality TV producer who lives in California, chartered a Citation Sovereign out of Chicago to fly himself and 10 friends and family members from Madison to the game. Nelson grew up in Wisconsin and, judging by the green and gold hats and jerseys, everyone in his group are Packers fans.

The flight took 27 minutes, and though it’s not a long drive from Madison to Green Bay, Nelson said he wanted to arrive in style.

“It’s easier,” Nelson, a Packers season ticket holder, said shortly after getting off the charter flight. “It’s a Christmas present for my family and friends.”

Line technicians prepare to tow a Gulfstream G450 jet Saturday at Jet Air Group.

Most fans made flight reservations because, with temperatures at game time forecast in the single digits, they wanted to reserve hangar space.

J.R. Spalj and Trevor Harting were part of a group of four who flew from the Twin Cities in a Citation Mustang piloted by their friend. The Vikings fans planned to stay overnight at a hotel. They scheduled the trip several weeks ago when the Packers were still playing well and the Vikings were not. Though by Saturday, the fortunes of both teams had turned.

“For us, it would have been a six-hour drive. This was a 57-minute flight,” said Spalj.

Passengers who just arrived change into cold-weather clothing Saturday at Jet Air Group.

Jet Air will make reservations for hotels and car rentals, arrange for game tickets and taxis and provide GameDay programs and any items handed out by the Packers to fans. On Saturday, it was green Packers Christmas stockings. Jet Air provides fuel, maintenance if required and catered food and drinks.

Some customers request sandwiches or pizzas or fruit platters. Sometimes it’s lobster and plates of gourmet cheese. If food is requested in advance, Jet Air can make arrangements to pick up food and deliver it. But sometimes people come off a flight and order something to be waiting on their plane when they leave and that can be difficult since the Green Bay businesses that would make meals are already super busy handling tailgates and Packer parties.

“Some catering needs are very specific,” said Ashley Smith, a customer service representative. “Sometimes it’s the specific type of gum they want and even the number of sticks of gum.”

Line technician Jay Kurowski (center) talks to a pilot who just arrived Saturday at Jet Air Group at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.

During the games, flight crews usually hang out at the small terminal where Jet Air always organizes a tailgate with free food and non-alcoholic beverages. On Saturday, it was ham, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, cookies and bottled water and soda.

A large-screen TV above a fireplace was tuned to the game in a lounge with comfortable couches and chairs. Everyone purchasing fuel on Saturday put their names in a raffle for a Packers helmet signed by former Green Bay defensive lineman Julius Peppers. On a table were keys and paperwork for car rentals.

After getting off their flights, many fans pulled warm clothing and hand and foot warmers out of duffel bags and dressed for the weather before catching cabs, Uber rides or shuttle buses to Lambeau.

Customer service rep Amber Granius-Janssen holds an autographed Green Bay Packers helmet that will be raffled off Saturday at Jet Air Group at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay. The helmet, signed by former Packer Julius Peppers, will be raffled off to a pilot who purchased fuel. 

Already dressed for the weather were Jet Air’s line technicians who were busy marshaling flights and driving tugs to park planes before refueling them. Nick Knoebel, a line technician, was dressed in a warm jumpsuit with knit cap and sturdy mittens under a bright green vest.

“There’s times a G4 (Gulfstream 4) will come in and we’re not expecting it and we have to find space to put it,” said Knoebel, who has worked at Jet Air three years. “We move them to where they’re going to be for the game and then we start refueling. Sometimes we’re so busy, we’re fueling right up to the fourth quarter.”

Knoebel is a Packer fan but he rarely gets to see a game because it’s “go time” at Jet Air on game days. He sometimes catches a few minutes of the game on a radio in the hangar or will glimpse a score on a TV but often he’ll have to wait until the next day to see highlights on TV.

An autographed Green Bay Packers helmet was a raffle prize at Jet Air Group.

Timmerman said customers range from dedicated Packers fans who come to every game or catch a few games each season, to visiting team fans flying in from Dallas or New York. In fact, among the busiest regular season games are when the Cowboys are in town. Also popular are teams in the NFC North since it’s a relatively short flight from Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis.

This year, though, Timmerman said he noticed a change among regular customers.

“With the national anthem protests, that turned a lot of people off. I noticed some of the regular customers who come to every game weren’t coming as much as they normally did,” said Timmerman. “These are very patriotic people. This is what I heard from customers who said they were disappointed.”

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West Star Aviation building 2nd hangar in 3 years at St. Louis Regional Airport (KALN)

Falcon Technical Sales Manager Ryan Gibbs, left, Falcon Program Manager Garret Heisler, center, both of Worden, and West Star Aviation General Manager Eric Kujawa, of East Alton, look over a corporate jet located in West Star Aviation existing maintenance, repair and overhaul hangar. The company plans to build another such hangar, the second in three years, by next spring at the St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton. 

EAST ALTON — A multi-million dollar company continues to grow at St. Louis Regional Airport where stakes are in the ground for the global business’ new hangar.

West Star Aviation plans to have the hangar built by next spring. The 47,300-square-foot structure would be the second hangar the company has built in the last three years to accommodate its expanding business that specializes in maintenance, repair and overhaul (known in short as MRO in the aviation industry), mostly for corporate jets, but also for some privately-owned jets. When West Star brought its first MRO hangar, which held its grand opening in May 2014, it also brought 150 immediate jobs and more than $20 million in revenue.

Pro Pilot magazine has named West Star Aviation, for four consecutive years, the top MRO company in the nation, as selected by its MRO peers. West Star does MRO work on top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art corporate jets, including Cessna Citations; Challengers; Gulfstreams; Falcons; Embraers; and, Globals. The new hangar’s 40,700-square-feet of aircraft space will handily house eight large corporate jets.

“Our customer base continues to grow and four years of being the number one MRO, the word is out that this is the place to be,” West Star Aviation General Manager Eric Kujawa, of East Alton, said to The Telegraph. “The culture of the employees and the business, the Midwest work ethic, is what everyone wants to see and that’s what we have.”

Most recently West Star Aviation became an Embraer Authorized Aircraft Maintenance and Service Center, working on models 100, 300, 450, 500, 650 and 1000.

“It’s really nice to be at a general aviation airport without commercial traffic,” Kujawa noted.

One caveat that the St. Louis Regional Airport faces in its tenant West Star building a new hangar is needed aircraft parking extension for the business development. St. Louis Regional Airport Authority, a taxing district with a board of commissioners, is pursuing federal monetary support for a ramp extension project, for which West Star Aviation will undertake, but the company would be reimbursed.

“The existing (jet) parking doesn’t extend to the new hangar,” said the airport’s Director of Aviation David Miller, also its chief executive officer. “We’ve had success in getting three congressmen to endorse the project.”

Illinois congressmen John Shimkus, R-Collinsville; Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville; and, Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, wrote a funding request for the airport’s hangar projects to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator Daniel K. Elwell, noting that West Star presently operates its 160,000-square-foot MRO facility at the airport. West Star also built a 40,000-square-foot paint hangar on land leased to the company by the airport.

The airport’s board of commissioners agreed unanimously with the request for funding and West Star Aviation’s coming business development, Miller said. At the last airport authority board meeting last week, First Midstate investment banker Kevin Wills presented bond alternatives regarding capital improvements, should the FAA deny the airport’s funding request.

The St. Louis Regional Airport Authority has been deliberately developing its 600-acre East Alton business park to help subsidize aviation facilities and to support future growth. West Star also has a growing Falcon Service Center, an extensive international client base, including newly added Egyptian government jets, and an airport land-lease agreement for more than 160,000 square feet.

“West Star has been the most successful tenant. It has put the St. Louis Regional Airport on the global map,” Miller noted. “The company has been good for the airport and the community around it.”

For example, a vendor for West Star, Dugan Tool, closed two older locations to open a new facility at St. Louis Regional Airport. Many of the airport business park’s tenants have provided services to West Star for years, said Miller, of East Alton.

Corporate representatives are required to stay with their company’s aircraft, which also adds up for about 2,000 overnight hotel/lodging stays per year, Miller said.

West Star Aviation, a tenant of St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, plans to have another hangar built by next spring. The 47,300-square-foot structure would be the second hangar the company has built in the last three years to accommodate its expanding business that specializes in maintenance, repair and overhaul (known in short as MRO in the aviation industry), mostly for corporate jets, but also for some privately-owned jets. When West Star brought its first MRO hangar, which held its grand opening in May 2014, it also brought 150 immediate jobs and more than $20 million in revenue. 

About West Star Aviation:

With five facilities spread nationwide, West Star Aviation keeps its service headquarters in East Alton, Illinois, where it has roots dating back to the 1940s. The facility specializes in airframes, interiors and engines, as well as major modifications, avionics installation and repair, interior refurbishment, avionics sales, accessory services, paint and parts.

West Star’s predecessors, Walston Aviation and also Premier Air Center, provided solid aviation jobs at the East Alton location since the St. Louis Regional Airport started in 1945. In the 1950s, as Walston Aviation, it operated the largest Cessna dealership in the world from East Alton, with sales totalling more than $2 million in 1955.

Currently, at St. Louis Regional Airport, West Star’s business includes 323,000 square feet of hangar, shop and office space and generates approximately 10 percent of its revenue from international business. Corporate investors would have no reason to stay with Illinois vendors if West Star developed its growing business elsewhere, said the airport’s Director of Aviation David Miller, also its chief executive officer, of East Alton.

West Star is ranked in the top 500 companies in the Missouri and Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) based on employment. St. Louis Regional Airport commissioners and staff see West Star Aviation as a global contender in the aviation industry, Miller said.

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Aero Commander 112, N1143J, Lighthouse Aviation: Incident occurred December 23, 2017 near Chesapeake Regional Airport (KCPK), Chesapeake, Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

Aircraft landed in a field short of runway 23 at Chesapeake Regional Airport (KCPK) after a loss of engine power.

Lighthouse Aviation Inc:

Date: 23-DEC-17
Time: 16:30:00Z
Regis#: N1143J
Aircraft Model: 112
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Operation: 91

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- Virginia State Police said a plane in Chesapeake made an emergency landing in a field off of Shillelagh Road near Chesapeake Regional Airport. 

City police dispatch received the call around noon and contacted state police. 

Chesapeake Fire Department told 13News Now there were no injuries or damage to the plane.

The pilot told us the 4-seat single-engine plane was fairly low when it suffered a partial loss of power, prompting an emergency landing.

He said he flies regularly east of the Mississippi. He's had his pilot's license since 2009.

The trip he was on was recreational and he was flying from Rockingham County NC Shiloh Airport.

The pilot had this to say about having to land the plane: "It was a rush of adrenaline, not much else to think about other than where you can land when you only have 30 seconds to decide." 

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Amador County Airport - Westover Field (KJAQ) Land Use Commission to Revise Heavily Criticized Draft Land Use Plan

Amador County Airport Land Use Commission pledged to revise its draft land use plan following heavy criticism from both members of the public and officials from the cities of Sutter Creek and Jackson.

The Airport Land Use Commission, which has representatives from the Amador County Board of Supervisors, City Councils of Jackson and Sutter Creek, the airport and the public, is in the process of updating the land use plan that restricts construction around the county’s only public airport, Westover Field, for safety purposes. For almost four hours Monday afternoon, the commission heard concerns over the draft plan, which is being updated for first time since 1990. 

Of particular concern is a proposed “wildlife hazard area” that extends in a five mile radius around the airport and would restrict projects that could attract birds that could endanger aircraft, such as lakes, golf course water features, or other water projects that could attract waterfowl. Previously, the building restriction area only extended for a mile radius around the airport, and officials from the cities were concerned that other restriction beyond wildlife attraction could go into effect in a much broader area. The new plan also puts into place further restrictions in the landing and takeoff zones of the airport, and several property owners were on hand to complain about the new restrictions on their lands.

The Commission will meet again on February 26 to review the changes made to address the concerns from Monday’s meeting.

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X-Air XA85, N20XA: Fatal accident occurred December 23, 2017 in Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa (and) Ankeny, Iowa

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Bruce G. Devick:

Location: Oskaloosa, IA
Accident Number: CEN18FA060
Date & Time: 12/23/2017, 1415 CST
Registration: N20XA
Aircraft: X-AIR LLC XA85
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 23, 2017, about 1415 central standard time, a X-Air LLC XA85 single-engine airplane, N20XA, collided with power lines while maneuvering at a low altitude near Oskaloosa, Iowa. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that departed Oskaloosa Municipal Airport (OOA) about 1345 with the intended destination of Marshalltown Municipal Airport (MIW), Marshalltown, Iowa.

There were several witnesses who reported seeing an airplane flying at a low altitude in the general area of Oskaloosa, Iowa. One witness, who was driving south on Highway 63, reported seeing an airplane flying westbound at a low altitude near 210th Street. The location of the witness was about 1/2 mile east of the accident site. There were no witnesses to the final portion of the flight.

A preliminary review of available Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control (ATC) radar data revealed no transponder data associated with the flight. Further review of available radar data did not reveal any primary track data that could be conclusively associated with the flight. The lower limit of ATC radar coverage at the accident site was about 2,000 ft above ground level (agl).

The accident site was in an open agricultural field. The initial impact was with a power line located about 35 ft above the ground. The damage to the airplane was consistent with it impacting the ground in a nose-down pitch attitude on a south heading. The airplane subsequently came to rest inverted about 230 ft from the initial impact with the power line. The main wreckage consisted of the entire airplane. A 80 ft section of steel-braided power line was found wrapped around the main landing gear. The nose gear had separated from the airframe. All major structural components and flight controls were identified at the accident site. Flight control continuity was confirmed at the accident site. The wing flaps were found fully retracted. First responders reported that they turned the electric master switch from ON to OFF. The electric fuel pump switch was in the ON position. Both electronic ignition switches were in the ON position. The starting fuel control was in the OFF position. The carburetor heat control was in the OFF position. The cabin heat control was in the ON position. The altimeter's Kollsman window was centered on 30.24 inches of mercury. The communication radio was turned-on, and the active frequency was set to the common traffic advisory frequency (122.8 MHz) for the departure airport. First responders reported that they observed fuel leaking from the estimated half-full fuselage tank. The fuel tank was subsequently removed from the fuselage. The fuel selector was found in the ON position. The engine remained attached to the fuselage through its engine mounts. An external examination of the engine did not reveal any damage. The two-blade, carbon-composite propeller was fragmented. The damaged propeller was removed from the engine to facilitate an operational engine test run. The engine, a 85-horsepower Jabiru 2200J, serial number 22J795, started and ran at various engine speeds without any hesitation or anomalies. The postaccident airframe examination and operational engine test run revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation.

The airplane was equipped with a Dynon EMS-D10 electronic engine monitor. The undamaged device was removed from the instrument panel and its non-volatile data was downloaded. A review of the recovered engine parameter data revealed consistent readings throughout the approximately 36 minute flight and no anomalies with engine operation. According to the engine parameter data, recorded at 10-second intervals, the engine was operating at a typical cruise power setting (2,850 rpm) before it experienced a sudden decrease of engine speed and oil pressure, consistent with an impact with a power line and terrain.

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin GPSmap 396. The GPS device was normally installed in a cradle located on the right-side of the instrument panel. The GPS device was recovered outside of the airplane cabin with no apparent damage. The device had separated from its antenna coaxial cable and external power supply during the impact sequence. The device was powered-on using its battery, and its non-volatile track data was downloaded. A review of the downloaded data established that the last recorded flight was on December 16, 2017, from MIW to OOA. There was no track data recorded on the day of the accident. Further examination of the last recorded map position, alerts, and calendar/clock established that the GPS device was not powered-on during the accident flight. A review of the device settings revealed that it was configured to automatically power-on when an external power source was detected and to automatically record the airplane's flight path. The GPS device normally received power through the airplane's electrical system, and was protected by a 3-ampere, fast-acting fuse installed on the primary buss. A postaccident examination of the fuse associated with the GPS external power supply revealed that it had blown. However, the GPS battery remained installed and was capable of powering-on the device when the power button was depressed.

A postaccident review of available meteorological data established that day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at OOA about 12 miles southeast of the accident site. At 1415, the OOA automated surface observing system reported: wind 350° at 9 knots, a clear sky, 10 miles surface visibility, temperature -6°C, dew point -11°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: X-AIR LLC
Registration: N20XA
Model/Series: XA85 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: OOA, 840 ft msl
Observation Time: 1415 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -6°C / -11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 350°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Oskaloosa, IA (OOA)
Destination: Marshalltown, IA (MIW) 

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:  41.344167, -92.662778

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

Obituary for Bruce Gene Devick

Bruce Devick, 70, of Marshalltown, IA, passed away on Saturday, December 23, 2017. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home. A public visitation will be held on Friday, December 29, 2017 from 5-7 p.m. at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the family to be used at a later date. For condolences please visit 

 Bruce was born on October 31, 1947, to Clair and Ione (Tarrence) Devick in Marshalltown, Iowa. He graduated from Marshalltown High School in 1965. Bruce honorably served his country by enlisting in the Armed Forces and serving two tours in Viet Nam. Upon his return from the Armed Forces, he settled down in Marshalltown, IA.  Bruce retired as President/CEO of Bruin Mfg. of Marshalltown, IA, after 42 years of service. He loved to fly and was a member of the Experimental Air Craft Association. Bruce loved to take his family out to eat and enjoyed driving long distances just to find a great seafood place. 

Left to cherish his memory are close friend Carol Berg of Marshalltown, IA; his children Theresa (Paul) Hays of Redfield, IA, and Sam (Marci) Devick of Laurel, IA; grandchildren Abigail, Aaron, & Alexandria Hays of Redfield, IA, & Emily, Erik, & Ben Devick of Laurel, IA; siblings Dennis (Betty) Devick of Des Moines, IA, Diane Devick of Fairfax, VA, Tedd (Marilyn) Devick of Ames, IA, Nadine (Clelland) Looney of Kent, IA, & Toby Devick of Marshalltown, IA; and extended family.

Bruce is preceded in death by his parents Clair & Ione, step-mother Lucille, & son Chris.

OSKALOOSA, Iowa —  Authorities in Mahaska County are investigating a plane crash in which the aircraft struck a power line and crashed into a field, killing the pilot.

Emergency rescue personnel were sent at approximately 2 :20 p.m. to the 2000 block of 210th Street on reports of a plane crash.

When officials arrived, they found the pilot, who was the sole occupant, dead at the scene.

The victim’s name is being withheld pending family notification. The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office has been contacted, and an autopsy is pending.

Mahaska County officials said they are not speculating as to why the aircraft was flying so low before it crashed.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted and will assist the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.

The Oskaloosa Fire Department, the Mahaska Health Partnership ambulance services, the Iowa State Patrol and the Mahaska County Emergency Management Agency assisted at the scene.

Story and photo ➤

MAHASKA COUNTY, Iowa  —  Investigators are working to determine the cause of a plane crash that claimed the life of one person.

At approximately 2:20 p.m. on Saturday, Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office officials responded to the 2000 block of 210th Street in Oskaloosa on a report of an aircraft having crashed. The preliminary investigation indicates the aircraft hit a power line, which then caused the plane to crash into the ground, but there is not yet information as to why the aircraft was flying so low.

First responders found the pilot deceased when they arrived on scene. The victim’s name has not been released pending notification of family members. No one else was in the aircraft at the time of the incident.

The Federal Aviation Administration is assisting in the ongoing investigation into the crash.

Story and photos ➤

NEAR OSKALOOSA - The Mahaska County Sheriff's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating after a pilot is killed after crashing a small plane in a field.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the crash happened shortly before 2:20 p.m. Saturday in the 2000 block of 210th Street just north of Oskaloosa.

Officials say the pilot was dead when they arrived on scene.

The Sheriff's Office says a preliminary investigation has revealed that the plane hit a power line nearby and, as a result, crashed into the field. There's no word yet on why the plane may have been flying this low.

Original article can be found here ➤

A Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

On Saturday, December 23, 2017, at approximately 2:20 PM officials of the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to 2082 210th Street about an aircraft that had crashed. Upon emergency personnel’s arrival, it was discovered that the pilot was deceased.

The results of the preliminary investigation indicate that the aircraft struck a power line causing it to crash to the ground. Officials are not speculating on what caused the aircraft to be flying this low.

The identity of the pilot is being withheld at this time, pending notification of family members. The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft. The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office was contacted, and an autopsy of the victim is pending.

The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted and are assisting the Sheriff’s Office with this investigation. The Sheriff’s Office was also assisted by members of the Oskaloosa Fire Department, the Mahaska Health Partnership ambulance services, the Iowa State Patrol and the Mahaska County Emergency Management Agency.

OSKALOOSA, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have released the name of a pilot whose body was found in the wreckage of his small plane in south-central Iowa.

The Mahaska County Sheriff's Office identified him as 70-year-old Bruce Devick, who lived in Marshalltown.

Authorities say the single-engine aircraft crashed Saturday afternoon after striking a power line about 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of Oskaloosa. First responders found the wrecked plane upside down in a farm field.

Devick had been flying alone. It remains unclear why he was flying low enough to strike the line.

Federal authorities have joined the crash investigation.