Tuesday, March 20, 2018

WestJet Encore, de Havilland Dash 8-400: Incident occurred March 20, 2018 at Nanaimo Airport (YCD), British Columbia, Canada

An airplane was met on the runway by firefighters after the plane’s cabin filled with smoke.

Passengers aboard a WestJet Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop flying from Vancouver to Nanaimo Airport were shaken, but uninjured after the aircraft filled with smoke and made an emergency landing this afternoon, March 20.

WestJet flight 3161 was about five minutes away from Nanaimo Airport shortly before 1 p.m., when according to passengers, the cabin began to fill with a smoky haze.

“I can confirm that WestJet Encore flight 3161 from Vancouver to Nanaimo declared an emergency this afternoon after smoke was noticed in the cabin and flight deck upon approach into the Nanaimo airport,” said Lauren Stewart, WestJet spokeswoman, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin. “The crew declared an emergency to establish priority landing and the positioning of emergency vehicles. Upon landing, guests were safely evacuated from the aircraft into the terminal to await their carry-on and luggage. All guests and crew have been off-loaded and a preliminary maintenance inspection will be performed shortly.”

Stewart said there were 56 passengers aboard the aircraft, which was on the ground at 12:56 p.m.

“About five minutes from landing there was a little bit of smoke started coming into the plane,” said Darren MacDonald, passenger. “They were very calm about the whole bit, saying they were coming in to land and the pilots had everything under control.”

MacDonald said the flight attendants remained calm.

“They came in to land and hit the brakes, shut the engines down and got everybody off as fast as possible,” MacDonald said.

Rhonda Leclair and her husband Derrick were on the final leg of their trip from Halifax, N.S. She said the cabin started filling with light smoke.

“So someone notified the flight attendant and she checked with the pilots,” Leclair said. “She said, keep your seatbelts on, there may be an emergency landing … there were some panicked people with children. They wanted to keep their children safe. It was really kind of confusing, though, if you ask me, and then we evacuated and here we are.”

Passengers said the smoke in the cabin smelled like oil or possibly electrical components burning.

Henry and Michelle Micheletti, of Saskatchewan, said the plane had just flown into a cloud when the smoke appeared.

“We just flew into a big cloud and all of a sudden I could smell something and then I looked up at the front and it looked kind of foggy and I thought, well that’s kind of weird. I’ve never seen a cloud come into a plane before and then it just got really smoky and then you knew. I mean it wasn’t a question anymore,” Henry said.

The couple said everyone stayed very calm, but they were worried and admitted it was a long five minutes to the airport.

“Oh, yeah, we were praying all right … I thought any second things were going to go really bad.”

Passengers were evacuated with the plane on the runway, which was closed for about one hour as emergency crews checked through the aircraft to be certain there was no actual fire on board and no risk of fire breaking out before it was towed off the runway to a parking apron near the airport terminal.

Cranberry and North Cedar volunteer fire departments were called out to assist Nanaimo Airport’s fire service. B.C. Ambulance and RCMP also responded. Passengers were checked over by B.C. Ambulance paramedics.

“The passengers were all safely taken off the aircraft and the aircraft has been pulled in for servicing,” said Mike Hooper, Nanaimo Airport president and CEO.

What malfunction caused the smoke hasn’t yet been confirmed.

“It’s still under investigation so we don’t have anything to point to yet,” Stewart said.

The last time a commercial airliner made an emergency landing at Nanaimo Airport was in December 2013 when an Air Canada Jazz flight experienced and engine fire en route from Nanaimo to Vancouver and turned back to Nanaimo.

Original article  ➤ https://www.nanaimobulletin.com

Fatal accident occurred March 17, 2018 in Oaxaca, Mexico

A Mexico City woman is dead after a mid-air collision between two skydivers at a resort town in Oaxaca Saturday.

The accident occurred at Zicatela beach in Puerto Escondido just as the two parachutists were about to land.

But their lines crossed, spilling the air from the canopy of one. Forty-three-year-old Ursula Hernández plunged at least 10 meters to the beach. She died later in a local hospital.

The other skydiver suffered minor injuries.

Skydiving is a popular sport among visitors to this tourist destination on the coast of Oaxaca. A company from Cuautla, Morelos, offers skydiving twice a year during the Christmas and Easter holidays.

Dozens of parachutists jump every day, landing on Zicatela beach.

Data kept by the United States Parachute Association indicates that there were 21 fatal skydiving accidents the U.S. in 2016 out of about 3.2 million jumps. In the 1970s, the sport averaged 42.5 fatalities annually, a number that has been dropping steadily, the association says.

Story and raw video:  https://mexiconewsdaily.com

Kitfox Supersport, registered to and operated by the pilot, N925DP: Accident occurred March 20, 2018 in Clatskanie, Columbia County, Oregon

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon

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

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


Location: Clatskanie, OR
Accident Number: WPR18LA111
Date & Time: 03/20/2018, 1315 PDT
Registration: N925DP
Aircraft: PFLUGRADT Kitfox
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 20, 2018, about 1315 Pacific daylight time, an experimental Pflugradt Kitfox Super Sport airplane, N925DP, experienced a partial loss of engine power and collided with terrain near Clatskanie, Oregon. The airline transport pilot was not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Pacific City State Airport (PFC), Pacific City, Oregon at 1200 and was destined for Pearson Field Airport (VUO), Vancouver, Washington

The pilot reported that he departed from PFC and he followed the coast and Columbia river en route to VUO. About 800 ft above the Columbia river, he advanced the throttle to climb when the engine started to lose power. The pilot elected to land on a nearby treeless island in the river. The airplane landed uneventfully, and during the landing roll, the main wheels sunk into the ground and the airplane nosed over and came to rest on its back.

Postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector revealed that the throttle cable was loose at the throttle body attachment arm. When manipulated, the cable moved freely with no corresponding motion on the throttle body arm. The cable set screw on the aft side of the throttle body arm backed slightly out of its original position and was no longer securing the throttle cable.

Review of the maintenance logbooks revealed the the throttle body arm was built by the owner and was installed on the airplane on July 30, 2017, at 1,092.5 hours, which is about 204 hours prior to the accident. In addition, a vernier style throttle cable was installed on August 30, 2017 at 1,137 hours, about 159 hours prior to the accident.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/08/2016
Flight Time:  11873 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1296 hours (Total, this make and model), 9901 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 74 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 23 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PFLUGRADT
Registration: N925DP
Model/Series: Kitfox Super Sport
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2014
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: KA13063258
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/10/2017, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 42 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1296 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 912ULS
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 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: KLS, 20 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1256 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 95°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C / 3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Pacific City, OR (PFC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Vancouver, WA (VUO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1200 PDT
Type of Airspace: Unknown 

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: 46.155000, 123.237500 (est)

On Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at approximately 1:30PM, the Oregon State Police responded to the report of a small plane that had crashed into the Columbia River near Clatskanie. Initial information indicated the plane was upside down in the water on a sandbar. 

The US Coast Guard along with an OSP boat, which was nearby responded to the scene. The USCG arrived prior to OSP’s arrival and had recovered the pilot and transported him to Pearson Airfield in Vancouver. The pilot was uninjured and identified as 67 year old Douglas Paul PFLUGRADT, from Mattawa, Washington. There were no passengers in the aircraft. The location of the crash was determined to be on Wallace Island.

PFLUGRADT indicated he was attempting to land on a sandbar of Wallace Island because he was experiencing mechanical issues. The aircraft PFLUGRADT was operating is identified as a Kit Fox Super Sport. During PFLUGRADT’s attempt to land, the aircraft flipped onto its top. Recovery efforts are underway to remove the aircraft prior to the rising tide. The investigation is continuing.

The Oregon State Police was assisted by the US Coast Guard, Washington State Patrol, Oregon Emergency Management, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Original article can be found here ➤  http://www.flashalert.net

PORTLAND, Ore. —   Oregon State Police say the pilot of a small plane wasn't injured when he tried to land atop a sandbar at Wallace Island Tuesday afternoon.

The crash was reported around 1:30 p.m. and the pilot, identified as 67-year-old Douglas P. Pflugradt from Mattawa, Wash., had reported having mechanical issues.

As he was attempting to land on the sandbar, the plane flipped to its top.

Pflugradt wasn't injured, but he was taken to Pearson Air Park by the US Coast Guard. Pflugradt was operating a Kit Fox Super Sport.

Oregon State Police initially told KATU News two people were rescued from the plane, but later walked back that statement, adding someone had jumped from the Lewis and Clark Bridge around the same time.

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

Two people were sent to the hospital Tuesday afternoon after a plane crashed near Wallace Island on the Columbia River near Clatskanie.

Oregon State Police were dispatched to the scene at 1:36 p.m. March 20 after a 911 caller reported seeing a plane upside down in the river. Members of the Coast Guard were also sent to the crash.

Oregon State Police Sgt. Kaipo Raiser said two people were recovered and transported to a Vancouver hospital.

"There is no information about who they are or what their condition is at this point," Raiser said.

The plane had not been removed as of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, he added.

Wallace Island is a three-mile island situated just outside of Clatskanie in the Columbia River.

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

National Museum of the United States Air Force preparing plane for public reveal

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The B-17F Memphis Belle – the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bomber to return to the United States after completing 25 combat missions over occupied Europe – was recently moved from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s Restoration Hangar to the museum’s World War II Gallery as work continues to progress on the new exhibit.

Although the iconic aircraft is now inside the WWII Gallery, it will continue to remain out of public view until it is unveiled in a new exhibit following a ribbon cutting ceremony on the morning of May 17 – exactly 75 years after its crew finished their last mission in the war against Nazi Germany on May 17, 1943.

The new exhibit will tell the complete story of the Memphis Belle and address the many myths associated with the aircraft. Artifacts will be on display from seven of the crewmembers including several war-time uniforms; a flight suit; combat boots; flying goggles; dog-tags; pilot’s wings and other rank insignia. In addition, rare color archival footage—some of which has never been seen by the public before — will be shown in the exhibit.

Surrounding the Memphis Belle exhibit will be a new Strategic Bombardment in Europe exhibit featuring a digitally animated map of the strategic bombing campaign; two Medals of Honor; items worn and used on significant missions; artifacts from bombing campaign leaders; a bomber top turret and ball turret; and engaging photos.

According to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Curator Jeff Duford, the new Memphis Belle exhibit and surrounding Strategic Bombardment exhibit will allow visitors to understand more about the thousands of bomber crews, maintainers, and others supporting the bomber mission, whose service and sacrifice helped win WWII.

“In addition to seeing the magnificent Memphis Belle aircraft on display, visitors will see artifacts used by the Memphis Belle crewmembers, and many of these objects have not been in the same place together with the aircraft since the war in 1943,” said Duford. “The Strategic Bombardment exhibit will showcase the ‘best of the best’ artifacts in our collection that relate to this fascinating and engaging story.”

These priceless artifacts will be displayed in new custom designed cases that were handmade by the museum’s Exhibits Division, which also designed and fabricated each of the individual artifact mounts inside the cases. Together, the cases and the artifact mounts will present the artifacts in the most visually appealing manner, while still ensuring their protection and preservation.

Although exhibit designing may sound like a relatively simple task, it is a lot more complex than one might think, said Exhibits Division Chief Greg Hassler.

“Creating an exhibit is like a puzzle within a puzzle because you only have a certain amount of space to tell a particular story, and then within that space you have to select the most meaningful artifacts, but also ones that will fit inside your exhibit area” said Hassler. “We’re a one-stop shop in the Exhibits Division with staff who specialize in designing, fabricating and installing all of the exhibits, lighting and railings in the museum, and we can even print our own large graphics and text panels – all with the goal of delivering captivating exhibits that tell the Air Force story and pay tribute to those who served.”

The new Memphis Belle exhibit will open with a three-day celebration (May 17-19, 2018) that will include a WWII-era aircraft static display featuring two B-17G Flying Fortresses; more than 130 WWII reenactors performing war-time skits and showcasing their memorabilia; over 20 vintage military and civilian vehicles on exhibition as well as other artifacts, music from the era, guest speakers, and book signings. In addition, both Memphis Belle films (1944 and 1990 versions) will be shown in the Air Force Museum Theatre.

For more information including photos and videos of the Memphis Belle, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Upcoming/Boeing-B-17F-Memphis-Belle-Exhibit-Opening-May-17-2018/.

Original article ➤ http://www.fairborndailyherald.com

Palm Beach County, Florida: Two men sentenced in plot that put corroded plane in air

WEST PALM BEACH —   Two men who conspired to put an airplane with rusted and corroded parts into the sky were placed on probation Tuesday for falsifying documents to make sure the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t know about the scheme they hatched at the Lantana airport.

U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg sentenced the mastermind of the plan, pilot Ulipiano Luis Amy, 63, to six months of house arrest in addition to three years of probation. Formerly of Miami Springs, Amy is now caring for his elderly parents in Puerto Rico and will serve his house arrest there.

James Schiller, who operated *Palm Beach Aviation Services out of Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana, Florida, was placed on probation for two years. Schiller, 53, who lives in Lake Worth, will lose his Federal Aviation Administration certification as an aircraft mechanic.

Amy had already been grounded for health reasons but Rosenberg ordered the permanent revocation of his pilot license.

The sentencing comes two weeks after Robert Charles “Chas” Brady, the owner of Beach Aviation Services, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to four charges in connection with an illegal charter service and flight school he operated out of the Boca Raton Airport and Pompano Beach Airpark.

While Brady’s pilot license was revoked in 2016, the 36-year-old Fort Lauderdale man continued to give flying lessons and manned the controls of numerous charter flights, Federal Aviation Administration officials said. Many student pilots learned that Federal Aviation Administration will not honor the training hours they received at his flight school.

* Not to be confused with www.beachaviationservices.com in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Read more here ➤ https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com

Beach Aviation Owner Robert “Charles” Brady Arrested on 56-Count Indictment: https://www.justice.gov 

Florida Aircraft Mechanic and Pilot Plead Guilty to Conspiracy To Commit Aircraft Parts Fraud: https://www.oig.dot.gov

Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director Brauer to retire

A longtime fixture at Rhinelander/Oneida County Airport will be handing over the controls to the next generation in May.

Airport director Joe Brauer will be retiring, and Rhinelander High School alum Matt Leitner will be his successor.

Brauer told the airport commission in December he planned to retire this spring after 28 years, and the search for a replacement began immediately.

The airport commission hired a search firm to recruit a replacement, with advertising for the position starting in January 2018. The search was concentrated in the Great Lakes region and upper midwest so the candidates would know what to expect from a Northwoods winter.

"Not too many people in Florida want to come run an airport in northern Wisconsin," Brauer said late last week in an exclusive sit-down interview with The Lakeland Times' sister paper River News.

"We ended up getting 20 people interested in this position, of those 20, 11 actually replied, and they came from various walks of life from running general aviation airports to working commercial airports," Brauer said.

Those 11 applicants were then presented with a complete written, essay-style questionnaire from the search firm. The answers resulted in the field being narrowed to six candidates. After another round of questioning, the field was cut to two candidates.

At the March 15 meeting of the airport commission, Leitner, 39, was selected as Brauer's replacement by a unanimous vote.

Bob Heck, chairman of the airport commission, said Leitner is a hometown boy coming home.

A 1997 graduate of Rhinelander High School, Leitner started hanging out at the airport when he was 11 years old after he won an hour of flight training in the air. He grew up in aviation, soloing on his 16th birthday, the absolute youngest he could do so, and was a hanger rat through junior and high school, hanging around the general aviation operation where he was eventually hired.

Leitner went to Georgia State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 2003, and a MPA from George College in 2008. He then worked for a few years in the airline industry before becoming the director of the Jamestown North Dakota Regional Airport from 2010 to 2014 before he took over the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority in Crescent City, Calif., where he is still.

Despite his relatively young age, Heck said Leitner was far and away the best candidate to replace Brauer.

"Of all the interviews that I have done through the years, probably hundreds of them, I don't think I was ever more impressed," Heck said. "He has incredible background, he has incredible knowledge, I mean he's as knowledgeable of the facts and everything else as it gets."

Heck said he is "incredibly excited" for Leitner to be coming, especially since he grew up at the local airport. Brauer said Leitner, starting at age 15, would wash planes and do other chores around the general aviation hanger to earn flying time to pursue his pilot's license.

"It (getting the job as director) was almost like a dream coming true for him," Heck said.

May 7 will be Leitner's first day, with Brauer sticking around until May 18, a day after his 67th birthday. After that, he will become a "friend of the airport."

"They have been good to me," Brauer said. "I have no intention of ever going back to work again, anyway.

"It's been a great ride. I had a great career in the airlines industry."

Brauer started Feb. 1, 1990. On that first day, Brauer faced his first problem on a 9 a.m. airline flight that started in Appleton and was due to make a stop at Rhinelander before ending up in Minneapolis.

"I was sitting in my office getting acquainted and doing whatever else like that and all of a sudden I get a call from my fire fighting crew and you got an aircraft coming in here that only has two green lights," Brauer said. "That means you have the nose wheels and the two mains and you should have been getting three greens. So I said, 'Oh, boy!'"

He requested the pilot of the plane do a flyby so the assembled fire and rescue crews can visually check the landing gear. The report came that all three are down, but there is no way to tell if they were locked. The plane landed safely.

"Of all the managers I've had here, Joe did the best job," Heck said. "He is the best airport manager this airport ever had."

Brauer's longevity with Heck and the commission has resulted in a study improvement to the airport.

"In my tenure here, we've done over $25 million in projects," Brauer said. "There has been a lot that has happened over time."

For Leitner, his aviation journey from Rhinelander and back that started with that birthday gift at age 11 of that gift certificate has taken him a long way from home.

That he even became a pilot was due to the dedication he demonstrated with his love of flying ever since that first trip into the sky took extra dedication for Leitner because he is blind in one eye.

"As a child in Rhinelander, I had to appeal to the FAA to grant me a waiver," Leitner said. "Which I got, so I'm able to fly with me being blind in my right eye."

He said he started riding his bike out to the airport every summer day when he was 12 "and go to Rhinelander Flying Service and beg for a ride." He eventually got a job at Rhinelander Flying Service.

Now he's coming back to replace a man who he knew growing up.

"It's an honor, I think, more than anything," Leitner said. "I feel confident in my ability to carry on his tradition. I think he's done a wonderful job. I think it is an honor to be his successor."

He also said the best part of the new job is coming home.

"I look forward to reconnecting with all those I might have known growing up," Leitner said. 

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

Western Kenya airstrips stir up business

A woman cleans the Kabunde Airstrip runway in readiness for a flight

Kabunde Airstrip in Homa Bay County is proving to be a goldmine in turning around the lakeside county’s economic fortunes.

Tourism, hotel and taxi businesses are looking up since the airstrip located six kilometres from Homa Bay Town received its first commercial flights in January.

The airstrip is a convenience to thousands who have for a long time been worrying about catching flights about 114 kilometres away in Kisumu.

The airstrip that is serving the larger catchment area and supplements services of Suneka Airstrip in the neighbouring Kisii County has also lifted local businesses.

Hoteliers and taxi operators who are key beneficiaries of the facility are optimistic that it’s runway shall be extended to accommodate bigger planes.

Mr. Jack Awitty, the general manager of Cold Springs Hotel, which is a newly opened four star class hospitality facility in the town, says that the airstrip is a big boost to hospitality industry in the western Kenya tourism circuit.

"Some of our clients use the airstrip to reach our new facility and this has boosted sales for many hotels in this region," said Mr Awitty.
Top hotels in the county seeking to benefit from the refurbishment of the airstrip are Rusinga Island Lodge, Tourist Hotel and Blue Ridge Hotel located at the shores of Lake Victoria.

Most hoteliers are tying their tides to the tourist attraction sites in the county like Ruma National Park, Rusinga Island, Lake Simbi Nyaima and Ondago swamp.

Homa Bay County Business Association chairperson Bob Onimo revealed that the airstrip had boosted investment opportunities in the county.

He pointed the entry of several banking and insurance services offering companies into the town as an indicator of a growing investor confidence of the prospects in the lakeside county.

"The airstrip has increased investment opportunities in the town and this explains the banking, hotelier and insurance businesses that are establishing in Homa Bay Town," said Mr. Onimo.

During a recent investments conference organised by the Homa Bay County government to root for investors to invest in different sectors of the devolved unit, transport and hospitality industries topped the list of sectors where investors were needed.

Kabunde upgrade that is a project of Kenya Airports Authority and the county government was modernised at a cost of Sh200 million with its runaway extended to 1.2 kilometres.

The facilities at the newly refurbished airstrip include an apron and a runaway 14/32, which in the year 2015 was extended from 790 metres to the present 1.2km to accommodate larger aircraft.

Homa Bay County Executive for Roads, Transport and Infrastructure Eliud Otieno said that the county government has embarked on a continuous upgrading of the airstrip’s runaway, targeting bigger aircraft.

‘’The airstrip is a development  that is meant to benefit the western Kenya tourism  as a number of tourists have started using it to  jet into the county,’’ said Mr Otieno.

Two airlines, Barracuda Airlines and 540 Airlines are currently using the airstrip.

The airstrip has also witnessed an influx of tour operator companies in Homa Bay Town who seeks to tap onto tourists seeking to visit the tourist attraction sites in the region. 

Kabunde serves as a benchmark for a number of counties in Western Kenya which are pushing to have their airstrips upgraded so as to turn fortunes around. 

There are about 20 civil airstrips in Western Kenya alone, most of which are idle, while the upgrade of others are on the pipeline.

Kakamega airstrip and Suneka in Kisii recently received Sh200 million and Sh500 million respectively from the national government for refurbishment as Nakuru governor Lee Kinyanjui announced that they will build Nakuru airport in conjunction with the national government.

In Kericho, a total of Sh1 billion will be required to upgrade Kerenga airstrip although Governor Paul Chepkwony is facing opposition from a section of leaders and residents over the project which would be done in partnership with the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and the Kenya Air Force who will provide strategic support. 

In September 2017, Kenya Airports Authority toured Itembe airstrip in Bomet County which is also earmarked for uplift.

Narok alone has three purposely to aid tourist movement, including Masai Mara (Keekorok Airport) and Masai Mara (Mara Serena Airport) and Narok airport.

Then there is Naivasha, Nanyuki, Bungoma, Busia, Kakamega, Kimwarer, Kisii, Kitale, Lake Baringo, Liboi, Loiyangalani and Lokichogio. 

According to data released by Oxford Economics last year, the air transport sector in Kenya contributes $3.2bn or 5.1 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The findings of the report dubbed The Importance of Air Transport to Kenya’, also estimates that a 10 percent improvement of air transport connectivity will lead to a Sh1.5 billion per annum increase in the long run GDP for the country’s economy.

The sector supports a nearly 50,000 jobs in Kenya directly and indirectly and pays Sh3.2 billion in taxes.

The Oxford Economics report recommends that air transport connectivity would increase competition hence lower the travel costs, increase flexibility of labour supply and speed up adoption of new businesses.

Experts, however, have asked for proper assessment of the need for airports. 

Western Kenya already has two international airports of Kisumu and Eldoret which operate below capacity. 

Mr. Kwame Owino, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Economic Affairs warned that counties and national government should exercise caution and ensure the demand for air transport (passengers and cargo) exists before billions are spent in vain.

“They have to look at our history. For Eldoret airport for instance, it was projected that within 10 years of construction, it would process half of the transactions done at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but that is yet to be achieved,” said Mr Owino.

Mr. Benson Kiriga, the head of macro-economic division at Kenya Institute of Public Policy and Research said whereas counties were allowed to construct airstrip, there was need to assess the need to avoid concentration of such facilities in one area.

Original article ➤ https://www.businessdailyafrica.com

Ryanair Buys Niki Lauda Airline in Rare Foray Into Dealmaking

Niki Lauda 

Ryanair Holdings Plc agreed to buy an Austrian airline from former Formula One motor-racing champion Niki Lauda, only the second acquisition in the Irish carrier’s history.

The low-cost giant will pay Lauda less than 50 million euros ($61.7 million) for a majority stake in LaudaMotion, which retook control of carrier Niki just two months ago following the insolvency of Air Berlin. The aviation entrepreneur paid about the same for the whole airline as Ryanair plans to spend on a 75 percent stake in the holding company.

The deal is Ryanair’s first since it bought the U.K.’s Buzz from KLM in 2003, only to close the carrier down a year later. Since then it’s tried and failed to take over fellow Irish airline Aer Lingus and last year was a potential bidder for Air Berlin, before pulling out of an auction it claimed was rigged in favor of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Lauda will become chairman of LaudaMotion and will oversee the rebuilding of Niki, Ryanair said in a statement Tuesday. The Dublin-based company will provide an additional 50 million euros in funds to get the carrier up and running, alongside management support and six aircraft. The airline’s fleet will grow to at least 30 and it should reach profitability by the third year of operations, Ryanair said.

Ryanair will initially buy almost 25 percent of LaudaMotion, with a plan to increase ownership to 75 percent over time. Taking control of a majority stake requires approval by the European Union.

An initial sale of Niki to British Airways’ parent IAG SA late last year fell apart due to a conflict over court jurisdictions. IAG is instead planning to make Vienna a hub for Vueling Airlines SA, while Ryanair rival Wizz Air is also investing in the Austrian capital.

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

Flair Airlines debacle

A Vancouver resident is awaiting compensation after being stuck at Kelowna International Airport for more than eight hours.

Marina Rometsch expected to fly out of Kelowna with Flair Airlines at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday, but was left with no idea when she would be able to leave after the plane twice made an emergency landing.

The Boeing 737-400 landed back at YLW twice due to a safety interlock, which prevented the landing gear from retracting once in the air.

According to Rometsch, passengers were not given any information on when the plane would leave YLW.

After waiting eight hours, until 8 p.m., a representative from Air North approached the frustrated travellers and said it had flights available.

“I chose to do that so I could get home because there still wasn’t any details about when it would be taking off and I had to come to work Monday,” she said. "After waiting hours just to ask to re-book my flight, I was told that I could be reimbursed.”

Rometsch was assured by Flair she would receive a refund. She emailed the company to confirm once she got home Sunday night, but was surprised when a customer support representative told her she would not be receiving reimbursement because the plane did take off.

“Due to the nature of the delay, we do not offer financial compensation when the flight has been flown,” the company said in an email to Rometsch.

Castanet contacted a Flair representative, who now says the woman will be reimbursed. But the final outcome is still unclear, as Rometsch has been told yet again that no refund is coming. 

“I never would have purchased that ticket, and I am sure others would not have, if we hadn’t been told for sure that we would be reimbursed,” she said. “Not all of us can afford to pay this additional fee.”

She said she won't fly with a budget airline ever again. 

“Now I have paid over $300 for a terrible flight,” she said. “It was awful … they were incredibly understaffed and they told us people already left the office.”

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.castanet.net

Flair Airline passengers were stuck at Kelowna International Airport for over eight hours on Sunday.

Passengers boarded and took off in a plane not once, but twice and each time had to make an emergency landing.

Jules Rempel, Director Communications and Marketing for Flair Airlines said the landing gear system was never jeopardized, but that the issue was because a safety interlock that did not release after lift off.

“This is a safety system that prevents the gear from ever coming up when it is on the ground,” she said.

The safety system prevents the landing gear from retracting while on the ground, but once the plane was in the air it stayed out.

“The sensor thought it was on the ground and would not retract once it was on the ground,” she said.

Crews investigated and thought the issue was an “on-time thing” and all of the checks were approved.

“When they went for the second time there was an interlock cable that had been adjusted on the edge,” she said.

Numerous passengers took to Twitter saying the entire experience was horrible and a man was even escorted out of the airport.

“Our number one intention is to always get our passengers safely to their next destination and in an on-time manner. Unfortunately the on-time piece of the puzzle did not happen yesterday,” she said.

“We apologize for that. We worked diligently that we could get them on their way although delayed,” said Rempel.

Another aircraft was called to YLW from Edmonton and passengers left Kelowna just before 10 p.m.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.castanet.net

Airbus Is Said to Weigh A330Neo Cargo Model Targeting Amazon

(Bloomberg) -- Airbus SE is considering building a freighter version of its slow-selling A330neo wide-body, spurred by requests from potential customers Amazon.com Inc and United Parcel Service Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

The interest from Amazon and UPS could rekindle a competition between Airbus and Boeing Co. as the global air-cargo market rebounds from a decade-long slump. Production of the popular Boeing 767 freighter has been restricted as the U.S. manufacturer focuses on a military tanker variant that is more than a year behind schedule, the people said.

If Airbus goes ahead, the cargo model could help lift sales of the A330neo, a re-engined version of the European planemaker’s smallest wide-body, which has struggled in the marketplace. The aircraft has garnered 214 orders and lost a sale this month after Hawaiian Airlines switched to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

Toulouse, France-based Airbus declined to comment, as did Amazon. Atlanta-based UPS studies options for acquiring new and used aircraft as a matter of routine, spokesman Glenn Zaccara said in an email, adding: “Anything you may be hearing is speculation.’’

Airbus has already been exploring ways to lift sales of the A330neo, including a pitch to boost its maximum takeoff weight. Both Seattle-based Amazon and UPS are asking Airbus to consider stretching the A330-900 variant’s fuselage to carry more cargo while flying a shorter range, according to the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private.

Tilt Issue

A freight variant would be a natural advancement of an aircraft that uses the same fuselage as its predecessor, the A330ceo. There is already a cargo version of the earlier model, though it garnered just 42 orders over more than a decade, all but four of which have been delivered. One issue was that the A330 freighter’s front landing gear has to be extended to overcome a tilt forward on the passenger version that complicates cargo loading.

Boeing, by contrast, has logged 196 orders for its 767-300 freighter, almost five times more than the Airbus A330-200F, and has 61 undelivered planes.

A freighter version of the A330neo, offering reduced fuel burn from its upgraded engines, would at least provide Airbus with a product that could benefit once the 767 eventually retires.

Boeing isn’t currently planning an upgrade of the plane, which ceased production as a passenger model in 2014, and the replacement 787 doesn’t come in a cargo version, though Randy Tinseth, the U.S. company’s marketing chief, said Tuesday that a number of options are in the pipeline for boosting sales of the larger 777 freighter. Goods volumes are now coming back strongly after a slump dating to the 2007 financial crash, he said on a conference call.

Amazon Fleet

Amazon plans an initial fleet of 40 used 767 freighters for its Prime Air fleet, and has discussed ordering airplanes with Boeing in the past. The $1.5 billion air hub the company is plotting to build near Cincinnati suggests it will eventually have a far larger operation. 

Cargo carriers typically value cost and capacity over performance, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant at Teal Group. 

While Boeing’s freighter, at a list price of $212.2 million, is cheaper, brand-new cargo planes from both companies also face competition from inexpensive conversions of used passenger models. A wave of retired 767s and A330s provide “a lot of feedstock,’’ Aboulafia said by telephone.

Airbus even has its own conversion program, holding a 30 percent stake in Dresden, Germany-based EFW. The venture shipped its first A330-P2F -- for “passenger to freighter” at the end of last year to launch customer DHL Express, a rival to UPS and Fedex that has eight of the planes on order and an option to take 10 more.

Original article ➤  https://www.bloombergquint.com

Beech G50, N107WS: Incident occurred March 19, 2018 at Ernest A. Love Field (KPRC), Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale

Due to engine smoke on takeoff aircraft returned and landed.


Date: 19-MAR-18
Time: 20:35:00Z
Regis#: N107WS
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: G50
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91

Beechcraft King Air 90: Incident occurred March 20, 2018 at Lihue Airport (PHLI), Kauai County, Hawaii

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu

On starting engine, flames were seen in exhaust, engine shut down.

Date: 20-MAR-18
Time: 07:10:00Z
Regis#: UNK
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: BE9L
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: STANDING (STD)
Operation: 91

Delta Private Jets, Cessna Citation Excel C56X: Incident occurred March 19, 2018 in Chicago City, Illinois

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Chicago

Flight 716:  Aircraft requested rapid descent due to possible equipment issue and landed without incident.

Date: 19-MAR-18
Time: 23:40:00Z
Regis#: UNK
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C56X
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: ON DEMAND
Operation: 135
Aircraft Operator: DELTA PRIVATE JETS
Flight Number: 716

Mooney M20C, N1373W: Incident occurred March 17, 2018 at Owosso Community Airport (KRNP), Shiawassee County, Michigan

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Detroit

Aircraft landed gear up.


Date: 17-MAR-18
Time: 15:00:00Z
Regis#: N1373W
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20C
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91