Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ask Us: Feds set rules lights on towers, smoke stacks

Q: Dear Mr. Ask Us Guy,

Just curious. A number of years ago a communications tower was built on the north end of lower North Mankato. It had an off/on red light at night and an off/on white light during the day. For about a couple years now, it has no lights flashing at all.

To the west on the top of North Mankato is another communications tower that has an off/on red light day and night. North of Mankato is another tower that has a steady red light. And the chimney at ADM has a strong flashing white light day and night.

Question: What's the reasoning and who regulates as to what lights on what structures?

A: The Federal Communications Commission regulates communications towers and consults with the Federal Aviation Administration when construction of a tower is proposed.

"If the FAA determines that the tower would be a physical hazard, the FCC will not approve the construction permit application," according to the FCC website.

If a tower is approved, specific requirements are imposed about the color of the tower and the placement of red lights at certain intervals to prevent the tower from being a "menace to air navigation."

Generally, the towers must be painted intermittently in white and red/orange to make them visible during the day, with paint tones (including white) specifically and precisely mandated by the federal regulations. One red light (an "L-864 red medium intensity beacon" in fed-speak) is required at the top of all towers, according to the website of Flash Technology, a Tennessee company that supplies tower lights. For towers taller than 350 feet, a pair of the red beacons are required at each 350-foot point in addition to the beacon on the top.

The FCC, however, frequently allows an alternative to the painting requirements and the red beacons — synchronized flashing white lights. A white beacon must be on top and a trio of white lights pointing in different directions at 350-foot increments from the ground, according to the Flash Technology website.

So, if you're wondering how tall a tower is, you could count the number of segments between the lights from the ground to the top and multiply by 350 feet and have a pretty good idea (unless the tower owner decided to add extra lights beyond what's generally required.)

As for the reader's suggestion that the lights are no longer flashing on the tower in lower North Mankato, Ask Us Guy can only guess that the tower owner received a waiver from the FCC. There is a special procedure for lighting requirements in residential neighborhoods.

Without a waiver, tower owners not only are required to have lights, they are required to record any problems with the performance of their warning lights, including the time and date of repairs.

Finally, the smoke stack at the ADM plant ... . Ask Us Guy decided against climbing it with a tape measure, and he's not sure if the FAA regulates it. But anything 200 feet or taller generally needs to be lighted under the guidelines of the FAA and the International Civil Aviation Organization. Shorter structures, including water towers, might need lights if they're in proximity to an airport.

Original article ➤

Schempp-Hirth Discus-2B, N917WV: Incident occurred May 25, 2018 in Worth County, Iowa

WORTH COUNTY, Iowa – A glider has to make an emergency landing in North Iowa Friday evening.

It came down in a farm field just east of Interstate 35 near the exit to the Diamond Jo Casino.

The pilot needed to get out of the way of stormy weather and made a soft landing without any injury.

Stephen Nesser of St. Paul was piloting the glider, he is participating in the Albert Lea Region 7 Glider Competition this weekend.

While first responders say they don't often get calls for plane crashes, or gliders in a field, Nesser said this is probably his eighth or nineth time landing in a field.

He said he was aiming for a field, he did miss judge the landing just a little.

"I was going to land in another field and I realized the only road is I-35 and you can't get a car there," he said. "So I changed my route.  I was getting low. I thought  that green strip was a road and it will be easy to get a car there, but unfortunately it wasn't a road."

Those with the Worth County Sheriff's Office say the glider was not damaged; however, there was an unknown amount of damage caused to the crop in the field. Those who own the land say they will not be able to estimate the damage for a couple of weeks. 

Story and video ➤

Premier Aviation to close, officials react

It's not the news people wanted to hear heading into the holiday weekend -- an employer in Oneida County is shutting down. Premier Aviation in Rome is closing, affecting more than 100 employees. Rome's mayor tells Melissa Krull what she knows about the situation. 

ROME, N.Y. -- "We're disappointed. Anytime a business closes in our area, it's a loss to everyone," said Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo.

Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo said the news that Premier Aviation will close came as a surprise.

"I did not have any company officials reach out to me so I didn't even have any warning signs that something was imminent," Izzo said.

While the company was not a member of the chamber of commerce, the president said it's a big loss for the community.

"Whenever a situation like this happens, it not only affects employees of the company but also those at the stores because at those stores, they spend money in the community too, and if there's a downturn at those jobs, well you can see what happens," Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President Bill Guglielmo said.

Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo said the closure will cost 116 jobs, but for those interested, she said there are lots of manufacturing jobs available in the city.

"There are a lot of aircraft mechanics," said Izzo. "I don't know specifically how these people might want to relocate to other jobs, but we do have a number of jobs that are open in the advanced manufacturing businesses in Rome."

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and Rome, Oneida County, and Mohawk Valley EDGE leaders said they'll do what they can to help affected employees.

Mohawk Valley EDGE's President said, "We have worked with Premier over the past seven years in its Rome operation. We will work with them on the transition and will coordinate with Oneida County and our workforce development partners on assistance to the employees impacted by this announcement and will work with Oneida County and Griffiss International Airport officials on the marketing of the hangar complex for aviation and UAS/UAV related opportunities."

"Unlike other closings, we do have other opportunities available now in the community as far as jobs, and I would encourage all of these people to look at those and see if they could make a fit," Izzo said.

Spectrum News has reached out to Premier Aviation but has not received a response.

The Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President said more than 5000 people are currently employed at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

Original article ➤

Beechcraft F33A Bonanza, N89ZM: Incident occurred May 25, 2018 at Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport (KRVS), Tulsa County, Oklahoma

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Aircraft experienced a nose gear collapse while conducting touch and goes.

DX Aviation LLC:

Date: 25-MAY-18
Time: 23:43:00Z
Regis#: N89ZM
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: F33A
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

TULSA, Oklahoma - A plane ran off the runway at Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport.

Flight trackers show the Beechcraft F33A Bonanza took off a little after 6:30, circled the airport and skidded off the runway while landing only about 5 minutes later.

It's believed the plane's landing gear had a malfunction of some kind.

The pilot was the only person on board and was not hurt.

Story, video and photo ➤

SkyWest - Delta Connection, Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200: Incident occurred May 25, 2018 at South Bend International Airport (KSBN), St. Joseph County, Indiana

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A flight from South Bend, Indiana to Atlanta was forced to turn around about 45 minutes into its flight.

SkyWest flight 4647, operating as Delta Connection from South Bend to Atlanta, took off from South Bend International Airport just before 5 p.m. local time.

The plane turned around near Kokomo and circled around a few times just north of the airport before landing safely. 

The passengers deplaned at the gate. 

No injuries were reported.

A spokesperson for SkyWest said the plane had a mechanical indication causing the flight to turn around.

A passenger on the flight told FOX 5 News about a dozen fire trucks met the plane on the ground.

Another plane was brought in and took off a couple hours later.

Story and photo ➤

SOUTH BEND — An airplane made an emergency landing Friday evening at South Bend International Airport.

According a tweet from the airport, county dispatch notified the airport that the plane was coming to South Bend following a possible explosion on board.

No injuries were reported.

Original article ➤

The South Bend Fire Department was called to South Bend International Airport Friday night.

A plane landing in South Bend had a halon bottle (fire extinguisher) that was leaking or possibly exploded in the cargo area.

The plane has landed safely around 6:30 p.m. There are no injuries, according to dispatch.

We are told the chemical was contained to the cargo area. 

Story and photo ➤

Oklahoma City man sentenced for aiming laser pointer at police helicopter

Travis Allen Jones 

An Oklahoma City man apologized Tuesday for aiming a green laser pointer at a police helicopter last year.

"I'm sorry to my family and anyone I harmed in this," Travis Allen Jones told an Oklahoma City federal judge during his sentencing for the felony crime. "I've learned that my actions have repercussions."

Jones' use of heroin played a factor in his "foolish" behavior that night, his defense attorney said.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton sentenced Jones to three years probation. The judge also ordered Jones do 104 hours of community service and pay about $500 in restitution to the Oklahoma City Police Department.

The Federal Aviation Administration also is seeking a civil penalty of $17,500 related to the case, records show. That matter is unresolved, Jones' attorney said.

During the sentencing, Jones told the judge that this experience has been "eye-opening" and allowed him to make some serious life changes. Jones, 30, of Oklahoma City, is now sober.

The judge commended Jones for maintaining his sobriety but called his offense "serious."

"You jeopardized lives," the judge said.

In reaching the probationary punishment, the judge noted this was Jones' first offense.

Prosecutors and defense attorney Jeffrey Byers asked the judge to sentence Jones to probation.

"The circumstances did not suggest that pilots or passengers of the aircraft were in immediate peril," prosecutors wrote in a court document.

Jones pleaded guilty in December to aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. Others in Oklahoma have been accused of doing the same thing in recent years.

In 2012, Oklahoma City federal prosecutors accused a man of aiming a laser at a police helicopter. That case, though, was dismissed.

A Tulsa man was sentenced to three years probation in 2015 after he admitted to pointing a laser at a police helicopter.

What happened

Late July 29, Oklahoma City police were contacted about a commercial airliner being struck with a green laser light while landing at Will Rogers World Airport. A police helicopter responded to the area and was also hit by the laser, records show.

Ground patrols located Jones and another man in an open field near a campfire in south Oklahoma City, police reported. A green laser pointer was found on Jones, records show.

Jones became dependent on pain medication after a car wreck in 2010, according to his attorney. Jones later "graduated" to heroin, the defense attorney said.

Jones now is committed to a sober lifestyle, passing dozens of drug tests and participating in over 120 Narcotics Anonymous meetings, according to his attorney.

Jones currently works as a machinist.

Story and photo ➤

Looking to buy a Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six? This estate sale has one

LUMBERTON — It’s not your average estate sale item: A 1967, seven-seat Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six.

But Wendell Moore is hoping to find a buyer for it, along with his late brother Gregory Moore’s other possessions.

“It’s doing me no good just sitting here,” said Moore, showing the plane recently at Lumberton Regional Airport. “I hate to sell it, but I have no choice.”

The Moore family advertised the estate sale in the newspaper. It’s scheduled to be held Saturday through June 2 at the family home at 1591 Shannon Road in Lumberton.

Along with “furniture, farm equipment and more,” the notice lists an airplane as one of the items to be sold.

Gregory Moore loved the airplane, his brother said, and flew it on trips to Wilmington, Raleigh and Jacksonville, Fla.

But now the family has no use for it. Wendell Moore doesn’t fly, and the family is paying to house it in a hangar at the Lumberton airport.

“I hate to see it just sit,” Moore said. “I might get somebody interested in it.”

Gregory Moore was just 53 when he died Nov. 18, 2016, of a heart attack, his sister, Donnie Moore, said.

He served 24 years in the Navy, Donnie Moore said. Later, he worked at Associated Behavioral Services, providing counseling to troubled teens and young adults.

His family said he loved sports, hunting and talking politics at length. And, of course, flying.

“He was just a smart person,” Donnie Moore said. “He got his Master’s degree in two-and-a-half years.”

Donnie Moore said her brother was devastated by the death of his daughter, Brittany Michelle Moore, in a 2008 car crash in St. Pauls. She was 18 years old and had just graduated from high school.

“This would have been all hers,” Donnie Moore said, pointing out some of the other items that will be sold at the estate sale at Gregory Moore’s former home.

Some of those items include a grand piano and guitar that Gregory Moore used to play and his Mercedes. But the big item is the plane.

Wendell Moore said he doesn’t know a lot about planes, but will provide its flight records to prospective buyers. He said he doesn’t have a set asking price, but is willing to listen to offers.

The plane will remain in its airport hangar during the estate sale. Wendell said he will drive to the Lumberton airport to show the plane to any interested buyers.

While it is difficult to let Gregory Moore’s possessions go, his family said they will always hold on to the memories he left behind.

“He was just a caring guy,” Wendell Moore said. “He always wanted to help others.”

Original article can be found here ➤

Gulfstream’s new year: Expansion, new technology ready to fly

From California and Wisconsin to Beijing, Brazil and London, it’s hard to find a corner of the world where Savannah-based Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. doesn’t have a presence.

This year alone the company has announced expansions in Savannah and Appleton, Wisconsin, delivered their 300th G650 jet and extended their operating hours and service capabilities at their Beijing service center.

“I feel good about the market in general for us,” Gulfstream President Mark Burns said in an interview with the Savannah Morning News this week.

“Business aviation has always been a very cyclical business, but right now I think the world economy is moving forward and all in all I feel good about the market. I feel good about our position here in Savannah as well.”

Burns, who has held a variety of positions at Gulfstream, including leader of the company’s product support organization and vice president of company support, said while the company has changed a lot since he first came on board in 1983 their dedication and commitment to their products and customers remains the same.

“When I started here back in the 1980s we worked on about six or seven airplanes a day, today it’s almost 200 per day for our service business somewhere in the world. And every time we build a new airplane and deliver that airplane we’ve created a new customer, so I fully expect that the service business will continue to grow for many, many years to come,” he said.

“From a Gulfstream perspective we’re committed to serving our customers’ needs and I fully expect, while I don’t have anything else to tell you today, I do suspect service business will continue to grow.”


When Gulfstream first opened its doors in Savannah in 1967 they employed about 100 people; today that number is around 16,000. The Savannah and Brunswick workforce account for about 10,000 of those jobs.

“In the early 2000s we were about 4,000 employees and we’ve grown to over 16,000 in a short period of time. This is a very young workforce, but a workforce that’s seen a lot in the last 10 years,” Burns said.

When Gulfstream entered into their current growth cycle, Burns said it was important to develop that workforce locally and one of their strongest partners in that endeavor has been Savannah Technical College.

Th college had offered aviation-related courses for many years, but it wasn’t until they opened the Aviation Training Center in 2014 at their Crossroads campus that they were fully able to expand the program into its own division, said Savannah Tech President Kathy Love.

The partnership between Gulfstream is the type of thing that every technical college in Georgia would love to have with their industry partners, Love said. Because of the relationship with the school is able to take any projected hiring needs and make sure they offer enough programs and classes to fulfill their needs along with other aerospace related jobs in our area.

“Because of this, local residents who desire to work at Gulfstream or in aviation in general are able to get the training they need without leaving home,” she said.

“And Gulfstream has a steady stream of skilled workers that they can consider for the openings they may have.”

The college currently offers degrees, diplomas or certificates in Aircraft Technology, Aviation Maintenance and Advance Aviation Maintenance and Burns said the school has put a lot of time and energy into making sure they deliver a highly skilled workforce.

“It’s been a great partnership and we continue to work with them very closely as we grow new job types,” he said.

“As the airplanes continue to evolve they’re more computer oriented, obviously, so the skills are changing of how workers need to be prepared, so Savannah tech is one of those indispensable teams that we have working with us to do that.”

Along with the importance of adding new employees, Burns said the company continues to seek new opportunities and invest in learning for existing employees, as well. The company’s Savannah Research and Development campus currently has about 1,500 employees who are able to work on airplanes before they go on to the production line or service center.

“This evolution of learning is very important to us,” he said.

“Our industry moves at such a rapid pace it’s important that we not only train new employees, but our existing employees as well.”


The company announced last month that a new $55 million service center expansion on the grounds of Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport will add at least 200 new jobs to the local economy. The 202,000 square-foot center is expected to open in the second quarter of 2019.

The new facility will sit on 24 acres and include 112,905 square-feet of hangar space, which will be able to accommodate 13 Gulfstream G650s or G650ERs. Last month it was also announced that Gulfstream and Triumph Group, Inc. plan to reallocate assembly services from two of Triumph’s facilities in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Nashville, Tennessee to Gulfstream’s Savannah operations.

The agreement will reallocate G650 wing box and wing completion work from and optimize Triumph’s role in the supply chain. That transition should be completed by the first half of next year.

The company also has plans to expand their service center in Appleton, Wisconsin, where they have been since 1998. In late 2017 they announced construction of a new maintenance facility at Van Nuys Airport near Los Angeles and the establishment of a Field and Airborne Support Teams.

“We announced the growth here in Savannah and our facility in Wisconsin and we’ve got growth in our other areas on the west coast and on the east coast and we’re looking at other places around the world where service might benefit our customer, so it is a focus for us,” Burns said of the recent growth.

In recent months, China’s Ministry of Commerce had announced plans to place a 25 percent tariff on U.S. aircraft with an empty weight of between 15,000 and 45,000 kilograms, which would include the company’s G550 and G650s and Burns acknowledges there are factors that could stunt the company’s growth, but feels confident that the issue will be resolved.

“We’re always concerned about anything that would impede our growth, but I was in China just a couple of weeks ago and most of the clients that would be impacted felt that the issues would be resolved and it would not become an effective tariff on importing airplanes into China,” he said.

“Again, they’re geopolitical issues all around the world. There are things that would obviously be impactful to us, but at this point I think the administration announced in the last two days that they’re making some progress on the tariffs and I think they’ll certainly get resolved and hopefully for the benefit of both sides and free trade will win the day and we’ll be able to compete effectively.”

Products and delivery

Gulfstream began 2018 by delivering its final G450 and officially retiring the airplane, which first entered service in 2005, but with two new products – the G500 and G600 – on track for certification later this year, there hasn’t been much downtime.

The G500, which can fly 5,200 nautical miles at Mach 0.85, is well into its flight-test program and slated to receive U.S. Federal Aviation Administration type certification this summer. The G600, which can fly 6,500 nm at Mach 0.85 is expected to receive certification later this year.

Gulfstream’s fleet currently includes six different models - the G280, G550, G650, G650ER, G500 and G600. Burns said the G550 continues to be an iconic and solid model for Gulfstream with more than 500 in the fleet and interest for the G280 along with the G650 and G650ER continues to be strong.

“The G650 and the G650ER are unprecedented in our industry and continue to be strong entry into service for those airplanes. I believe we’ve built over 300 now and the entry into service continues to go very smoothly, almost on a weekly basis,” he said, adding that the company’s backlog continues to be strong. During the first quarter of this year they delivered 26 new aircraft down from 30 during the first quarter of 2017.

“I don’t know that we’ve ever been as busy as we are today, but it’s exciting as you walk around the plant and talk to people. The morale is fantastic and people are excited about all the opportunities we have,” he said.

The company was delayed in delivering two aircraft – a special mission G550 and G280 – during the first quarter, but the delays were due to customer requests and Burns said such things are not uncommon in the industry.

″... It’s not atypical for us to have customers who ask us to move an airplane a week or two and sometimes if it’s at the end of the quarter and they ask us to move it a week it falls into the next quarter.”

New technology

The G500, which embarked on a world tour earlier this year, will be joined by the G600, making its European debut at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva next week and the pair are already setting records.

Last month the G500 and G600 flew from Shanghai to Honolulu at an average speed of Mach 0.90. The G500 made the flight in 8 hours and 34 minutes, with the G600 arriving just one minute later. The next day, the two aircraft linked Pacific and Atlantic, traveling from Honolulu to Savannah, again at Mach 0.90. The G500 made the flight in 7 hours, 44 minutes, and the G600 clocked in at 7 hours, 49 minutes.

The new sister aircraft also feature technology never before seen in the skies. Burns said the planes are unlike anything the company or any of their competitors have built before.

“The safety features in these airplanes are really state of the art, so we’re excited about getting certification for those airplanes this year and beginning delivery of the G500, so exciting times for us,” he said.

The new design uses active control sidesticks and touch-screen technology, both industry firsts. The sidesticks replace the traditional pedestal mounted yokes and are digitally linked mimicking any movement made by the pilot or co-pilot on each side.

“We’re constantly looking at new technology,” Burns said.

″(The active control sidesticks) allows both the pilot and the co-pilot to understand going on in the cockpit, they’re not independently controlling, so that is a huge step forward and one that we tried to accentuate with the public and the buyers.”

The touchscreen capabilities, Burns said, reduce the amount of work load on the pilots to make it easier to operate the airplane.

The new planes also utilize the Intelligence-by-Wire system, which makes continuous corrections to keep the aircraft in an optimum position, resulting in a smoother flight. The system is about 40 times safer than what the FAA requires, Burns said.

“And I think because of the (research and development center) we have now and the consistent employment of engineers we’ve had over the last 15 years, it’s really become a learning environment for us, so we’re looking at a number of things beyond even the technology that we have in the airplanes today,” he said.

Looking ahead

Recounting the evolution the company has under gone during his more than three decades there; Burns said the way planes are designed today through the help of 3D models and other computer-based programs has been one of the biggest changes in the industry which in turn has led to better quality aircraft.

“When I started, the airplanes were hand built and today the precision in which airplanes are built is incredible,” he said.

“We had a customer come in recently and he wanted to see how we make the wing on the airplane, which is a huge endeavor when you build an airplane, make the fuselage and wing the first time. And the whole making of the wing took 30 minutes where previously it would have taken four or five days.”

Gulfstream’s relationship with its parent company, General Dynamics, which purchased Gulfstream in 1999, has also allowed the company to grow and meet the demands of customers around the world 24-hours a day, Burns said.

“We’re fortunate that we have a parent company in General Dynamics that believes in us and I think the one thing they’ve proven since they purchased us in 1999 is that they’re willing to invest,” Burns said, adding that he expects to see those investments continue.

“We’ve got a very long term view of this market. We design airplanes, we build airplanes and we service airplanes and we’re going to stick to that focus, but I believe you’ll see a lot more new technologies to come from us in the next few years.”

Story and photo gallery ➤

Piper PA-28R-180 Arrow, N3206R: Incident occurred May 26, 2018 near Ogden-Hinckley Airport (KOGD), Weber County, Utah

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

Aircraft made and emergency landing on Interstate 15.

Date: 26-MAY-18
Time: 13:55:00Z
Regis#: N3206R
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA-28R-180
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: PERSONAL
Operation: 91
State: UTAH

OGDEN — A small plane made an emergency landing on the freeway Saturday in Weber County.

Officials said the Piper PA-28R-180 Arrow departed Ogden-Hinckley Regional Airport just before 8 a.m. and was forced to make an emergency landing on Interstate 15 at 5600 South. Local authorities said there were two people onboard the single-engine plane.

According to the Utah Highway Patrol, a 19-year old flight instructor was with a student when the aircraft experienced a mechanical issue. It was then the instructor made a bold decision to land the distressed aircraft in the southbound lanes of the freeway, explained Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Andy Battenfield.

"The female instructor took control of the plane and flew under the Riverdale Road bridge structure," he said. "While landing, she struck 2004 Toyota Camry with four occupants."

He noted the aircraft’s wing struck and shattered the rear window of the vehicle, but no injuries were reported. Damage to the plane and the car were minimal, he said.

The roadway was blocked for about 90 minutes. Officials are investigating what prompted the aircraft to have to make the impromptu landing.

Original article ➤

RIVERDALE – No injuries were reported after a small airplane made an emergency landing on I-15 southbound in Riverdale Saturday morning.

According to Utah Highway Patrol, a 19-year-old female flight instructor was forced to bring the plane down just before 8 a.m. on the freeway near milepost 339 shortly after take off.

In audio obtained by Fox 13, the pilot can be heard speaking to the control tower at Ogden-Hinckley Airport.

“…the freeway, going down,” the pilot said. “Now we’re on the freeway… we’re going to need some help getting off the freeway.”

The plane took off from the Ogden-Hinckley Airport but the pilot says she was forced to bring it down when it suffered  “a loss of power.”

“After takeoff we were not climbing and we started to descend and so we did emergency gear down and hit the runway… uh, not the runway I hit the road,” the pilot said in the recording.

UHP says the plane did collide with one vehicle but no injuries have been reported.

“None in the airplane, we don’t know if we hit a car,” the pilot told control in the recording. “We don’t believe so, we just think we hit hard. But we’re going to need some help.”

According to UDOT right lanes were closed following the incident but have since been reopened.

UHP reports the plane was taken back to the Ogden-Hinckley Airport in good condition.

Story, video and photos ➤

Navasota Municipal Airport (60R): A pilot-friendly community

In the 1940s, what we now know as the Navasota Municipal Airport was once called the Navasota Aerodrome, according to Steve Austin, a local business owner and pilot of more than 30 years.

All airports are aerodromes, but not all aerodromes are airports. An aerodrome is anywhere planes can take off and land, even a flat grassy area and they have no specific rules other than those involving basic safety. In contrast, an airport must obey guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, including runways, hangers and other things we are used to seeing as well as some unseen infrastructure.

Located approximately two miles southwest of downtown Navasota on State Highway 105 West and owned by the city, the airport is an unattended public-use “General Aviation airport with one, 75-foot by 5,003-foot asphalt paved runway with a full length parallel taxiway.”

Driving through the airport gate, all that can be seen are runways and several unadorned box-like metal buildings, hangers.  T-hangers are “airplane garages” that hold one plane.  Hangers that hold more than one are called box hangers.  The city owns the land, but the pilot pays for his hanger and pays rent to the city for the land. 

“Some cities will take the hanger from the pilot after a certain number of years which is a big deterrent for the pilots,” said Michael Dearing of Spinner Aviation, saying that Navasota does not hold to that particular policy

According to Dearing, the city has done things through the years to improve the airport, such as lengthening and resurfacing runways.

“It’s a nice high-quality runway,” said Dearing. “There were some airplanes that were in disrepair and the city put policies in place that got those moved out.”  

Other policies improved safety, such as forbidding sky diving.  Since the airport is unmanned, meaning it has no tower, pilots would have no way of knowing that someone had just jumped from a plane.

Spinner Aviation is the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) responsible for airport services in Navasota. The FBO is responsible for fueling and other airport maintenance, which includes maintaining the city-owned courtesy car for visiting pilots. The military and other services use the airport to train their pilots in the use of their aircraft, such as small planes and helicopters.

Several pilots said they enjoy flying to Navasota’s airport because of the pleasant landscape that is away from the big cities.  They also like being away from an air traffic control tower, which means that they must communicate via radio with other pilots in the area when they are preparing to takeoff or land. 

Even pilots who fly for a living with United Airlines have been seen enjoying themselves at Navasota’s airport.  While working, the pilots fly all over the world; but to relax, they fly in to the Navasota Airport, meet their friends and go to one of Navasota’s restaurants.

Dearing said that the airport is becoming a “$100 hamburger destination”- a term used to refer pilots who will fly a short distance to socialize and have a meal.  By the time one factors in what it costs to operate a small plane, that meal can be very expensive.

Many using the airport are from the surrounding area, like pilot Darren Cook of Magnolia. 

 “People assume that the private pilots are rich and they’re not,” said Cook. “The majority are middle-class.” 

He pointed to a plane that just landed and said, “That’s a 1969 model and probably cost about $30,000 - $50,000.  Some middle-class people are driving SUVs that cost that much.” 

According to Scott Armstrong, of Navasota, pilots are trained in a manner that is similar to driver’s education.

“You go to ground school which is airport and flight operations [training],” said Armstrong. “You learn about Bernoulli's principle which basically is learning how airplanes stay in the air.”

Cook said that many private pilots are renting planes. Sam Armstrong of Millican attended Brazos Valley Flight Services in College Station to train and get his license. There they have different types of planes that are for rent, providing the opportunity to fly more than one type. Recently at Navasota, the Spinner Flying Club was established to give licensed pilots the use of a plane, while the cost is shared by everyone in the club.

“The Club lets people enjoy flying without the expense of owning their own plane,” said Dearing.  

Some pilots come to get their planes serviced by onsite airplane mechanic, Rodney L. Frazier of Rod's Aircraft Services who has a shop at the airport.  He is an independent contractor paid by the pilot.

Pilots just passing through may choose to take advantage of the clean, air-conditioned lounge maintained by Spinner Aviation. The lounge has wifi, a desk, table and chairs, sofa, refrigerator and restroom.

 “It’s a service that pilots like,” said Austin. “They may need to do some flight planning or check the weather.”

Dearing said that he would like the airport to be able to support pilots building their own planes in the near future. He said there are groups devoted to that hobby and that there are pilots at the airport who have built their own planes.

While driving near the airport, and other places such as hospitals, you may have noticed those red balls suspended on power or communication lines. Austin who is also responsible for airport security, said the balls are an aerial warning for pilots. If the balls have a light on top, they are called balisors.  Several balisors can be seen around the Navasota Municipal Airport, though the lights may be visible only from above.

Driving further into the airport, two large white fuel tanks can be seen.  One is for basic aviation gasoline, 100 LL, and the other is jet fuel, Jet A. Many use Navasota’s airport as a refueling stop which, according to Brad Stafford, Navasota City Manager, brings the city approximately $.05 per gallon. 

In the future, Navasota Municipal Airport may have an Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS), which may bring more aircraft to the airport because of insurance purposes and other regulations.  AWOS is primarily funded and controlled by the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Division (TxDOT).

“Originally TxDOT had counted on the AWOS in Brenham to serve us; but there is a big difference between the weather in Brenham and Navasota,” said Stafford. “We’re between the two rivers which means we’re lower and get more cloud cover.” 

Navasota sits in a valley between the Navasota and Brazos Rivers.  This creates precipitation and other weather conditions that are important to pilots. According to Stafford, when TxDOT heard the city’s explanation, they agreed that Navasota needed its own AWOS. 

Stafford said the city has $400,000 already in reserve that represents the 10 percent matching funds required by TxDOT for capital improvement projects. 

Because the city owns the land, we can use that one time as the matching funds,” said Stafford. “When we did that runaway extension, the owner of the land adjacent to the airport donated a large acreage of land to the city.  TxDOT then pays the city for that land. The city still owns the land.  It’s basically treated as a cash balance as part of the matching funds.”

The money left over from the runway extension project went into the airport fund and can be used for future capital improvements such as AWOS.

According to Stafford, there is an RV park on airport property that must be moved before plans go forward.

“Currently, the city is getting revenue from the park because, by law, any money made on airport property must go into the airport fund, said Stafford. “So when the park goes away, the city will lose that revenue stream.  The best part is that taxpayers are not having to [pay] this large sum of money.  The majority of citizens are not pilots and the money is generated by the airport itself. That, plus the grant money means that the new weather system is not costing the taxpayers a large sum of money.”

For more information on the Navasota Municipal Airport, go to

Original article ➤

Cessna 152, N152GB, registered to and operated by Hillsboro Aero Academy LLC: Accident occurred May 26, 2018 at Hillsboro Airport (KHIO), Portland, 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 Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hillsboro, OR
Accident Number: WPR18LA148
Date & Time: 05/26/2018, 0935 PDT
Registration: N152GB
Aircraft: CESSNA 152
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On May 26, 2018, about 0935 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152 airplane, N152GB, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power while performing a go around at the Hillsboro-Portland Airport (HIO), Hillsboro, Oregon. The certified flight instructor and student pilot receiving instruction were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Hillsboro Aero Academy LLC. under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from HIO at 15 minutes before the accident.

The flight instructor reported that during their third touch-and-go landing on runway 31R, the student pilot initiated a go-around. Shortly after applying power, the engine began to run rough, backfire, and partially lose power. The flight instructor verified that the mixture was rich and that the carburetor heat was off. Unable to restore full engine power, the flight instructor initiated a forced landing to the remaining portion of the runway. During the landing roll, the airplane overran the departure end of runway 31R and nosed over.

Post-accident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that both wings were structurally damaged. The airplane was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N152GB
Model/Series: 152 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHIO, 204 ft msl
Observation Time: 1648 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 7°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 210°
Lowest Ceiling:  Overcast / 4300 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hillsboro, OR (HIO)
Destination: Hillsboro, OR (HIO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  45.550278, -122.956944 (est)

HILLSBORO, Ore. — A Cessna 152 airplane flipped at the Hillsboro Airport Saturday morning. 

Both a student pilot and flight instructor were inside.

Fortunately, both people were uninjured and had gotten out of the plane by the time the Hillsboro Fire Department arrived.

There were no leaking fluids from the plane, and the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating.

Story and photo gallery ➤

Flight physician questions single-engine helicopters after Hazelhurst, Wisconsin crash

HAZELHURST – It may be months before federal investigators determine what caused a deadly medical helicopter to crash in northern Wisconsin last month. 

The Ascension Spirit 2 flight crashed April 26 in Hazelhurst, killing three crew members, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The Eurocopter AS 350 was provided by Air Methods

The single-engine helicopter clipped a 70-foot tree and crashed in a wooded area, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Single-engine helicopters shouldn’t be used for medical transport, said Dr. Michael Abernethy, the chief flight physician of UW Health Med Flight in Madison. Instead, operations should be using twin-engine models, he said.

“Redundancy. In the event of an engine failure, you still have a second engine,” he said. “If you go to the rest of the developed world, no one uses small, single-engine helicopters. No one.”

Only three of the 12 medical helicopters in operation in Wisconsin are single-engine models, Abernethy said.

The reliability of single-engine helicopters is nearly identical to twin-engine helicopters, Air Methods said in a statement. The single-engine helicopters are also equipped with the same safety equipment found in twin-engine helicopters, the company said.

“The accident is currently under investigation by the NTSB and FAA, and Air Methods will support their work in every way possible,” the statement said.

Ascension Spirit and Air Methods must meet standards set by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems. The safety standards are upgraded every two to three years, said Associate Executive Director Dudley Smith.

“Programs are required to have a safety management system, and then there are also standards in there about what kinds of equipment and things need to be on the vehicles,” Smith said. “We’re doing everything we can to decrease the likelihood of accidents happening.”

Story and photo gallery ➤

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration; Washington, District of Columbia
Turbomeca; Grand Prairie, Texas
Airbus; Grand Prairie, Texas
Honeywell; Phoenix, Arizona
Air Methods; Denver, Colorado
Federal Aviation Administration; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Federal Aviation Administration; Fort Worth, Texas
Appareo Systems; Fargo, North Dakota
Bureau d’EnquĂȘtes et d’Analyses; Paris, France
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Location: Hazelhurst, WI
Accident Number: CEN18FA149
Date & Time: 04/26/2018, 2250 CDT
Registration: N127LN
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER AS 350 B2
Injuries: 3 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning 

On April 26, 2018, about 2250 central daylight time, a Eurocopter AS 350 B2 helicopter, N127LN, impacted trees and terrain during cruise flight near Hazelhurst, Wisconsin. The pilot and two crewmembers were fatally injured. The helicopter was destroyed during the impact. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Air Methods Corporation as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 repositioning flight. Night visual meteorological conditions were reported in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was operating on a company visual flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Dane County Regional Airport-Truax Field (MSN), near Madison, Wisconsin, about 2104 and was destined for the Howard Young Medical Center Heliport (60WI), near Woodruff, Wisconsin.

Earlier in the day the emergency medical services (EMS) crew had transported a patient to the Madison area. The purpose of this flight was to reposition the helicopter back to 60WI. The helicopter was serviced with 80 gallons of fuel at MSN. According to initial information, the pilot radioed that he departed from MSN. The helicopter did not arrive at its destination at its estimated arrival time, and the operator started their search procedures for the helicopter. The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center placed a call to the operator and advised that an emergency locator transmitter signal associated with the helicopter was received by the center. The center informed the operator of a latitude and longitude in which to look for the helicopter. The helicopter was subsequently found near that location about 0215 on April 27, 2018.

The 34-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial pilot certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter ratings. He also held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. He held an FAA second class medical certificate issued on May 31, 2017. On his last application for the medical certificate the pilot reported having accumulated 3,200 hours of total flight time, with 100 hours logged with the preceding six months. According to initial information from the operator, the pilot received training on January 5 and 7, 2018 and satisfactorily passed a check ride.

N127LN was a 2006 model Eurocopter (Airbus) AS 350 B2, four-place, single-engine helicopter, with serial number 4149. The helicopter was configured for EMS transport services. It was powered by a Turbomeca Arriel 1D1 turboshaft engine, with serial number 19129. The engine had a maximum takeoff power rating of 732 shaft horsepower and a continuous power rating of 625 horsepower. According to initial information, the helicopter was maintained under a company aircraft inspection program and had undergone 100 and 600-hour inspections on April 25, 2018, at an airframe total time of 5,152.8 hours. The helicopter was not equipped with a vehicle engine multifunction display or a digital electronic control unit. However, it was equipped with an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).

At 2255, the recorded weather at the Lakeland Airport/Noble F. Lee Memorial Field, near Minocqua, Wisconsin, was: Wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 0° C; dew point -1° C; altimeter 29.88 inches of mercury.

At 2253, the recorded weather at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport, near Rhinelander, Wisconsin, was: Wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 2° C; dew point 1° C; altimeter 29.87 inches of mercury.

At 2253, the recorded weather at the Eagle River Union Airport, near Eagle River, Wisconsin, was: Wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 0° C; dew point 0° C; altimeter 29.86 inches of mercury.

According to U.S. Naval Observatory Sun and Moon Data, the end of local civil twilight in the Rhinelander, Wisconsin, area was 2031 and local moonset was at 0507 on April 27, 2018. The observatory characterized the phase of the moon as "waxing gibbous with 88% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated."

The helicopter was found in a wooded area about 178° and 8.4 nautical miles from 60WI. First responders indicated that the sky was clear, the moon was visible, and there was a smell of fuel at the time the helicopter was located. However, the wreckage did not exhibit any signs of fire. A tree about 70 ft tall about 66° and 47 feet from the nose of the wreckage had branches broken in its upper canopy. Trees in between this tree and the wreckage had their trunks and branches broken and linearly separated. The path of the broken and separated trunks and branches through the trees was steep. A ground impression about 11 ft by 9 ft and 2 ft deep was found in front of the helicopter wreckage. The helicopter came to rest on its right side. The heading of the wreckage from tail to nose was about 095°. During the on-scene examination, the smell of fuel was present at the site and in the ground below the helicopter. All major components of the helicopter were located at the site. The cockpit and cabin area was destroyed. The fuselage exhibited rearward crushing deformation. The tailboom was attached to the fuselage. The tail rotor gear box and tail rotor blades remained on the tail. However, the vertical fin had partially detached from the end of the tailboom. Both horizontal stabilizers were present on the tail. All three rotor blades remained attached to the rotor hub, and the rotor hub was attached to the transmission. The main rotor blades exhibited damage to include spar fractures and leading-edge abrasions and depressions. The main rotor hub rotated when the transmission's input drive shaft was rotated by hand. The fuel tank was fragmented. Yaw, pitch, lateral, and collective controls were traced from the cockpit to their respective servo actuators. Engine controls were traced from the cockpit through their respective bellcranks to their engine components. A magnetic plug in the hydraulic system had some particulate on its magnetic end. The filter bypass button on the hydraulic control block was popped. The hydraulic pump was turned by a drill and the pump exhibited a suction and pressure at the pump's inlet and outlet. Disassembly of the hydraulic pump revealed scoring witness marks on the pump housing in its gear's plane of rotation and no debris or obstructions were observed within the pump ports.

The engine was found on the ground and was separated from the fuselage. The engine's compressor blades exhibited nick and gouge damage consistent with foreign object ingestion. The power turbine blades exhibited silver colored deposits on them. The power turbine was turned by hand and the drive train did not turn. Subsequent examination revealed that the engine's Module 5 reduction gearbox had migrated out of its installed position, rearward, to the extent its O-ring groove was visible. The Module 5 gearbox was removed for inspection of the input pinion torque alignment marks. The marks were found to be misaligned approximately 2 millimeters in the tightening direction which is consistent with engine power being delivered to the drive train during the main rotor blade impact sequence.

The Oneida County Coroner was asked to perform an autopsy on the pilot and to take toxicological samples.

The helicopter was equipped with an Appareo Vision 1000 recorder unit, which records to both a removable secure data (SD) card and internal memory. Both the unit and the SD card sustained impact damage. The unit and its SD card were shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board Recorder Laboratory to see if they contain data in reference to the accident flight. A hydraulic fluid sample and a fuel sample were retained for testing. Additionally, the hydraulic magnetic plug, the hydraulic pump, hydraulic filter, four actuators, and the EGPWS were retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: EUROCOPTER
Registration: N127LN
Model/Series: AS 350 B2 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)
Operator Does Business As:
Operator Designator Code: QMLA

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KARV, 1630 ft msl
Observation Time: 2255 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 0°C / -1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.88 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: MADISON, WI (MSN)
Destination: WOODRUFF, WI (60WI) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  45.754444, -89.695833