Saturday, November 24, 2018

Incident occurred November 24, 2018 at Ohio State University Airport (KOSU), Columbus, Ohio

COLUMBUS - A runway is closed after an airplane needed to abort mid-take off due to the lack of power to fly at the Ohio State University Airport.

It happened around 8 a.m. Saturday at 2160 West Case Road.

A spokesperson with the Ohio State University Airport told 10TV that due to the rain the pilot decided after taking off that he needed to land the plane in the grass.

Everyone on the plane was able to get off and return to the airport terminal safely. There were no reported injuries.

Airport officials plan to clean up where the airplane landed in the grass tomorrow.

The airport remains open.

Original article can be found here ➤

AgustaWestland AW169, G-VSKP: Fatal accident occurred October 27, 2018 in Leicester, United Kingdom

'Soulmate' pilots Eric Swaffer and Izabela Roza Lechowicz (pictured) among five who died alongside Leicester City billionaire owner in helicopter crash.

 Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Kaveporn Punpare, Nusara Suknamai,  Izabela Roza Lechowicz and Eric Swaffer.

NTSB Identification: ENG19WA004
14 CFR Unknown
Accident occurred Saturday, October 27, 2018 in Leicester, United Kingdom
Aircraft: Agusta AGUSTA AW169, registration:
Injuries: 5 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The United Kingdom's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has notified the NTSB of an accident involving an Agusta AW169, which occurred on October 27, 2018. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the AAIB investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13 as the State of Manufacturer and Design of airplane components.

All investigative information will be released by the AAIB.

AAIB Special Bulletin S1/2018 on Agusta AW169, G-VSKP

Loss of control on departure, Leicester, October 27 2018.

Date of occurrence: October 27, 2018
Aircraft category: Commercial - rotorcraft
Report type: Special bulletin
Aircraft type: Agusta AW169
Location: King Power Stadium, Leicester
Registration: G-VSKP

The investigation

The accident occurred at 1937 hours on 27 October 2018. This Special Bulletin is published to provide preliminary information gathered from the site investigation, subsequent technical investigation, recorded data, and other sources.

In accordance with established international arrangements, the Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza del Volo (ANSV) of Italy, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the helicopter, appointed an Accredited Representative (Accrep) to participate in the investigation. The Accrep is supported by advisers from the helicopter manufacturer. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, representing the State of Design and Manufacture for the helicopter’s engines, has also appointed an Accrep. Experts have been appointed by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee of Thailand and the State Commission on Aircraft Accidents Investigation of Poland. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the helicopter operator are also assisting the AAIB.

Download report:

In Memoriam: Paul G. Amara

Paul G. Amara, 76, of Hague, New York and formerly of Queens and Deer Park, Long Island, passed away on November 19th, 2018.

Born in Queens, New York, September 8, 1942, he was the son of the late Charles and Dominica (Passalaqua) Amara.

Paul was a resident of Queens and Deer Park for most of his life before moving to Hague in 1989. He had vacationed in Lake George since 1960.

He started his flying career as a flight instructor. He was the owner and pilot of TransAir International of Farmingdale, Long Island for many years. He also owned and operated Crosswind Aviation and Alfa Airlines.

Mr. Amara was a communicant of the Blessed Sacrament Church of Hague, where he served in many capacities a well as Altar Server.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Eileen (Walsh) Amara; two sons,Thomas Amara (Cheryle) of Southold, Long Island and Robert Amara (Rocio) of Naples, Florida; one daughter, Theresa Carrozza of Lake George; one brother, Raymond Amara of Estero, Florida; and one sister, Judith McGinn of Warren, PA. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Ticonderoga. The Rev. Kevin D. McEwan will officiate.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Wilcox & Regan Funeral Home of Ticonderoga. To offer online condolences, please visit 

American Airlines, Boeing 737 MAX 8, N306RC: Incident occurred November 24, 2018 at Logan International Airport (KBOS), Boston, Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts

American Airlines flight number 2666: Ingested a bird on departure.

American Airlines Inc

Date: 24-NOV-18
Time: 12:40:00Z
Regis#: N306RC
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 737 8
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: AMERICAN AIRLINES
Flight Number: 2666

A Miami-bound American Airlines flight was forced to return to Boston Logan International Airport Saturday morning when it hit a bird shortly after takeoff, officials said.

The Boeing 737 aircraft struck the bird at 7:40 a.m. after taking off just minutes earlier, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration. It then made an emergency landing without incident and was taxied to a gate.

There were 172 passengers and six crew members onboard at the time, spokeswoman Janine Brown said. No injuries were reported.

The airline’s maintenance team is evaluating the plane and rebooking customers on different flights, airline officials said in the statement.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating the incident, spokeswoman Arlene Salac said. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Thunderbolt pilot's children recall 'he had the 'it' factor'

Pilot Fillmore Gilmer.

Test pilot and Navy aviator Fillmore Litton Gilmer was not one to brag so his children learned of his exploits from relatives and artifacts, including an oil painting of a Thunderbolt presented to him by a Royal Air Force pilot. 

His son and daughter recalled him as a man with many strengths and passions who loved working with his hands and taking things apart to see how they worked – including their home’s forced air heating system, the first of its kind in Big Stone Gap, a small southwestern Virginia town.

 A skilled woodworker, Gilmer repurposed military shells and crafted the cover of a photo album from a plane’s aluminum shell, said his son, Fillmore Litton Gilmer Jr., 72, of Birmingham, Alabama.

“He was an extremely smart and talented man,” who had charm and charisma to boot, his son said, speaking on a conference call Friday with his sister. “He had the 'it' factor.” 

As for the day their father's prototype Thunderbolt went down in the Long Island Sound in August 1942, he kept at least one artifact from that day, said his daughter, Barbara Lucille Phelps, 78, of Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. Her dad was 31 years old at the time, and lived in Huntington.

"I remember that Daddy … had the parachute," Phelps said.

The pilot's son said he has studied his father’s war plane, and he was astounded when he came upon a Thunderbolt while visiting the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. 

“I was just in heaven," his son said.

Gilmer’s military records from the National Archives were sparse – and have a gap. A lieutenant junior grade, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserves from Aug. 15 to Sept. 11, 1936, and then from Nov. 29, 1936, to Jan. 30, 1942.

No dates or locations for the three ships he served on – the USS Nevada, the USS Enterprise, and the Yorktown - which all fought battles in the Pacific – or any honors, awards, or crashes – are revealed.   

His children carefully noted they cannot vouch for all the heroics and family lore.

Phelps recalls hearing her father survived a tropical island crash because of the unusual verb he used: “All he had to eat later was coconuts or pineapple, or something like that, and he said he ‘foundered’ on them.”

She also remembers a Royal Air Force pilot gave her father an oil painting of a Thunderbolt diving through lightning. 

Ultimately, Gilmer’s battles with alcohol would lead their parents to separate, and their mother moved with her children to Birmingham.

Little is known about his death at 44 on Aug. 7, 1955, in Big Stone Gap. A man who objected to Gilmer calling on his daughter shot and killed the pilot, according to local newspaper articles.

As for the family stories, such as his having competed with Chuck Yeager to set speed records:  “How much can I say is the absolute fact?” Phelps asked rhetorically. “I just know things like that are a possibility.”

Original article can be found here ➤

Diver reveals historic Thunderbolt war plane find in Long Island Sound

An underwater diver is revealing his accidental discovery of historic significance: He found the wreck of the sole Thunderbolt prototype, one of World War II's fiercest war planes, in the Long Island Sound.

The August 5th, 1942, accident report for the XP-47B, declassified under a broader 2009 executive order, says the plane crashed off Eatons Neck shortly after taking off from Republic Airport. The pilot managed to bail out -- and survived.

Diver Kirby Kurkomelis said in 2012 he first found parts of the warbird in about 50 feet of water while searching for the remains of two airmen who crashed in a military training plane in 1947.

“And we came upon a wreck; I had to go down to see what it was," he said. "That’s scuba diving, you’re looking for something, and you find something else.”

Kurkomelis has kept his find secret, until now. Over the past six years he has worked on other projects while undertaking the necessary and time-consuming research, including obtaining records from the National Archives, to verify his discovery. He has returned to the site nearly two dozen times to recover more artifacts.

Kurkomelis, a Nassau County resident, declined to reveal the fighter-bomber’s specific location as he continues his research.

'Very relevant' piece of LI history

The Thunderbolt, designed and built at Republic in Farmingdale, foreshadowed modern fighters with its speed, heavy armor and armament, historians say. More Thunderbolts were built in World War II than any other U.S. war plane.

Ken Neubeck, author and vice president of the Long Island Republic Airport Historical Society, said that, judging by photographs of parts recovered from the plane, they appear to be from the Thunderbolt prototype, missing for more than 75 years.  

“Oh, I’m pretty sure it is; there really weren’t many other planes that fell into the Sound that were an XP-47B,” he said. “It’s a very relevant piece of Long Island history.”

Joss Stoff, the curator at Garden City's Cradle of Aviation, who has compared the relics with the museum’s P-47, agreed with Neubeck's assessment.

“This is the granddaddy of all P-47s,” he said. Referring to Kurkomelis, Stoff said: “Some parts he showed us were definitely identifiable as P-47 parts,” including a rudder panel and an intake cover.

“The most interesting part that positively identified it – he found the bulletproof glass” from the windshield. “It’s a different shape from all other P-47s.”

At the time, Republic Aviation Corp., which created the Thunderbolt, was competing with other airplane makers for U.S. military contracts, including Long Island's Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., which itself lost a test plane in the Sound in 1941. 

While both pilots survived the crashes, both pinned on turbocharger problems, Grumman's XP-50 Skyrocker was canceled afterward though its design heralded the XF7F-1, the first World War II plane to land on carriers with tricycle landing gear, and the F7F Tigercat, which shot to fame in the Korean War.

"Those are the two most rare airplanes in the Long Island Sound," Stoff said. "Now one's been found, maybe the other will be."

Pilot 'had no choice but to let go'

The Thunderbolt’s civilian test pilot, Fillmore Litton Gilmer, at the time 31 and a Huntington resident, survived what Newsday reported was a “plunge almost straight downward, possibly faster than any plane has ever flown before.”

After climbing as high as 11,000 to 12,000 feet, Gilmer told Army Air Corps investigators the stick became “light and useless.” He smelled burning rubber, and realized heat from the turbo was burning the tail and melting the elevator rod, the accident report said.

The hub of the turbo supercharger was highly flammable magnesium, which likely sparked flames, historians say. That supercharger -- part of which Kurkomelis found -- is one reason this warbird was such a high-altitude star though it was a true heavyweight, thanks to its eight large machine guns and pilot-shielding armor plating.

By November 1942, demand for the “flying tank” led the United States to approve a second Thunderbolt factory in Evansville, Indiana, in addition to the one at Republic, which quadrupled in size, according to  “Aviation Darwinism – The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt,” on the Cradle of Aviation website.

That was just three months after the prototype went down. Gilmer, a former Navy lieutenant junior grade, told Air Corps investigators he was unable to power out of a 20 to 25 degree glide, adding his airspeed had reached 420 mph to 430 mph when he released the canopy.

“I gripped the after part of the canopy with my hands and hooked my right toe under the forward section of the windshield. I had no choice but to let go. I did not see the plane again after leaving it. I saw where it hit,” he said.  

The Newsday article said that when Gilmer “pulled the ripcord, he heard a sound like a pistol shot and saw one complete triangle panel rip out and float away, a useless piece of silk. He had pulled the ripcord too soon.” Temporarily stunned on what was his first parachute jump, Gilmore landed in the water near the plane, it said.

A sailboat retrieved him and brought him ashore, the Eatons Neck Coast Guard told the investigators for the Air Corps, which preceded the Air Force.

“We shot ahead and had an ambulance down here waiting for him,” a Coast Guard officer said. “He just had a few burns on his body from the chute cords, I guess. He’s walking around, he’s feeling good."

A buoy was placed over the wreck’s oil slick and debris, he added.

The accident report listed the Thunderbolt prototype as “a complete wreck.” Explained Stoff, it broke up when it hit the water because it was at “flying speed.”

Dangerous dives

The debris field Kurkomelis found is scattered; even the engine fell out, he said.

And much of the plane’s metal frame and parts have corroded in the salt water.

Another problem is that diving down to the warbird is both arduous and exceptionally dangerous.

“The Long Island Sound consists of very, very dark water in the last few feet; everything is basically by touch,” Kurkomelis said, explaining the sunlight blocking pollution also has turned the bottom into a treacherous and quicksand-like mud.

“You can get trapped there,” he warned. Divers also contend with strong currents. 

His confidence that he has the ability, knowledge and training to handle the perilous dives in the Sound’s cold and dark depths, he says, partly explains what impels him. 

“What motivates me the most," he said, "is the mysteries of our oceans and lost history.”

The Thunderbolt was designed and built by Republic Aviation, which succeeded the firm founded by Maj. Alexander de Seversky, a Czarist World War I naval ace.

Drawing from some of Seversky’s work, Republic’s lead designer, Alexander Kartveli – born in Tbilisi, Georgia, like Seversky – created the Thunderbolt.

It was a breakthrough fighting plane, soaring higher though rather slowly with its heavy armor and eight .50 caliber machine guns – but diving faster than almost all competitors.

It was nicknamed the “Jug,” historians agree, though they differ about the derivation. Was it because it looked like a whiskey jug or because its fuselage resembled a milk bottle? Or was its nickname shortened from “Juggernaut,” as some flyers died trying to pull out of training dives.

Initially, it was mocked by U.S. and British pilots who prized the Supermarine Spitfire’s speed and maneuverability. Sent out to escort bombers, however, pilots were won over by its ability to surprise enemy pilots flying at lower altitudes and strafe or bomb ground targets, from Nazi artillery to rail roads.

The “Warthog,” vaunted for its ability to fell enemy troops with low-level machine gun, rocket and bomb attacks, was named the A-10 Thunderbolt II in honor its predecessor.

Sources: Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum,, Cradle of Aviation, The Aviation History Online Museum

Original article can be found here ➤

Clarkdale, Arizona to hear presentation on Cottonwood Airport (P52) complaints

COTTONWOOD, Arizona -- Cottonwood is seeking input from the community regarding airport noise complaints.

Tuesday, November 27th at 3 p.m., Cottonwood Airport Manager Morgan Scott will present Cottonwood’s proposed solutions to mitigate the noise.

Scott is asking for input from the Town of Clarkdale.

“As a result of an increase in air traffic noise complaints, the City of Cottonwood has established a committee to consider and make recommendations about potential actions the airport could take to help address noise,” staff documents state.

According to staff documents, air traffic noise can’t completely be eliminated so Cottonwood is exploring compromises for pilots and citizens.

One proposed solution is to bar aircraft from flying west of State Route 89A. Another is to limit times for touch-and-go landings.

Suggested changes have been forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration. 

The Cottonwood Airport Commission will further discuss solutions in early December.

Original article can be found here ➤

Caprock Chronicles: Stucki-Dobbs Plane Crash, 1943

Caprock Chronicles is edited by Jack Becker, a Librarian at Texas Tech University. This week’s essay is written by John McCullough, author and aviation historian living in Lubbock. The essay reviews the deaths of Lund C. Stucki and Lynn W. Dobbs in August 1943 just after their aircraft lifted off from Dagley Field southwest of Lubbock during a routine training mission.

Clent Breedlove and his staff of pilots, mechanics and office workers ran a very efficient flight service during the Second World War. During its period of operations, from August 1939 through May 1947, Breedlove Aerial Service experienced only three deaths and one serious injury due to airplane mishaps. This was a very small number of fatalities compared to the estimated 8,300 students who trained through Breedlove Aerial Service.

The first death occurred near Plainview in March 1943. The second two deaths happened in August that year near Dagley Fiesouthwest of Lubbock. The instructor of the aircraft, L. W. Dobbs, and his student, Lund C. Stucki, died in the crash.

Lynn W. “Cotton” Dobbs was an instructor pilot for Breedlove Aerial Service during the Second World War. He taught student pilots in the 309th College Training Detachment (CTD) at Dagley, located at 34th Street and Dagley Road (later Quaker Ave). He was a native of Windham Springs, Alabama and born in October 1907.

Lund C. Stucki, son of Ezra Stucki, was a pre-flight cadet in the 309th CTD. He came from Rexburg, Idaho. He was 23 years old when the light plane he was piloting, a Taylorcraft L-2, crashed shortly after takeoff from Dagley Field about 2:30 p.m.

After receiving classroom instruction at Texas Tech, the students in the 309th CTD were bused to Dagley Field or Breedlove Airport (located on East 50th Street) and given 10 hours of primary flight training. The 309th CTD operated at Texas Tech from February 1943 through June 1944.

Shortly before the fatal crash, in March 1943, Clent Breedlove assumed operations at Dagley Field and trained students in both the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP) and 309th CTD.

According to the Avalanche-Journal’s August 4, 1943 edition, “The [Stucki-Dobbs] crash occurred on a routine five-hour check flight given pre-flight students by the Breedlove service under contract with the government. Each pre-flight student is given preliminary dual flight instruction here preparatory to regular Army aviation cadet flight training.”

Harold Humphries was chief instructor pilot for Breedlove Aerial Service from 1943-44. He remembered the Stucki-Dobbs crash, “It was about two in the afternoon, very hot, and he [Stucki] just stalled out in his attempt to get across a fence. He was flying a side-by-side Taylorcraft.

Humphries also said that an inspector from the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) in Amarillo traveled to Lubbock to inspect the crash. According to a U.S. Air Force history of the 309th CTD, 2nd Lt. Harry Layton, Investigating Officer from the 309th CTD stated, “A thorough investigation was made, both by the Commanding Officer of the Detachment and by a representative of the [CAA]. Both the student and the instructor were killed.”

One other student in the 309th CTD died before the Stuck-Dobbs crash. His death occurred as a result of scarlet fever during the initial period of the history of the Detachment,” said Captain Joseph N. Tillman, Jr., Detachment Surgeon of the 309th CTD.

Humphries also said that the inspector from the CAA questioned him about why they were flying during the hottest time of the day. After gathering data from the National Weather Service, Humphries informed the CAA that the hottest time of the day was between 5 and 6 a.m. and not earlier in the afternoon when the crash happened.

The funeral for L. W. Dobbs was held at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Littlefield Methodist church. The Rev. C. Frank York, pastor of the Littlefield First Methodist church, accompanied by Rev. J. H. Sharp, pastor of the San Jacinto Methodist church in Amarillo, led Dobbs’ funeral service.

Fellow instructor pilots from Breedlove Aerial Service served as Dobb’s pallbearers. The pallbearers were Quinn Henry, Hal Stansell, Charles Akey, Cliff Dean, Kirk Dean and Jack Henry. Hammons Funeral home directed the burial.

In addition, to the funeral service at the Littlefield church, the Avalanche-Journal reported that a Masonic service was held at Dobbs’ graveside in Littlefield. Dobbs was survived by his wife and two sons, Joe, 10, and Jeri, 8, along with his mother, Mrs. L. W. Dobbs, of Littlefield.

According to the Avalanche-Journal, Cadet Edwin A. Capps of Stucki’s squadron accompanied his classmate’s body home to Idaho.

Harold Humphries is now 104 years old and resides at a senior living facility in Dallas.

Original article can be found here ➤

Chinese Airline Mishaps Put Spotlight on Pilots: Nation’s booming flight industry produces aviators with scant experience, foreign pilots say, leaving passengers at risk; smoking in the cabin and papered-over cockpit windows

The Wall Street Journal
By Trefor Moss
November 24, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET

SHANGHAI—Chinese airlines were buffeted this summer by a series of cockpit blunders that put passengers’ lives at risk, pointing to what foreign pilots say are serious flaws in training as China’s booming aviation industry struggles to meet demand for flight crews.

The mishaps included a July 10 incident in which an Air China Boeing 737 en route to Dalian from Hong Kong plunged 25,000 feet after the pilots mistakenly disabled the cabin’s air supply. They were trying to deactivate an air-circulation system so they could smoke, but ended up triggering an emergency descent.

On Aug. 16, a Xiamen Airlines Boeing 737 jet lost its landing gear and an engine and skidded off the runway when its crew tried to land in Manila in heavy weather.

Two weeks later, a Beijing Capital Airlines Airbus A320 lost its front wheels and damaged an engine as it bounced three times along a runway in Macau. The pilots aborted the landing and diverted to Shenzhen.

Summer Turbulence

Chinese airlines suffered serious incidents in July and August, which pilots say could be avoided in future with better safety protocols.

A China Express Canadair CRJ-900 experienced a very heavy landing and sustained damage after the pilots mistakenly switched off both engines on approach to Tongliao. 
The ground proximity alarm sounded twice as a Shanghai Airlines Boeing 737 approached Nanchang airport, though the jet ultimately landed safely.

A Shenzhen Airlines Boeing 737 skidded off the runway in Hohhot after pilots attempted to turn their speeding aircraft too soon after touching down. 

An Air China Boeing 737 en route from Hong Kong to Dalian plummeted 25,000 feet after the pilots triggered an emergency descent by smoking illegally in the cockpit.A Tianjin Airlines Airbus A320 sustained damage to its nose and windshield after flying into a hailstorm, rather than diverting around it, and performed an emergency landing in Wuhan. 

A XiamenAir Boeing 737 lands late at night in severe weather in Manila, causing the jet to lose an engine and its undercarriage, and to skid off the runway. 

A Beijing Capital Airlines Airbus A320 lost its front wheels and damaged an engine during a botched landing in Macau, before performing an emergency landing in nearby Shenzhen.

These were among seven serious incidents involving Chinese airlines reported in July and August alone. Though there were no fatalities, the mishaps were significant enough in most cases to receive media coverage and be addressed publicly by China’s aviation authority and the airlines involved. The less-serious incidents were chronicled by aviation websites, and in internal airline and civil-aviation bulletins reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration didn’t respond to questions. But in a meeting with senior aviation officials in September, administration chief Feng Zhenglin ordered a national aviation inspection to root out “unqualified employees” and addressing the “excessive expansion” of civil aviation, according to an agency posting online.

Chinese airline passenger numbers quadrupled to 552 million between 2005 and 2017, fueled by its rising middle class.

Around 5,000 new pilots joined the country’s airlines last year, and Boeing Co. estimates China will need another 6,500 a year for the next 20 years to meet demand.

That breakneck pace has put too many inexperienced aviators in the cockpit, seven foreign airline captains with current or recent experience with Chinese airlines said. Exhausting work schedules and harsh punishments for honest mistakes compound the problem.

The Wall Street Journal contacted the airlines involved in the recent mishaps, but only state-run Air China Ltd. responded. An Air China spokeswoman said the carrier follows strict safety standards based on U.S. Federal Aviation Administration protocols.

Air China, which said it only punishes pilots for making very serious mistakes, fired the pilots involved in the incident in which the Boeing 737 plunged 25,000 feet.

“Safety is always our top priority, no matter how fast we grow,” Air China pilot Zheng Jie said. A Chinese co-pilot seconded that assessment, noting that a “state-owned airline will seek to ensure safety at all costs.”

China hasn’t suffered a major air disaster since 2010, when 44 people were killed in a Henan Airlines crash in the northeast city of Yichun in remote Heilongjiang province.

China’s last major air disaster was in 2010, when 44 people were killed in a Henan Airlines crash. The foreign pilots assert there is a fine line between near misses and disasters, however. “Safety is an illusion” with some Chinese carriers, one captain said, adding that it only “seems safe because so far they’re managing not to crash.”

China reported 41 aviation accidents and incidents in 2017 and 2018 to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations agency that sets global aviation standards.

That compares with around 600 reported by major airlines in the U.S. for the same two-year period—a huge gap suggesting many incidents in China aren’t reported, said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at Flightglobal, an aviation information service.

China isn’t the only developing aviation market that has struggled to balance rapid growth with safety. The FAA has downgraded countries including Thailand and Indonesia in years past over safety concerns.

An FAA spokesman said the agency was aware of the safety concerns being raised by pilots in China, and is monitoring China’s “ability to effectively analyze, investigate and provide corrective actions to these events.”

Foreign pilots acknowledge that aviation safety in China has improved significantly since the 1990s. Most airlines use brand-new planes and the country’s airports are world-class. Automation in modern jets also compensates for inexperience.

Even so, Chinese aviation authorities focus too much on technical procedures and not enough on what is happening in the cockpit, the foreign captains say.

Captain Andy Van Bastelaar recalled an incident last year where his Chinese co-pilot was guiding their Airbus A320 on final approach to a regional airport near Shanghai. Mr. Van Bastelaar saw that his co-pilot wasn’t flaring the jet—lifting the nose and cutting thrust—to touch down safely.

“At the last moment, I took back control and managed to partly correct it, but we still had a very hard landing,” said Mr. Van Bastelaar, a 40-year-old pilot from South Africa who spent four years with a Chinese airline until he quit this year.

Afterward, Mr. Van Bastelaar said his co-pilot immediately started checking the flight-data recorder to see whether he would face punishment for his mistake.

Mr. Van Bastelaar and the other captains—who previously flew in Europe and North and South America—were lured to China by huge salaries. A captain at a U.S. or European airline would typically earn around $8,000 a month; Chinese airlines pay foreign pilots three times as much, tax-free.

The foreign captains—which China recruits from countries it considers to have good aviation standards— described unsafe practices they had seen, including Chinese crew members plastering sheets of newspaper over the cockpit windows after takeoff. “Suddenly there was zero visibility. They said they didn’t want the sunlight on their skin,” one captain who recently left China said.

Smoking in the cockpit—which caused the Air China flight to plunge in July—is rife despite being officially banned, the foreign captains said. “Once I complained to my administrator about all the Chinese pilots smoking,” one recalled. “He said, ‘They’re calmer if you let them smoke.’ ”

Chinese pilots also live in fear of being grounded or having their pay docked for cockpit errors, foreign aviators say, leading to situations where pilots land too far down the runway to avoid hard landings.

“These planes are built to withstand hard landings,” one captain said. “The obsession with avoiding hard landings is actually making landings much less safe.”

The foreign captains warned of institutional failings that can afflict an entire airline. Following a cold winter’s night three years ago, one captain realized that jetliners were being cleared for takeoff without deicing treatment.

“Nobody knew about the threat,” the captain said. “It was an extremely unsafe situation.”

On paper, China and the U.S. have similar rules to guard against pilot fatigue.

The big difference: In the U.S., there must be at least 10 hours between flights, including an opportunity for an eight-hour sleep, for that period to count as a rest.

In China, however, airlines aren’t obliged to count the time between short flights where pilots aren’t in the cockpit.

Pilots say this practice contributes significantly to fatigue. The problem is exacerbated by China’s chronic flight delays, which lead to restless hours stuck in airports.

“I’ve done 20-hour duties in China. In Europe, that would never be allowed,” Mr. Van Bastelaar said. “Pilots are very tired, and very unhappy. They’re under huge pressure.”

—Chunying Zhang contributed to this article.

Original article can be found here ➤

CALSTAR lands at Lompoc Valley Center to train aspiring emergency medical technicians

Cal Star helicopter pilot Mike Payne talks to students in Hancock College's EMS academy Wednesday at the Public Safety Training Complex in Lompoc.

A 130-pound male lies on the ground, unresponsive, after a traffic collision. He's breathing on his own, but emergency medical technicians are concerned the victim may have suffered a neck or spinal cord injury.

Within minutes of the call, a specially modified twin-engine helicopter lands not too far from the victim. Two flight nurses, one carrying a large backpack, disembark and run over to assess the patient. They recommend air transport, securing him to a backboard and loading him through the copter's rear doors.

The victim, a student enrolled in Hancock College's emergency medical services (EMS) program, was never in any real danger. On Wednesday, the CALSTAR 7 (California Shock Trauma Air Rescue) flight crew landed at Hancock College's Public Safety Training Complex in Lompoc to simulate their response to a real-life medical emergency.

From landing to takeoff and every step in between, the three-person flight crew — pilot Mike Payne, and flight nurses Raul Sandoval and Chris Aten — broke down their process and timeline for more than 30 aspiring emergency medical technicians. Their goal: to land and lift off in 10 minutes.

"This [demonstration] covers operations for the ground and air units," explained EMS program coordinator Suz Roehl, who spent 15 years as a flight nurse with CALSTAR prior to joining Hancock. "We want them to come in because CALSTAR likes to train crew that are going to be around the aircraft."

In addition to their flight crew, the EC135 helicopter CALSTAR operates can carry up to two patients from the scene of critical incidents -- car crashes, shootings or stabbings -- between two regional medical facilities. Based out of the Santa Maria airport, the chopper is capable of responding to most places on the Central Coast within 20 or 30 minutes. 

"You never know what you're going to get into," said Payne, a retired Navy helicopter pilot. "You've just got to be prepared for everything."

His biggest piece of advice to aspiring pilots: speak up. "We're all a part of a crew," he said. "If they (the crew) doesn't like something I'm doing, they need to tell me to stop. If one person says they're not comfortable going [to an assignment,] we don't go."

Sandoval, a registered nurse with 13 years of experience in the emergency room, recalled meeting CALSTAR's first flight nurse during a rotation at the Ventura County Medical Center. Describing the nurse as smart and accomplished, Sandoval said he dedicated time to improving his skills with the goal of joining a flight crew.

"Being part of the flight crew is totally different than being a nurse," he said. "You have to communicate with other ground crews (fire, paramedics) and ensure that we're going to get to our destination safely."

He called flight nurses the "Navy seals of nursing," and told hopeful flight nurses to brush up on their skills if they want to make the jump. "You need to better yourself in any way you can — mentally, physically or at your job," he said. "It's a hard job when you're on."

Original article can be found here ➤

Winnebago County grants Experimental Aircraft Association permit to grow crops at Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH)

OSHKOSH — The Experimental Aircraft Association is getting into the farming business at Wittman Regional Airport.

The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a permit Tuesday for the Experimental Aircraft Association to lease 45 acres for unrestricted farming, including soybeans, alfalfa, hay and corn, and another 38 acres for low-growth farming (so no corn).

At a rental rate of $175 an acre, the total rent for the first year will be $14,175. The permit has been approved from Jan. 1 to the end of 2021, so the total amount of revenue gained by the agreement will be $42,525.

No farming will be allowed on the property between July 15 and Aug. 5, so AirVenture will be relatively free of hay dust.

Original article ➤

Richards Heavylift Helo (Bell) UH-1H, ZS-HLP: Fatal accident occurred October 23, 2018 in Vermaaklikheid, South Africa

Pilot Nico Heyns

NTSB Identification: WPR19WA015
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, October 23, 2018 in Vermaaklikheid, South Africa
Aircraft: Bell UH -1H, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On October 23, 2018, about 0745 Coordinated Universal time, a Bell UH-1H helicopter, ZS-HLP, impacted terrain during a firefighting mission near Vermaaklikheid, South Africa. The pilot sustained fatal injuries and the helicopter was substantially damaged in the post-impact fire. The helicopter was operated by Kishugu Aviation under the pertinent civil regulations of the government of Africa. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The local flight departed Stillbaai Aerodrome, Western Cape, South Africa about 0615.

The Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa, Accident & Incident Investigation Division (AIID) is investigating the accident. As the state of manufacture of the helicopter, the NTSB has designated a US accredited representative to assist the AIID in its investigation.

All inquiries concerning this accident should be directed to:

South African Civil Aviation Authority
Accidents and Incidents Investigation Division
Private Bag X 73
Halfway House 1685
South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 11 545-1000

The Working on Fire (WoF) pilot who was killed when his helicopter went down during firefighting efforts near Riversdale on Tuesday afternoon has been identified by Southern Cape police as 65-year-old Nico Heyns.

Captain Malcolm Pojie confirmed that Heyns was killed in a crash in the Vermaaklikheid area, about 40km from Riversdale, around 09:50.

An inquest docket was opened at the Riversdale police station.

Heyns was well known in the aviation world and often went above and beyond the call of duty.

News24 reported in 2016 that he worked like a machine for two days to stop fires that had threatened parts of the holiday towns of St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis.

Many sang his praises for the crucial role he played in preventing the blaze from reaching the Sea Vista informal settlement by scooping water from residents' swimming pools.

Always smiling

Patrick Hall, who flew with Heyns for many hours, shared on Facebook that they were saying goodbye "to a legend that saved many lives and property, a man that never gave up until the end".

He said he had never seen Heyns without a smile on his face.

Trevor Abrahams, chairperson of Kishugu Aviation, said it was one of the company's Huey helicopters that crashed.

"At this point in time we have no information as to the cause of the accident," said Abrahams via voice note. 

He said the Civil Aviation Authority was en route to the site, and the pilot's family was receiving counselling.

He expressed his sympathies to them.

Provincial resources deployed to fight fire

The Western Cape government also expressed condolences to the family and friends of the pilot. 

"The family, friends and the community of firefighters are in our thoughts at this time," said Anton Bredell, MEC of local government, environmental affairs and development planning. 

Vermaaklikheid falls in the Hessequa municipal boundary and is between Knysna and Hermanus.

The Western Cape fire services have already deployed resources from the Overberg region to the area to assist with the blaze, according to Bredell.

The Garden Route District Municipality posted on Facebook that the fire at Vermaaklikheid was burning on the eastern and western flank of Duiwenhoks River. 

The western flank was contained on Tuesday morning, and mopping up is being conducted by local volunteers and Enviro Volunteer Wildfire Services. 

More than 50 firefighters 

However, the eastern flank was the main concern, with firefighters on the ground and in the air battling flames on a 3.5km line, trying to prevent it from jumping the Puintjie/Blombos road.

So far, seven homes have been destroyed, as well as multiple smaller structures. 

In the meantime, a heatwave is moving through the Hessequa area and winds are strong. 

There are over 50 firefighters from WoF, the Garden Route District Municipality, George municipality, Gou Kou Farm Watch, and the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association.

The City of Cape Town's fire and rescue services have also been put on standby to provide additional backup if required. 

Members of the public have been urged to report fire outbreaks across the province as soon as possible using the emergency number 112.

Incident occurred November 23, 2018 in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WVLT) -- Knox County dispatch confirmed that a plane landed without incident after initially having some difficulties.

The initial call came in at around 3 p.m., dispatch said.

According to the Knoxville Fire Department and the Knox County Sheriff's Office, the plane landed safely. 

A spokesperson for Knoxville Fire Department reported that the aircraft's landing gear was hanging up, impeding its ability to land.

The spokesperson could not confirm what kind of model or how many people were on board at the time.

Original article can be found here ➤

Friday, November 23, 2018

In Memoriam: Donald Joseph Sieg

Donald Joseph Sieg
May 4, 1953 ~ November 22, 2018 (age 65)

HURON, Ohio – Don Sieg, 65, of Huron, died Thursday, November 22, 2018 at Cleveland Clinic.

Don was a loving husband and father.  He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Janet; his children, Katie (Jim) Dornemann and Michael Sieg; his granddaughters, Amelia and Nora; his sisters, Sharon Sieg and Monica (Jim) Stone.

Don was born May 4, 1953 in Grosse Pointe, MI.  He is an alumnus of the Mariots Notre Dame High School, graduating in 1971.  He became a registered radiologic technologist at St. Joseph’s on the Blvd in Detroit, MI.  He returned to school and obtained his bachelor's and two masters’ degrees in healthcare administration.  He was the assisting administrator at Harrison Memorial and Wooster Community Hospitals and coming to Sandusky he was the Chief Operating Officer at the former Providence Hospital, Sandusky.

After leaving health care administration, Don had continued to be involved with the community.  He was on the board for Family Health Services and Erie County Board of Developmental Disabilities

Don had his private pilot’s license and proudly owned a 1968 Cessna 182.  The Cessna allowed him and his wife, to travel to many places in the United States and Canada.  Their adventures took then as far east as St. John Newfoundland, south to Key West, Florida, north to Barrow Alaska, and west to San Diego, Ca.  As his license plate holder says, “He’d rather be flying”.

Don was a member of the Huron Rotary Club, Experimental Aircraft Association, the Huron Knights of Columbus, and a Fellow of the American College Health Care Administration. 

Friends may call Sunday, Nov 25th, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Foster Funeral Home & Crematory, 410 Main St., Huron.  Funeral mass will be Monday, 10:30 a.m. Nov 26th at St. Peter Catholic Church, 430 Main St, Huron, with Rev. Jeffrey McBeth, Officiating.

Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Sandusky.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Peter Catholic Church/ St. Vincent DePaul, Huron.

Online condolences may be shared at

In Memoriam: James Paul "Jimmy" Strock

James Paul Strock
June 9, 1952 - November 22, 2018
Born in Youngstown
Resided in Niles, Ohio

NILES, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) - James P. “Jimmy” Strock, age 66, passed away at his residence on Thursday, November 22, 2018, after a courageous battle with cancer.

James was born June 9, 1952, in Youngstown to Paul and Bertha (Stitt) Strock.

Jimmy will be remembered for his zest for life, his never quit attitude and his passion for aviation.

He received his pilot’s license at the age of 16. Jimmy loved to fly and especially fly his Yellow Piper Cub.

Jimmy wore a lot of hats. He retired from General Motors in Lordstown. During retirement, he started his own aviation company, Lite Flite Inc. which he operated for 17 years. He was currently an instructor with Pittsburgh Institute of Aviation, Youngstown Campus where he taught aircraft maintenance, he loved his job! 

Jimmy was a Triple Black Diamond skier, a sailboat captain, self-taught piano and guitar player, a mechanical genius and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He will be missed.

He is preceded in death by his father, Paul.

Jimmy is survived by his mother, his wife of 25 years, the former Theresa Palivoda; a brother, Tom (Laurel) Strock; two sisters, Paula (Bernie) Frister and Brenda Strock, as well as several nieces, nephews and many dear friends.

Friends may call 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 29 at the Lane Family Funeral Homes, Niles Chapel, 415 Robbins Avenue in Niles. A memorial service will begin at 5:00 p.m.