Monday, November 16, 2020

Boeing 767-300: Accident occurred November 14, 2020 at Memphis International Airport (KMEM), Tennessee

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Memphis, Tennessee

Aircraft landed and reported a bird strike and damaged a flap fairing.

Date: 14-NOV-20
Time: 06:10:00Z
Regis#: FDX1247
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 767
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: CARGO
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: FEDERAL EXPRESS

Cessna 310Q, N7640Q: Incident occurred November 14, 2020 at Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport (KPKB), Parkersburg, West Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charleston, West Virginia

Aircraft landed gear up. 

Date: 15-NOV-20
Time: 02:07:00Z
Regis#: N7640Q
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 310
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport manager Glen Kelly offered an update on a few events at the airport including an incident that resulted in no injuries or damages and a flight check for a piece of equipment that will be used for the first time since its installation in 2006.

On November 14 around 9 p.m., the pilot of a privately owned plane called the airport and said he was having issues with the electrical parts of his aircraft.

The pilot was not from this area and was on his way to Pittsburgh when the incident happened, Kelly said. The electrical issues caused his gear to not work properly and at one point, the lights went off on the panel of the aircraft and the pilot had to do a precautionary landing at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.

“He did a good job of keeping it down the center line, which is good. (It was) much safer for him. Thank God nobody was hurt,” Kelly said. “Our firetruck was ready, they went out immediately.”

There was no fire or damage to the runway or lights. The only damage sustained was to the aircraft because it bellied in, Kelly said.

Airport staff worked most of the night to clear the runway.

“We were very fortunate,” Kelly said.

A flight check is scheduled which will test the airport’s Precision Approach Lighting System which uses lights to indicate to the pilots if they are approaching the runway at the proper angle.

After several months of preparation involving removing trees and a total of four surveys, it is now ready for a flight check.

“We’re ready for a flight check to say ‘you’re ready to go and you can turn it on,'” Kelly said. “I’m just glad we’re nearing the finish line here and getting this thing fully operational.”

Van's RV-8 N787MA: Incident occurred November 14, 2020 at Greeley-Weld County Airport (KGXY), Colorado

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aircraft during taxi, wind gust picked up tail and incurred a propeller strike. 

Alexander Aviation LLC

Date: 14-NOV-20
Time: 14:45:00Z
Regis#: N787MA
Aircraft Make: VANS
Aircraft Model: RV8
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 91

University of Central Missouri board action makes possible new terminal at Skyhaven Airport (KRCM)

WARRENSBURG — Missouri Board of Governors approved the award of a contract to Kansas City firm McCownGordon, to serve as the professional design-build team to erect a 10,000-square-foot terminal building at the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport to help meet community and campus aviation needs.

The $2.8 million total project budget is being funded entirely from private gifts through the UCM Alumni Foundation.

“This is an important milestone for UCM,” Roger Best, UCM president, said. “It’s going to greatly enhance our efforts to provide a facility that meets the educational needs of our many students enrolled in UCM aviation programs and also significantly upgrades our airport as a valuable regional economic development asset. We owe a debt of gratitude to our donors who have given funds specifically for improvements at Skyhaven Airport.”

As the design-build team, McCownGordon will provide all labor, materials and provisions necessary to produce conceptual designs, final design and construction documents for this project which is expected to take about 465 days, of which 270 days are designated for actual construction.

The design phase is expected to begin this fall, according to Tim Castilaw, UCM associate vice president for Capital Planning and Facilities Management.

Castilaw said the facility will be built at the northeast corner of the airport, near the new taxiway. Part of a multiphase master plan for improvements, the building will be constructed so that a portion of its interior will be left unfinished to accommodate future growth within the aviation program.

McCownGordon will create a facility that includes a new airport operations center, pilots’ lounge area, restrooms, dispatch room and classroom space.

Major gifts, including a lead gift from Lynn and Jackie Harmon, Warrensburg, are making this project possible.

“This new aviation terminal has long been a dream which is now being made possible through generous donations to the UCM Alumni Foundation,” said Courtney Goddard, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the UCM Alumni Foundation. “We are enormously grateful to Lynn and Jackie Harmon and the Sunderland Foundation, which provided instrumental support for the terminal, as well as to several other private donors who made this project a reality. This terminal is a prime example of the transformation made possible by philanthropy directed toward higher education.”

UCM is the only public university in Missouri, as well as one of the few in the nation, to own and operate a general aviation airport.

Skyhaven Airport was donated to UCM in the 1960s by local businessman Max B. Swisher and his family.

From that generous donation grew the UCM School of Aviation, which currently serves nearly 350 students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in one of four undergraduate programs or a master’s degree in aviation safety.

Regional pilots lease hangar space for private or corporate aircraft at Skyhaven Airport, as well as land at the airport to fuel up, use maintenance facilities or head into Warrensburg for dining, entertainment or an overnight stay.

“We are all excited about the possibilities a new facility will provide to our students and are looking forward to its completion,” said Matthew Furedy, chair of UCM’s School of Aviation. The School of Aviation is part of the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies.

Jose Mercado, HCBPS dean, said the college was excited to learn that the university’s governing board approved the design/build team to construct a new state-of-the-art aviation center.

“This project will renew our School of Aviation’s current capabilities and support the future growth of our programs,” Mercado said. “Our aviation academic programs provide students the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful pilots and aviation professionals, and this project will help us develop and build the adequate infrastructure we need to meet future aviation educational challenges and enhance regional economic development.”

Mercado also expressed his gratitude to School of Aviation “friends and supporters” – the donors who are making this and other projects at the airport possible through their generosity.

Consistent with the airport master plan, the university is continuing to work through the UCM Alumni Foundation to raise funds for additional airport renovation.

Gabreski Airport (KFOK), Westhampton, New York: Homeowners fed up with noisy low-flying planes

People living in Westhampton say they are fed up with the noise coming from planes flying into Gabreski Airport.

Residents say the planes often fly low over their homes and backyards. They say the problem is worse this year because of an increase in private jets landing at the airport.

Joseph Nemeth has lived in Westhampton for 30 years and says it was especially bad this summer when more people traveled to the Hamptons.

The residents say that one potential solution is to have the planes land on a different runway at the airport so they're not flying directly over their homes. They say they've been trying to work with local officials and the airport on the issue.

"Most of the approaches to the runway are over undeveloped pine barrens and undevelopable land," said Michele Donnelly.

Some residents say the community has worked out an optional noise mitigation policy with the airport that the planes are not following. They want it to be mandatory and have the pilots take a different route to another runway.

News 12 reached out to airport officials but has not heard back.

American Legend AL3, N30BX: Accident occurred November 16, 2020 near Pitt-Greenville Airport (KPGV), Pitt County, North Carolina

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina

Location: Greenville, NC
Accident Number: ERA21LA047
Date & Time: November 16, 2020, 12:00 Local
Registration: N30BX
Aircraft: American Legend AL3 
Injuries: N/A
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: American Legend
Registration: N30BX
Model/Series: AL3
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPGV,25 ft msl 
Observation Time: 15:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C /-1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 300°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: N/A
Latitude, Longitude: 35.613762,-77.345637 

PITT COUNTY, North Carolina (WITN) - Authorities say a bird strike caused a plane to crash in a soybean field, just two miles from the Pitt-Greenville Airport.

It happened around 3:15 p.m. on Highway 43 north of Greenville near the U.S. 264 interchange.

A WITN photographer says the small yellow plane is upside-down in a soybean field behind a home.

There are no flames or smoke coming from the aircraft.

Pitt County Emergency Management tells WITN that the people on the aircraft were adult men. One of them was taken to Vidant Medical Center with minor injuries.

The single-engine American Legend AL3 is owned by Duane Walker of Grifton. According to federal records, the aircraft was built in 2007.

Red Oak Fire Chief George Darden says it was on a training flight that had just left the Pitt-Greenville Airport when a bird hit the aircraft.

Darden says they tried to land in the field and made it to the ground, but the plane then flipped over.

The chief said the two people on the plane were a flight instructor and a student. He said the student was the one who was taken to the hospital.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to arrive tomorrow to conduct the investigation into the mishap.

Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian, N35KG: Incident occurred November 16, 2020 at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (KMKC), Kansas City, Missouri

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri

Aircraft landed gear up. 

Barker Holdings II LLC

Date: 16-NOV-20
Time: 16:35:00Z
Regis#: N35KG
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA46
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — A gust of wind blew a small plane off the runway at Charles B. Wheeler downtown airport Monday.

According to an airport spokesperson, a Piper Meridian aircraft had landed on runway 19 around 10:30 a.m. when it reportedly caught a gust of wind, pushing the aircraft off the east side of the runway into the grass.

Two occupants on the plane were not injured.

Operations on the runway were briefly halted while crews removed the plane. The airport's other runway remained open.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KCTV) -- No injuries were reported after a gust of wind blew a small plane off a runway as it was landing at the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport Monday morning.

The incident happened just after 10:30 a.m.

The pilot of the Piper Meridian turboprop single-engine plane was not injured.

The airport was shut down for all airplane traffic until the plane could be towed away.

‘Predatory and Opportunistic’: Southwest Airlines Seizes the Moment as Rivals Struggle

Through its history, the no-frills airline has leapt at opportunities to expand into new cities. It’s doing it again

The Wall Street Journal 
By Alison Sider
November 16, 2020 11:26 am ET

The pandemic is forcing many airlines to defend their turf. Southwest is using it to invade.

Even as air travel languished in this fall, Southwest Airlines Co. executives fanned out to cities from Palm Springs, Calif., to Sarasota, Fla., to scope out potential new markets. The airline is adding four more cities to its network this year and announced plans for another six in 2021. And it’s looking for more. It hasn’t added airports this quickly since integrating with AirTran Holdings, which it bought in 2011.

“It sounds risky to go open a bunch of new cities, but the alternative is worse,” says Andrew Watterson, Southwest’s chief commercial officer. “You could wait til Covid is over. But that’s far too long.”

Through its history, Southwest has leapt at opportunities to encroach on rivals’ territory when they were struggling. If successful this time, it would be a prime example how some U.S. companies, taking advantage of the carnage around them, can come out of crises stronger.

Southwest’s bet this time is particularly striking, as the Covid-19 pandemic is leaving no airline unscathed. United Airlines Holdings Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. have together lost $23.5 billion this year through September. Southwest has lost $2.2 billion in the period, on track to break a 47-year profitability streak, and has told unions that furloughs—the first in its history—are inevitable early next year without pay cuts or government stimulus.

Airlines are offering 42% fewer flights this month than last November. Southwest flights are down about 36%. Southwest’s third-quarter revenue of $1.8 billion was down 68% from a year earlier and the carrier burned through $12 million in cash a day—a figure it says it trimmed to $10 million a day in October.

Southwest accounted for about 20% of domestic air traffic in the quarter, behind only American, according to Transportation Department figures. While it has borrowed billions this year as it contends with the pandemic, it still has more cash than debt.

Many airlines are rewriting their route maps. But while most are experimenting with new routes among cities they already fly to, Southwest is adding airports.

Southwest had less debt coming into the crisis than some rivals, has lower costs and is more focused on domestic destinations where travel is expected to rebound before travel abroad. That has allowed it to move into openings at airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare airport that previously had no space for new entrants and to re-evaluate cities such as Colorado Springs, Colo., that once didn’t seem worth the investment. It started flying from Miami and Palm Springs on Sunday and announced plans last month to begin flying from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

“Southwest is going to look at what the holes are in the majors’ networks,” says Matt Lee, vice president of operational planning at aviation-consulting firm Landrum & Brown, “and fill them in the interim.”

Capt. Jon Weaks, head of the union representing Southwest’s pilots, which is fighting pay cuts, described the expansion strategy as “predatory and opportunistic—which we like.”

Whether that opportunism is enough will depend partly on the pandemic’s effect on travel. Southwest will face pressure from discounters including Spirit Airlines Inc. and Allegiant Travel Co. , which often charge lower fares and are finding opportunities to enter emptier airports. Several major carriers are cutting into one of Southwest’s big selling points by doing away with most domestic change fees.

And Southwest in the past stumbled with expansion, in 2011 when it moved into Newark Liberty airport, a United hub. It struggled to compete in transcontinental flights and never gained more than about 5% share of passengers there, pulling out last year. “If they couldn’t make Newark work,” says Mark Kopczak, an aviation consultant who previously led Spirit’s network-strategy team, “how are they going to pull the same thing off at O’Hare?”

Southwest’s Mr. Watterson says the airline’s business model—selling tickets directly to customers rather than through online travel agencies—works best where it has a big customer base. “That’s the case in Chicago, Houston and South Florida,” he says, but not in Newark.

‘Stump the chump’

Mr. Watterson and Adam Decaire, two executives responsible for Southwest’s commercial and network strategy, say they had expansion in mind in early August during their quarterly day in the hot seat with CEO Gary Kelly. Known internally as “stump the chump,” the daylong meeting is a chance for executives to quiz their network gurus, and no question is off limits.

Mr. Watterson and other Southwest executives had watched what looked like a summer rebound slow in late June, then stall in July as Covid-19 infections rose. Southwest and carriers such as American that had bet on summer travel pulled down thousands of flights scheduled for August and September.

But, Mr. Watterson says, he began realizing that cutting flying and costs could do only so much to get back to breaking even and that waiting for demand to return would take too long: “We needed to force a pace.”

Physically distanced amid big screens and piles of binders in the boardroom, Mr. Watterson and Mr. Decaire ran through two decades of Southwest’s network history. After 9/11, it was one of few airlines to remain profitable: While it didn’t add new cities right away, it picked up market share when rivals pulled back and expanded into long-haul routes that had been dominated by bigger airlines.

In 2009, when some others had retrenched with the financial crisis, it had gone into Boston’s Logan and New York’s LaGuardia—airports its legendary CEO Herb Kelleher had earlier spurned as too crowded and expensive. It added service to Minneapolis and Milwaukee that year, too. Those moves paid off: 20% of its 2010 revenue growth came from new cities.

“We can do that same thing again. But we have to do it on a bigger scale, because the hole we’re in is bigger,” Mr. Watterson recalls saying during the meeting.

The play, Mr. Watterson and Mr. Decaire say, is to spread Southwest’s planes into new places rather than continuing to offer so many multiple daily flights in cities where it knows customers aren’t flying as much. Southwest keeps a list of airports where its Boeing 737s can reach from its existing cities. From among those, its planners had been combing for places with untapped demand that it could quickly hook into its network.

“Even if that market is still depressed,” Mr. Watterson says, “it’s still brand new revenue.”

The idea clicked for Mr. Kelly, Southwest’s CEO, Mr. Watterson and Mr. Decaire say. “I’m happy to play offense,” Mr. Kelly later said on the quarterly earnings call about two months later.

For decades, Southwest was among the fastest-growing U.S. airlines, known for splashy entrances into new cities and starting fare wars. It had a more measured growth pace in recent years. Last year, its growth was constrained by the grounding of the 737 MAX following two fatal crashes.

Southwest lost some of its low-cost advantage, having evolved from a disruptive upstart. With competition from ultradiscounters and basic-economy fares that airlines like United, American and Delta launched, Southwest doesn’t always have the lowest prices, though it doesn’t charge for bags and other extras.

It shrank capacity by 1.6% in 2019, its first contraction in a decade. Earlier this year, Mr. Decaire says, he fretted he didn’t have enough airplanes to keep up with booming demand in cities Southwest already flew to.

The pandemic offered a new chance. Most cities it has picked are ones it had hoped to fly to eventually, and it now has planes to spare and airports with space, Mr. Decaire says: “We probably put in a decade’s worth of new city growth into Southwest.”

Other airlines, too, are redrawing their maps somewhat during the pandemic, including United, which said this month it will return to New York’s John F. Kennedy airport after departing five years ago. It is launching nonstop flights from places like Cleveland to cities in Florida. United has also added flights to several small cities, some under a subsidy program from the Transportation Department.

Spirit gained slots at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, a long-held goal for the ultralow-cost carrier. JetBlue Airways Corp. has been expanding at Newark and has launched 60 new routes—nearly all from its existing cities—as it tries to reorient its network outside its strongholds in the northeast, which were hard hit by the virus. “We didn’t have great pandemic geography,” says Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s head of revenue and planning.

American, which added back flights more quickly this summer than some rivals, is trying things like short-haul flights within Florida. “The cost of experimentation right now is really low,” says Brian Znotins, American’s vice president of schedule and network planning. American had to pull back on its big summer flying push but added back flights this fall as demand started to return again.

Overall, other airlines have largely retreated into their main hubs. American and Delta have suspended flying in dozens of smaller markets.

Some of Southwest’s new destinations fit the profile of places airlines are looking at for pockets of growth, such as sun and ski destinations. Others are cities Southwest believes can feed passengers into its network through connecting traffic—a shift for a carrier that historically focused on nonstop service.

In its early days, Southwest favored cheaper and less crowded secondary airports—like Chicago’s Midway Airport—tapping demand other airlines ignored, says Pete McGlade, an architect of Southwest’s network strategy and now a consultant. Over the years, Southwest made inroads at other carriers’ hubs: becoming one of the largest in places such as Phoenix and Denver, and dominating cities like St. Louis that were once strongholds for others.

Second airports

Expanding from secondary airports to larger ones is a longstanding Southwest strategy—a pattern it has followed in New York, Boston and, through its AirTran acquisition, Washington, D.C. It is now picking places that can help bring in revenue fastest, Mr. Watterson says: “We need to get back to break-even, we need to stop burning cash.”

One lesson Southwest learned from previous ventures into rival territory: Go big. With enough flights to any given city, Mr. Watterson says, “The other airlines can’t really touch you.” Southwest will start 20 flights a day from O’Hare in February.

Southwest says it closely followed discussions a few years ago about O’Hare’s expansion, including a new lease agreement that gives Chicago greater ability to award gates to new entrants. But it never saw a way in, Mr. Watterson says: “It wasn’t until Covid times when we saw a dramatic reduction in O’Hare activity that we could go in and get access to gates.”

With fewer flights arriving from abroad, “common use” gates at O’Hare’s international terminal had extra capacity. Southwest pounced. “If we don’t move now,” Mr. Kelly, the CEO, said during the October earnings call, “we risk never getting in there.”

Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, which Southwest dominates, is a trek for people in northern Houston and surrounding suburbs. Before the pandemic, Southwest had spoken to airport officials about expanding at Hobby, says Mario Diaz, executive director of Houston’s airports. About 2½ months ago, the airline instead asked to add service at the city’s bigger airport, George Bush Intercontinental, after a more than 15-year absence. Southwest last month said it would begin flights from that airport in the first half of 2021.

Before the pandemic, the airline had considered airports serving Steamboat Springs and Telluride—Colorado ski towns—and picked Steamboat. In a year when skiing looks to be one of few activities people may travel for, Mr. Watterson says, the airline’s planners thought, why not both? Southwest announced service to the additional airport on Oct. 8.

Even as the pandemic now worsens, says Mr. Watterson, Southwest still needs to tap new markets and believes the strategy will hold up. Mr. Decaire says Southwest is seeking markets it can stay in after the pandemic. “We don’t want to do anything now just for a few months,” he says. “We’re definitely out scouting more cities.”