Thursday, November 19, 2020

Texarkana, Arkansas: Airport board revokes request to build aircraft hangar

TEXARKANA, Arkansas — Texarkana Flight Training School won't be building an aircraft hangar here anytime soon.

Following 19 months of negotiations with the school's president, Lonny Weitzel, the airport's Authority Board rescind plans to allow Weitzel to build his own hangar on airport property, during their Thursday monthly meeting.

Board members cited constant changes in Weitzel's building plans as the reason and voted in a seven to one decision to rescind plans for the construction.

"Everything you propose to do you keep changing," Board Chairman Ray Abernathy told Weitzel during the meeting.

One of the more recent changed decisions regarding the proposed hangar, included a request to re-designate it as a private hangar rather then a business hangar.

Board member Don Ruggles, who was the only board member to disagree with the other seven members, recommended that the board expunge its decision to deny Weitzel the chance to build his school hangar and start negotiations over again.

"I thought we all were in favor of having more hangars built on airport," Ruggles said. "I agree with Ray, that you have been dragging your feet for the last 19 months but I would still like to see you build your hangar," Ruggles told Weitzel.

Board member David Potter said the there's been too much negative discourse regarding a project that really shouldn't have taken more the four months to complete. Some of the time delays included slow progress in the school submitting a business plan, site plan and construction plan.

Weitzel cited the COVID- pandemic and its lingering effect, as at least one of the reasons for the time delay.

"The airlines business also experienced a drop and I couldn't change that," Weitzel said.

Nevertheless, Abernathy said the process in getting the project going has taken too long.

" We've been bounced around for 19 months and we really need something concrete for approval," he said.

Weitzel asked again why his request to build a hangar has been denied, but Potter then motion for the meeting to adjourned and that motion was the only thing in the discussion approved.

Following the meeting Ruggles suggested to Weitzel that he hire an attorney, and Weitzel replied that he intended to speak to the two cities' attorneys — since both Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas own the airport.

Business owner who orchestrated $13 million fraud upon North Carolina Medicaid program from Las Vegas pleads guilty, forfeits private jet


Date: November 18, 2020

Raleigh, North Carolina — A Las Vegas, Nevada resident pleaded guilty today to Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud, Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, and Aggravated Identity Theft, and further agreed to forfeit the proceeds of her crimes. These proceeds included up to $13,396,921.64, a British Aerospace Bae 125-800A Aircraft, a 2017 Aston Martin DB 11 sports car; a 2016 Ford F-150 Super-Crew pickup truck; real property held in the name of Assured Healthcare Systems in Hertford County, North Carolina; real property located in Charles County, Maryland; as well as various other items of designer jewelry and luxury items seized from the defendant's penthouse condominium in Las Vegas.

According to court documents, Latisha Harron, also known as Latisha Reese Holt, originally from Eastern North Carolina, admitted to conspiring with her husband to carry out a massive fraud upon the North Carolina Medicaid Program ("NC Medicaid") by billing the government for fictitious home health services. Harron admitted to then working with her husband to launder the proceeds of the fraud into, among other things, a private jet, luxury jewelry and clothing, and properties in Ahoskie and Rich Square, North Carolina.

According to the charges, Harron created, and was operating, Agape Healthcare Systems, Inc. ("Agape") an alleged Medicaid home health provider, in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. As charged, to enroll Agape as a Medicaid provider, Harron fraudulently concealed her prior felony conviction for Identity Theft. In 2012, Harron moved out of North Carolina to Maryland. Despite that move, Harron continued to bill NC Medicaid as though Agape was providing home health services to North Carolina recipients.

As charged, in May of 2017, Latisha Harron moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to live with codefendant Timothy Mark Harron, and that the two were married in 2018. The indictment alleges that Timothy Harron was also a previously convicted felon, and that this fact was concealed from the NC Medicaid on enrollment documents. Harron pleaded guilty to allegations that Harron and her husband then worked together to expand the Agape fraud upon NC Medicaid, by fraudulently billing the program for more than $10 Million, just in the period between 2017 and 2019.

As charged, Harron admitted that she and her husband carried out the fraud by exploiting an eligibility tool that was entrusted only to NC Medicaid providers. Specifically, Harron and her husband searched publicly available sources, such as obituary postings on the internet by North Carolina funeral homes, to locate recently deceased North Carolinians. Harron admitted that the two would then extract from the obituary postings certain personal information for the deceased, including their name, date of birth, and date of death. Then, utilizing the extracted information, the defendants would then query the NC Medicaid eligibility tool to determine whether the deceased individual had a Medicaid Identification Number. If the deceased North Carolinian had a valid Medicaid Identification Number and was otherwise eligible for Medicaid coverage during their life, the defendants would use that individual's identity to "back-bill" NC Medicaid, through Agape, for up to one year of fictitious home health services that were allegedly rendered prior to the death of the individual. NC Medicaid then disbursed millions to Agape, all of which flowed into accounts controlled by the Harron and her husband.

Harron admitted that she and her husband carried out the fraud via the internet from locations around the globe, including their corporate office building in Las Vegas, their penthouse condominium in Las Vegas, a corporate office in North Carolina, and from various hotels and luxury resorts in and outside of the United States.

Harron further pled guilty to laundering the proceeds of the Agape fraud into various luxury items. These expenses included a $900,000 wire for the purchase of a British Aerospace Bae 125-800A private jet, hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tiffany & Co. and Brioni clothing and jewelry, thousands of dollars on Eastern North Carolina business properties, and thousands of dollars in gym equipment.

Latisha Harron pleaded guilty to (1) Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud and Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, which carries a maximum punishment of up to 20 years in prison, (2) one count of Aggravated Identity Theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, each of which carry a maximum punishment of not less than, nor more than, two years in prison consecutive to other sentences, and (5) Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Richard E. Myers II accepted the plea. The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office Medicaid Investigations Division, are all investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Gilmore is the prosecutor on this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Harris represents the United States with respect to forfeiture aspects of the case.

Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee, N9086W: Accident occurred November 19, 2020 at Lancaster Airport (KLNS), Pennsylvania

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; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


Location: Lititz, PA 
Accident Number: ERA21LA049
Date & Time: November 19, 2020, 19:25 Local
Registration: N9086W
Aircraft: Piper PA28 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N9086W
Model/Series: PA28 235
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s)  Held:None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: LNS,403 ft msl 
Observation Time: 19:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C /-2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 130°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Lititz, PA 
Destination: Westminster, MD (DMW)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 40.120973,-76.29914 


LITITZ, Pennsylvania  — A plane crash injured one person Thursday night in Lititz, Lancaster County.

Officials at Lancaster Airport say the pilot of a small plane crashed during takeoff.

The pilot was trying to take off down a taxiway instead of a runway, and hit some protective fencing around a fuel storage area.

“He diverted and caught one of his wings on the safety bollards that were protecting that fuel tank, and which I guess flipped the airplane upside down or at least got it disoriented,” said Airport Director David Eberly.

The pilot went to the hospital with unknown injuries.

The crash is under investigation.







A small plane crashed through the fence at Lancaster Airport on Thursday evening.

The crash happened about 7:45 p.m. It appeared that one man was on the plane.

He was loaded onto an ambulance, which left the scene of the crash at about 8:23 p.m.

The crash happened at the northern end of the airport, about 30 yards east of Venture Jets, which has an entrance off of Millport Road.

The plane was upside down, and a wing appeared to be shorn off.

The registration number on the tail of the plane indicated it was a 1965 Piper four-seater registered to an owner in Carroll County, Maryland.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk, N6203F: Accident occurred November 19, 2020 at Cynthiana-Harrison County Airport (0I8), Kentucky

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; Louisville, Kentucky

Lexington Flying Club Inc  


Location: Cynthiana, KY 
Accident Number: ERA21LA050
Date & Time: November 19, 2020, 18:44 Local
Registration: N6203F
Aircraft: Cessna 172 
Injuries: 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N6203F
Model/Series: 172 N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KIOB,1021 ft msl 
Observation Time: 18:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C /-1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 200°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.35 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Frankfort, KY (FFT)
Destination: Cynthiana, KY

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 38.366164,-84.283344 (est)








CYNTHIANA, Kentucky (LEX 18) — Three people are injured after a small plane crashed in Cynthiana, according to the police.

The plane was a single-engine, four-seat seat plane. When the plane attempted to land, it clipped the top of three trees, causing the crash at the Cynthiana-Harrison County Airport. The crash occurred at approximately 6:43 P.M. Three people, all males, were taken to UK Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The FAA and NTSB have been contacted and will investigate the incident


   

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (WKYT) - Harrison County Emergency Manager Mike Palmer says a small plane has crashed at Cynthiana-Harrison County Airport.

He says the crash happened just before 7 p.m. There was no fire.

Three people “walked out,” but we don’t have any other information on injuries yet.

Palmer says crews will be there for a while longer.

Hillsborough, Florida: Property appraiser wins tax lawsuit against Aviation Authority


For the second time in four months, Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez has won a tax lawsuit involving private businesses operating in public spaces.

A circuit court judge ruled Thursday that the property appraiser can levy taxes on space leased to private tenants by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, the public entity that runs Tampa International Airport.

The ruling affects nearly 15 parcels at Tampa International Airport, Tampa Executive Airport, Peter O. Knight Airport and other facilities. Tenants on those properties include American Airlines, UPS and Advantage Rent A Car.

According to the order, the Aviation Authority had filed for and received tax exemptions on those properties; the property appraiser’s office argued those exemptions were improper. The ruling allows the properties to be taxed at different percentages, depending on how much of each parcel is used for private business.

“We feel as though this upholds our position that we’ve held for many, many years, and has been consistently upheld in the courts,” Henriquez said. “We have a couple of decades of precedent saying that our interpretation that folks that lease land from the Aviation Authority or Port Authority for profit are subject to ad valorem taxation.”

Michael Stephens, general counsel for the Aviation Authority, said the agency plans to appeal.

“The Property Appraiser’s actions will have a negative economic impact on Hillsborough County and set a harmful precedent in our state,” Stephens said in a statement. “We intend to appeal, as we strongly believe Florida law supports our position.”

Thursday’s ruling is similar to one from this summer, in which a judge ruled that the property appraiser can collect taxes from a private shipyard operating on publicly owned land at Port Tampa Bay. Henriquez and his predecessor, Rob Turner, have long held that tenants of public agencies like the port, Aviation Authority and Tampa Sports Authority should pay taxes.

That case is on appeal. Henriquez does not expect a final ruling on that until the middle of next year, but said that he’s “hopeful and optimistic” that the appellate court will uphold the lower court’s decision.

Henriquez said the Aviation Authority’s decision to appeal Thursday’s ruling is not surprising, but he believes it, too, will be upheld.

“At some point, they have to take a good hard look — particularly given what we’ve seen as a result of the unfortunate economic impact on the airport and Aviation Authority of COVID — do they really want to go down this road of what is showing to be fruitless lawsuits at the expense of taxpayers?” he said.

Henriquez estimated that if and when the properties are added to the county’s tax rolls, it could add millions to the county coffers.

“A few million in the giant scheme of the tax roll is not necessarily a lot,” he said. “But at a time when budgets are so tight, it could make a difference.”

Cirrus SR22T GTS Generation 5, N969BS: Incident occurred November 19, 2020 in Genola, Utah County, Utah

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

Aircraft made emergency landing after parachute activated in flight. 

N969SB LLC


Date: 19-NOV-20
Time: 22:55:00Z
Regis#: N969BS
Aircraft Make: CIRRUS
Aircraft Model: 22T
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 91
City: GENOLA
State: UTAH
 

GENOLA, Utah (ABC4 News) — A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Genola as l on Thursday afternoon.

A bystander captured the emergency landing on their cell phone as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System deployed.

According to Cpl. Mike Wall of the Santaquin Police Department, the plane took off from Airport #2 in Salt Lake City Thursday afternoon and was heading south over Genola when it began to lose oil pressure.

The pilot was able to deploy an airframe parachute system to slow the plane down and make a soft landing in an empty field, approximately in the area of 785 West and 2400 North in Genola.

The pilot and co-pilot were the only people on board the plane at the time. They were not injured in the incident, according to Cpl. Mike Wall.

The plane suffered minor damage in the landing.

The FAA is investigating the incident.

  

GENOLA, Utah — A small plane was forced to make an emergency landing in a field near Genola in Utah County Thursday afternoon.

The Santaquin Police Department said that the call came in just a few minutes before 4 p.m. that a plane had landed in a field.

Only the pilot and co-pilot were aboard the plane. Neither was injured.

The plane left from an airport in Salt Lake City and as it was flying near Santaquin, it started losing oil pressure. The engine of the plane shut down and the pilot  initiated CAPS deployment.

Resident Angella Martin sent FOX 13 a photo of the plane where it came to rest in the field near North Main Street and East 1600 North.

The plane landed in the white lake area. Although the area is usually marshy, because of the extremely dry season Utah has experienced, it is dry desert land.

The plane landed about two miles away from any houses. The Santaquin Police Department says this emergency landing was an ideal situation.

The Cirrus SR22T GTS has minor damage.


GENOLA, Utah County — A small plane with at least two occupants inside crashed near northwest Genola in Utah County, police say.

According to Santaquin Police Cpl. Rich Glenn, the pilot has told police that everyone was OK and there were no injuries.

The small plane was equipped with a parachute, allowing the pilot to deploy it when the plane began to have troubles, Glenn said. Police are unsure how many were aboard the plane, with mixed messages on whether the plane had two or three occupants.

According to preliminary information given by the pilot, the crash might have been due to fueling issues or a engine issue.

"That's all to be investigated; we still don't know at this point," Glenn said.

Police were using a utility vehicle Thursday evening to try and reach the crash site, which is in the middle of a swampy area.


GENOLA, Utah, Nov. 19, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A small plane has crashed in Utah County’s Genola Thursday afternoon.

Initial reports indicate the crash happened in the area of 1200 N. Main St. a little before 4:30 p.m.

It appears at this early stage that no one has been injured as a result of the crash.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.

Aero Commander 500, N99LQ: Incident occurred November 18, 2020 at Treasure Coast Airpark (FL37), Port St. Lucie, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida 

Aircraft landed, lost control and slid into a ditch. 

TAB Associates Inc dba  


Date: 18-NOV-20
Time: 22:30:00Z
Regis#: N99LQ
Aircraft Make: AERO COMMANDER
Aircraft Model: 500
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: PORT ST LUCIE
State: FLORIDA


    




An experienced pilot escaped injury Wednesday night after the plane he was flying slid off a grass runway at Treasure Coast Airpark, in Port. St. Lucie.

It happened around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at the private airpark community on Grumman Way, said the plane's owner, Brad Layne, who lives in the neighborhood.

The aircraft, a 1959 fixed-wing Aero Commander, which FAA records show is owned by TAB Associates, Inc, in Lake Worth, came to stop in a water-filled ditch.

"I'm out flying every other day," Layne said Thursday as the aircraft was being hauled away. 

"Thirty-four years and nothing like this has ever happened, so it was a first for me."

He was flying from Fort Pierce to the airpark "helping out a friend" on a personal trip when the crash happened, he said.

There was mud on the runway when he was flying back last night right around sunset.

When he hit the ditch, the plane went sideways and "couldn't recover," he said. 

The ditch where the plane stopped normally isn't there, he said, but recent rains have left a lot of standing water.

"It just happened," Layne said.

The nose gear doors of the plane received minor damage.

Because it was dark when the plane crashed, Layne said he waited until Thursday morning to have a crane haul it out.

Airpark resident Randy Opat came across the errant aircraft around 6 a.m., Thursday.  No one was with the plane at the time, he said.

The airpark, which has about 100 lots, has a lighted airstrip 4,000-feet long and 100-feet wide, Opat said.

“The aircraft was based on the southwest end of the field,” he said. “It appears last night when it landed, it landed to the west and swerved off the runway."

Vincent Brocklebank, a retired airline captain who moved to the airpark in 1990, said when he looked at the aircraft Thursday, it looked like the plane ran into wind troubles.

“Instead of landing against the wind, which is the normal procedure for a landing, it looks like they landed downwind with a really strong tailwind, maybe 30 to 35-knots of tailwind,” he said.

Los Angeles, California: Man arrested after drone, LAPD helicopter collide


LOS ANGELES - Special agents with the FBI arrested a 22-year-old Hollywood man Thursday on a federal charge alleging he recklessly operated a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter. 

Andrew Rene Hernandez was arrested on a misdemeanor count of unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft, in what's believed to be the first criminal case in the nation on that allegation. He's expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in Los Angeles federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Hernandez's arrest came during National Drone Safety Awareness Week, which is sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration and seeks to promote drone safety.

According to the complaint, LAPD officers were dispatched on a burglary call at a pharmacy in Hollywood during the early morning hours of Sept. 18 and requested air support. As an LAPD helicopter approached the pharmacy, the pilot saw the drone and attempted to evade the unmanned aircraft.

Despite the evasive efforts, the drone struck the helicopter, forcing the pilot to initiate an emergency landing. The drone damaged the helicopter's nose, antenna and bottom cowlings, according to court papers, which state that "if the drone had struck the helicopter's main rotor instead of the fuselage, it could have brought the helicopter down."

LAPD officers located parts of the drone near the pharmacy and discovered a vehicle damaged by the drone as it fell from the sky. Further investigation, including a review of the drone's camera and SD card, led to the identification of Hernandez as the drone's alleged operator, prosecutors said.

The FBI executed additional search warrants in late October at Hernandez's home, and he admitted to flying the drone on Sept. 18 after he heard police vehicles and an approaching helicopter just after midnight, the complaint alleges. Hernandez said he flew his drone "to see what was going on," according to court papers.

As the drone was ascending, Hernandez saw the drone "smacked" by the hovering police helicopter, and it fell to the ground at a nearby residence, according to the complaint.

The unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft offense alleged in the complaint is a misdemeanor offense that carries a sentence of up to a year in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.



LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Special agents with the FBI arrested a 22-year-old Hollywood man Thursday on a federal charge alleging he recklessly operated a drone that crashed into a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter.

Andrew Rene Hernandez was arrested on a misdemeanor count of unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft, in what’s believed to be the first criminal case in the nation on that allegation. He’s expected to make his initial appearance Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hernandez’s arrest came during National Drone Safety Awareness Week, which is sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration and seeks to promote drone safety.

According to the complaint, LAPD officers were dispatched on a burglary call at a pharmacy in Hollywood during the early morning hours of September 18th and requested air support. As an LAPD helicopter approached the pharmacy, the pilot saw the drone and attempted to evade the unmanned aircraft.

Despite the evasive efforts, the drone struck the helicopter, forcing the pilot to initiate an emergency landing. The drone damaged the helicopter’s nose, antenna and bottom cowlings, according to court papers, which state that “if the drone had struck the helicopter’s main rotor instead of the fuselage, it could have brought the helicopter down.”

LAPD officers located parts of the drone near the pharmacy and discovered a vehicle damaged by the drone as it fell from the sky. Further investigation, including a review of the drone’s camera and SD card, led to the identification of Hernandez as the drone’s alleged operator, prosecutors said.

The FBI executed additional search warrants in late October at Hernandez’s home, and he admitted to flying the drone on Sept. 18 after he heard police vehicles and an approaching helicopter just after midnight, the complaint alleges. Hernandez said he flew his drone “to see what was going on,” according to court papers.

As the drone was ascending, Hernandez saw the drone “smacked” by the hovering police helicopter, and it fell to the ground at a nearby residence, according to the complaint.

The unsafe operation of an unmanned aircraft offense alleged in the complaint is a misdemeanor offense that carries a sentence of up to a year in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Airbus A319: Incident occurred November 19, 2020 at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KAUS), Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Delta Airlines flight from Austin Bergstrom International Airport to Seattle had to turn around shortly after takeoff and make an emergency landing Thursday morning, airport officials said.

There was light smoke reported in the cabin. The plane turned around and landed safely though back in Austin.

Delta Flight 1062 was scheduled for takeoff from AUS at 6 a.m. and due for landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 8:34 a.m. Pacific Time, but it had to come back to AUS shortly after it got in the air.

The plane landed safely at 7:03 a.m.

You can view the plane’s flight plan on FlightAware.com

John C. Tune Airport (KJWN) rebuilding bigger, better after $90M in tornado damage





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Airplane pilots routinely fly above storms to avoid danger and damage. On the ground, however, their craft can suffer the same fate as houses, cars and anything else when bad weather hits.

Such was the case when a tornado roared through Nashville in the early morning of March 3, decimating hangars and other structures at John C. Tune Airport and tossing aircraft like tumbleweeds.

Between hits to the terminal, 17 hangars, the airfield and pavement, signage, fencing, lighting, utilities and more, Tune took around $93 million in damage.

And that doesn’t include the more than 90 privately owned aircraft on-site that were destroyed or heavily damaged.

Within hours of the storm’s passage, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority activated its emergency operations center and began to triage the damage at Tune, or JWN, which is the reliever airport for Nashville International Airport, or BNA, and serves the region’s corporate and private aircraft. It is the largest general-aviation airport in the state.

Tune averages around 86,000 takeoffs and landings per year and sold more than 2 million gallons of fuel in 2019 – an increase from 1.1 million in 2016, the Airport Authority reports.

Little time was wasted as dawn broke over the wreckage. The public was asked to stay away, and investigators began the process of what could be salvaged versus what had to be scrapped.

The airport was reopened for flight operations within the month. And since that time, cleanup and repairs have continued with an eye providing upgrades, says Robert Ramsey, the airport authority’s chief operating officer,

“We cannot just build back to where we were,” Ramsey explains. “Tune had so much growth over the last two or three years, and so we needed to hit the pause button and reevaluate everything from layout to services.

“We know that demand will continue to go up at Tune, and so we have engaged a consultant to help us with the planning. We want to make sure that we have infrastructure in place that meets needs 20 to even 30 years in the future.”

Part of that process involved a survey of all existing tenants, both those who lost planes and hangar space to those who suffered less damage or disruption and have relocated temporarily.

There also is a time factor at play, given the large volume of traffic this airport serves every day and the fact that Tune already had a lengthy waitlist for hangar space, Ramsey notes.

Growing usage

“There are a lot of challenges to running a general aviation airport, including up to now not having a control tower,” Ramsey explains. “We are in the process of building one now; that was planned pre-tornado.

“And given that this is the busiest general aviation airport in the state, we also knew we would need to move quickly once we got information back in from our tenants and the general contractor who handles operations there for us.”

Much of that activity can be pegged to Nashville’s growth on both the business and population fronts. Many Nashville-area businesses have small aircraft, and they want them close by. Likewise, many private owners like Tune’s accessibility.

The airport is in Cockrill Bend, an 8-mile drive west from downtown and an equal distance north from Belle Meade. I-40 and Briley Parkway provide easy access.

And then, as with everything else in 2020, factor in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People don’t want to fly commercial right now, so they are looking into smaller options,” Ramsey explains. “So, during March and April, when national passenger traffic was down, and we were seeing traffic at the Nashville International Airport down by around 95%, Tune was off much less. BNA is still down about 60%, and Tune has already recovered much quicker and is even up over where they were this time last year.”

Owners eager to reclaim space

The damage, short-term shutdown and loss of hangar space was a punch to owners of smaller aircraft. Those whose planes survived the tornado had to find new storage space in an area with little to offer, which led to some scrambling, Ramsey says.

“Every hangar was rented, everything was full, and we had a waitlist of about 28 people,” he notes. “We had plans to build two more sets of hangars on the books, and so we’ll still be doing that along with the replacement ones.

“We’ve had 91 tenants displaced out of the small, private T-hangars, which hold anywhere from eight to 12 planes in a row, and then we also had our larger hangars for the bigger aircrafts destroyed, as well.”

The diaspora has taken aircraft owners and operators to BNA, Smyrna, Springfield, Gallatin, Lebanon and “anywhere they could find a spot or a tiedown position,” he says.

“These people very much want to come back, and so we’re moving quickly,” Ramsey adds. “We hope to begin building in the early part of next year, hopefully during the second quarter. The damage estimates are just under $100 million, and so we’ll be working on many different paths, including private development, to fund and implement a recovery of that magnitude.”

Where’s my plane

Recovery can’t happen fast enough for Bryan Currier, president and CEO of Advantage Technologies, who lost his plane in the storm and was lucky enough to grab one of the last spots available in Smyrna.

“Hangars are in short supply around here, and we got lucky,” Currier says. “Tune is a great airport, and I am looking forward to seeing how they enhance it during this rebuilding period.”

Following the March 3 tornado that leveled whole swaths of John C. Tune Airport, plane owner Currier set a record of sorts.

“I had the distinct honor of owning the last plane they were able to find in the wreckage,” says Currier, whose information technology company is based in Nashville.

“It took 12 days, and it was sandwiched under another plane and all the wreckage from one of the hangars.”

The craft in question was a Cessna Citation Mustang, a light jet he used for work. And unlike other owners who have had to scramble for parts in a COVID-disrupted supply chain, Currier got his wings back pretty quickly.

“We ended up replacing it with the same model, because it was a really great plane,” he continues. “And we got the last spot over at the Smyrna Airport, so we’ve even got a place for it.

“I called [the airport] the morning after the tornado when we didn’t even know what shape our plane was in, so we could begin paying for a hangar, and they were already full for anything jet-sized.”

Had he been in need of parts, rather than not dealing with total destruction, he would have been spared some angst thanks to the particulars of his craft.

“Cessna stopped making this plane in 2019, but I pay Cessna to be in a parts program, kind of like insurance, that taps me into a pool of parts. It’s a fairly modern plane so there are parts, had it been fixable,” he says.

For smaller craft, however especially those with some years on them, Currier says the search for parts — both in the COVID landscape or in general — can be more arduous.

“If you need a piece of wing, or landing gear, then those are not readily available,” he notes of smaller, fixed-wing and propeller-using craft. “They go forever, but now those owners are going to find that those parts just aren’t out there.

“Even so, they may find some planes that have been sold for scrap and get lucky. Then the challenge will be to find a mechanic who’s got the time to do the repairs.”

Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-700: Incident occurred November 19, 2020 at Fort Wayne International Airport (KFWA), Allen County, Indiana



FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WPTA21) - A plane headed to Dallas, Texas turned around following an incident shortly after takeoff and has made a safe return to Fort Wayne.

Flight AA3087 took off from Fort Wayne International Airport just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday and was on its way to Dallas.

Minutes after takeoff, the pilot noticed an alarm going off that indicated smoke onboard, so the plane turned around to make an emergency landing back at FWA.

The airport's flight tracker now lists AA3087 as delayed. It's not clear how many people were on board at this point.

The plane made it safely back to the terminal, and first responders can be seen on the tarmac.

ABC21 has reached out to the Airport Authority to learn more details.

Robinson R44 Raven II, N442JP: Accident occurred November 18, 2020 in Austell, Cobb County, Georgia

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; Atlanta, Georgia 

Atlanta Helicopters LLC


Location: Austell, GA
Accident Number: ERA21LA046
Date & Time: November 18, 2020, 12:30 Local
Registration: N442JP
Aircraft: Robinson R44 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N442JP
Model/Series: R44 II Aircraft
Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33,-84 (est)

Piper PA-28-181 Archer II, N4370N: Incident occurred November 18, 2020 in Maple Grove, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota

Aircraft made a forced landing on a road due to low fuel pressure.  

Thunderbird Aviation


Date: 18-NOV-20
Time: 22:02:00Z
Regis#: N4370N
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: MINNEAPOLIS
State: MINNESOTA




A small plane had to make an emergency landing on County Road 81 in Maple Grove Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Maple Grove Police Department, the landing happened on the 10000 block of County Road 81 Wednesday afternoon.

The plane was pushed off to the side of the road following the landing.

No injuries or property damage was reported due to the landing.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified and is conducting an investigation.

Cirrus SR22 GTS, N621JE: Accident occurred August 19, 2019 in Tappahannock, Essex County, Virginia


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


Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia
Cirrus Aircraft; Duluth, Minnesota
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 
https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

https://registry.faa.gov/N621JE 

Location: Tappahannock, Virginia 
Accident Number: ERA19FA251
Date & Time: August 19, 2019, 03:43 Local
Registration: N621JE
Aircraft: Cirrus SR22 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fire/smoke (non-impact) 
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis

The pilot reported that, during a cross-country flight in night visual meteorological conditions, he noticed fumes in the cockpit upon reaching a cruise altitude of 3,500 ft mean sea level. He reported the fumes to air traffic control and diverted to the nearest airport. Shortly thereafter, he noticed smoke in the cockpit and attempted to land at the diversion airport, but the airplane was too high to land, and he performed a go-around. After the first landing attempt, he turned off the air conditioner and electrical system and attempted to land again but was unable to do so due to the darkness and smoke in the cockpit. He subsequently decided to deploy the airframe parachute system. The pilot did not recall anything else due to his injuries.

Examination of the wreckage and the airplane's non-volatile memory did not reveal any preimpact electrical or mechanical anomalies that would have resulted in smoke in the cabin; therefore, the reason for the reported fumes and smoke could not be determined.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inability to land on the runway in dark night conditions with reported smoke in the cockpit, which necessitated the deployment of the airplane's parachute system.

Findings

Environmental issues Air quality/dust/smoke - Effect on operation
Environmental issues Air quality/dust/smoke - Decision related to condition
Environmental issues Dark - Effect on operation
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute Fire/smoke (non-impact) (Defining event)
Enroute Miscellaneous/other
Emergency descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On August 19, 2019, about 0343 eastern daylight time, a Cirrus SR22, N621JE, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Tappahannock, Virginia. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot departed Richmond International Airport (RIC), Richmond, Virginia, about 0327. According to radar and communication data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), at 0335, the airplane was in cruise flight at 3,500 ft mean sea level (msl) when the pilot reported to air traffic control that he was diverting to Tappahannock Essex County Airport (XSA), Tappahannock, Virginia, due to an electrical smell in the cabin. The controller acknowledged the transmission and attempted to confirm that it was an electrical smell in the cabin, to which the pilot replied that he did not know what the smell was, but he was going to start a descent for XSA. At 0336, the pilot reported XSA in sight and the controller advised the pilot that he could switch radio frequencies to the common traffic advisory frequency for XSA, which the pilot acknowledged. No further radio communications were received from the accident airplane.

According to the pilot, he noticed smoke and attempted to land at XSA but performed a go-around because the airplane was too high to land. He then turned off the air conditioner and electrical system and attempted to land again, but it was dark and hard to see and breathe due to the smoke. At 0343, the pilot entered an emergency transponder code and the controller attempted to contact the pilot three times with no success. At that time, the airplane was at 600 ft msl and the airspeed began to decrease. The pilot deployed the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) and did not recall anything else except waking up in a hospital 3 days later.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 25,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: October 26, 2017
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 330 hours (Total, all aircraft), 165 hours (Total, this make and model), 296 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 100 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 65 hours (Last 30 days, all
aircraft), 5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot's logbook was not recovered.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cirrus 
Registration: N621JE
Model/Series: SR22 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2168
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: April 1, 2019 
Annual Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 81 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 614 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91A installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-550
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 310 Horsepower
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot school (141), Commercial space transp. experimental permit

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: XSA,135 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 03:35 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 230°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 24°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Richmond, VA (RIC )
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Easton, MD (ESN ) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 03:27 Local 
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Tappahannock-Essex County Airport XSA
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 135 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: Unknown
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 37.86,-76.884719

The wreckage was located in swampy terrain at the bottom of a ravine about 600 ft from the approach end of runway 28 at XSA. It came to rest in a near-vertical, nose-down position in deep mud. The
empennage had separated from the airplane; there was no damage to the vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, rudder, or elevator. The deployed CAPS parachute remained attached to the airframe. The entire wing structure remained intact but had separated from the fuselage. The left wing exhibited leading edge impact damage. The right wing was fractured outboard of the outer aileron attach point. 

The left fuel tank was breached while the right fuel tank remained intact and contained fuel. The wing flaps and ailerons remained attached; the flaps were in the fully-extended position.

The nose section remained buried in mud and water up to the instrument panel. The pilot's four-point harness was cut by rescue personnel. Initial examination of the primary flight display (PFD), multifunction display (MFD), integrated flight display, autopilot unit, circuit panel, switch panel, and their associated wires did not reveal any evidence of electrical arcing or burning. A data card from the Avidyne MFD and the Avidyne DFC-90 autopilot unit were retained and forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory, Washington, DC, for data download. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

The airframe and engine were examined again at a recovery facility by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator, an NTSB Fire & Explosion Specialist, and an investigator from the
airframe manufacturer.

None of the wires in the instrument panel or on the engine exhibited any chafing, sooting, melting or evidence of electrical arcing. The PFD, MFD, Avidyne 540, Avidyne 440, blower motor, avionics cooling fan, XM receiver, enhanced ground proximity warning system, ADS-B receiver, data acquisition unit, heat sync, turn coordinator, directional gyro, and Mode S transponder were all opened for examination. None of their circuit boards exhibited any evidence of arcing, sooting, melting, or electrical damage. Additionally, the cockpit switches and circuit breakers were examined and no anomalies were noted.

Examination of the engine revealed that the three-blade propeller remained attached to the crankshaft. Two propeller blades exhibited chordwise scratches and tip curling, and one of those blades was also twisted. The third propeller blade was bent aft. The Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 intake tubes were separated from the top of their respective cylinder. The top spark plugs were removed and their electrodes were intact, with the exception of the No. 4 spark plug, which exhibited impact damage. The electrodes exhibited corrosion consistent with submersion in the water at the bottom of the ravine. The engine driven fuel pump was removed and its drive coupling was intact. Due to impact damage, the crankshaft could only be rotated about 90°; however, camshaft and crankshaft continuity was established to the rear accessory section of the engine.

Flight recorders

Data were successfully downloaded and plotted from the MFD and autopilot. The data ended consistent with the pilot's report that he shut off the electrical system before CAPS deployment. Review of the data did not reveal any mechanical or electrical anomalies that would have resulted in smoke in the cabin.