Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Piper PA-20-135 Pacer, N1571A: Accident occurred December 31, 2020 in Riverside, Box Elder County, Utah

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. 

Location: Riverside, UT
Accident Number: WPR21LA079
Date & Time: December 31, 2020, 17:00 Local 
Registration: N1571A
Aircraft: Piper PA-20-135
Injuries: 4 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N1571A
Model/Series: PA-20-135 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLGU,4454 ft msl 
Observation Time: 16:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: -3°C /-5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 10°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 3 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Gooding, ID (GNG)
Destination: Riverside, UT

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 41.78007,-112.14178 (est)

A Spirit of St. Louis replica takes its first flight

BETHANY, OKLAHOMA — Robert Ragozzino has been looking forward to this day for the past 18 years.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he agrees.

As both pilot and project manager, he sat in the cockpit of a nearly accurate replica of the Spirit of St. Louis watching a dream roar with new life.

He smiles and quips, “The bottom line is completing the first flight.”

We’ve followed the Spirit 2 project for a few years now, and last peeked in this Associated Aero Service hangar at Wiley Post Field in the Fall of 2020.

“Every one of these pieces had to be made by hand,” he said pointing to an antique looking instrument cluster.

Replicating Charles Lindbergh’s epic New York to Paris achievement had proved more difficult and expensive than anyone predicted.

“We put a ton of time and money into it,” he says. “I think it’s going to do a great job.”

So at 3 o’clock on a still, January afternoon the Spirit 2 left the ground for its first flight.

Lindbergh custom built the original and outfitted it with extra fuel tanks to get him the 3,600 miles to Paris.

Ragozzino’s aircraft is the same but for a few FAA requirements.

His pilot seat is a lightweight wicker chair.

It also handles like a piece of technology from the 1920’s.

“It’s going to take some practice,” he says. “It handles like a Mack truck with the power steering disconnected.”

The first flight of the Spirit 2 didn’t last long, maybe 15 minutes, long enough to know what to work on next, and long enough to bring the ultimate goal, a non-stop flight from New York to Paris, just a little closer in the overcast skies of central Oklahoma.

Ragozzino says, “All this is just a series of incremental steps to get to Paris.”

“Is it a milestone to fly it? The real milestone is getting it back here in one piece.”

Mayor Burk Proposes Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO) Commission Overhaul

During the new Leesburg Town Council’s first meeting of the year, Mayor Kelly Burk proposed some major changes to the town’s Airport Commission.

Burk pointed to the arrival of the airport’s second fixed-based operator last year, this one headed by JK Moving Services CEO Chuck Kuhn, as creating a need to bring more a business-focused approach to the commission. She said both Kuhn and Shye Gilad, the CEO of the airport’s other fixed-base operator, ProJet Aviation, approached her individually to propose some changes to the commission’s membership make-up and responsibilities.
While Burk was effusive in praise for the commission’s current seven members and the work they have done over the years, she said her proposed changes are “a way to make it even better.”

“We need to have different voices. The pilots [on the commission] are not at the airport every day. It would be valuable to them to have different voices besides just pilots,” she said.

Burk pointed to her appointment of Commissioner Lindsay Arrington two years ago, which she said was met with tremendous pushback from commissioners at the time. Since then, Burk said, Arrington, who works for ProJet Aviation, has received praise from her commission peers for her contributions.

“The pushback for that in itself made me realize there needs to be different voices there,” Burk said.

In addition to Arrington, the commission’s current members include Chairman Dennis Boykin IV, who has served on the commission since 2004 and as chairman since 2006, along with fellow longtime commissioner Tom Toth, former Town Council member Hugh Forsythe, Vaughn Allex, Raymond de Haan, Gary Rogerson, and Board of Supervisors representative Jonathan Corcoran.

Among her proposed changes, Burk has suggested expanding the membership of the commission to four licensed pilots who do not have any association with either of the airport’s flight schools or fixed-base operators; one resident with no business connection to the airport, and who lives in one of its surrounding neighborhoods; two individuals, either town residents or town business owners, with experience in commercial business operations that are also unaffiliated with the airport; one non-voting representative from each of the two FBOs; non-voting members from each of the airport’s four flight schools; and the Board of Supervisors representative. As with the current commission, council members would be responsible for making individual appointments.

Burk has also proposed changing the commission’s powers and duties to one that reports directly to the Town Council, much in the same way the town’s other commissions do. Currently, the commission’s powers are a bit stronger, with responsibility for reviewing leases, oversight of airport rules and regulations, preparing and maintaining a capital improvement plan for the airport, and working directly with state and federal aviation authorities, among other charges.
Burk said she did not reach out to the Airport Commission ahead of time to give a heads up about her proposed changes, as she wanted the Town Council to first weigh in on the proposal. She also said she would be fine with the council discussing whether it wanted to entertain changing the commission into an airport authority, which would work independently from the town government to oversee the operation of the municipal airport. That topic was first broached Monday during the council’s work session.

Councilwoman Suzanne Fox said she supported the idea of moving toward an airport authority, but cited hesitation on some of the changes proposed by Burk.

“I’m not sure what the problem is that we’re trying to solve,” she said. “Before we solve a problem, we need to know what the issue is. Why are we calling for limiting pilot involvement? That says to me that we are [saying], ‘hey, let’s get rid of the experts.’”

Councilwoman Kari Nacy said the discussion may be a good opportunity to take a “holistic look” at all of the town’s boards and commissions. The former Planning Commission chairwoman also expressed some concerns about involving the airport’s fixed-base operators in the commission.

“Would that be like having a developer on the Planning Commission,” she asked. “Is that something we really need/want? Is there a conflict?”

Boykin said the proposed changes were disclosed to the Airport Commission when they were released for public view—when the council’s agenda packet was released last Thursday.

“We will be reviewing the changes at our meeting on Wednesday evening [Jan. 13]. I anticipate that we will be providing input to the Town Council for its consideration,” he said.

Boykin declined to share his opinion on the proposed changes ahead of the commission’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

At least one airport-based business owner is supporting changes on the commission.

Gilad said he believes there needs to be more equitable representation on the commission, and that its scope should to be more in line with the town’s other advisory boards and commissions. He pointed to the commissioners who have been re-appointed for years, and said that does not allow for much diversity of opinion. Gilad also pointed out that there is a limited amount of time for the public or non-commission members to participate in meetings, and that can limit what information gets to the Town Council.
“Voices are not heard unless the commission decides that they’re heard, and even if you’re the largest employer at the airport you’re only allowed to speak during the open comment session [of the commission meeting]. Some of the largest stakeholders are not being heard officially, and I don’t think that that’s equitable,” he said.

The discussion will continue at the council’s next work session, January 25.

Editorial: Boeing gets its just punishment in 737 MAX tragedies


In one of the largest corporate criminal settlements in United States history, the Justice Department last week slammed Boeing with more than $2.5 billion in fines and compensation, rightly criticizing the aviation giant for tragically choosing “profit over candor” in two plane crashes that killed 346 people.

The settlement addresses outrageous behavior, undertaken to cut costs, involving the company’s 737 MAX airliners. The aircraft recently was recertified for flying after being grounded for more than a year. The 737 MAX is manufactured in Seattle; none of the criminal allegations involve Boeing North Charleston operation.

The “misleading statements, half-truths and omissions” of two senior Boeing technical pilots cited in a criminal information by the Justice Department were designed to falsely reassure the Federal Aviation Administration that the 737 MAX was so similar to other models of the same aircraft that there was no need to order pilot training. The two technical pilots were the official points of contact between Boeing and the FAA on the 737 MAX.

Their actions, besides leading to the horrific loss of life, were also short-sighted financially.

The crashes occurred because the planes’ pilots were unfamiliar with the behavior of the new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System navigation software installed in the 737 MAX. Those crashes already have cost Boeing an estimated $20 billion, aside from the Justice Department settlement. Costs undoubtedly will mount as civil suits filed against the airline move through the courts.

The two Boeing technical pilots still face the possibility of criminal charges, and more senior officials also could be in line for prosecution. In documents released last year by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, one of the pilots said he was pressured by more senior Boeing officials to avoid having the FAA require more comprehensive training on the 737 MAX — training that would have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

Boeing built 387 of the aircraft and entered service with 59 airlines, all of which had to suspend flights with the aircraft after the crashes.

The Justice Department agreement with Boeing, which allows the company to avoid prosecution, requires Boeing to make $1.77 billion in restitution payments to those airlines. Boeing agreed to pay a fine of $243.6 million and must set aside another $500 million to compensate the families of victims of the two crashes, although attorneys for the plaintiffs say they will ask for much more.

The first crash happened in 2018 on a Lion Air flight in Jakarta, Indonesia. It took 189 lives. The second crash, in 2019, was of an Ethiopian Airlines flight with 157 aboard in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

After the first crash, Boeing reported that the new MACS navigation software caused the nose of the 737 MAX to drop unexpectedly, but the FAA waited until the second crash five months later before grounding the aircraft. The federal agency initially was misled by Boeing about the significance of the MCAS, but it has received merited criticism for its slow response once it had the critical information.

Last month, as part of the omnibus budget and pandemic relief bill, Congress agreed to welcome reforms meant to strengthen FAA oversight and penalize aircraft manufacturing employees who mislead it.

The 737 MAX story reveals deep fissures in the procedures meant to ensure the safety of passenger aircraft. These must be corrected. The FAA was lax, but Boeing erred badly and deserves its punishment.

Civil Aviation Authority allows United States flight carrying Pakistani deportees to land at Islamabad airport

KARACHI, Pakistan: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Pakistan has allowed a chartered flight, bringing back deportees from the United States (US) to land at Islamabad International Airport on January 20.

According to details, the US Embassy in Islamabad had requested the foreign ministry to allow a flight bringing back eight Pakistanis via a special plane. The foreign ministry then asked the CAA to approve the arrival of the flight.

The chartered plane would make stops at the Czech Republic and Bulgarian airports, before reaching the Islamabad airport on January 20.

A notification issued by the CAA Director Transport regarding the flight read that the crew members inside the chartered plane would not be allowed to come out of the aircraft.

The crew members of the plane are asked to strictly comply with the COVID-19 SOPs and the chartered flight would have to leave immediately after handing over the deportees.

It is pertinent to mention here that flights carrying deportees are allowed to land at the nation-wide airports.

Boeing deliveries drop despite 737 Max's return to flight

The market for new planes remains depressed by the pandemic, which has devastated air travel and caused airlines to reconsider aircraft purchases.

SEATTLE, Washington — Boeing Co. got a bump in orders and deliveries of new planes in December, but it wasn't enough to salvage a poor year for the big aircraft maker.

Chicago-based Boeing still reported more cancellations than new orders for its 737 Max jet, which was grounded for 21 months after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.

The market for new planes remains depressed by the pandemic, which has devastated air travel and caused airlines to reconsider aircraft purchases. Despite the December numbers, Boeing’s full-year numbers for 2020 still declined from 2019.

Boeing finished 2020 with 157 deliveries, including planes handed over to cargo airlines and military customers. That was down from 380 deliveries in 2019. European rival Airbus finished the year with 566 deliveries.

Deliveries are crucial because aircraft makers get much of their cash when planes are delivered. Short on cash during the Max grounding, Boeing has borrowed billions and cut thousands of jobs to reduce costs.

The Federal Aviation Administration's decision in November to approve changes to a flight-control system on the Max allowed Boeing to resume shipping previously built Maxes to airline customers. Boeing delivered 39 planes in December, including 28 Maxes, of which 10 went to American Airlines and eight to United Airlines.

Boeing reported 90 new orders in December. The bulk, 75, came in a single previously announced order by Irish discount airline Ryanair. The total included cargo carrier DHL's order for eight Boeing 777 freighters, which was announced Tuesday.

However, Boeing also reported canceled orders for 105 Max planes, all but five by leasing companies that fear it will be difficult to find operators to take the planes.

The totals don't include Alaska Airlines' decision to buy 23 more Max jets. That deal was announced last month but will be reported with January orders, a Boeing spokesman said.

For 2020, orders fell to 184 from 246 in 2019.

Airbus reported 383 orders in 2020.

Boeing said it has a backlog of nearly 3,300 unfilled orders for the Max and about 4,200 for all planes, including cargo freighters.

Boeing owned drone maker to pay $25 million to settle False Claims Act allegations it used recycled parts on military projects

Insitu Inc., agreed to contract while promising new parts, but instead substituted used, reconditioned, or recycled parts

Seattle –Insitu Inc., headquartered in Bingen, Washington, has agreed to pay $25 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting materially false cost and pricing data for contracts with the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Department of the Navy (Navy) to supply and operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the Department of Justice announced today.   

“We expect companies that seek to do business with the government to provide complete and accurate information so contract prices can be negotiated on a level playing field,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Division Jeffrey Bossert Clark.  “This settlement demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to take appropriate action when it determines that taxpayer dollars have been misused.” 

Between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2017, Insitu entered into five contracts with the Navy and two contracts with SOCOM for the supply and operation of UAVs, also known as “drones,” at various sites identified in the contracts.  The settlement resolves allegations that Insitu knowingly induced the government to award it these seven, noncompetitively bid contracts at inflated prices by proposing cost and pricing data for new parts and materials in support of its contract proposal while planning to and in fact using less expensive recycled, refurbished, reconditioned, and/or reconfigured parts to perform the contracts.

“Taxpayers deserve to get what they paid for – especially in significant no-bid military contracts,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  “Cases such as this one should be seen as a warning to defense contractors that false claims have no place in military purchasing.”   

“The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is dedicated to protecting the taxpayer’s interests and safeguarding critical services for the war fighter,” stated Charles P. King, Special Agent in Charge, NCIS Northwest Field Office. “The success of the Department of the Navy’s war fighting ability is dependent upon a sound, transparent and honest acquisition process. I want to thank the Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners for their incredible support and dedication during this investigation.”

“Defense contractors are required to obey strict standards when proposing cost and pricing data for work to be performed on government contracts,” said Bryan D. Denny, Special Agent in Charge of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Western Field Office. “The pursuit and favorable settlement of this civil litigation is yet another example of our agents and law enforcement partners working together to uncover fraudulent activity and protect taxpayers' dollars entrusted to the DoD.”

The settlements resolve allegations filed in a lawsuit by D R O’Hara, a former executive of Insitu, in federal court in Seattle, Washington.  The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery.  The Act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case.  Mr. O’Hara will receive $4,625,000 of the recovered funds.

The settlements were the result of a coordinated effort by the Commercial Litigation Branch (Fraud Section) of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. 

The case is captioned United States ex rel. O’Hara v. Insitu, Inc. and The Boeing Company,Case No. C15-1527-JCC (W.D.Wash.).  The claims resolved by the settlements are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Assistant United States Attorney Kayla Stahman handled the matter for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington and DOJ's Commercial Litigation Branch was represented by Senior Trial Attorney Don Williamson.

Madisonville Regional Airport (2I0) gets state funding priority

MADISONVILLE, Kentucky (WEHT) – The Madisonville Regional Airport received high priority from state transportation officials on three projects.

The state is supporting funding for a runway overlay, improving airport drainage, and an engineer’s report for a flight school.

The cost of each project and state funding for them is unknown. 

Airport board chairman Jimmy Riddle said they hope to start work on each project sometime later this year.

AirMedCare Network offers yearly membership to lower cost of medical transport

BECKLEY, West Virginia (WVNS) — Medical transport by helicopter can be very expensive, even after insurance is billed. But one membership is offered through AirMedCare Network to relieve you of all of those costs.

The membership is $85 a year per household. With this membership, if a someone in your household must be taken by an AMCN helicopter for medical purposes, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket.

If you would like more information or want to sign up for this membership, you can contact local Membership Sales Manager, Mary Rader, at 681-208-0650.

Loud noise reported in Horry County confirmed to be 'static maintenance engine test'

HORRY COUNTY, South Carolina (WPDE) — Did you hear a loud noise in Horry County Monday night?

Several Grand Strand residents called ABC15 and posted on social platforms wanting to know what the alarming noise was.

People said it allegedly sounded like airplanes or jets.

The noise was reportedly made by an old Boeing 727on the private side of Myrtle Beach International Airport, according to eye witness Scott Greenway.

ABC15 reached out to Myrtle Beach International Airport for confirmation.

The Director of General Aviation and Properties with MYR, Ryan Betcher, stated the following on Tuesday morning:

A MYR based operator performed a static maintenance engine test Monday evening, which resulted in intermittent elevated aircraft noise levels. Airport staff is working with the operator to ensure that future operations of this nature will be conducted in a manner that will minimize disruptions to our community members.

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee F, N2221T: Incidents occurred January 08, 2021 and April 22, 2018

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

January 08, 2021:  Aircraft landed and veered off runway incurring a propeller strike at Menominee Regional Airport (KMNM), Michigan.

Date: 08-JAN-21
Time: 13:15:00Z
Regis#: N2221T
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

April 22, 2018: Aircraft struck a snow bank on landing and veered off the runway at South Wood County Airport (KISW), Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. 

Date: 22-APR-18
Time: 15:45:00Z
Regis#: N2221T
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 28 180
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Piper PA-24-260 Comanche, N9144P: Incident occurred January 11, 2021 at New Castle Airport (KILG), Wilmington, Delaware

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Aircraft landed and the gear collapsed. 

Date: 11-JAN-21
Time: 13:30:00Z
Regis#: N9144P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA24
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Just after 8:45, Monday morning rescue crews from the New Castle Airport (KILG) Crash Fire Rescue Team contacted 911 asking for an ambulance from the Wilmington Manor Fire Company.
Crews on scene were telling dispatchers that a plane had a landing gear issue upon landing.

Delaware River and Bay Authority Spokesman James Salmon said that a Piper PA-24-260 Comanche made an emergency landing on Runway 27 at KILG.

Upon landing, the aircraft landing gear collapsed and the plane continued on its belly. 

Two individuals on-board exited the plane and declined medical attention.
Runway 9/27 is closed due to the crash.

Two people suffered bumps and bruises Monday morning after their plane's landing gear collapsed as they tried to land at New Castle Airport (KILG).

According to Delaware River and Bay Authority spokesman Jim Salmon, the Piper PA-24-260 Comanche, based out of Brandywine Regional Airport in West Chester, Pennsylvania, made an emergency landing at the New Castle Airport just before 9 a.m.

When the plane tried to land, its landing gear collapsed and it skidded on its belly down the runway before stopping. 

Video from the scene shows a fire truck stopped on the runway near the Piper PA-24-260 Comanche.

Two people were inside the plane at the time, but were able to get out on their own. Jim Salmon did not give their ages or genders, but said they declined medical attention.

As of 10:30 a.m., Runway 27 remained closed, Jim Salmon said.