Saturday, February 13, 2021

New aircraft maintenance company opens at Davidson County Airport (KEXX)

Davidson County Airport continues to grow with the addition of a new aircraft maintenance company.

In the past few months, the airport has added a new approach lighting system,  rehabilitated it's runway. In addition, there are plans to add new hangars in 2021.

More:Davidson County Airport is installing new approach lighting. Here's why it is needed.

On Feb. 1 Sky Aircraft Maintenance opened its doors at the airport. The company specializes in Hawkers, Beechjets and Learjet aircraft. Among other things, the full-service aircraft maintenance operation services jet engines and aircraft interior completions.

“We already have six technicians on site and expect that number to grow to as many as 20 as the business ramps up,” said Thomasville resident Steve Trent, the director of maintenance for Sky Aircraft.

Tom Conlan, owner of Sky Aviation Holdings based in Florida and the parent company of Sky Aircraft Maintenance, said they selected the Davidson County Airport because of its skilled workforce, easy access to Interstate 85 and proximity to Charlotte.

“We also found a friendly community with a pro-business attitude,” Conlan said. “We fully expect to grow this business and have already begun discussions with the airport authority to build a larger hangar.

Sky Aircraft Maintenance is the second aircraft maintenance company to locate at the county airport. Superior Arrow Group is also located there.

"Sky Aircraft Maintenance joins a growing list of companies who are now based at the field including Fly High Lexington, RCR Air, Superior Aero Services, Superior Grounds Management, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Metro Aviation,” said John Gray, chairman of the Davidson County Airport Authority.

“Sky reaches an entirely new type of customer and their plans for growth come at just the right time following the airport’s near completion of a new approach lighting system, built for increased safety and easier access for corporate jet tenants and transient jet traffic. It will be the first system of its kind in North Carolina to cross an interstate highway."

The airport has experienced steady growth in the past several years supported by an Economic Impact Study from the North Carolina Division of Aviation. Through direct and indirect means the airport impacts 520 jobs, contributes $2.8 million in tax revenue from 75 based aircraft and sees 29,000 annual operations for a total economic impact of $70.9 million. 

The airport has a current waitlist of more than 50 aircraft searching for hangar space in the area. A runway rehabilitation project scheduled to begin in late 2021 will also enhance the overall operational safety and customer experience on the field. 

"My company buys and sells planes...," said Trent. "In buying they want to keep maintenance up on those planes. If there is a private jet that needs maintenance, we will accommodate their needs."

Lake Winnipesaukee at Alton Bay (B18), New Hampshire

ALTON, New Hampshire — Alton Bay Ice Runway opened this week for the first time since 2019.

Last year the runway never opened because of poor ice conditions.

Officials said the runway is 2,600 feet long and 125 feet wide.

The runway, which is the only one approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in the lower 48 states, is funded by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

Story and video:

Krueger: My Navy career had its glitches

By Gerald Krueger

My 12 years associated with flying for the Navy didn’t always run smoothly. Career glitches appeared quite frequently.

Here is one that is worthy of note.

When I separated from the Navy in June 1963, I was eager to join a Naval Reserve squadron in Minneapolis. Coming from a fighter squadron it was only natural I would join VA 813 Fighter Squadron and become a weekend warrior. Joining a new squadron always involves getting to know your fellow pilots, and I must say the pilots of VA were an outstanding group of guys who became my lifelong friends.

Years before I arrived at VA813, there were jet fighters for the crew to fly. Well, some of them kept dropping out of the sky and crashing in and around the naval air station. Finally, the Metropolitan Airport Commission voted to ban Navy jet fighters from operating out of the Minneapolis airport. So they went back to props. About the time I arrived at the Minneapolis naval air station they were finally allowed to have jets again, and the first choice for Reserve pilots was the A4D Skyhawk.

What a beautiful plane to fly.

About two months after I reported, I got orders to go to the Naval air station in Norfolk, Va., to check out in the A4D. Three of us went and spent two weeks working with that neat bird.

When I came back to my regular Reserve weekend, we learned that in order to allow jets back on the airport there were going to be some caveats. One was that any pilot living more than 40 miles from the Minneapolis naval air station had to discontinue being a jet pilot. Well, that meant I was out of a Reserve billet, but we could join a Reserve patrol squadron and learn to fly the old Navy P2V-5 Bomber.

I must comment here. To mold an old jet jockey from single-engine jet fighters to a multi-engine prop air machine was a bit of a challenge. The first things that emerged were the adaptation to this new airplane and the completely different philosophies possessed by the pilots.

I had to make the change because I was teaching junior high in town and needed the extra funds to keep my family housed and fed. I began a non-motivated checkout in the P2V, which required three grades of qualifications.

First, I had to be a patrol pilot No. 3. So, I obtained a PP3 designation. Then, I had to become a real co-pilot or PP2. With this designation, I actually became qualified to land and take off.  I stuck it out for six long years. Finally, I just could not take it anymore, so one Sunday evening I asked if I could talk to my commanding officer.

I told him I just could not go on. I ascertained that it is nearly impossible to make a bomber pilot out of an old fighter pilot. By then, I had become quite comfortable flying that old beast, but it was just not fun. I didn’t feel any elation at all when I was designated a PP2. In the interim, I did get promoted to lieutenant commander and, of course, I enjoyed the increase in pay. My commanding officer did his darndest to talk me out of resigning but by then, I was determined. I was giving up a retirement pension when I turned 60, but that didn’t matter. After I turned 60, I sort of regretted my actions, but that was looking way back when I was in my 20s. 

The only real thing I missed was the camaraderie I had developed through the years. To this day some of those fellow Reserve pilots hold a special place in my memory, and I still miss them.

Nuff said.

Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. 

Dassault Falcon 900EX, N823RC / N718AK: Accident occurred February 13, 2021 at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport (KMYF), Kearny Mesa, San Diego County, California

The FAA report states pilot Scott Kitchens didn't hold a valid pilot certificate, which had been revoked two years prior to the crash. The other pilot, Nathan Russell, did have a current valid certificate. But neither of the men were certified to fly the Dassault Falcon 900EX. 

A corporate jet that ran off the runway at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa last year was piloted by two men who were not qualified to fly the aircraft, according to an FAA report obtained by NBC 7 Investigates. Not only that, but the plane wasn't going fast enough, and was 3,000 pounds over-weight based on the length of the runway.

The crash happened on February 13, 2021, just before noon, as the plane was taking off. The jet, a Dassault Falcon 900EX, ran 560 feet off the runway, which sheared off its three landing gears. Both wing fuel tanks breached, causing a large fuel spill which did not catch fire. Five people were on board including three crew members. The pilot-in-command was the only person hurt, which was a minor injury.

The FAA report states Scott Kitchens was the pilot-in-command but indicates that he didn't hold a valid pilot certificate, which had been revoked two years prior to the crash. The other pilot, Nathan Russell's credentials prohibited him from piloting an aircraft without a properly licensed pilot in command. But neither of the men were certified to fly that particular type of aircraft.

The information in the report closely matches new claims made in a civil filing regarding aviation insurance. Court documents show that upon takeoff, Kitchens and Russell were "unqualified to operate the aircraft" that never lifted off the ground and were forced to abort the takeoff. Those documents say this resulted in over $75,000 in damages.

The complaint was filed by United States Aviation Underwriters Inc. (USAIG), an aviation insurance company that was covering the jet, who is suing Aerospike Iron, LLC and Charles Brandes as a result of this crash.

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; San Diego, California

Aerospike Iron LLC
Crownair Aviation 

Location: San Diego, CA 
Accident Number: WPR21LA110
Date & Time: February 13, 2021, 11:50 Local
Registration: N823RC
Aircraft: Dassault Falcon 900EX 
Injuries: 5 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 13, 2021 about 1150 Pacific standard time, a Dassault Falcon 900EX, N823RC (formerly N718AK) was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in San Diego, California. The two pilots, one additional crew member and two passengers were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 flight.

The flight was being operated as an instrument flight rules cross-country flight from Montgomery Executive Airport (KMYF), San Diego, California, to Kailua/Kona Airport (PHKO), Kailua/Kona, Hawaii.

Reportedly, the flight crew was unable to raise the nose of the airplane at rotation speed (VR). The crew subsequently aborted the takeoff; however, the airplane overran the end of the runway and came to rest approximately 560 ft beyond the departure end of the runway.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Dassault 
Registration: N823RC
Model/Series: Falcon900EX Easy
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: KMYF,427 ft msl
Observation Time: 11:00 Local
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 3004 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: San Diego, CA 
Destination: Kailua/Kona, , HI (PHKO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 5 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 32.81511,-117.14104 


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Five people escaped injury Saturday when a corporate jet they were in crashed upon takeoff at the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa, fire officials said.

At 11:47 a.m. Saturday, the jet hit the dirt at the end of the runway and lost its wheels, said Battalion Chief Matt Nilsen of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Video from the airport shows debris scattered across the ground after the jet hit the dirt at the end of the runway and lost its wheels.

All five people on board got off the jet with no injuries reported, Nilsen said. Fire units arrived at the airport at 3799 John J. Montgomery Drive at 11:54 a.m.

A total of 37 fire personnel were assigned to the crash, including an airport crash rig, two hazmat teams, two fire engines, a medic and two battalion chiefs, according to a fire incident log.

A corporate jet crashed at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa Saturday morning, but no passengers were injured.

The plane was taking off at 11:45 a.m. when the landing gear collapsed, and the jet slid on the ground at the end of the runway, San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Matt Nilsen said. None of the five people on board were injured, he said.

The plane landed on its belly and was damaged in the crash.

There was a full tank of fuel aboard the plane, which began leaking after the accident. The fire department’s hazmat team and a crew from county’s Environmental Services Unit were called to clean up the site, Nilsen said.

A corporate jet ran off the runway possibly suffering landing gear failure at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa Saturday, fire officials said.

At around 11:40 a.m., the jet ran off the runway possibly suffering landing gear failure and landed on its belly, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said.

No injuries were reported.

A total of 32 fire personnel were assigned to the crash, including an airport crash rig, two hazmat teams, one fire engine, a medic and one battalion chiefs, according to a fire incident log.

Five people escaped injury Saturday when a corporate jet they were in crashed upon takeoff at the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in Kearny Mesa, fire officials said.

At 11:47 a.m. Saturday, the jet hit the dirt at the end of the runway and lost its wheels, said Battalion Chief Matt Nilsen of the San Diego Fire- Rescue Department.

All five people on board got off the jet with no injuries reported, Nilsen said. Fire units arrived at the airport at 3799 John J. Montgomery Drive at 11:54 a.m.

A total of 37 fire personnel were assigned to the crash, including an airport crash rig, two hazmat teams, two fire engines, a medic and two battalion chiefs, according to a fire incident log.

BAe-125-800A, N664SC: Incident occurred February 13, 2021 at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport (KJVL), Rock County, Wisconsin

SC Aviation 

An airplane makes an emergency landing at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.

The Janesville Fire Department and Rock County Sheriff’s Office responded to the runway just after 7:00 Saturday morning.

Battalion Chief Ryan Murphy said the private plane took off from the Janesville airport and experienced an inflight loss engine when it reached Lake Michigan.

The pilot turned around and returned to Janesville for the emergency landing, requesting emergency services in case of any issues landing.

Murphy said the plane touched down without incident, and neither of the two passengers were injured.

Boeing CEO Said Board Moved Quickly on MAX Safety; New Details Suggest Otherwise

Shareholders’ suit citing internal Boeing documents alleges board didn’t act as fast on safety as CEO David Calhoun said.

The Wall Street Journal 
By Andrew Tangel and Andy Pasztor
February 13, 2021 3:04 pm ET

When Boeing Co.'s board had its first formal meeting around seven weeks after the initial 737 MAX crash in late 2018, directors didn’t hold in-depth discussions about the jet’s safety, according to newly released details of internal company documents.

Months later, Boeing’s current chief executive told journalists the company’s directors had moved quickly to address the accident, according to excerpts of company documents contained in a shareholders’ lawsuit.

That and other new information in the suit cast doubt on whether Boeing directors pressed management about safety problems or seriously considered grounding the plane before a second 737 MAX crash in early 2019.

Parts of the internal Boeing documents, which indicate dates and particulars of meetings the directors held and what was discussed, are cited in the shareholders’ action claiming directors breached their fiduciary duties in overseeing management. The suit also alleges David Calhoun, then the lead-director who later became CEO, exaggerated to journalists the degree to which directors attended to safety concerns between and in the wake of the two crashes.

The suit alleges that Mr. Calhoun, who became CEO in early 2020, conducted a public-relations campaign that “insisted the board acted with more urgency and was more engaged than it actually had been” following the two crashes that killed 346 people in October 2018 and March 2019. The suit cites internal Boeing emails and other documents that weren’t previously public.

A Boeing spokesman said the lawsuit predictably presents a distorted account of Mr. Calhoun’s interviews, and added that the company’s court filings in the case show the board’s “extensive and active oversight” that was “accurately explained during those interviews.” The spokesman said the company is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, saying it lacks merit and “presents a misleading and incomplete picture” of Boeing’s actions and the board’s oversight.

The company declined to make the CEO available for comment, or to address the lawsuit’s specific claims about Mr. Calhoun or the board’s response to the crisis. The spokesman said Boeing “is dedicated to the values of safety, quality and integrity in all that we do.”

Plaintiffs’ lawyers gathered the records in the litigation, filed in Delaware’s Court of Chancery, and portions were recently released after The Wall Street Journal asked a judge to make them public. Different versions of the suit have been filed. Delaware law grants plaintiffs access to internal board documents in such cases.

Mr. Calhoun, a Boeing director since 2009, acted as a prominent defender of the company’s board and its then-CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, following the second 737 MAX crash. That accident led global regulators to ground the aircraft, spurring an all-consuming corporate crisis that led to a shake-up of Boeing’s leadership and ramped-up board oversight of safety.

Now, as CEO, Mr. Calhoun is navigating Boeing through the aftermath of the MAX crisis and fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic that has crushed demand for new aircraft and prompted the manufacturer to slash jobs and production.

Mr. Calhoun’s May 2019 media interviews had a primary objective: “Position the Boeing board of directors as an independent body that has exercised appropriate oversight,” according to an internal Boeing document that became public for the first time in the suit. It couldn’t be determined who wrote or received the document.

In one interview, according to documents cited in the lawsuit, Mr. Calhoun said directors were “notified immediately, as a board broadly” when the first 737 MAX crashed in Indonesia on Oct. 29, 2018. A newly released portion of the suit said internal Boeing records show directors received their first written communication from Mr. Muilenburg on Nov. 5, a week after the accident.

Mr. Calhoun said in another interview the board met “very, very quickly” after the first crash to discuss it, according to the suit. The suit said the board’s first meeting came a few weeks after the accident, which involved a Lion Air jet in Indonesia. It was a Nov. 23, 2018, phone meeting that was considered optional due to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the suit said. It couldn’t be determined how many directors attended.

The lawsuit and a Boeing court filing note about a dozen exchanges between management, the board and individual members in the two months after the first MAX crash, including directors’ request for more information about the accident.

The first formal postcrash board session—a regularly scheduled meeting of directors—occurred in mid-December, according to the lawsuit and excerpts of the Boeing documents. A presentation for the board’s executive session lists the Lion Air crash as a “hot topic.” Yet, the suit said, board materials reflected “no substantive discussion” of safety issues, including a MAX flight-control system suspected in the crash or airplane sensors that can trigger it. Both topics had garnered media attention at the time.

Minutes from the Dec. 16-17, 2018, meeting show the board received a presentation about the 737 MAX that was instead focused on “the state of the production recovery, focusing on the factory, supply chain, and engines,” as well as “readiness for the next potential rate increase,” according to an excerpt of the minutes cited in the lawsuit. Boeing had been planning to ramp up production rates of the single-aisle jet, a top moneymaker, at the time but had been grappling with supplier bottlenecks.

Mr. Calhoun said in one May 2019 interview that the board had engaged in what he called a “deliberative process” with Mr. Muilenburg to consider grounding the plane after the first MAX crash, according to the lawsuit, adding: “We looked over that many times.” He said in another interview, according to the suit, that directors didn’t “regret that judgment” to keep the plane flying, as details about the first accident made it look “like an anomaly.”

Citing a summary of the internal Boeing documents, a newly revealed portion of the lawsuit said “no board communication or email discusses” such a grounding decision, nor do any board minutes or agendas in the nearly five months between the accidents.

After the second 737 MAX crashed in Ethiopia on March 10, 2019, Mr. Calhoun said in one interview that he “immediately corral[ed] a board discussion,” according to the lawsuit. The Boeing filing said management alerted the board the same day. The suit said directors met three days later by conference call to discuss the potential grounding of the MAX fleet.

In its court filing, Boeing said it has long relied on established procedures to keep the board engaged in design, safety and other matters over the years. The filing noted Boeing’s contributions to safety improvements, including the “steadily enhanced safety record of the 737 model, generation over generation.” After the first MAX crash, its filing said, the board responded promptly and those procedures “allowed it to diligently and appropriately oversee the company’s response.”

The board has since established a committee to increase oversight of safety. U.S. regulators approved the 737 MAX to resume commercial service in November 2020.

Details in the lawsuit also appear to contradict Mr. Calhoun’s May 2019 statement in one interview that the company’s “position in the media…was never discussed” with the board. The suit includes excerpts of internal emails and cites multiple communications among Mr. Muilenburg and directors before May 2019 about what the then-CEO saw as negative media coverage.

As time went on, Boeing’s challenges deepened amid increased congressional and regulatory scrutiny. The board shook up management in late 2019, including stripping Mr. Muilenburg of his dual role as chairman and handing that job to Mr. Calhoun.

As chairman in November 2019, Mr. Calhoun defended Mr. Muilenburg and the company’s “very active board” through the MAX crisis.

“No one is ever going to claim that they were fast enough,” he said on CNBC.