Saturday, March 06, 2021

North American Rockwell Sabreliner 60, XB-JMR: Aircraft turns residents into entrepreneurs

A 12-seater aircraft that crash-landed on the white sand beach in Rocky Point, Clarendon, on January 23 has become a source of income for some residents in the fishing village, as scores of people ventured there to get a first-hand view of the twin-engine plane, its ownership domiciled in Mexico.

THE WEEKEND STAR understands that travel by boat to see the plane, which landed among mangroves, attracts a cost of J$1,000 per person. The site is being dubbed as the newest tourist attraction.

The now hotspot has become the backdrop for photo shoots and music videos. Dancehall artiste Skillibeng even recorded a section of his Coke music video at the site. The video racked up more than one million views in two days, and have so far gained six million views on video streaming platform YouTube.

President of the Rocky Point Benevolent Society, Arthur Coleman, says the plane site is a boost to the community's ecotourism plans.

"We were thinking of doing some ecotourism [projects] because we need some more attractions, and it seems that crashed plane boost up everything," he said.

"Some guys who were just on the street side have become entrepreneurs, because they are now taking visitors to the site by boat to go on the plane and so on. They are making money and that's very good. We support it," he told THE WEEKEND STAR.

One resident, who calls himself 'Titti Man', is one of the many boat drivers who assist people to the site. He said that he takes between 10 and 12 visitors to see the crashed plane during weekdays. "But on Sundays a whole heap more than that. People from all 'bout ... locally and internationally," he said. According to Titti Man, visitors get 10 to 15 minutes at the site on the busiest days. "We glad for the economical activity. We glad we find a way we can make two ends meet," he said.

Councillor for the Rocky Point division and mayor of May Pen, Winston Maragh, said, "I don't think the owners are coming back for it and the police no longer have any interest in the plane, so people are just making use of it."

GOP leader wants to sell state planes used by South Carolina lawmakers and industry recruiters

WEST COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The S.C. Senate’s GOP leader wants to sell a pair of airplanes used by South Carolina officials, ending what he calls an abuse of taxpayers’ money.

Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, announced March 5 his proposal to sell off the state’s twin-engine 1983 King Air C90 and 1990 King Air 350, dubbed “Palmetto 1” and “Palmetto 2,” most frequently used by the governor but also used for business and sports recruiting.

This week, for example, Gov. Henry McMaster flew to Myrtle Beach and Darlington to visit COVID-19 mass vaccination clinics.

“We’ve seen evidence of lawmakers using these planes for vacations, to go to conferences that they’ve described as official business, that I don’t think many South Carolinians would consider to be official state business,” Massey said in announcing legislation he’ll file March 9 to offload the airplanes.

“The spirit of the law is to provide for the limited use of state-owned aircraft to do the business and further interests of the state,” Massey’s resolution states. “Owning aircraft is not a core function of government and is ripe for abuse at the taxpayer’s expense.”

Selling the aircraft is backed by state House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford of Columbia — because, he said, the fleet desperately needs an upgrade.

“We have Boeing in this state. We should have a jet,” Rutherford told The Post and Courier. “You cannot do economic development in this state by walking.”

Massey said he’s open to alternatives, pointing to the need for industrial recruitment and travel requirements for governors, but suggested lawmakers look into chartered flights or a reimbursement system for commercial flight.

“I understand the governor needs to travel, I’m willing to listen to whatever ideas people have, but what I’m not willing to do is continue to allow these state assets to be misused and taxpayer dollars be wasted,” Massey said.

Statewide officers and legislators can use the state planes at no cost to them on a first-come, first-served basis, as long as the trips are official business. Beyond McMaster, others recently on board include state Treasurer Curtis Loftis, state Ports Authority president Jim Newsome, and University of South Carolina president Bob Caslen.

They were among 27 times the planes were used between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 1 of this year, according to flight logs maintained by the state Aeronautics Commission. In all, the flights cost taxpayers $85,000.

Manifests from 2020 show the planes were used for a myriad of reasons:

• On Jan. 16, state Ports Authority president Jim Newsome flew from Mount Pleasant to Greenville, where he was given an award during a South Carolina Manufacturers Association banquet.

• On Jan. 28, University of South Carolina president Bob Caslen and other officials flew to Hilton Head Island to meet with Apple executives about a partnership with USC Greenville Medical School.

• On Feb. 22, several Clemson football coaches, including former NFL quarterback and now team offensive analyst J.P. Losman, traveled to Myrtle Beach for a coaches clinic.

• On May 12, state Rep. John King, D-Rock Hill, took a flight to Brunswick, Ga., hometown of Ahmaud Arbery to take part in a press conference.

• On July 1, state Attorney General Alan Wilson went to Manassas, Va., to meet with former U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette.

• On Aug. 12, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette traveled to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services leaders.

• On Nov. 12, the state Department of Corrections used a plane to extradite an inmate from Arkansas.

• And on Oct. 1, a legislative delegation, including state Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, journeyed to Mount Pleasant for a meeting regarding potential closure of the Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot.

“They’re in place to facilitate us being legislators and taking care of the state’s business,” King, who returned to South Carolina with a renewed push for adoption of a hate crimes bill, said. “One thing I know about the other legislators that have been on there, they have made sure they’ve done things ethically and not against the laws of South Carolina.”

McMaster said he’s willing to consider getting rid of the planes. He’s asked the state Department of Administration to analyze the costs and benefits of keeping versus selling, not only the two state planes, but those owned by public colleges, too, updating a 2014 study, said his spokesman Brian Symmes.

Both the University of South Carolina and Clemson have two planes.

Some larger states have already gotten rid of their subsidized aircraft. In 2019, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, sold his government’s plane for $1.2 million — following through on a campaign promise to do so. And, in December, Montana’s multi-millionaire Gov. Greg Gianforte bought a personal airplane that he uses for all state business.

Maintained by the state’s Aeronautics Commission in West Columbia, the C90 costs $1,000 an hour to operate while the newer King Air 350 is $1,500. According to the commission, a round-trip flight from its headquarters to the Washington/Dulles airport is $4,750 for up to nine passengers. It costs $1,500 for officials to take the 45-minute flight from West Columbia to Myrtle Beach on the six-seater C90.

Massey said it’s an unnecessary perk for politicians, and the best way to end abuse is to cut off their access completely.

Flights authorized by legislators, the governor and other constitutional officers are absorbed as part of the agency’s budget. Agencies and public colleges also can use the planes for official business, but they must pay by the hour. The agency is barred from making a profit on the per-hour cost.

Massey said his legislation was prompted by a March 4 report in The State newspaper that said state House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Columbia, has flown on the planes six times with his then-girlfriend, Megan Pinckney, since 2013.

The couple got married in December.

But he’s far from the only legislator to use the planes.

And other politicians have come under fire in the past.

“This isn’t about Todd Rutherford. There’s a whole lot of people who have used those planes and, most of the time, they’re for legitimate purposes,” Massey said.

“But it doesn’t take a whole lot of abuse of taxpayer-funded planes like this to cause a problem for everybody else.”

Rutherford, who is on the House Ethics Committee, said many lawmakers have constituents in rural parts of the state, or are asked to take part in events that could take them out-of-pocket for hours if forced to drive. He also said the antiquated condition of South Carolina’s planes don’t make them an attractive option.

“Those planes are so old and decrepit you don’t want to get on them unless you have to. They’re like my 1974 Volkswagen,” he said. “In South Carolina, it is very difficult to get around if you’re actually going to do your job in multiple places.”

In 2013, Democrats accused then-Gov. Nikki Haley of misusing the state’s planes by taking her campaign-paid videographer with her on flights around South Carolina the year before. She dismissed the criticism, and an attorney with the state Ethics Commission agreed with her, saying he can fly at the governor’s invitation.

A year earlier, Haley repaid about $10,000 for using state planes to attend news conferences and bill signings after being told about a prohibition that legislators quietly inserted into the state budget, partly because they were weary of watching her fly around the state to hold events bashing them.

Also in 2013, the House Ethics Committee dismissed allegations that state Rep. Bill Chumley, R-Woodruff, wrongly used the planes to shuttle a conservative commentator from Washington, D.C., to testify on a bill. A clause in the state budget specifies that transportation to and from legislative meetings does not qualify as official business. But violating that requires the legislator to know it was wrong and to benefit economically, the committee found.

Palmetto 1 also landed in Tampa for the 1984 Super Bowl, ferrying then state Sen. Jack Lindsay, a Marlboro County Democrat, to the game.

Amid the controversies in 2013, senators voted to sell the planes, saying it would end the recurring accusations of their misuse by government officials. The 26-14 vote inserted the proposal into the Senate’s budget plan, but the House took it out.

Incident occurred March 06, 2021 at South Bend International Airport (KSBN), St. Joseph County, Indiana

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — An airplane made an emergency landing at South Bend International Airport after taking off on Saturday morning.

The plane returned safely to the airport after taking off, and has since departed the airport, a airport spokeswoman said. 

St. Joseph County Sheriff William Redman said that three county police patrol units responded to the perimeter of the airport's property around 8:15 a.m. Saturday.

Incident occurred March 06, 2021 at Waukesha County Airport (KUES), Wisconsin

WAUKESHA, Wisconsin - A Velocity experimental aircraft made a safe emergency landing at the Waukesha County Airport, an airport official told FOX6 News.

The plane reportedly experienced a landing gear malfunction and sought to make an emergency landing around 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 6.

The pilot was able to resolve the malfunction and land safely.

Beech 35 Bonanza, N3394V: Fatal accident occurred March 06, 2021 near Palestine Municipal Airport (KPSN), Anderson County, Texas

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 Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Irving, Texas
Textron Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas

Location: Palestine, TX 
Accident Number: CEN21LA151
Date & Time: March 6, 2021, 13:40 Local 
Registration: N3394V
Aircraft: Beech 35 
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On March 6, 2021, about 1340 central standard time, a Beech 35 airplane, N3394V, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Palestine, Texas. The private pilot sustained serious injuries and the private pilot-rated passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane was recently purchased by the pilot and was being transported to the pilot’s home residence in the greater Dallas, Texas area. The pilot reported that while enroute, the engine lost power. The pilot maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing. The airplane impacted trees and came to rest in a grass field on a ranch about 4 miles southwest of Palestine. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage.

A Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector and an air safety investigator from Textron Aviation traveled to the accident site to conduct documentation activities. The wreckage was recovered from the accident site for a future examination of the airframe, engine, and propeller.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N3394V
Model/Series: 35 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KPSN,423 ft msl
Observation Time: 13:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C /2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / , 30°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.29 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Anahuac, TX
Destination: Dallas, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 31.711163,-95.678754 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board stated that the passenger in a plane crash that occurred in Anderson County on March 6 died because of his or her injuries. The pilot suffered serious injuries.

According to the NTSB’s preliminary report, the airplane that crashed was a single-engine Beech 35. The crash occurred at about 1:40 p.m. on March 6.

“The airplane was recently purchased by the pilot and was being transported to the pilot’s home residence in the greater Dallas, Texas area,” the report stated. “The pilot reported that while enroute, the engine lost power. The pilot maneuvered the plane for a forced landing.”

During its crash landing, the airplane struck trees and came to rest in a grass field about four miles southwest of Palestine. The plane suffered “substantial” damage to both wings and its fuselage.

The pilot and passenger were taken to a local hospital for treatment of their injuries.

According to the preliminary report, a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector and an air safety inspector from Textron Aviation went to the crash site “to conduct documentation activities.” The wreckage was recovered from the crash site so that the airframe, engine, and propeller could be examined.

The airplane departed from Anahuac, the report stated. No flight plan was filed.

The report did not identify the pilot or the passenger, and it did not go into detail about what might have caused the plane’s engine to lose power.

A previous East Texas News story stated that the field where the airplane crashed is in the 5000 block of FM 1990.

A single-engine plane crashed Saturday in a field in Anderson County, leaving two passengers seriously injured.

According to Texas DPS Sgt. Sara Warren, troopers responded to the scene around 1:50 p.m. March 6, in the 5000 block of FM 1990 at Gum Creek Ranch.

Warren said two people were on board, both injured and transported to local hospitals.

Jeff Jeffcoat posted a message to the Friends and Pilots of Palestine Municipal Airport Facebook group telling members the victims were not local.

“Just wanted to let everyone know that the plane that went down in Anderson County is not from our airport,” he stated. “All of our folks are accounted for and safe.”

Warren said the investigation will be handed over to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine probable cause of the accident.

ANDERSON COUNTY, Texas — Two people have been taken to a local hospital with serious injuries following a small plane crash in Anderson County. 

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, around 1:50 p.m. on Saturday, troopers were called to a Beechcraft C35 Bonanza crash in a field at 5236 Farm-to-Market Road 1900, just southwest of Palestine.

Two people were seriously injured and are being treated at a local hospital.

CORSICANA, Texas (KETK) – Two people were hospitalized after a plane crash in Anderson County.

On March 6, around 1:49 p.m., Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers were called to a single engine airplane crash in a field at the address of 5236 FM 1990.

There were two people on board, both were transported to local hospitals due to sustaining serious injuries.

Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion, N4898C: Accident occurred March 06, 2021 at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (KROA), Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia 

Aircraft landed gear up. 

Palo Aerocraft Inc

Date: 06-MAR-21
Time: 15:45:00Z
Regis#: N4898C
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: T210
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

ROANOKE, Virginia (WFXR) – Emergency crews spent part of Saturday morning into early afternoon on the scene of a small plane crash at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

According to Brad Boettcher, Director of Marketing and Air Service Development at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, the private plane’s landing gear did not properly deploy which resulted in the plane making a belly-landing on the runway.

The incident took place around 10:45 a.m. Saturday morning. The aircraft was locally-based.

Two people were on board the small plane, which has since been removed from the runway. It is being inspected and repaired.

No injuries were reported in the incident.

“It is really rare for this to happen,” Boettcher told WFXR News.

Airport officials say the airport is open; however, the runway the incident occurred on is being inspected.

A single-engine airplane slid down the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport runway Saturday morning, with landing gear not in place. Neither the pilot nor the passenger was hurt in the crash, an airport spokesman said.

The Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion landed on its belly about 10:45 a.m., airport spokesman Brad Boettcher said. There had been no mayday signal, and investigators were working to determine what happened with the landing gear, Boettcher said. He did not have the names of the pilot and passenger. The plane, which is based at the airport, had flown out of Roanoke-Blacksburg earlier that day and was returning when it crashed.

“I don’t want to say it’s a nothing burger, but there was little damage to the plane, and the fact that they were able to walk away was the best case scenario,” Boettcher said.

‘Critical’ evacuation route for Glenwood residents moves forward

Colorado - The Glenwood Springs City Council cast what could end up becoming a $6 million vote concerning the city’s long-sought-after South Bridge project earlier this week.

South Bridge would provide a critical second access point from the west side of the Roaring Fork River — where thousands of Glenwood Springs residents reside — to Highway 82, particularly in the event of an emergency.

The city already has $20 million earmarked in bonding capacity from its acquisitions and improvements fund for the major infrastructure project, in addition to $4 million from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s successful Destination 2040 property tax measure.

The city has also applied for a $31 million FEMA Building Resistant Infrastructure and Communities Grant (BRIC).

South Bridge carries with it a price tag in excess of $50 million, and its design overlaps with the city’s airport. Councilors on Thursday night had to decide whether or not the bridge should tunnel beneath the airport’s runway. Although the tunnel option would likely preserve the city’s airport, it would increase the project’s cost from $50.7 million to approximately $56.7 million.

“The tunnel is very expensive — I realize that, and I am not proposing through this motion that we pay for the tunnel out of the city coffers,” Mayor Pro Tem Shelley Kaup said during Thursday’s Glenwood Springs City Council meeting. “We can go after partnership funding … through Garfield County, through grants and we also expect [the Colorado Department of Transportation] and RFTA funding. If we do not get that funding, then I would propose that we put that question to the voters: Do we spend $6 million … to put that tunnel under the airport and keep the airport open?”

Kaup believed alternative options, such as shortening the airport’s runway, were “speculative at best” and questioned whether they were even feasible if the city planned to keep the airport open.

“I think it’s the best route for the city,” Kaup said of constructing South Bridge to tunnel beneath the airport runway.

Kaup, who is running for reelection this April against Native Son Restaurant and Bar owner Ricky Rodriguez, was quick to make Thursday’s motion supporting the tunnel option.

“I don’t want to destroy the airport to save it,” Councilor Tony Hershey said.

No stranger to controversial issues, Hershey, who previously served on the Aspen City Council, said he had never received so much feedback on a city issue since Glenwood’s South Bridge project.

“I think by cutting the runway you’re … depriving the airport of its functionality, and if we want to close the airport that’s a vote for another day, but I can’t support that. I think it’s a unique asset and I am going to support this,” Hershey said.

Hershey also agreed with Kaup that should additional funding not come through, the voters should ultimately decide whether or not the city should foot the $6 million dollar bill to construct the tunnel, which would also effectively keep the airport open.

“Six million dollars, to me, it’s not a bridge too far; it’s a tunnel too far,” Hershey said.

Councilor Charlie Willman was skeptical that the Glenwood Springs Airport produced as much economic activity as many of the facility’s supporters have repeatedly suggested. As an elected official, Willman said he had a “fiduciary duty” to the citizens of Glenwood to properly manage the city’s funds.

“The economic impact is $10,300 in sales and property taxes — that’s all. There is no other economic impact,” Willman said of the Glenwood Springs Airport, citing a study conducted by Gruen Gruen + Associates and paid for by the city. “Visitors coming [to] Glenwood Springs in small planes that can land at the airport I don’t believe generate significant revenue in any way. I haven’t seen any data to support that.”

Willman asserted that the community at large believed South Bridge would serve as a critical evacuation route for residents and was concerned that the airport itself only served the few that could actually fly into it.