Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Vermilion Regional Airport: Suspended airport manager resigns, board approves interim contract

Alexandra (“Alex”) Gale

 
Alexandra "Alex" Gale passes out her letter of resignation to the Vermilion Regional Airport Authority.


Alex Gale prior to start of meeting.  


 Interim Director Rod Hightower reads list of allegations involving Gale.


Pilot Jeff Williams speaks in support of Alex Gale.  


Jake Majors speaks prior to submitting his resignation.

Crowd assembles prior to meeting.  

Pilot Larry Owen speaks.


Suspended Vermilion Regional Airport Manager Alex Gale resigned during the public comment portion of a special Airport Authority Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday afternoon.  Gale then immediately left with family and friends saying she had no comment at this time.  Also resigning prior to that was airport mechanic Jake Majors.  At the start of the meeting, Interim Airport Director Rod Hightower read a list of allegations that he said led to Gale’s suspension, stating that they were being read due to community interest and Freedom of Information Act requests by media sources.

Hightower’s explanation included the stated numbers of 24 documented policy violations and seven safety violations.  A specific item mentioned by Hightower included allegations of a September 8th incident that involved driving a non-airport vehicle on an airport runway, with a non-Airport Authority person on board, at a high rate of speed and after drinking alcohol.  There were various public speakers who were positive and negative towards Gale; and some spoke with us during Executive Session.

Pilot Jeff Williams believes Alex Gale was hit by a bunch of allegations without proof, and that the board is at fault for their actions.

One public comment speaker, citing himself as a longtime veteran of the Vermilion Regional Airport, Bill Iver, stated while speaking that those who think they know Alex Gale need to, quote, “revisit that.”  When asked what he meant afterwards, he simply stated that the media needs to be like Paul Harvey and find “the Rest of the Story.”

Plane and balloon pilot Larry Owen felt that regardless of any mistakes by Gale, the Airport Authority Board’s way of handling it, and bringing in an outsider as interim director, was not good.

After Executive Session the board officially accepted Gale’s and Majors’ resignations.  It was also mentioned during the meeting that Interim Director Hightower has been earning $2,800 per day since he was installed October 1st, with the work including the investigations involving Gale.  Now that the resignation has occurred, the Board stated that Hightower will now be earning $1,200 per day.  The Board also stated that no taxpayer money is being used to pay Hightower’s salary during his time as interim director.  The Airport Authority consists of Steve Foster, Craig Davidson, Chairman Jonathan Myers, Gardner Peck, and Joe Vincent.


Rod Hightower, middle, takes notes at the special Vermilion Regional Airport Authority board of commissioners meeting on Tuesday.


DANVILLE, Illinois (WCIA) — Shake up at the Vermilion Regional Airport Tuesday afternoon, both the manager and maintenance manager quit their jobs during a special board meeting. 

Alex Gale, the now-former airport manager, was suspended about two weeks ago.

On Tuesday during the afternoon meeting, the airport’s board laid out the accusations against her. 

She’s accused of 24 policy violations, including conduct standards with discipline violations, safety failures, ethical decisions, bullying, harassment and drinking while driving on an airport runway. 

Dozens were fired up at the meeting, all with a wide variety of opinions. 

Some supported Gale, others supported the board. Pilots said the future feels unclear. 

The interim manager, Rod Hightower is filling Gale’s position. He read her accusations at the beginning of the meeting. 

Hightower said on September 8, 2022, she was driving a non-airport vehicle with a non-airport authority employee on board at a high speed on a runway, after consuming alcohol. 

But now, after 21 months in the position, she’s out. 

“Please accept this as my formal resignation,” Gale said during the public comment section of Tuesday’s meeting.

“You have proven time and time again that I’m not a human being. I’m just an object that you can chew up and spit out and kick when I’m down,” she said to the board. 

Board members said there was witness testimony backing up the violations. 

“Ms. Gale has failed to meet acceptable standards of airport operation and management and leadership,” Hightower said. 

Gale’s mother was vocal during the meeting, upset with the board. Laughing during comments and yelling “shame on you” at times when members were talking. 

Hightower is a friend of someone on the board, he’s temporarily taking her place. He’s not from the area, leaving some people concerned. 

“He’s not given the best impression when he’s talked to people,” Larry Owen, a hot air balloon pilot, said. 

Jake Magers, the airport’s former maintenance manager, also quit at the meeting. 

“I want employee protection, I want safety in a workplace against retaliation, aggressive behavior intimidation, sexual harassment,” Magers said. 

He said he trusted Gale, but Hightower disrespected him this past week. 

Jeff Williams, a pilot, said he flies in and out of the airport often. He also supports Gale. 

“She’s been a really good manager for us,” he said. “She’s always been very good to work with, she’s incredibly knowledgeable.” 

But others are standing by the board. 

“As a pilot, I can’t condone drinking alcohol and driving a vehicle on a runway. I can’t do it, it’s not funny,” Kevin Davis, a pilot, said. 

Hightower will fill the position for now, they did not mention a timeline to fill Gale’s role.

Champion 7KCAB Citabria, N869TT: Accident occurred October 02, 2022 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Lemishko, Alexander

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Justin Skelton; Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Missouri 


Location: Danville, Illinois
Accident Number: CEN23LA002
Date and Time: October 2, 2022, 17:45 Local 
Registration: N869TT
Aircraft: Champion 7KCAB
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Champion 
Registration: N869TT
Model/Series: 7KCAB 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator:
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: KDNV, 664 ft msl 
Observation Time: 17:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C /9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 20°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.2006,-87.6014 (est)

Aircraft landed in a field. 

Date: 02-OCT-22
Time: 22:45:00Z
Regis#: N869TT
Aircraft Make: CHAMPION
Aircraft Model: 7KCAB
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 1 No Injuries
Pax: 1 No Injuries
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: DANVILLE
State: ILLINOIS

Cessna 182C Skylane, N511W: Accident occurred October 01, 2022 in Boulder City, Clark County, Nevada

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Report Number: WPR23LA003

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Las Vegas, Nevada 

Aircraft experienced engine issues and landed on Lake Mead. 


Date: 02-OCT-22
Time: 03:16:00Z
Regis#: N511W
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 182
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Flight Crew: 1 Unknown Injuries
Pax:  1 Unknown Injuries 
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: BOULDER CITY
State: NEVADA





LAKE MEAD, Nevada (3TV/CBS 5) - Engine failure forced a pair of pilots to ditch a small plane into Lake Mead earlier this month, and they survived virtually unscathed.

Chad Rodgers and Charles Wood took off from Grand Canyon Airport on the night of October 1 and realized something was wrong just 30 minutes into the air. “I saw sparks and flames coming out of my side of the engine, Chad never saw that on his side, the cockpit filled with smoke,” said Wood.

“My first reaction was, I’m going to die,” said Rodgers. Instead of panicking, Rodgers jumped on the radio, and the pair worked together to figure out where to land. “Chad asked what’s directly below us and they said ‘you’re over the lake right now’,” said Wood. “Once I heard the lake was beneath me, I was 100% confident we are going to live,” said Rodgers. The pilot was confident in the pair’s safety with reduced impact landing on the water. “It was probably 30-40 seconds after we landed, the plane flipped over, it was already pretty much sunk,” said Rodgers.

It only took three minutes from when the engine failed to the pilot landing in Lake Mead. They swam away from the crash as the plane fully submerged under water. The two were left uninjured from the crash. “I think there was a bigger hand at play other than good piloting and aviation. I think we definitely had some angels and God looking over us,” said Rodgers.

The two pilots lost all of their personal belongings in the water and created a GoFundMe to help replace items. If you’d like to help, click here.

Embraer EMB-545 Legacy 450, N179SP: Accident occurred October 03, 2022 at William P. Hobby Airport (KHOU), Houston, Texas

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Report Number: CEN23LA003

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas 

Aircraft departed and returned due to a door coming off. 

Partee Aviation LLC


Date: 03-OCT-22
Time: 22:40:00Z
Regis#: N179SP
Aircraft Make: EMBRAER
Aircraft Model: EMB-545
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 2 No Injuries
Pax: 2 No Injuries
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: CORPORATE
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: HOUSTON
State: TEXAS

Piper PA‑30, N7494Y: Accident occurred October 04, 2022 in Milan, Telfair County, Georgia

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Report Number: ERA23LA005

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia

Aircraft experienced engine issues and made an emergency landing on a highway and went into a ditch.  


Date: 04-OCT-22
Time: 17:40:00Z
Regis#: N7494Y
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA30
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 1 No Injuries
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: MILAN
State: GEORGIA







TELFAIR COUNTY, Georgia (WGXA) - A plane has made an emergency landing on a highway in Telfair County.

Initial reports from the scene show a twin-engine plane landed along Highway 280 in Milan before coming to a rest just off the roadway.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirms the plane is a Piper PA-30. 

The pilot, Jimmy Ray, reported engine issues around 1:40 p.m. Ray was the only person on board.

According to Telfair County Sheriff Sim Davidson, Ray was flying from Fitzgerald to McRae-Helena. Ray was not hurt.

Sheriff Davidson says they have removed the plane from the highway.

The Federal Aviation Administration says they will investigate the emergency landing.

Cessna L-19E, N9019V: Accident occurred October 04, 2022 at Navasota Municipal Airport (60R), Grimes 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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Lemishko, Alexander

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas 


Location: Navasota, Texas
Accident Number: CEN23LA011
Date and Time: October 4, 2022, 18:53 Local
Registration: N9019V
Aircraft: Cessna L-19E 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N9019V
Model/Series: L-19E 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
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: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 30.38754,-96.08785 (est)

Aircraft on landing, lost control and veered off runway.  

Date: 04-OCT-22
Time: 23:53:00Z
Regis#: N9019V
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: L-19E
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew:  1 No Injuries 
Pax: 0 
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: NAVASOTA
State: TEXAS

Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200, N447AW: Accident occurred October 05, 2022 at Dayton International Airport (KDAY), Montgomery County, Ohio

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Report Number: DCA23LA005

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cincinnati, Ohio

Aircraft veered off of the runway during landing. 

Air Wisconsin Airlines LLC


Date: 05-OCT-22
Time: 01:42:00Z
Regis#: N447AW
Aircraft Make: BOMBARDIER
Aircraft Model: CL600 2B19
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 4 No Injuries
Pax: 42 No Injuries
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: AIR WISCONSIN
Flight Number: AWI1318
City: DAYTON
State: OHIO

Cessna 150L, N18158: Accident occurred October 06, 2022 at K Ranch Airport (3TE0), Iola, Grimes 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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): Sorensen, Timothy

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas


Location: Iola, Texas
Accident Number: CEN23LA008
Date and Time: October 6, 2022, 17:15 Local 
Registration: N18158
Aircraft: Cessna 150
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N18158
Model/Series: 150 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code: N/A

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CLL, 321 ft msl
Observation Time: 16:54 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C /10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Iola, TX (3TE0)
Destination: Iola, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 30.731583,-96.131068 (est)

Aircraft nosewheel dug in on landing and tipped on its nose. 

Date: 06-OCT-22
Time: 22:15:00Z
Regis#: N18158
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 150
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 1  No Injuries
Pax:  0
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: IOLA
State: TEXAS

Team Tango 2, N55XT: Accident occurred October 09, 2022 near Yulee-Nassau Airport (83FL), Nassau County, Florida

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Report Number: ERA23LA015

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

Aircraft made a hard landing, bounced and came to rest in a residential yard. 


Date: 09-OCT-22
Time: 21:58:00Z
Regis#: N55XT
Aircraft Make: TEAM TANGO
Aircraft Model: TANGO 2
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Flight Crew: 1 Unknown Injuries
Pax: 1 Minor Injuries
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: YULEE
State: FLORIDA




YULEE, Florida – A person suffered minor injuries after a plane crashed in Nassau County Sunday evening, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol report, the incident happened shortly before 6:15 p.m. on Cessna Drive. 

The 51-year-old pilot from Fernandina Beach was flying a single-engine airplane when he attempted to land but suffered a hard landing because of an atmosphere change.

He attempted to get the plane back in the air, but it diverted back down and crashed into a front lawn near a private airstrip, the report stated.

The pilot suffered no injuries, and the 52-year-old passenger was transported to UF Health with minor injuries.