FAA Shares What’s Happening in the Air



After months of negotiations and a legal challenge in the courts, EAA said this week it has agreed to pay the FAA’s expenses to send controllers to AirVenture through 2022. “This ends the uncertainty that began with the FAA’s sudden assessment of ATC fees for the 2013 event and the potential that air traffic support might not be provided this year or in the future unless such fees were paid,” EAA said in a statement on Friday.

After EAA was forced to sign a one-year ATC agreement under protest in 2013, the organization filed a petition with the U.S. Seventh District Court of Appeals, arguing that the FAA has no legal right to charge for ATC services without clear Congressional authorization. That challenge has now been dismissed by the court and can’t be filed again, EAA said. In a lengthy Q&A posted online, EAA said it thoroughly explored all of the possible options and decided this was the only way to ensure that AirVenture would get the level of service needed and also enable EAA to have a predictable budget for the event. The costs,which EAA estimates will total $475,000 per year for this year and 2015, will be folded in to the overall expenses for the event, EAA said, and they will “make every effort to ensure that the impact is minimal” on the costs for visitors and vendors.



Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature have passed legislation intended to save aircraft owners and operators money on maintenance and repairs while keeping aviation jobs in the state. The bill has gone to the governor for his signature; he is expected to sign. The legislation creates a state sales tax exemption for all parts and labor used in aircraft maintenance. Supporters say the tax cut would cost about $3 million a year in lost revenue, but it would generate more than twice that much in increased business for the aviation businesses, some of whom testified that in-state aircraft owners were flying their airplanes out of state for maintenance to avoid sales taxes.

The bill is expected to benefit aircraft owners and aviation businesses of all sizes. Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. has a facility in Appleton and a Cessna Citation jet service center is located in Milwaukee. Their representatives as well as personnel from smaller facilities testified in support of the bill before the Ways and Means Committee in 2013. Those testifying included Wisconsin Aviation, a flight school, charter operator and maintenance shop with facilities in Watertown, Juneau and Madison; NewView Technologies, an aircraft maintenance shop; and Abe Weber, the manager of Outagamie County Regional Airport in Appleton. Weber represented the Wisconsin Airport Management Association.



After an open records request by NBC5 in Dallas, the FAA Friday released recordings of the radio exchange after a Southwest Airlines 737 landed at the wrong Missouri airport last Jan. 12. As might be expected there was initial confusion on both ends of the conversation between a pilot sitting near the end of a runway at Graham Clark Downtown Airport in Hollister, Mo., about seven miles from his intended destination of Branson, and the tower controller there. “I assume I’m not at your airport,” the pilot said to the controller after stopping a few hundred feet from the end of the shorter, narrower runway (3738 X 100 ft.) at Graham Clark. “Southwest 4013, have you landed?” the controller then asked and the reply from the pilot, after a slight delay was: “Yeah.”

The controller then called Springfield Approach, which was handling the aircraft at the time, and reported the incident. “Are you kidding?” the Springfield controller asked. Branson was an intermediate stop for the flight that originated at Chicago Midway and was to carry on to Dallas’s Love Field. Instead, the Branson-bound passengers went the final seven miles by bus and Southwest had to send another plane to pick up those headed to Dallas. Another crew took off the empty 737 from Graham Clark the next day. Both pilots of the ill-fated flight remain on paid leave while the investigation continues.



A couple of off-airport accidents in Florida killed two people and injured three others. In the latest mishap, Jeffrey Bronken, the pilot of a Piper Archer, was killed after ending up on a street in Clearwater, Fla., on Saturday morning. Two teenage girls, Katherine Bronken and Keyana Linbo, were injured. All were from the Chicago area and on their way to St. Pete/Clearwater Airport. The aircraft came to rest on the median of a six-lane road but it’s not clear what circumstances preceded the crash. On Friday, a Cessna 400 ended up hitting the loading dock of a Lowes in Palatka, in northeast Florida.

The passenger aboard the piston single, Malcolm Clevenstine, 71, of Palm Coast, Fla., died later that day in the hospital and the pilot, Richard Carrara, 73, had minor injuries. Local media quoted the Florida Highway Patrol as saying Carrara told them he was trying to do a touch and go at Kay Larkin Airport, adjacent to the Lowes, when the engine quit. The aircraft went through a chain link fence before smashing through a stack of empty pallets on the loading dock. The flight originated in St. Augustine.



The search is on for the pilot and four passengers aboard a Socata TBM 700 that crashed in a southern Colorado reservoir in front of a wedding party Saturday. The TBM was on its way from Bartlesville, Okla., to Montrose, Colo., and crashed in the Ridgway Reservoir in 60-90 feet of water. No names have been released and the aircraft is registered to an Alabama corporation.  Authorities have said they don’t expect to find any survivors. The aircraft was based in Gadsden, Ala., and local media are reporting that children were believed to be aboard. Gadsden is about 60 miles north of Birmingham. A candlelight vigil was planned for Sunday night in Gadsden. The crash happened about 2 p.m. just as Steven Vining and about 100 others were gathering at a home overlooking the reservoir for the nuptials of two of their friends.

Vining told The Watch that he and his fellow guests first heard engine and prop noises “like what you’d hear at an airshow” before the aircraft came out of the low cloud deck, clearly in trouble. “I thought he would point the nose down to get some speed, but he was in a flat dead spin, around and around like a pie plate,” he told the newspaper. After several of the guests reported the crash to 911, the minister officiating at the wedding led them in prayer for those on board and carried on with the ceremony. “We saw a fatality, and then, within a few minutes, witnessed two people enter into holy matrimony. It was a really eerie feeling,” Vining said. The tail section of the aircraft separated and was recovered and divers are being brought in to hunt for the remainder of the wreckage.

This entry was posted in Air Traffic Organization, ClancyJG International, Federal Aviation Administration and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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