Nine missing after helicopter-plane collision in US

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes



LOS ANGELES – Nine persons were reported missing and feared dead after a collision between a Coast Guard plane and a navy helicopter off California’s coast, the TV news network CNN reported Friday.


The late Thursday (local time) collision took place some 40 km from San Clemente Island off the Pacific coast from Los Angeles, with eyewitnesses reporting a ball of flame in the night skies.

Initial reports said the collision involved a C-130 plane with seven persons on board and an AH-1 helicopter with two. Coast Guard official Josh Nelson told CNN that the search for survivors was on with good weather conditions prevailing.

Wife tracked her husband’s fatal flight

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes

— A Florida businessman’s wife was using a flight tracking site to keep up with her husband and his three hunting buddies’ flight home from Uvalde when she noticed something had gone wrong.

Paul Mazak, 44, Malcolm Lavender, 57, Richard “Rick” Schippers, 59, and Shane Schippers, 37, were killed when a twin-turboprop Beechcraft King Air owned and piloted by Mazak went down in bad weather Monday.

Mazak and his passengers, who had been hunting on Mazak’s property near Uvalde, left Garner Municipal Airport at 11:01 a.m., bound for Leesburg, Fla., according to friends and flight records. Mazak’s plane left Uvalde nearly an hour behind schedule, after he delayed takeoff to wait for a cold front and severe thunderstorms to blow through.

“They waited a while for the weather,” said Chip King, an engineer based at the Uvalde airport. “The storms weren’t that terrible when they came through here. When he left it was a little break and it was clearing to the south.”

Less than 45 minutes later, Mazak’s plane vanished from FAA radar, shortly after he reported that turbulence was making it difficult to maintain an altitude of 25,000 feet. Controllers at FAA’s Houston Center had noticed Mazak’s plane was losing altitude.

At home in Florida, Mazak’s wife, Reba, called King after she noticed an oddity with her husband’s flight path.

“She was watching him fly and the airplane was coasting or stationary over Benavides,” said King, who had known Paul Mazak for about five years. “She noticed something wrong. She did not understand what was going on.”

Reba Mazak couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.

The tracking site,, shows Mazak’s path — a bright green line — dead-ending on screen in the face of a line of storms.

Officials said the plane plummeted to the ground shortly after 11:42 a.m., falling directly into a thick, brushy area on the Shamoun Ranch about four miles northwest of Benavides off State Highway 339.

It likely will be several days before investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board complete an investigation into the crash, said Cpl. Charlie Ramirez of Texas Department of Public Safety. Those investigators arrived shortly before noon Tuesday.

Mazak, Lavender and the Schipperses, who were father and son, had been in Uvalde for about a week, King said.

Donna Rausa, a cousin of Rick Schippers’ wife, said the deaths of the men are unimaginable. Rick Schippers was in marine construction, devoted to his family including Shane, who had a wife and children.

“He was the kind of a man whenever we had dinner together he would say a blessing,” said Rausa, who lives in New Jersey. “He was very religious, very spiritual. I would call him an anchor.”

Mazak had ranching and mining interests in Florida. Attempts to reach Mazak’s and Lavender’s family were unsuccessful.

IDs released of 2 killed in Michigan plane crash

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes


By the Associated Press

Published by

VANDERBILT — State police have released the identities of two people killed when their small plane crash-landed along a northern Michigan freeway.

Troopers said today the victims are two Gaylord men: 52-year-old pilot Patrick J. McNamara and his 32-year-old passenger, Christopher A. Hasty.

The crash happened early Tuesday evening on southbound Interstate 75 near Vanderbilt, about 235 miles north of Detroit.

Witnesses reported seeing the two-seat plane circle the freeway before crashing along the shoulder.

A separate small-plane crash Tuesday morning at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport in southwest Michigan killed a Canadian man, 60-year-old pilot James George Wilton of Ontario. No one else was on that plane.

Plane Lands on Taxiway

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events


By Matthew L. Wald, New York Times

The National Transportation Safety Board said it would investigate the landing before dawn on Monday of a Delta Air Lines flight from Rio de Janeiro to Atlanta on a taxiway at the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, rather than on the parallel runway to which it had been assigned. There was no traffic on the taxiway at the time, so the plane, a Boeing 767 with 193 people on board, landed without incident. But such landings create the chance of runway collisions.

NTSB Asks If Northwest Pilots Nodded Off Before Landing

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events


By Andy Pasztor, Wall Street Journal

Pilots of a Northwest Airlines flight approaching Minneapolis International Airport Wednesday night temporarily lost radio contact with air-traffic controllers and apparently overshot their destination by about 100 miles.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident as a possible case of pilots nodding off at the controls, according to government and industry officials familiar with the matter.

Controllers were able to re-establish contact with the Airbus A320, these people said, and the plane eventually landed safely without injuries. The plane was en route from San Diego to Minneapolis. Details are still emerging and the safety board is expected to release some information later Thursday. But based on preliminary indications, industry and government officials believe the crew may have briefly fallen asleep, flown past the airport, and then circled back to land.

Northwest is a unit of Delta Air Lines Inc. A Delta spokeswoman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The incident comes as the Federal Aviation Administration is seeking to update and rewrite decades-old rules governing how long commercial pilots can fly and remain on duty during a given period.

Wednesday night’s incident is the second time in less than a week that a Delta cockpit crew was involved in a high-profile safety lapse. On Monday, a long-range Delta Boeing 767 en route from Brazil to Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport landed on a taxiway, rather than the parallel runway, at the Atlanta field in darkness. There were no injuries to any of the 182 passengers or 11 crew members.

The safety board is investigating whether pilot fatigue was an important factor. The crew had flown all night flight and was landing in darkness. The approach lights for the runway weren’t turned on, however the lights on the runway surface were illuminated, according to the safety board. The  board is investigating the Atlanta incident, as well.

It’s not clear what the pilots’ schedule was in the hours before the flight overshot the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Wednesday night. But their work hours and sleep schedules in the preceding few days will be among the main issues examined by safety board investigators.

Six dead in Sharjah plane crash

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes


By The National

SHARJAH // Six people were killed when a cargo plane in which they were travelling crashed soon after takeoff from Sharjah International Airport yesterday.

Flight SD2241 left Sharjah for Khartoum at 3.29pm, and the plane crashed two minutes later. It came down on a deserted stretch of land near the Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, but missed a number of nearby roads.

Witnesses said the Boeing 707, which was carrying general cargo, appeared to turn sharply before crashing, perhaps in an attempt to move away from a residential area, and burst into flames upon hitting the ground.


Firemen arrived on the scene within minutes and spent more than two and a half hours battling the flames. The bodies of the six men on board, all Sudanese nationals, were recovered from the wreckage early yesterday evening.

The General Civil Aviation Authority launched an investigation in the hours after the crash, said Saif al Suwaidi, its director.

The so-called black box, which records data from inside the cabin, was recovered, and will be used in the investigation of the accident.


Mr Suwaidi added that it was too soon to determine the cause of the crash. An airline source in Khartoum said one of the plane’s engines may have failed.

A cargo operator in the Sharjah free zone said he saw the aftermath of the crash from about one kilometre away.

“After takeoff there was a huge sound, a big explosion,” said the operator, who asked not to be named.

“I saw the immediate results. Burning, fire, smoke, pieces of aircraft everywhere. All the men, they’re gone. I knew some of them.”

The plane was owned by Azza Transport, a cargo company based in the Sudanese capital, but was being operated by Sudan Airways.

Five of the six who died were employees of Azza Transport; the sixth, a load master, worked for Sudan Airways.

Among the dead was the captain, Mohammed Ali, 55, who had more than 20 years’ experience and had been planning to retire soon.

Small plane crashes near Hernando

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Crashes


By Chip Washington, WLBT

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) – One person was injured in a plane crash early Wednesday afternoon near Hernando.

Emergency officials said the small, single engine aircraft went down in a field near Green Village Road.  The pilot, Roger Brown, 66, suffered a broken ankle and head injuries in the crash, but was expected to be ok.

Officials said Brown’s aircraft had a mechanical problem shortly after takeoff from the Hernando Village Airpark.  As Brown attempted to circle back to the runway, he lost control and crashed.

Airpark manager Paul Cassell, who heard the crash, said his immidiate priority was to look after the victim.

“The only thing is to secure the airplane so that there’s no fire, and look after the person,” he said.  “The rest of the facts will find themselves over time.”

Brown was airlifted to The Med, where he is expected to recover.

As is standard procedure, the FAA will investigate the incident to determine exactly what happened.

Man killed in plane crash was UVU flight instructor

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events


By The Daily Herald

PROVO, Utah (AP) – The 30-year-old man who died in an airplane crash near the Provo airport was a flight instructor and student at Utah Valley University.

Benjamin Hill, of Springville, died Wednesday afternoon after the Cessna he was piloting lost power on a flight between Spanish Fork and Provo and crashed just short of the runway.

Hill was a student at Utah Valley University’s aviation science program. He was also an adjunct instructor in the program.

The dean of the College of Technology and Computing at UVU says the crash shocked the local aviation community and the university.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at the scene Thursday.

Former flight attendants sue Airbus over “bleed air”

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events


by aubrey cohan, seattle PI blog

Two former flight attendants are suing Airbus, alleging that toxic “bleed air” from aircraft engines caused serious permanent injuries.

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Broward County, Fla.:

Lucy Mayorga and Adriana Moravcik of New York suffered inhalation injuries on Oct. 8, 2005, aboard a U.S. Airways Airbus A319-112 aircraft. Upon takeoff, they noticed a strange chemical smell, followed by their eyes watering, their throats tightening and debilitating symptoms, including headache, upper respiratory irritation and difficulty breathing.

They were later diagnosed with breathing injuries, and their symptoms continued to worsen until they had to give up their jobs.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that defective design allows toxic chemicals from engine oil and hydraulic lubrication products to contaminate air drawn in to the cabin through the engines.

“The problem of toxic ‘bleed air’ on airplanes has been known to the airline industry since the 1950s,” Alisa Brodkowitz, a Seattle lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said in a news release. “The aircraft manufacturers have turned a blind eye to this problem and failed to equip their planes with sensors or filters to keep toxic chemicals out of the cabin. The only things filtering this stuff out of the cabin are the lungs of passengers and crew members.”

Brodkowitz also represents Former flight attendant Terry Williams, who sued plane maker Boeing and subsidiary McDonnell Douglas this summer, alleging that bleed air fumes sickened her aboard an American Airlines MD-82 airliner in 2007, eventually causing symptoms so intense that she could no longer work.

In August, CNN reported that a team at the University of Washington was finalizing a blood test to confirm whether 92 people who suspect they’ve been poisoned by toxic fumes in airplanes actually were.

A 2002 National Research Council report (free summary) said:

Problems arise when engine lubricating oils, hydraulic fluids, or deicing fluids unintentionally enter the cabin through the air-supply system from the engines in what is called bleed air. Many cabin crews and passengers have reported incidents of smoke or odors in the cabin. No exposure data are available to identify the contaminants in cabin air during air-quality incidents, but laboratory studies suggest that many compounds are released when the fluids mentioned above are heated to the high temperatures that occur in the bleed-air system.

The 787 Dreamliner will not use bleed air in the cabin — because of fuel efficiency, not health concerns, according to Boeing.



Wolf expert killed in Alaska plane crash

Author: Alisa Brodkowitz  |  Category: Other Events


US news,

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Oct. 17 (UPI) — A biologist who spent decades studying wolves in Alaska died in a bush plane crash in Denali National Park while his pilot hiked 20 miles out, officials said.

Gordon Haber was tracking wolf packs when the Cessna 185 crashed and burned Wednesday, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The pilot, Daniel McGregor, survived and walked Thursday to the Igloo Creek campground until he encountered the only campers in the park, Nick Rodrick and Jesse Hoagland, two young New Hampshire men who had come to Alaska by van.

“He came staggering up to us,” Rodrick said. “We saw him. His fleece was all burned. It kind of freaked us out at first.”

McGregor was taken to a burn center in Seattle.

The plane was reported missing late Wednesday. By the time McGregor turned up, rangers had found the wreckage.

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals in Darien, Conn., said Haber was devoted to wolves.