John Walton, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and a member of the company’s board, died in the crash of his experimental ultralight airplane in June. He was 58. Walton, a medic in the U.S. Army’s Green Berets during the Vietnam War, earned a Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his unit while under intense enemy fire.
• The House of Representatives approved appropriations for Fiscal Year 2006 for the Department of Transportation. The House bill allocates to the FAA $14.4 billion for operations, $3.6 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, $25 million to hire some 600 new air traffic controllers and $8 million to add more safety inspectors in the aircraft certification and flight standards offices.
It used to be Signature’s busiest location– by far. The FBO at Ronald Reagan Washington National has seen on its ramp everyone from presidents, ex-presidents and captains of industry to weekend pilots with their families visiting the nation’s capital.
The June 23 event was called “Celebrate General Aviation,” but with general aviation access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) still in limbo at the time of the celebration, some thought it might have been a tad premature. That goal inched closer to reality almost a month later with the publication of the interim final rule that would reopen DCA to some GA operations.
The Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s Office has launched an investigation into charges of fraudulent financial reporting by Boston-Maine Airways, the Portsmouth, N.H.-based airline that flies regional routes with 13 Jetstream 31s as Pan Am Clipper Connection.
Strong wind gusts from August 5 thunderstorms collapsed part of the roof of a new maintenance hangar under construction for Chautauqua Airlines at Louisville International Airport. None of the construction workers on the scene at the time sustained injuries. The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of up to 53 miles per hour at the airport at the time of the collapse.
Former Comair flight attendant (FA) Gilbert Knops has filed suit against the airline, claiming his ethnic appearance and anti-war sentiment bred suspicion of an involvement in terrorism that led to his firing. According to the suit, a coworker reported him for showing her a sticker ridiculing “support the troops” car magnets and a cartoon lampooning President George W. Bush.
The NTSB determined that the Sikorsky S-76 that crashed in the East River in Manhattan on June 17 had a bent compressor blade on one engine. No other anomalies have been found as yet. Meanwhile, at press time no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions had been discovered on the Bell 206L that went down in the East River on June 14. There were no fatalities in either accident.
Signature Flight Support broke ground late last month on a new facility at Boston Logan Airport. The new 12,000-sq-ft, two-story terminal and 8,800-sq-ft ground-support repair shop are scheduled to open next July. The company, which has operated an FBO at Logan for nearly 40 years, recently signed a new lease with the Massachusetts Port Authority under which it will operate the FBO at Logan until 2016.
Rules that enable qualified general aviation operators to resume flights into and out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) went into effect last month, and interested operators can start the complicated application and approval process.