A source close to Mercury Air Group’s top-level management team has told AIN that the sale of the company’s FBO division, Mercury Air Centers, has been delayed. Originally expected to close at the end of January, the deal with Washington, D.C.-based business development firm Allied Capital remains in the due-diligence phase and is now expected to close about the middle of next month.
In the aftermath of last fall’s California wildfires–the state’s most destructive ever–a “blue ribbon” commission last month heard tacit admission that a state rule requiring firefighting aircraft to land a half-hour before sunset may have allowed a controllable blaze to become a huge, deadly conflagration.
CESSNA 414, GREENEVILLE, TENN., DEC. 11, 2003–At 10:50 a.m. EST Cessna N1592T, registered to Young Forever and operated by Saunders Advisory Group, crashed during a circling approach to Runway 23 at Greeneville-Greene County Municipal Airport (GCY). The commercial pilot and three passengers were killed, and a pilot-rated passenger received serious injuries.
FAIRCHILD SWEARINGEN SA-226-TC AND SA-227-AC, DENVER, COLO., DEC. 3, 2003–Two Fairchild Swearingens–an SA-226-TC (N60U) and SA-227-AC (N340AE)–collided in the dark while taxiing at Denver International Airport (DIA). Both aircraft were substantially damaged but neither pilot was hurt in the 5:55 a.m. MST accident. The airplanes were both being operated by Key Lime of Englewood, Colo., under Part 135 as cargo flights.
Switzerland’s Federal Bureau of Air Accident Investigation, known as the BFU, identified pilot error as the cause of a Crossair Avro RJ100 accident on Nov. 24, 2001, near Bassersdorf, Switzerland, during an approach to Zurich Airport. However, investigators also pointed to external deficiencies at other levels.
RAYTHEON BEECH KING AIR B200, MORLAN, GA., DEC. 4, 2003–At 7:40 p.m. EST King Air N85BK crashed while on a localizer approach to Runway 32 at the Newnan Cowet County Airport (CCO) near Morlan. Both the ATP-rated pilot and commercial-rated pilot were killed, and the aircraft was destroyed by the impact and ensuing fire.
A newly designed circuit board is now available for Citation 525 and a few Citation 560 operators that have been required since late last year to disengage their pitch trim and autopilot servo circuit breakers to prevent a possible runaway trim. The FAA has proposed mandatory replacement of the breakers, installation of which is covered under warranty for the Model 525.
CESSNA 441, BIRMINGHAM, ALA., DEC. 10, 2003–Cessna N441W, registered to and operated by Warrington Development, crashed shortly after takeoff from Birmingham International Airport (BHM) at about 2:20 p.m. N441W was on a Part 91 flight in IMC operating on an IFR flight plan. The ATP-rated pilot and passenger were both killed when the aircraft crashed eight minutes after leaving BHM for Venice, Fla.
LEARJET 24B, HELENDALE, CALIF., DEC. 23, 2003–At 9:11 a.m. PST Learjet 24B N600XJ crashed near Helendale, killing the ATP-rated captain and commercial-rated copilot. The airplane, destroyed in the accident, was registered to Pavair of Santa Monica, Calif., and operated by Xtrajet, also of Santa Monica. N600XJ had departed from Chino, Calif., at 9 a.m. on an IFR flight plan for Sun Valley, Idaho, to pick up passengers.
Transport Canada found no violations of Federal Aviation Regulations during a special-purpose audit of Georgian Express, and on January 27 returned the operator certificate to the Toronto-based airline. The certificate was suspended on January 22, five days after a fatal crash of one of the company’s Cessna 208B Caravans in which the pilot and all nine passengers were killed.