Joel Stout (32) of Elizabethtown, Pa., pleaded guilty to seven counts of conspiracy and mail fraud involving the unauthorized certification of inspections of aircraft at Flying Tigers, a now defunct Marietta, Pa.-based MRO. Stout’s father, Jay Stout (53), president of the company, and retired FAA examiner Howard Gunter (76) have also been charged.
A TSA inspector at McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Tenn., confiscated a loaded .38-caliber handgun from a woman on March 21 after removing it from her carry-on luggage. The TSA officer noticed the weapon as the bag passed through the X-ray screening machine. The weapon’s owner was carrying an expired gun permit and told officials she had forgotten she was carrying the weapon. The TSA confiscated 16 firearms from people attempting to board aircraft at TYS last year.
The Colombian Army formally inducted into its fleet five new Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters. Colombia is the first South American country to acquire the S-70i variant, which is assembled at Sikorsky’s PZL Mielec facility in Poland.
Sikorsky said the helicopters were custom-equipped in the U.S. for the special forces of the Colombian army’s air assault division. They join a national fleet of 96 UH-60L Black Hawks operated by the Colombian National Police, army and air force. Colombia operates the world’s fourth-largest Black Hawk fleet.
Two gunmen attempted a daring daylight helicopter prison break from a maximum-security prison in Saint-Jerome, Quebec, on Sunday.
The Robinson R44 Raven I, owned by Heli-Tremblant and operated by Quebec Helicopters, was hijacked by two gunmen during a sightseeing flight shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday and directed to fly to the prison. There, a rope line was lowered for the escapees, who were then flown to a getaway car near Mont-Tremblant, where the helicopter and pilot were located by police.
Pending a judgment against Associated Air Center that could total as much as $49 million, the Dallas Love Field-based company is already planning an appeal. In the suit, brought by Tary Network and Citadella International Group in a Dallas district court, attorneys claimed that Associated and related entities engaged in a breach of contract “that led to tens of millions in losses for the jet owners, including lost profits, out-of-pocket damages and lost value.”
Two former Carson Helicopter Services executives, Steven Metheny and Levi Phillips, were indicted by a federal grand jury February 1 for “endangering the safety of flight” by falsifying aircraft documents, including weight-and-balance and performance charts on a Sikorsky S-61N helicopter owned and operated by the company. The helicopter crashed in December 2008 while performing firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Nine of 13 people aboard were killed in the crash, while four others received serious injuries.
Italian police arrested the current and former CEOs of AgustaWestland on bribery charges this morning and raided the company’s Milan headquarters. Giuseppe Orsi, who served as the helicopter manufacturer’s CEO until December 2011 and is currently head of its parent company, Finmeccanica, was taken into custody, while current AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini was placed under house arrest.
For flight department managers, the work necessary to locate the best qualified temporary pilots, flight attendants or maintenance technicians has become easier over the past decade, thanks in part to the communications technology of the Internet. However, for the handful of staffing companies that actually serve as the go-between for employers and employees, the job has become considerably tougher as those companies assume much more of the risk than before.
Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee last week cited pilot error for the September 2012 crash of an Antonov An-28 in Kamchatka that killed 10 of the 14 people aboard, according to a February 6 report in the Moscow Times. Rescuers located the aircraft on the side of a 1,600-foot hill in the Pyatibratka Mountain region. Medical examiners had announced earlier that alcohol was found in the pilots’ blood and that a criminal investigation is under way.
Many, but not all, former Silver State Helicopter students have had their student loans forgiven in the wake of the 2008 bankruptcy and liquidation of what was then the largest civil helicopter school in the U.S. However, Cleveland-based KeyBank did not offer loan forgiveness, prompting 100 former students to sue, charging that the bank knew of Silver State’s precarious financial condition when it offered them high-interest-rate loans of up to $70,000 to attend the school. Arguments in the case were heard late last year by the Ninth Circuit U.S.