Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

July 19, 2013 by Benét Wilson

It’s a bird, it’s a plane — it’s a metal clipboard! Gus Binos of  Long Island, N.Y., is still reeling from seeing a metal object that fell from the sky and hit the ground a few feet from where he was standing, reports NBC New York. The object turned out to be a metal clipboard that had flight patterns and navigation guidelines for flying through the Hudson River corridor and around the Statue of Liberty, and a runway map of MacArthur Airport.

Can’t we all play nicely. Youths in Australia thought it would be fun to destroy a 100,000-piece Lego helicopter worth $23,000 that was on display at a local mall, reports the New York Post. It took Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught  six weeks to build the helicopter. The youths fled after destroying the model.

Tagged — you’re it. A Learjet valued at $2.3 million was spray painted with gang-related graffiti as it sat at Van Nuys Airport, reports CBS Los Angeles. The damage is estimated to be $100,000.

Flying with Frank Sinatra. Arik Kislin, a businessman in Kings Point, N.Y., has donated a Gulfstream II business jet previously owned by Frank Sinatra to the Western Suffolk BOCES aviation maintenance program, reports Newsday. The students will use the aircraft for training.

Fake monk? No… Last week we reported an item about Thai Buddhist monks flying on a private jet, wearing expensive sunglasses and carrying Louis Vuitton bags.  The monk carrying the Vuitton bad turns out to be a fake monk who is allegedly married and having relationships with seven other women Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations told the Daily Mail.

A sad end. The first aircraft with the Air Force One designation — a 1948 a Lockheed VC-121 Constellation 48-610 used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower – is now decaying away in a field at Marana Regional Airport, reports the Air Force Times. The aircraft’s caretaker is looking for a museum willing to spend $200,000 restore it.

All’s well that ends well. Two skydivers and their pilot managed to escape from their aircraft right before it crashed into some trees in Auckland, New Zealand, reports ODT.co.nz. A pilot and his passenger made a successful landing in a field across the street from New Jersey’s Blairstown Airport, reports SFGate.com. Aliosman A. Bilukbash of Sciota, Pa., made an emergency landing in a field near a bank just outside Braden Airpark in Forks Township, Pa., reports the Pocono Record.

We’ll end the week with this YouTube clip of plane spotters at RAF Waddington in England getting quite a scare after a Eurofighter Typhoon came dangerously close the the spectators during a recent air show. Enjoy!

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9 Responses to “Strange but true general aviation news”

  1. Dror Shannon Says:

    On the subject of “Alls well that ends well”, has anyone written to the Otago Daily Times of New Zealand to educate their writers and editors about general aviation? But since the story was apparently provided by Patrice Dougan of APNZ, perhaps that is where education should be more properly directed. The opening line of her story focuses its readers’ attention on two skydivers, who really had nothing whatever to do with the true subject of her story which is the crash of a light aircraft. Nonetheless, the director of the skydiving company is quoted in the last sentence of the article mentioning that the pilot was fine and that no skydivers were in the air when the crash occurred, so he appeared also to contribute to the irrelevancy. The fact of whether the skydivers had already landed or were still in the air is entirely irrelevant to the crash or the condition of the pilot. The statement in the middle of the article that “Tandem skydivers had jumped out of the plane moments before, and the pilot was returning to the airfield when the incident occurred.” would have been sufficient mention of the skydivers and the use to which the plane had been employed. In general, the article really should have been edited to be more concise as well as more accurate, as follows:
    ———
    The pilot of a Cessna aircraft walked away without injuries after the plane crashed into a line of trees near an airport in Auckland yesterday. It is believed the plane lost engine power as it was preparing to land at Parakai, near Helensville, around 12.15pm. Tandem skydivers had jumped out of the plane moments before, and were already on the ground when the incident occurred.

    Tony Moore, a director of Blueskies Skydiving, confirmed his company used the plane. The company was conducting a debriefing about the incident yesterday afternoon, he said. Moore added, “Fortunately the pilot is fine; and there were no skydivers from our company in the air when the crash happened.”

    The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the crash, and an investigator at the scene reported the aircraft sustained “quite severe damage” from the crash.

    CAA communications manager Mike Richards said it was possible the trees slowed the plane as it came down. “Probably it reduced the velocity of the aircraft, and reduced the force of impact, so that was good luck,” he said. “[The pilot] has done a great job to walk away from that, he really has.” The authority will take the wreckage to a secure location for examination.
    ———

    Of course, a less generalized audience of fellow pilots would have liked to know something about the terrain and the aircraft’s altitude and why it wasn’t possible to avoid the trees entirely. I looked at the area with Google Maps, and the surrounding area appears to consist of very flat farm fields and very few lines of trees, one of which stretches across one end of the runway. But if he were approaching over that line and lost power on short final, it could be understandable that his options might have been rather limited.

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