Today is Monday the 26th of September, 2016

These are the stories to start the new week…

Be safe out there!


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Three killed in ‘mid-air collision’ over North Collins, N.Y

Mike Stefan regularly sees small aircraft soaring over his hay farm in North Collins, so he wasn’t surprised to see a group of planes flying far overhead on Sunday, a clear, bright morning.

But then he saw two of the planes, flying side by side, appear to come together, one on top of the other. north-collins-crash-photo-credit-to-brian-schmitt-1024x430

What happened next horrified him.

“And then the bottom one came up into the top one, and his wing hit, maybe, the tail of the other plane,” Stefan said. “The top plane literally disintegrated.”

Three people died in the midair collision and crash, which are under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration. The crash left a debris field over a one-quarter to one-half-mile section of School Street, between Larkin and Eden roads in North Collins, officials said.

One of the victims was flying a Cessna 120, and the other two victims were flying in a Piper PA-28-140, according to an administrator at Hamburg Airport and aircraft registration records.

The victims were among a group of six aircraft flying from the Hamburg Airport to a small airport in Pennsylvania to get a meal on Sunday morning, officials said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, with the NTSB investigator likely to issue his preliminary report within two weeks.

But veteran pilots said collisions can happen even in ideal flying conditions, and the crash has rattled the close-knit community of flyers at Hamburg Airport.

“We’re all shaking in our boots now,” Larry Walsh, the airport’s vice president, told The Buffalo News.

The group of six aircraft took off into blue skies at about 9 a.m. Sunday from the airport in Lake View, Walsh said, on their way to St. Marys Municipal Airport in St. Marys, Pa.

The two pilots were experienced amateur pilots, each with at least 15 years of flying, Walsh said. Both planes, the Cessna and the Piper, are single-engine, fixed-wing planes.

Walsh said he didn’t know the cause of the crash but even on a clear day, with good visibility, one pilot can lose sight of another; for example, if one flies underneath or above the other.

“There are a number of blind spots,” Walsh said.

The first 911 call came in from a cellphone at 9:24 a.m., sheriff’s officials said.

“We have several eyewitnesses who saw the planes approaching before there was contact,” said Scott Joslyn, chief of patrol services.

Stefan was one of them. He said he made the 911 call after watching the two planes collide. He said the planes took more than 20 seconds to fall to the ground. north-collins-2

A third plane remained overhead, circling the crash site for a time, Stefan said, while the fourth plane traveled on, appearing to not have realized what had happened. Stefan never saw the fifth and sixth planes that took off from Hamburg.

Stefan and his 12-year-old son, Ryan, raced over to the crash site.

“My immediate thought was, how are we going to find it? The corn is 10 feet high out here,” Mike Stefan said.

Karen Ricotta, a North Collins town justice who lives on School Street, said she heard a noise at about 9:30 a.m. “And when I looked outside, you could see something next door on a mowed farm field. I couldn’t identify what it was,” Ricotta told The News. “But when I went outside, another man driving by pulled in my yard and told me it was a plane in the field. I called 911, but they already had been called.”

The crash sites for the two aircraft are about 400 yards apart, Joslyn said, one on the south side of School Street and one on the north side.

North Collins Supervisor John M. Tobia said the devastation from the crash could have been worse.

“It missed a house by 100 feet,” Tobia said. One aircraft landed in a field and the other landed between a metal storage building and a wooded area, the supervisor said.

“It’s like a pancake; it’s crushed,” Tobia said. “You can’t tell it’s an aircraft.”

Brian Schmitt lives at School Street and Jennings Road near the two crash sites. “I’m upset. I’m shocked that you could be in the air one minute and dead the next,” said Schmitt, a member of Langford Volunteer Fire Company, which responded to the crash.

Erie County sheriff’s personnel preserved the scene until federal investigators could get to the area. They were assisted by the North Collins and Langford fire companies, Eden police and North Collins rescue.

The Erie County medical examiner also was called. Roads in the immediate area were closed for several hours Sunday.

“Locating any piece of those crafts all tell a tale,” Joslyn said. “It’s going to be real important to have a good search of the area.”

The FAA sent a team from Rochester and the NTSB investigator was driving in Sunday from New York City, said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the safety board.

The safety board investigator would begin work either Sunday evening, if he arrived while it was still daylight, or first thing Monday morning, Knudson said.

The investigator will collect perishable evidence, including any relevant radar images of the flights, recorded conversations with the pilots, witness interviews, flight plans, data from GPS or other electronic devices in the planes or that the passengers were carrying, Knudson said.

“They want to get that stuff documented,” he said.

A preliminary report should be available within two weeks, but the entire accident investigation likely will take 12 months, Knudson said.

Not much was immediately known about the two pilots.

However, the passenger was identified as a retired kindergarten teacher at North Collins Elementary School by Schmitt and by Stefan, who is on the North Collins School Board.

Sunday’s tragedy isn’t the first time that two planes have collided in Western New York skies with deadly consequences. Almost exactly two years ago – on Sept. 27, 2014 – two people died in a crash in Lancaster when one single-engine aircraft clipped another.

“It was a perfect clear day,” Sheriff’s Detective Capt. Greg Savage said at a media briefing Sunday, “just like it was in the Lancaster crash.”

The two small planes were preparing to land at Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport, one in front of the other on the same flight path, just like countless planes on other landing paths at airports every day. Coming up from behind, the bigger, faster Cessna descended and struck a smaller experimental aircraft, called a Searey, before spiraling out of control to the ground.

Anthony Mercurio, 78, was flying in a small plane with James Metz, 14. Both were killed. The pilot of the other plane and that plane’s passenger, a 9-year-old girl, survived.

The two youngsters and volunteer pilots were taking part in an event at the Buffalo-Lancaster Regional Airport designed to introduce young people to the thrill of flying.

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2 killed in plane crash near Sky Manor Airport, New Jersey

ALEXANDRIA — Two people died in a plane crash in a grassy field near Sky Manor Airport Sunday afternoon, police said. nj

The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as a Mooney M20 that crashed in a residential neighborhood about half a mile southwest of the runway at the small municipal airport.

“At 12:29 p.m. Hunterdon County 911 Dispatch Center received a call of an aircraft down,” Hunterdon County Chief of Detectives John Kuczynski said. He also spoke at the scene of the crash; a video can be found here.

“The aircraft was apparently coming in for a landing and subsequently witnesses saw the aircraft go down,” Kuczynski said.

Both the pilot and the passenger died at the scene of the crash, according to the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office. Neither victim was identified.

There was no damage to any property near Sky Manor and Oak Summit roads, where the plane was recovered, the prosecutor said.

The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will investigate the crash, the prosecutor said.

Alexia Hughes, a Bucks County, Pa. resident, said she was part of a large crowd watching planes take off and land outside the Sky Cafe restaurant at the airport. They saw a small plane try to land and come in too fast.

“Instead of aborting the landing, he continued to try to land and ran out of runway,” she said.

The plane then pulled up, barely clearing trees at the end of the runway, Hughes said. It tilted up and to the left before losing lift and crashing.

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Yeti Airlines plane overshoots runway in Bhairahawa

All passengers safe 2409201606590114469690_1814288085451409_1

Sep 24, 2016- A Yeti Airlines aircraft has overshot runway while landing at Bhairahawa Airport on Saturday.

Our Bhairahawa correspondent Madhav Dhungana said the plane with registration number 9N-AIB overshot and came to a rest on a grassy land at some 250 meters from the edge of the runway. All the 32 persons, including three crew members, onboard the British-made Jetstream 41 were unhurt in the incident.

The reason behind the mishap has not been known.

The plane had flown into Bhairahawa from Kathmandu.

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Pilot rushed to the hospital following plane crash in Pittsfield, Ma.


A plane crashed at the Pittsfield Municipal Airport just before noon Sunday morning and the pilot had to be rushed to the hospital.

The Pittsfield Fire Department reports they were called to the scene on Tamarack Road at 11:44 a.m.

The plane was a Cessna 172 light aircraft.  It was completely destroyed in the crash.

The pilot who had to be rescued from the plane by firefighters, suffered trauma but his injuries are believed to be non-life threatening.  There was no one else on-board at the time.

When firefighters got to the runway there was an airport worker pulling the pilot away from the plane.  Firefighters then got the pilot to a safe distance and rendered first aid, stabilizing him on a back board.

“He was landing and for whatever reason he…sounded like he might have bounced and overshot part of it.  The plane was 30 to 50 feet off the runway. Found him really close to a ditch.  He was lucky the plane didn’t end up in that ditch,” explained Pittsfield Fire Department Deputy, Daniel Garner.

An ambulance crew called in to the scene transported the pilot to Berkshire Medical Center.

The plane was leaking fuel while some of the equipment was still on in the plane.  Firefighters had foam ready while emergency crews brought the situation under control.

“Luckily the plane was upright and there was not really any catastrophic damage to the fuel compartment,” noted Deputy Garner.

Firefighters finally cleared the scene at about 2:15 p.m. Sunday, however investigators still remained to continue their work on the situation.

The accident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, State Police, and the Pittsfield Police Department.

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Husband, wife injured in plane crash near Pearland, Texas

PEARLAND, Texas – A husband and wife from Alvin were injured after their plane crashed in a field near Pearland Saturday afternoon, according to officials with the Department of Public Safety. pearland

The couple took off from Pearland Regional Airport around 12:20 p.m. A mechanical issue with one of the wings was detected immediately, officials said.

The pilot crashed in a nearby field, purposely avoiding homes in the area.

A nearby homeowner, Robert Kettle witnessed the crash.

“Saw the plane come behind my house,” said Kettle. “It veered right over the edge of my house and came straight over a bunch of trees and hit a row of trees, and that’s when it flipped.” 

Kettle and his grandson helped rescue the couple inside the plane.

“My grandson was with me and I told him, if these people are dead, just don’t panic…We’ll just go from there.” said Kettle. 

He and his grandson used an ATV to transport the couple from the plane to his driveway so emergency crews could easily reach them.

“One of her arms was broken and he had damage,” Kettle said. “The whole side of his face was swollen.”

DPS Sgt. Stephen Woodard said the pilot purposely picked the field in order to avoid striking nearby homes.

“You know, today’s a good day.” said Woodard. “Two people landed or crashed in a field, from a plane, from the sky…and they’re alive.”

The man and his wife were taken to Clear Lake Regional Hospital. They are expected to be OK. 

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Samsung Note 2 catches fire on flight to Chennai, DGCA asks flyers to be careful with all Samsung Note devices

NEW DELHI: A Samsung Note 2 phone emitted smoke after reportedly catching fire on a Singapore-Chennai flight of IndiGo on Friday morning when the plane was about to land. ctcq4e8vuaa6r1e

The phone was kept in the overhead bin. “The crew noticed smoke from the bin and found the device was emitting smoke after possibly catching fire. They used fire extinguishers on it,” said a spokesperson of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

“We advise flyers to exercise caution while flying with Samsung Note devices . They should either keep these devices switched off or not travel with them,” said a DGCA spokesman.

An IndiGo statement said: “IndiGo confirms that a few passengers travelling on 6E-054 flight from Singapore to Chennai noticed the smoke smell in the cabin this morning (September 23, 2016) and immediately alerted the cabin crew on board. The crew quickly identified minor smoke coming from the hat-rack of seat 23 C and simultaneously informed the pilot-in-command who further alerted the ATC of the situation on board.”

The airline added: “Taking precautionary measure, the cabin crew on priority relocated all passengers on other seats, and further observed smoke being emitted from a Samsung note 2 which was placed in the baggage (of a passenger) in the overhead bin. The crew discharged the fire extinguisher which is as per the standard operating procedures prescribed by the aircraft manufacturer, and quickly transferred the Samsung note 2 into a container filled with water in lavatory.”

A Samsung spokesperson said: “We are aware of an incident involving one of our devices. At Samsung, customer safety is our highest priority. We are in touch with relevant authorities to gather more information, and are looking into the matter.”

The aircraft made a normal landing at Chennai airport, and all passengers were deplaned as per normal procedure. The Samsung mobile will be further examined by the concerned departments. IndiGo has voluntarily informed the DGCA.

“We are thankful to passengers for their vigilance and cooperation extended to the crew on board,” the airline said.

The DGCA has summoned Samsung officials on Monday. The regulator has asked the airline to give it the phone for a probe. This matter will be discussed with Samsung officials on Monday.

The DGCA had earlier asked flyers to keep Samsung Galaxy Note 7 switched off while flying.

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SpaceX On Track To Determining AMOS-6/Falcon 9 Accident Cause

‘Anomaly’ Resulted In Loss of Rocket, Payload and Extensive Launch Complex Damage

As promised, SpaceX is starting to reveal details of their investigation into the catastrophic loss of a Falcon 9, its payload and other damage to the 1-spacex-amos6-explosion-0916alaunch complex.

According to SpaceX, “Three weeks ago, SpaceX experienced an anomaly at our Launch Complex 40 (LC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This resulted in the loss of one of our Falcon 9 rockets and its payload.

The Accident Investigation Team (AIT), composed of SpaceX, the FAA, NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and industry experts, are currently scouring through approximately 3,000 channels of engineering data along with video, audio and imagery. The timeline of the event is extremely short – from first signs of an anomaly to loss of data is about 93 milliseconds or less than 1/10th of a second. The majority of debris from the incident has been recovered, photographed, labeled and catalogued, and is now in a hangar for inspection and use during the investigation.”

SpaceX further details the matter by revealing that, “At this stage of the investigation, preliminary review of the data and debris suggests that a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place. All plausible causes are being tracked in an extensive fault tree and carefully investigated. Through the fault tree and data review process, we have exonerated any connection with last year’s CRS-7 mishap. 2-aerotv-airborne-spacex-explosion-090116b

The teams have continued inspections of LC-40 and the surrounding facilities. While substantial areas of the pad systems were affected, the Falcon Support Building adjacent to the pad was unaffected, and per standard procedure was unoccupied at the time of the anomaly. The new liquid oxygen farm – e.g. the tanks and plumbing that hold our super-chilled liquid oxygen – was unaffected and remains in good working order. The RP-1 (kerosene) fuel farm was also largely unaffected. The pad’s control systems are also in relatively good condition.

SpaceX’s other facilities, from the Payload Processing Facility at the Cape, to the pad and hangar at LC-39A, are located several miles from LC-40 and were unaffected as well. Work continues at Pad 39A in preparation for bringing it online in November. The teams have been in contact with our Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center partners and neighbors and have found no evidence of debris leaving the immediate area of LC-40.

At SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, our manufacturing and production is continuing in a methodical manner, with teams continuing to build 3-spacex-launchtestfailure-090116aengines, tanks, and other systems as they are exonerated from the investigation. We will work to resume our manifest as quickly as responsible once the cause of the anomaly has been identified by the Accident Investigation Team. Pending the results of the investigation, we anticipate returning to flight as early as the November timeframe.”

Finally, SpaceX explains that, “Other efforts, including the Commercial Crew Program with NASA, are continuing to progress. Getting back to flight safely and reliably is our top priority, and the data gathered from the present investigation will result in an even safer and more reliable vehicle for our customers and partners.”


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Today in History

19 Years ago today: On 26 September 1997 a Garuda Indonesia Airways Airbus A300 crashed in a wooded area on approach to Medan, killing all 234 on board.

Date: Friday 26 September 1997
Time: 13:34
Type: Airbus A300B4-220
Operator: Garuda Indonesia Airways
Registration: PK-GAI
C/n / msn: 214
First flight: 1982-10-06 (14 years 12 months)
Engines: Pratt & Whitney JT9D-59A
Crew: Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Passengers: Fatalities: 222 / Occupants: 222
Total: Fatalities: 234 / Occupants: 234
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: 32 km (20 mls) S of Medan-Polonia Airport (MES) (   Indonesia)
Crash site elevation: 290 m (951 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK/WIII), Indonesia
Destination airport: Medan-Polonia Airport (MES/WIMM), Indonesia
Flightnumber: GA152

Flight GA152 (Jakarta-Medan) was cleared for an ILS approach to Medan runway 05 and was flying on a 316deg heading on Airway 585/W12. Having descended to 3000 feet the crew were instructed to turn left heading 240deg for vectoring to intercept the runway 05 ILS. At 13:28 the flight was instructed to continue on a 215deg heading and descend to 2000 feet. At 13:30 ATC directed the flight to turn right heading 046 and report when establishing the localizer. Confusion on the part of the air traffic controller followed over whether GA152 was turning left or right. Just 10 seconds after confirming the right turn, the Airbus crashed in a wooded area, broke up and burst into flames. The wreckage covered a 150×75 m area near the village of Pancur Batu, which is located at 900-1000 m amsl.
The region was affected by smog from forest fires; visibility was reported to be 600-800 m.

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Friday the 23rd of September, 2016

We lead off with the memorial services information for Katie Iseman.

Also, there has been a “Go Fund Me” account for her funeral expenses. Please check this out at

Here are the stories to close out this week!

Stay safe out there!



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