CFS News

CFS 2018 Speaker Spotlight: Acting Administrator Dan Elwell

(Sept. 7, 2018)

Elwell1Dan Elwell is the Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest airspace system in the world, overseen by more than 47,000 employees including nearly 20,000 represented by NATCA.

CFS 2018 Speaker Spotlight: Paul Dye, Aviator, Engineer, Writer

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(Sept. 7, 2018)

Dye5Paul Dye has over 40 years of aviation experience as an engineer, builder and pilot. His scope has ranged from restoring old light aircraft to planning and leading manned spaceflights. His love of flying machines dates back to early childhood, and he became involved with full-sized aircraft as a teenager, rebuilding J-3 Cubs with an FBO in Minnesota. He earned his degree in Aeronautical Engineering with a specialization in aircraft design and flight testing from the University of Minnesota in 1982.

Archie League Awards 2018: “Smoke in the Cockpit, Fire Confirmed!” Boston TRACON Members Quickly Work to Help Get Crew Safely on the Ground

The 14th Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners
New England Region
Jesse Belleau, Boston TRACON

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“Smoke in the Cockpit, Fire Confirmed!” Boston TRACON Members Quickly Work to Help Get Crew Safely on the Ground

On Oct. 23, 2017, Cape Air Flight 21 took off from Augusta, Maine, headed for Boston.

But the flight was interrupted when the crew reported a fire in the dome light in the cockpit of the Cessna 402. They declared an emergency to Boston TRACON.

“We need immediate landing. Smoke in the cockpit. Fire confirmed,” was the ominous report over the frequency.

NATCA member Jesse Belleau immediately began to assess the situation and the available options. He quickly offered Bedford-Hanscom Field (BED), located approximately 20 miles northwest of downtown Boston and Logan Airport (BOS). The crew asked about conditions at both locations.

Belleau chose BED because the weather there was reported 3,000’ scattered while BOS was in instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions showing low visibility and 3,000 runway visual range (RVR).

“Alright, we are heading to Bedford,” a crew member said.

Belleau issued a right turn and 310 heading. He told the crew the airport was 21 degrees to the right and seven miles away. He also gave wind readings and reported that any of the runways were open for them. He chose Runway 29 because it was just about a straight-in approach even though there was a slight quartering tailwind at 7 knots.

“Bedford said you can have any runway you need,” Belleau said.

The pilots then lined up straight on for their approach and were six miles out.

“Cape 21 cleared visual approach at the Bedford Airport,” Belleau said.

Belleau then cleared the aircraft to land on Runway 29 and issued the wind report.

The pilot on frequency asked if there were any obstacles to be aware of as they made their final approach.

“There’s just a tower just off your right front,” Belleau reported, but indicated that everything else should be clear and safe.

“OK we have that in sight,” the pilot said.

Belleau then gave him the frequency for BED ATCT.

“Alright, thanks, see ya,” came the final transmission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archie League Awards 2018: Locating a Cessna 180 on Snow-Covered Abandoned Airstrip

(Aug. 24, 2018)

The 14th Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners
Alaskan Region
Scott Eastepp

ScottEasteppAnchorage Center (ZAN) Quality Control Specialist Scott Eastepp used his knowledge and previous experience in locating a lost visual flight rules (VFR) aircraft on Jan. 30, 2017, with a severe winter storm bearing down. After the family aboard the aircraft spent one night on a snow-covered abandoned airstrip, it was not looking good for them to spend a second night with another snowstorm headed their direction.

Pilot Josh Smith and his family left Lake Hood in Anchorage in a Cessna 180 and intended to fly 65 miles southwest to Kenai, which is located on the eastern shore of Cook Inlet. But when they didn’t arrive at Kenai Municipal Airport on schedule, a concerned family member alerted the Kenai Flight Service Station.

The team there performed a search for a flight plan but found no information or any contact with the aircraft. They transmitted an alert notice. When ZAN controllers received the alert, they immediately began looking for the missing aircraft along its intended flight route toward Kenai.

The aircraft did not have a transponder so the team relied on the departure time to help modify the search area.

After reviewing replays that produce a graphical replay of air traffic, Anchorage Quality Control located a possible aircraft target and tracked it until it descended below radar coverage. After locating another possible target in close proximity to the first target, Eastepp determined they were in a “see and avoid” scenario. He recognized the beacon code of the second aircraft and immediately called the parent company in order to contact the pilot of the second aircraft. The pilot of the second aircraft stated he did see the lost aircraft and overheard over the common frequency that the “lost” aircraft was headed up to Merrill Pass, which is 100 miles away from the pilots’ intended destination of Kenai.

Eastepp handed the case over to the Technical Operations personnel since he was no longer able to view the track since it descended below radar coverage. Technicians John Farley and Paul Mueller were able to pick up the trail and provide a general location of the lost aircraft, using an enhanced radar intelligence tool, which looks for discarded targets that do not appear on controllers’ radar scopes. They narrowed their search to a non-transponder-equipped, primary-only aircraft that departed to the north and continued west across Cook Inlet, away from their planned route.

The ZAN team relayed the aircraft’s last known coordinates to Alaska’s Rescue Coordination Center. With severe weather approaching, a U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew set out to find the missing aircraft and located it not far from the coordinates that the ZAN team provided. The crew heard the plane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter, used direction-finding equipment and, when in range, saw a flare shot by the pilot of the plane.

The aircraft flipped while attempting to land on an abandoned snow-covered ridgeline airstrip.

Alaska search and rescue worked very well in this event with the help of controllers, technicians, and Flight Service. Their actions helped save the life of the pilot, his father-in-law, and his 12-year-old daughter.

(Read more about this incident from Coast Guard News.)

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2018 Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners' Spotlight: Daniel Rak, ZID

(Aug. 10, 2018)

The 14th Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners
Great Lakes Region

DanielRakOn April 9, 2018, the pilot of a Beechcraft Baron BE-55 (N55VF) departed Portage County Regional Airport in Ravenna, Ohio (POV) on an instrument flight rules flight plan to Allendale County Airport in South Carolina (AQX). The pilot didn’t plan on having to make a life-saving pit stop a little more than an hour into the flight. As the aircraft approached mountainous terrain and below-freezing temperatures east of Charleston, W.Va., it began accumulating ice.

Indianapolis Center (ZID) NATCA member Daniel Rak, working in Area 2, was handling the airspace above Charleston, W.Va., (CRW) approach control when they called needing assistance with the pilot at 8,000 feet, trying to get out of the adverse icing conditions. Immediately, Rak jumped on the line to coordinate a higher altitude with an adjacent sector and requested a climb out pilot report from a departure aircraft in the area. Without missing a beat, he relayed this information to the controller at CRW and approved the aircraft to climb to 12,000 feet.

Rak transitioned between frequencies and landlines as he continued to safely and efficiently work multiple aircraft in his sector. He was able to remain calm and composed as he balanced the needs of the aircraft as well as maintaining operational integrity.

The pilot worked desperately to maintain airspeed as the aircraft labored out of 8,000 feet towards 12,000 feet.

The pilot was reporting rapidly accumulating moderate rime icing. Rak, recognizing the current situation was becoming dire, swiftly developed an alternate plan of action to assist the pilot. He issued the aircraft a descent back down to 8,000 feet and suggested a heading to the northwest and west towards a lower minimum IFR altitude and warmer air temperatures.

As the aircraft continued to lose airspeed and altitude, the pilot nervously searched for a safe place to land. Rak promptly issued airport information for Raleigh County Memorial Airport, W.Va. (BKW) including location, automated weather observation, and minimum IFR altitude. Unfortunately, at that moment, the pilot lost control. “Baron 5VF is descending below eight thousand, we are stalling.”

Rak updated the pilot on the current minimum IFR altitude in the area and began coordination with Charleston Approach to get N55VF inbound on the ILS approach to BKW Airport. Thankfully, soon after, the pilot regained control.

At 1:01 p.m. local time, 35 minutes after Rak had received the initial landline call, the aircraft landed without incident at BKW.

The pilot in command, Tim Paul, called to say the controller involved in their decision to divert to BKW provided outstanding service and communicated all the vital information they needed for the pilot to ultimately make the decision to land. He stated that they encountered an incredible amount of ice and had the controller not been so on top of the situation and insistent, the outcome could have been much worse.

Rak’s ability to think quickly, remain calm under pressure, and maintain situational awareness was instrumental in ensuring a safe outcome to this flight.

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Archie League Awards 2018: A Text Connection In the Nick of Time Turns Perilous Journey to Triumph

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The 14th Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Award Winners

Southwest Region

It was an emotional moment on Jan. 10, 2018 when pilot and Paris, Texas, neurologist Dr. Peter Edenhoffer met and thanked the air traffic control team at Fort Worth Center (ZFW) that came to his aid on Super Bowl Sunday 2017 when his Cessna Cardinal experienced complete electrical failure. Hearing Edenhoffer describe how he texted his son to tell him goodbye -thinking he was not going to survive the experience - hit the controllers hard.

But Edenhoffer did survive, thanks to the teamwork and quick, outside-the-box thinking demonstrated by the team of professionals at ZFW with more than 150 years of combined experience: NATCA members Hugh Hunton, Thomas Herd, and Phil Enis, with support from Charlie Porter, Mike Clifton, Mike Turner, and Bryan Beck.

The three NSW Archie League winners and others on duty that Sunday evening had just one hour left on their shifts. Edenhoffer’s flight began uneventfully. He was cleared to land in Paris, which was reporting ¾-mile visibility with 200-foot cloud ceilings. But then Porter and Enis noticed the aircraft’s beacon code reappear on their radar scope. That would not be unusual if a plane missed its approach and was going around for a second attempt, but the altitude indicator showed the aircraft was climbing well above the missed approach altitude of 3,000 feet to as high as 6,500.

 EnisInsider  HERD HughHuntonHeadShot 
Phil Enis Thomas Herd Hugh Hunton

Enis attempted to reestablish communications with Edenhoffer without success. He then noticed the beacon code briefly change to 7700, indicating an emergency. Over the next hour, Porter and Enis used every technique they knew to attempt to reach Edenhoffer. They asked other aircraft on frequency to attempt to reach him and continually advised him of his aircraft’s position to emergency airports and more favorable weather conditions for visual flight, even with no response.

The team brainstormed new ways they could reach Edenhoffer, including a Google search of the aircraft tail number. That led to a Google search of the Edenhoffer’s name based off his registrations, which in turn led to finding out he was a neurosurgeon. Then they searched locations where he could possibly practice neurosurgery near the home base of the aircraft, which led to a call to a hospital that knew Edenhoffer. They finally were able to locate his cell phone number. Calls to the cell number for 45 minutes were not answered but then they tried texting Edenhoffer – and it worked.

Texts revealed Edenhoffer not only had suffered a complete electrical failure, but he was flying on minimal fuel and needed to land quickly. “It was pretty tense,” Edenhoffer said. “My worst flying hours that I’ve had.” The team of controllers texted Edenhoffer the VFR areas in his vicinity. He texted ZFW to request they turn the runway lights on at Majors Airport in Greenville, Texas. The controllers tracked him and waited anxiously before receiving a triumphant final text from Edenhoffer that he had landed safely.

To mark the occasion of the reunion, Edenhoffer presented the team with a thank you letter.

He wrote, “How can simple words of thanks ever express the depths of saving a life? There are, however, only words of appreciation, which can be offered. Had your team not been willing to think outside the box, to use personal ingenuity even against the conventional rules in place, I might not be sitting here to write today. So often rules are so ingrained in individuals that they impede even the goals they are designed to reach. Thankfully, such was not the case that night.”

More on this event:

Emotional Reunion as Pilot Meets ZFW Team That Helped Save His Life

A Super Bowl Save