Colleen Mondor

In March, a state Senate committee led by Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, submitted a proposal that all state funding for public television be cut. The House had already passed a budget that cut state funding by about $1 million; the new proposal removed the remaining $3 million as well.

In a short interview, Dunleavy stated that the cuts were “not about whether a program is a good program or not.”

The funding was later restored, but not before response from those opposed to the cuts focused immediately on one very recognizable and award-winning program that often comes up when the issue of cutting public broadcasting surfaces in budget talks...

Colleen Mondor

In late 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration quietly opened a new Flight Standards District Office in Wasilla. Technically a satellite office of the Anchorage FSDO, Wasilla has nine employees, seven of whom are aviation safety inspectors.

This is the first satellite office for the FAA in Alaska, a step in the agency's efforts to move beyond its traditional bases of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. In September, two Juneau inspectors were placed in Ketchikan as a "virtual office" and two inspectors from Anchorage are now rotating through Bethel on four-day shifts, providing a presence at the busy Southwest Alaska hub seven days a week...

Colleen Mondor

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released a long-awaited list of redundant or under-utilized instrument approaches that the agency proposes eliminating in the continuing transition to the NextGen satellite-based air traffic system. The plan is to reduce the cost of maintaining unnecessary aspects of the ground-based navigational infrastructure while still providing a viable VOR-network in the event of GPS system failure. The list of 736 VOR and NDB procedures nationwide the FAA proposes to eliminate includes 28 in the state of Alaska...

Colleen Mondor

In April, the National Transportation Safety Board released the public docket on its investigation into the Nov. 29, 2013 plane crash of a Hageland Aviation aircraft outside the Southwest Alaska village of St. Marys. The crash, which killed four people, and the resulting investigation, reveal troublesome lapses in operational oversight from both the company and the government agency tasked with regulating them.

The St. Marys docket release includes interviews with company personnel and management, survivors, first responders and Federal Aviation Administration personnel assigned to inspect and oversee the airline, as well as extensive analysis of the wreckage and weather around the time of the crash...

Colleen Mondor

The Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation will host its annual Seaplane Seminar at the Loussac Library in Anchorage on Saturday, April 25. The all-day seminar includes a variety of topics and guests addressing an array of topics for area pilots and aircraft owners.

The agenda includes a presentation on avoiding mid-air collisions by Millicent Hoidal with the National Transportation Safety Board, a maintenance panel discussion entitled "Preparing your Aircraft for the Float Season" and, in a topic addressed in an article last summer , "Tips for a Successful Search and Rescue" by two members of the U.S. Coast Guard...

Colleen Mondor

On Dec. 15, 1981, a Cessna 185 operated by Hudson’s Air Service crashed at 10,300 feet in Kahiltna Pass on Mount McKinley. The pilot, Ed Hommer, and his three passengers -- his brother-in-law Dan Hartmann and tourists Patrick Scanlon and Mike Clouser -- all survived the initial crash, though Hartmann and Scanlon were both seriously injured and later died on the mountain.

Six years later, Clouser and Scanlon’s estate won a federal court case against the United States, asserting negligence in the rescue effort to retrieve them from the mountain...

Colleen Mondor
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Of all the ways in which Alaska's aviation and fishing industries have been associated over the years, the use of aircraft to spot fish for commercial fishing operators has by far been the most controversial...

Colleen Mondor

Of all the ways in which Alaska's aviation and fishing industries have been associated over the years, the use of aircraft to spot fish for commercial fishing operators has by far been the most controversial.

Fish spotting is not unique to Alaska or even the West Coast; according to Aerial Age Weekly, it was used as early as 1920 off the coast of Virginia when “....each morning at 5 o’clock a flying boat carrying a pilot, radio operator and fish spotter leaves the station to aid fishing craft.”...

Colleen Mondor

The National Transportation Safety Board took the unusual step this week of citing not only errors committed by the pilot, but also company practices and Federal Aviation Administration oversight as factors in the November 2013 crash of a Hageland Aviation flight at a landing strip on Alaska's North Slope.

Neither of the aircraft's pilots nor the single passenger were injured in the accident that saw the Beechcraft 1900 touch down short of the landing strip at the Badami oil field airstrip, but the plane sustained substantial damage in the crash, according to a final report on the accident issued Tuesday by the NTSB...

Colleen Mondor
FAA weather cams now operational statewide

After 15 years, the Federal Aviation Administration's Alaska Aviation Weather Camera Program is now fully deployed, with a website that allows easy access to cameras in 221 locations statewide. Initiated in 1999, the final camera was placed on Prince of Wales Island last September, bringing the program in ahead of schedule and on budget according to the agency. Combined with data collected by the National Weather Service , pilots can now make preliminary decisions about going on a flight by logging onto a computer before they even call Flight Service...

Colleen Mondor

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