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Colleen Mondor

According to a formal notice issued last month by the Federal Aviation Administration, all individuals holding mechanic certificates with airframe or powerplant ratings (or both) who were tested by Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) Marty James Simmons of Anchorage must be re-examined. Simmons' DME designee status was terminated after investigators conducted interviews with "numerous" airframe and powerplant mechanics who received testing from him. The interviews presented compelling evidence raising doubts as to the adequacy of the testing, according to the agency....

Colleen Mondor

Floridian Amber Nolan arrived in Alaska last month in a very unique way -- she hitchhiked in an Aerotrek from Wisconsin with Palmer resident Glenn Johnmeyer. The two met at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where the writer was looking for a ride north as part of her two-year effort to visit every state in the country traveling only by catching rides on general aviation and private jet aircraft. Her travels so far are documented on her website JetHiking , and she has future plans for a book about her adventures.

Alaska is one of Nolan's last states (only four remain on her quest), but as could be expected, it posed some specific challenges...

Colleen Mondor

National Transportation Safety Board documents, released on Wednesday, reveal a great deal about weight and balance calculations on the de Havilland DHC-3 Otter that crashed in Soldotna last July. The pilot, Walter “Willie” Rediske and all 9 passengers -- two families from South Carolina -- were killed in the crash.

The aircraft was being flown as an on-demand charter for air taxi operator Rediske Air, and was bound for Bear Mountain Lodge, approximately 90 miles southwest of Soldotna. Rediske was also the company owner and director of operations...

Colleen Mondor

After more than 30 years of being the official photographer for the Iditarod, Jeff Schultz has accumulated 50,000 pictures on every aspect of the race. In his recent book, "Chasing Dogs," he highlights many of the more arresting images, providing readers with an inside look at the working mushers, dogs and volunteers who make the race a success. He also shares decades of memories, which include a lot of time in airplanes flying over the trail and one nearly fatal crash near Golovin...

Colleen Mondor

The Federal Aviation Administration is considering decommissioning the approach lighting system at Bettles Airport, and is seeking input from the public on the plan.

The move would reduce the level of instrument flight rules service available at the airport. A localizer approach at Bettles was previously decommissioned, leaving the airport with two RNAV approaches and a VOR/DME with required minimums of 1 mile or more...

Colleen Mondor

On July 10, 2012, a Cessna 206 on floats crashed while landing on Beluga Lake , in Homer. The pilot and four passengers departed Anchorage earlier that day on a private flight to Homer for a planned fishing trip the next day. Three of the passengers and the pilot, Joe Griffith, sustained minor injuries in the accident. Passenger and former state legislator Cheryll Heinze was killed...

Colleen Mondor

The National Transportation Safety Board amassed a file of more than 300 pages of documents while investigating the fatal March 8, 2013 crash of Alaska Central Express flight 51. These documents support the probable cause findings released by the NTSB earlier this month, but they also provide insight to a long series of events that led to the accident.

The captain of the flight, Jeff Day, had 5,770 hours of flight time, 5,470 of it in the Beech 1900, the type of aircraft involved in the accident. He had been with the company since 2008 and upgraded to captain in 2011. Co-pilot Neil Jensen had 470 flight hours, 250 of which were in the Beech 1900 and was hired on Nov. 30 of 2012...

Colleen Mondor

Every year, with tragic regularity, Alaska's aviation community suffers through hunting season. In 2011 there were 29 accidents between August 15th and September 30th, in 2012 there were 26 and in 2013 there were 25. Overwhelmingly, the causes of these crashes are errors committed by the pilots. A review of some common mistakes from the past can go a long way toward making 2014 a better season for everyone...

Colleen Mondor

In a report released today, the National Transportation Safety Board made the unusual determination that ambiguous directions from Anchorage Center were a factor in an accident that occurred last year and took the lives of ACE Air captain Jeff Day and co-pilot Neil Jensen.

Further, the NTSB cited the air traffic controller for other factors, including a failure to monitor the flight. This determination stemmed from inaction on the part of the controller as the crew descended the aircraft below the minimum published altitude for the approach. A 20-year search of the NTSB accident database found only one previous instance where air traffic control was cited as a factor in an Alaska accident. In that case, it was a brief ground collision that resulted in one minor injury...

Colleen Mondor

The Federal Aviation Administration released a flight advisory last week concerning scheduled GPS interference testing based in the Big Delta area. From Aug. 11-24, GPS testing may result in unreliable or unavailable signals ranging outward from Big Delta to 365 nautical miles and up to 40,000 feet.

Centered at 634714N/1455152W or the BIG VOR 173 degree radial at 014NM, the tests will affect the surrounding area as follows:...

Colleen Mondor

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