Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Charles Parish
San Marco Properties
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Claude Nolan
Apr 272013

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Federal Aviation Administration announced Saturday that it is suspending employee furloughs and will restore normal staffing levels at air traffic facilities by Sunday evening, easing more than a week of major delays because of cutbacks in air traffic control.

“The FAA has suspended all employee furloughs. Air traffic facilities will begin to return to regular staffing levels over the next 24 hours and the system will resume normal operations by Sunday evening,” the FAA said in a statement.

On Friday, Congress passed legislation which provides the FAA with transfer authority for $253 million until October to restore the staffing levels at the nation’s airports which have encountered major airline delays over the past week as the furloughs have hit air traffic controllers.

A White House official told ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny that President Obama was set to sign the legislation over the weekend but must now wait until Tuesday so that a spelling error in the measure can be corrected.

In his weekly address Saturday, the president called the legislation merely a “Band-Aid” and said Congress must end the cuts impacting other services stemming from $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester.

“These cuts are scheduled to keep falling across other parts of the government that provide vital services for the American people,” the president said. “We can’t just keep putting Band-Aids on every cut.  It’s not a responsible way to govern.  There is only one way to truly fix the sequester: by replacing it before it causes further damage.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 222013

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — One of the first major impacts from Washington’s budget sequestration will soon kick in as the Federal Aviation Administration gets ready to close dozens of air traffic control towers.

Of the 189 airports on the FAA’s original list of potential tower shut-downs, 149 have landed on the final roster. Most of them are in small to mid-sized communities, such as Danbury, Connecticut,  but a few that serve fairly sizable communities — Topeka, Kansas, Branson, Missouri, and Boca Raton, Florida, for example — will all see at least their secondary airports lose their control towers. The head of the FAA said the agency will work with all 149 areas to ensure air safety at soon-to-be-uncontrolled airports.

Paul Estefan, Airport Administrator at Danbury Municipal airport in Connecticut, which serves 13 operators, said all traffic will be handled by radio with New York. This could present safety issues, he said, especially on hazy days when “a pilot’s flying in the area and the controller’s not there to point out additional traffic based on the radar screen they have in front of them in our control tower.”

The FAA had given the airports a chance to appeal the decision in early March if they could prove it would be an issue of national interest. Estefan said he wrote to the FAA under that issue and they responded Friday, telling him and five other Connecticut airports that they didn’t make it. The FAA decided to keep 24 towers open under the national interest issue.

The airport towers confirmed to shut down are scheduled to close on April 7.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 222013

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Friday that looming across-the-board spending cuts would cause flight delays at major airports, force the Federal Aviation Administration to furlough workers and have a “very serious impact” on the nation’s transportation services.

Painting a bleak picture, LaHood told reporters “it’s going to be very painful for the flying public” if the cuts kick in at the end of the month.

Overall, the Department of Transportation would need to cut roughly $1 billion from its $74.2 billion budget, less than two percent. More than $600 million of the cuts would come from the FAA, which would be forced to furlough the majority of its nearly 47,000 employees.

As a result, travelers could expect delays of up to 90 minutes at major airports like New York, Chicago and San Francisco because there would be fewer controllers on staff and some flight towers at smaller airports could close temporarily.

“You’ve got a big budget. Can’t you find some other way to cut that without telling air traffic controllers to stay home?” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked.

“That’s a lot of money, Jonathan,” the secretary, a Republican, replied.

LaHood’s surprise appearance at the daily briefing comes as the White House is trying to ramp up pressure on Republicans to reach a deal to avoid so-called sequestration.

“I would describe my presence here with one word: Republican. They’re hoping that maybe I can influence some of the people in my own party,” the former Illinois congressman admitted.

LaHood urged his former Republican Party colleagues to “step up” and compromise and recommended they see the movie Lincoln for inspiration. “What Lincoln did is he gathered people around him the way that I believe president Obama is doing, by calling Republicans, talking to them, trying to work with them. And when that happens, big things get solved,” he said.

LaHood, 67, cautioned lawmakers to expect a flood of calls from their constituents if air-traffic delays occur. “Why does this have to happen?” he asked. “Nobody likes a delay. Nobody likes waiting in line. None of us do.”

“If we can’t get our hamburger within five minutes, if we can’t get on the plane within 30, 40, 50 minutes after going through, you know what happens. They start calling their member of Congress.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Jan 242013

Team Stunters/WFAA(NEW YORK) — The pilot performing a breathtaking feat in a video posted online, in which an aerobatic plane travelling at 200 miles an hour comes within feet of a man on a Texas runway, was performing the stunt on an expired waiver, ABC News has learned.

Stunt pilot Jason Newburg advertises as a daredevil for hire, specializing in death-defying aerial ballet at air shows.  He posted the clip on YouTube on Monday, in which the wing of his plane tipped dangerously close to the ground as he speeds by, nearly taking out a man on an all-terrain vehicle and the cameraman shooting the stunt.  The clip before it was taken down had nearly 150,000 views.

Newburg’s waiver to perform aerobatics expired in November, sources told ABC News.  And even if it hadn’t, pilots are required to ensure the safety of people on the ground.

“Several points along the way this guy could have make mistakes that would have killed himself, and the two people that are filming the action here,” ABC News aviation consultant Steve Ganyard said.

Newburg often performs with motorcycle showmen known as the Dallas Stunt Riderz, who choreograph maneuvers beneath his bright green plane.  But the Federal Aviation Administration is apparently not amused by his adrenalin burst of showmanship, telling ABC News it is investigating the incident.

Efforts by ABC News to reach Newburg have been unsuccessful.

Newburg’s company was involved in a helicopter crash in 2008.  The National Transportation Safety Board’s report on that crash says the pilot, who was not named, was not licensed to fly a helicopter, and that he took off with — instead of against — the wind, causing a hard landing.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 162013

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered the grounding of Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets until their operators prove that batteries on the planes are safe. Several planes operated by overseas carriers have run into trouble recently, the latest because of a suspected battery fire on board.

The FAA order applied to the six 787s being flown by United Airlines, which will need to prove to the FAA that there is no battery fire risk on those planes.

“Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the batteries are safe and in compliance,” the FAA said in a statement Wednesday. “The FAA will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible.”

The FAA’s “emergency airworthiness directive” came after two Japanese airlines grounded their Boeing 787 Dreamliners following a forced emergency landing Tuesday.

An emergency airworthiness directive is one that requires an operator to fix or address any problem before flying again.

United Airlines responded Wednesday night with a statement: “United will immediately comply with the Airworthiness Directive and will work closely with the FAA and Boeing on the technical review as we work toward restoring 787 service. We will begin reaccommodating customers on alternate aircraft.”

All Nippon Airways (ANA) said a battery warning light and a burning smell were detected in the cockpit and the cabin, forcing the Dreamliner, on a domestic flight, to land at Takamatsu Airport in Japan.

The plane landed safely about 45 minutes after it took off and all 128 passengers and eight crew members had to evacuate using the emergency chutes. Two people sustained minor injuries on their way down the chute, Osamu Shinobe, ANA senior executive vice president, told a news conference in Tokyo.

ANA and its rival, Japan Airlines (JAL), subsequently grounded their Dreamliner fleets. ANA operates 17 Dreamliner planes, while JAL has seven in service.

Both airlines said the Dreamliner fleet would remain grounded at least through Thursday.

ANA said the battery in question during Tuesday’s incident was the same lithium-ion type battery that caught fire on board a JAL Dreamliner in Boston last week. Inspectors found liquid leaking from the battery, and said it was “discolored”

Japan’s transport ministry categorized the problem as a “serious incident” that could have led to an accident.

John Hansman, an MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics, said, “If this was an actual fire, that’s a major problem. And it would be a major problem even if nothing happened over the past week.”

The FAA ordered a comprehensive review of the 787′s design in a news conference Jan. 11 with Boeing. But the agency assured the public that the 787s were safe to continue flying while they looked into the fleet’s design and safety measures.

After the latest incident, but before the FAA airworthiness directive, Boeing said, “We will be working with our customer and the appropriate regulatory agencies.”

The Japanese Transport Ministry dispatched its own inspectors to Takamatsu Airport Wednesday. A spokesman said the Transport Safety Board and Civil Aviation Bureau will conduct separate investigations.

 A fire broke out Jan. 7 on an empty JAL Dreamliner at Boston’s Logan Airport after a non-stop flight from Tokyo. It took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze.

One day later, a different Dreamliner jet owned by JAL sprang a leak from its number-one engine right before takeoff at Logan Airport, spilling about 40 gallons of fuel onto the runway. It had to be towed back to the gate before taking off later that day.

ANA cancelled a domestic flight to Tokyo Jan. 9 after a computer wrongly indicated there was a problem with the Boeing 787′s brakes.

A 3-foot-long crack appeared in the cockpit window of an ANA 787 flying in Japan Jan. 11.

Another JAL Dreamliner leaked fuel while undergoing tests at the airport near Tokyo Jan. 13. It was the same plane involved in the Jan. 8 incident in Boston.

No one was injured in any of those incidents, but JAL has followed ANA’s lead and also ordered their entire 787 feet to be grounded.

“As a result of the incident involving another airline’s 787 in Japan today, to ensure safety, JAL has decided to cancel its 787 operations today,” JAL said in a statement.

Six 787s have been delivered to the United States, all purchased by United, while there are 50 flying worldwide, including Poland and Chile.

“It’s a rough couple weeks for Boeing and ANA,” Hansman of MIT said. “I think clearly in the short term this type of bad press has been tough for Boeing. I think in the long haul, this is a good airplane. It’s in a good market.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio