Oct 21

Gainesville pilot died in Thursday plane crash

A Gainesville man has been identified as the person killed in a single-engine plane crash Thursday near Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport.

Lawrence Youhanaian, 74, was flying the 1976 Rockwell Commander 112 Thursday morning when the plane crashed on Palmour Drive, said Cpl. Kevin Holbrook, Gainesville police spokesman.

Passenger Kelly Chandler, 50, a Gainesville resident and flight instructor at Lanier Flight Center, was seriously injured in the crash, Holbrook said.

Chandler was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Grady doesn’t disclose patient conditions, spokeswoman Denise Simpson said.

“He’s still in intensive care on the respirator,” said Troy Wheeler, Lanier Flight Center president.

Chandler has served as an instructor at the center since 2007.

“More people have learned to fly with Kelly than anybody on my staff,” Wheeler said. “He’s highly experienced.”

Chandler says on the center’s website that “working and flying here at Lanier Flight Center has been an awesome life-changing experience which I will cherish and continue for years to come.”

Wheeler also knew Youhanaian, who has family in California.

“Larry was one of our first customers when we opened in 2003,” he said. “He learned to fly, then went on to buy his own airplane in 2006.”

Youhanaian’s plane was at Lee Gilmer, Wheeler said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. A preliminary report is pending.

Keith Smith, spokesman for the Gainesville Fire Department, said the plane left the airport on Runway 29.

“As they started to (fly off), they had engine trouble and tried to turn around and come back,” he said.

Board spokesman Nicholas Worrell told The Times Friday an investigator was working on recovery efforts Friday, gathering eyewitness statements, reviewing any available video and photographic evidence and analyzing maintenance and pilot records to determine the cause of the crash.

“Anything that can help gather as much factual information as possible to help determine what caused the accident,” Worrell said.

Worrell said the investigator would likely conclude the on-scene portion of the investigation this past weekend, then move the wreckage to a private location for more analysis.

Authorities first learned about the Gainesville incident about 11:30 a.m. after hearing reports that a small plane had struck some power lines and crashed onto Palmour, which encircles much of the airport.

Upon arrival, emergency found one person was dead and the other had been pulled from the craft by a bystander, Flair Lee, whose workplace is near the crash site.

Oct 21

Total oil CEO Christophe de Margerie killed in Moscow plane crash

The chief executive of the French oil company Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed when a private jet collided with a snow plough at Moscow’s Vnukovo international airport on Monday night.

“Tonight a plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine,” said airport spokeswoman Elena Krylova. “Three crew members and a passenger died. I can confirm that the passenger was Total’s head De Margerie.”

A Total source in Moscow confirmed De Margerie died in a plane crash but offered no further details.

The collision occurred just before midnight as the Dassault Falcon business jet attempted to take off bound for Paris.

De Margerie, 63, was on a list of attendees at a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki, near Moscow, on Monday.

With his distinctive bushy moustache and outspoken manner he was one of the most recognisable figures among the world’s top oil executives.

De Margerie, a graduate of the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Paris, became chief executive officer of Total in February 2007, taking on the additional role of chairman in May 2010, after previously running its exploration and production division.

De Margerie said in July that he should be judged based on new projects launched under his watch, such as a string of African fields, and that Total would seek a successor from within the company rather than an outsider. Philippe Boisseau, head of Total’s new energy division, and Patrick Pouyanne, who was tasked with reducing the group’s exposure to unprofitable European refining sectors, have long been seen as potential heirs.

A staunch defender of Russia and its energy policies amid the conflict in Ukraine, De Margerie told Reuters in a July interview that Europe should stop thinking about cutting its dependence on Russian gas and focus instead on making those deliveries safer.

Total is one of the major oil companies most exposed to Russia, where its output will double to represent more than a tenth of its global portfolio by 2020.

Total is one of the top foreign investors in Russia but its future there grew cloudy after the 17 July downing of a Malaysian passenger airliner over Ukrainian territory held by pro-Russian rebels. The disaster worsened the oil-rich country’s relations with the west and raised the threat of deeper sanctions.

Total said in September that sanctions would not stop it working on the Yamal project, a $27bn joint venture investment to tap vast natural gas reserves in north-west Siberia that aims to double Russia’s stake in the fast-growing market for liquefied natural gas.

De Margerie said then that Europe could not live without Russian gas, adding that there was no reason to do so.

Total is the fourth largest by market value of the western world’s top oil companies behind Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron. Russia accounted for about 9% of Total’s oil and gas output in 2013.

The oil company had forecast in April that Russia would become its biggest source of oil and gas by 2020 due to its partnership with the Russian energy company Novatek and the Yamal project.

Total SA is France’s second-biggest listed company with a market value of €102bn.

Like other big oil companies Total has been under pressure from shareholders to cut costs and raise dividends as rising costs in the industry and weaker oil prices squeeze profitability.

Oct 20

Pilot Killed in Plane Crash Near Big Bear Lake; 2nd Crash in Area Within 4 Days

The solo pilot of a plane that crashed into a recreation area next to Big Bear Lake was found dead Monday, four days after a small aircraft crash in the mountain resort area left three injured.

Investigators worked at the scene of a plane crash near Big Bear Lake on Oct. 20, 2014.

Investigators worked at the scene of a plane crash near Big Bear Lake on Oct. 20, 2014.

The fatal crash was reported just after 11 a.m. near the Grout Bay day-use area (map) in the community of Fawnskin, on the north side of the lake, authorities said.

The lone male occupant of the plane was pronounced dead on scene by San Bernardino County firefighters. There was no “identifying information” for the individual, a battalion chief said.

A yellow tarp was placed over the cockpit of the plane, which had crashed into a dry lake bed, video from the scene showed.

The plane crashed under unknown circumstances after departing to the west from Big Bear Airport about 10:40 a.m., according to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration.

FAA records for the plane’s tail number indicated the experimental, fixed-wing, single-engine Sonnex was registered to an individual with a post office box in Humboldt County, in Northern California.

The FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were investigating.

The pilot’s identity will be released once his family has been notified, the Fire Department statement.

On Thursday afternoon, a fixed-wing, single-engine Cessna 172S owned by a Tustin-based company crashed into the forest off State Route 18 in the Arctic Circle area.

After that crash, which occurred about 5 miles southwest from the location given for Monday’s incident, one person was airlifted and two were taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

As Monday’s crash occurred, the Forest Service, Caltrans and the CHP were preparing to remove the wreckage from the earlier crash . The aircraft was set to be dismantled and then lifted in pieces via helicopter onto the highway above.

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