November Big Easy Wing Newsletter

To read the November Newsletter of the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force click HERE.

Lt. Col. Samuel K. Joplin is New Squadron Commander

Welcome Lt. Col. Samuel K. Joplin as the new commander of the 122nd Fighter Squadron at NAS JRB New Orleans. Lt. Col. Joplin is responsible for all aspects of F-15C squadron operations, including the training and proficiency of 27 F-15C pilots and the administration of a state of the art flying program. Congratulations to outgoing commander Lt. Col. Benjamin D. Cook on a job well done.

EAA Chapter 261 Young Eagles Event

The rain-date Young Eagles event on Saturday was another outstanding success! One of our largest groups ever - 25 Boy Scouts,St. Charles Parish Homeschoolers and others, reveled in the aerial city tour (most flying for the very first time). They also inspected the highly proficient working of the Lakefront Control Tower, and dined on juicy hamburgers and hotdogs and cookies – oh my! A hearty thank you to pilots, Mike Harris, Tim Walsh and Dean Scott, expert aviators of their aircraft; grill master, John Raymer; Toby Burroughs, COO, who brought the whole thing together; and Don Ortego, who dutifully shepherded the students to and from the control tower with nary a boo-boo.

Also, special appreciation to the dedicated professionals at the Lakefront Control Tower, and the unique accommodations by the Airport Operations personnel. Once again, all went smoothly without a glitch.

Our next Young Eagles event will be spring of 2020. Will be sure to let you know - hope to see you then.

Thanks -


EAA Chapter 261 President

P.S. Photographs of the event taken by Vincent Simmons, superb visual chronicler, can be viewed/downloaded by clicking: HERE

Long Before the New Terminal, MSY was Moisant Field

If opening stays on schedule, the next step for the airport comes Nov. 6

Author: Thanh Truong / Eyewitness News

KENNER, La. — When it opens, the new terminal at Louis Armstrong International will be the latest chapter in the airport's evolution. 

Before the new terminal and well before it was Louis Armstrong International, our airport was Moisant Field.  

"Our airport has served us very well, it was designed in the ‘40's and built in the ‘50's," Vincent Caire said.  

Caire is an aviation historian and author of the book “Louisiana Aviation.”  Given the size of the metro area and the routes flown through New Orleans, he says the evolution of the city's airport is remarkable.

“It did have humble beginnings it started in an old U.S. Army Corps hangar,” Caire said. “I personally think the facility we're going to have there shortly is going to be one of the most remarkable facilities in the United States if not the globe.”    

Multiple problems have pushed back the debut of the new terminal by more than a year.  Former New Orleans city council member Jackie Clarkson says, while she's pleased that the city will have a new airport, more work should've been done to sooner to update the facility.  

RELATED: Take a sneak peek at the new MSY airport terminal

RELATED: New MSY airport terminal set to open Nov. 6

"I thought it was going to be the best airport in America, and we had so many opportunities that were passed up." Clarkson said.   

Clarkson says those opportunities have to do with making Armstrong International a hub for a major airline, like Atlanta is to Delta. To Clarkson, New Orleans should be a prime candidate to become a hub.

"Why aren't we a hub? With all the tourism that we have and the way that our city is admired around the world?" Clarkson asked.

Caire says airlines factor in many elements in deciding where to be based, and the number of flights flown is just one.  Caire says considering where this airport started, success can be measured in different ways.

"It's served us in every Super Bowl, every Sugar Bowl, every convention. There's nothing really bad to say about the facility, but it's certainly time to move to the next step,” Caire said.  

If opening stays on schedule, the next step for the airport comes Nov. 6. 

Read More

Chennault hosting Air Force and C-130s for joint training exercises this week

By Chandler Watkins | October 24, 2019 at 10:07 PM CDT - Updated October 24 at 10:34 PM

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - If you have seen new aircraft in the skies above Southwest Louisiana, it’s because the United States Air Force has landed in Lake Charles at Chennault. The airport says they are hosting the aircrews and 2 C-130 aircraft this week as a part of a Green Flag Little Rock exercise.

“We’ve been out here since Sunday and we are participants in the Green Flag Little Rock exercise which is run by the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana," Major Lance Peak, an instructor pilot for the C-130J said. "It allows us to create a cohesive and interoperate with our joint sister service and international partners.”

Green Flag exercises, according to Peak, focus on combat airlift and airdrops, as well as challenging the aircrews in survival, evasion, resistance, and escape-type scenarios.

“It’s a joint live training exercise which allows us to implement and hone our tactical airlift prowess if you will," Peak said. "We run that out of Fort Polk so we take off every day out of here and we get into that area and we practice air-land missions into dirt landing zones with our Army partners and International partners and trust our ability to train with partners in joint services that we don’t operate with on a daily basis.”

Read More

Search Suspended for Missing Pilot

Steven Schumacher is the pilot of a Piper Aztec plane with tail number N778PA, believed to have crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Steven Schumacher is the pilot of a Piper Aztec plane with tail number N778PA, believed to have crashed in the Gulf of Mexico. (Source: FlightAware)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Authorities suspended a search for the pilot of a small aircraft they believed crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.

The United States Coast Guard and the Mexican Navy searched for Steven Schumacher of Missouri, the pilot of a Piper Aztec twin-engine plane. Officials say there were no passengers on the plane with him.

The search began when family members contacted the Coast Guard in New Orleans to report Schumacher had not reached his destination in Gonzales, La. Schumacher left Missouri Wednesday, Oct. 16 and was scheduled to land in Gonzales at 8:30 Wednesday night.

Schumacher’s last known location was 380 nautical miles south of Louisiana and 300 nautical miles east of Corpus Christi, Texas. An online flight tracker’s last contact for the plane indicated it was about 50 feet above the water.

Coast Guard crews searched over 6,265 square-nautical miles for approximately 21 hours but were unable to find the aircraft or pilot.

"After the utmost consideration and review of all factors involved in this search and rescue case, the Coast Guard has made the difficult decision to suspend its active search efforts,” said Cmdr. Drew Casey, search and rescue mission coordinator from the Eighth Coast Guard District. “We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Steven Schumacher.”

Read More

Shreveport Deserves Better Airport Authority

Walford: Citizens deserve better than Shreveport Airport Authority

By Monty Walford

I’ve been involved in various oversight committee, boards, and council for most of my working life. I’ve served on community boards, corporate boards, church vestry, almost seven years service on the Metropolitan Zoning Board of Appeals, and eight years representing the citizens of District B on the Shreveport City Council.

In my role on the council I had to vote to confirm many mayoral appointees to various city boards and commissions.

The one thing that membership on a committee, board, or commission has in common was the requirement to remember that the very reason that we existed as an oversight committee was to answer to a higher loyalty, be it an oath, our concern for those we represented, or a duty to the citizens that are served.

Never have I seen this balanced art of representation and governance go more wrong than the current Shreveport Airport Authority (SAA). The SAA is comprised of five members appointed to five-year terms by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.

The current five members were appointed by the previous mayor Ollie Tyler. Before she left office she reappointed several of the members.

One could quickly see that there was a serious problem with the SAA when the past chairwoman stated that the airport director, recommended to the mayor by the SAA board members and hired by Mayor Tyler, was “her boss.''

This airport director caused serious harm for both the Shreveport Regional and Downtown Airports.

The SAA has consistently violated the Louisiana Open Meetings Law, failing to provide proper meeting notice or agenda as required by Louisiana law. When attention was called to their failure to follow the law, instead of simply correcting the errors for the future, someone attempted to add notices to past meetings to cover up the violations.

It is simply hard to believe a group of Shreveport citizens charged with oversight of a budget approaching $20 million dollars annually would be so lax. SAA members now face the possibilities of fines for the open meetings violations.

Equally disturbing is the sham “marketing expense” of the SAA. As has recently been disclosed by John Settle, this so-called marketing expense is paid to organizations in which SAA members are involved.

On some, the SAA receives free tickets to functions, but failed to provide information on who received the tickets when requested on a public records request. Those disclosed included Shreveport Symphony tickets to past chairwoman Margaret Shehee. There were free tickets to Mudbug Madness and Christmas in the Sky. There were cash payments to Crawfest and Derby Day.

To the SAA board members I say, "Shame on you.'' The citizens of Shreveport deserve much better. To Mayor Adrian Perkins and the members of the Shreveport City Council, I ask why you allow this board to treat a position of trust and responsibility with so little regard for what is right and for the law enacted to provide notice of public meetings for those citizens that they supposedly serve.

If there is any honor among the members of the Shreveport Airport Authority they will immediately tender their resignation to Mayor Perkins and open the positions for appointees who will serve with honor, integrity, and respect for the law.

Read More

NTSB Report on 2018 Baron Wing Explosion

I don’t remember this accident but it would definitely get your heart rate up.  The pilot did a great job…...

On June 8, 2018, about 1605 central daylight time, a Beech 58 airplane, N190RS, sustained substantial damage when the right wing caught on fire during initial climb from the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR), Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to Bonanza Partners LLC and operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the flight had an activated instrument flight plan. The flight had departed BTR and was en route to the Jonesboro Municipal Airport (JBR), Jonesboro, Louisiana.

Click to Read

St. Landry Parish Airport Hosts Field Trip

Our first field trip to the airport was a great success! We had 60 4th graders from Leonville Elementary visit us today for 4 hours! 

They got to see and hear airplanes taxi up, a conquest (turbo prop) depart and takeoff. They saw our fuel farm and learned all about that process, they toured Airplanes, learned about airplane mechanics and saw an airplane shop, toured air evac’s helicopter and even learned the basics of aerodynamics. Went well, teachers were happy, students seemed engaged. We even got

Some press out of it. KATC was here and Lft cbs affiliate. 

OPL is moving forward! 

October Big Easy Wing Newsletter

To read the October Newsletter of the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force click HERE

Inside MSY TV Show

The Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport's new, quarterly 30-minute television show titled Inside MSY is now available on YouTube.

This episode of Inside MSY shows viewers the route to the new terminal, provides updates on the project, and brings you inside the new $1 billion terminal set to open in fall 2019. 

View this episode of Inside MSY on the Airport's YouTube channel by clicking the link below. Subscribe to our channel to be notified when we post future episodes of Inside MSY by searching for "Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport".

Click Here

For more information about the new terminal, visit

New Fuel Farm at 3F3

The C.E. “Rusty” Williams Airport (3F3) has a new fuel farm and it’s ready for use.   It’s a 24hr self-service station with both Avgas and Jet A.

For more info contact:

Jackie McKinney 

Airport Manager 

DeSoto Parish Police Jury 

C.E. “Rusty” Williams Airport 

Grand Cane, LA 71032

318-871-8900 office or 318-871-7889 cell

Pilots For Patients 5,000th Mission

Congratulations to Pilots for Patients for recently flying their 5,000 mission.  To tag along on that historic flight just click HERE.

Avionics Solutions Aviation Expo

Avionics Solutions held a very successful Aviation Expo at their offices in Lafayette last Wednesday evening.  All the big avionics manufacturers were there to demonstrate their latest and greatest equipment.  It just keeps getting better and better and it was a great opportunity to see in demonstrated in person.  Here are some photos from the event.

Acadiana Aircraft Interiors was also there to showcase their beautiful work.  They are also based in Lafayette.

Bourgeois Seaplane Wreckage Found

By Rob Masson | September 26, 2019 at 2:09 PM CDT - Updated September 26 at 3:39 PM

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - More than a month after a plane went down killing one of the most popular charter boat captains in the region this morning, a team of local recovery experts say that plane was located.

A portion of the wreckage was brought in to Slidell this morning by a team with extensive recovery experience.

Mark Michaud and Tommy Williams arrived about an hour and a half ago after spotting the wreckage of the plane which belong to Lafitte charter boat Captain Theophile Bourgeois earlier this morning.

The team says they spotted the wreckage and brought back a piece of the tail of Bourgeois's plane as they were just beginning a wide sonar search of an area called Bay Boudreaux in St Bernard parrish. This wasn't the first effort to recover the plane and the team used sonar from earlier searches to help decide where they would look today. The search team believes the plane became exposed due to heavy seas changing its position. On board the recovery boat was Mark Michaud a former Slidell police officer who has been involved in many recovery missions.

'What I'm thinking it didn't bury up in the mud enough so much of the fuselage is still intact. But it looks like it's balled up pretty good," said Michaud, with Southeast Louisiana Search and Recovery.

Michaud was part of a team that recovered the body of a missing New Orleans school teacher several years ago in Bayou St John as well as a missing UNO student out in New Orleans East.

He is now retired from the Slidell police department and works exclusively in recovery and training.

Read More

Heart Of Louisiana: Chennault Military Museum

By Dave McNamara | September 24, 2019 at 7:51 PM CDT - Updated September 24 at 10:43 PM

MONROE, La. (WVUE) - The Flying Tigers were a symbol of U.S. air combat in the Pacific in WWII. But, they got their start as a group of volunteer American pilots, flying for the Chinese to fight against a Japanese invasion. Their commander was Claire Chennault, who grew up in north Louisiana.

Nell Calloway is the director of a museum in Monroe that tells the story of Chennault and the Flying Tigers.

“The war broke out a little more than five weeks after he arrived. And in 1937, you have a Louisiana farm boy who was put in charge as chief air adviser of the Chinese air force,” Calloway said.

Calloway is also Lieutenant General Claire Chennault’s granddaughter, who now runs the Chennault Military Museum in Monroe

“The actual American volunteer group Flying Tigers saw their very first action December 20th, 1941 when they shot down nine of 10 Japanese bombers over Kunming, China," Calloway explained.

Chennault was a strong proponent of fighter aircraft, believing that they were vital for escorting the larger bombers. And, his Flying Tigers set an all-time combat record.

“They’re credited was shooting down 299 Japanese airplanes confirmed, about that many unconfirmed, and they only lost 12 with their own,” Calloway said.

See Video and Read More

Aviation Museum Ready For Take Off

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - It is a museum being built entirely with volunteer effort, and they are getting ready to take off.

The Mississippi Aviation Museum in Gulfport is making huge strides towards their scheduled opening date of October 1 with the help of people like sailors from the USS Tripoli, which is being built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.

Tuesday, they helped maneuver two of the airplanes that will be part of the exhibit inside a former furniture store on Pass Road.

Petty Officer Thomas Brickner was one of the members of the ship’s pre-commission unit helping to get the Cessna 310 and a Cessna 175 moved inside.

“We’ve been doing this for several months,” he said. “It’s hard to put into words. I’ve been coming here donating my time along with many other sailors since almost the beginning, and to see where this space has come in that period of time is astounding."

"And it’s all with community help,” he added with pride.

Local filmmaker Francisco Gonzalez is heading the effort to get the museum opened on behalf of the John C. Robinson Brown Condor Association, and he couldn’t thank his volunteers enough.

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Gulf Ditching Preliminary Accident Report

Here is the Preliminary Accident Report from last week’s ditching in the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the river…..

On September 15, 2019, at 1146 central daylight time, a Piper PA-46-350P, N218MW, lost engine power while maneuvering over the Gulf of Mexico, and the pilot was forced to ditch. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Mailworks, Inc., Spring Valley, California, under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated on a visual flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX), Titusville, Florida, and was en route to Mathis Field (SJT), San Angelo, Texas.

Preliminary information indicates the pilot had been cruising at 16,000 ft when he decided to descend and take some photographs. While maneuvering at 2,500 ft, the engine lost all power. The pilot ditched near an oil platform and was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter. The airplane sank and has not been recovered.

To read more click...HERE

Cirrus Loses Power, Pilot Deploys Chute

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Neither of the two occupants of a plane that crashed deep in the woods near the state line Saturday afternoon were injured, authorities said.

The crash happened in a marshy area between Vinton and the state line, according to Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office plane was already in the air for the McNeese football game and was able to fly over and find the crashed plane, Mancuso said. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Division was then able to rescue both occupants.

“They were unharmed, really not a scratch on them,” Mancuso said.

Read More

Coast Guard Rescues Pilot in Gulf of Mexico

SOUTHWEST PASS, La. (WVUE) - A man was rescued from a small plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday afternoon (Sept. 15), according to the United States Coast Guard.

The plane went down shortly before noon, the Coast Guard said, roughly eight miles southeast of Southwest Pass.

A helicopter crew arrived on the scene just after 1 p.m. and found the man in the water, wearing a life jacket. The man was lifted out of the water and brought to West Jefferson Medical Center in stable condition, the Coast Guard said.

No one else was on the plane at the time of the crash, according to the Coast Guard.

Lt. Cmdr. Brian Ward, an aircraft commander at Air Station New Orleans said this best-case scenario crash is a “great example” of how being prepared can save your life.

“Wearing a life jacket and having an emergency locator device on board, including an emergency position indicating radio beacon on board a vessel, greatly increases your chances of survival and being rescued," Ward said.

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Michael Baker Receives the FAA Master Pilot Award

Sept 9, 2019 at the Civil Air Patrol, Capitol City Composite Squadron’s Open House, Brian Capone, as a representative of the local FAA, presented the FAA’s Wright Brothers’ Master Pilot Award to Michael Baker.  Mr. Baker was hooked with the flying bug when Mr. Al Spain gave him a ride in 1966.  Shortly thereafter, he became a student of the infamous ‘Eddie Duffard’.  Over his career of personal, business, and commercial flying, Mike has flow several aircraft to include a L-19, Luscombe, Ercoupe, several Pipers, and obtained multi engine training in an Aero Commander 500.  He flew some corporate in CE-500 and BE-200 aircraft.  He obtained his Flight Engineer certificate and flew with such on the Boeing 727 and Airbus A300.  He also holds glider and seaplane ratings.  He has owned and flown a Beechcraft Bonanza and Baron.  Mike spent many years supporting the US Coast Guard Auxiliary’s Aviation Section. He has the best of both worlds today, back into a Baron and when he desires to go low and slow, takes out his J-3 Cub!  His wife Carol received a certificate and stick pin for her support over the years. Congratulations to Mr. Baker!

Chennault: A Little-Known Gem


People might expect to find the longest runway in the state in a place like New Orleans or Baton Rouge. But actually the airport with the longest runway—2-miles long—is not in either of these cities, and it’s not your traditional airport.

Located in the midsized market of Lake Charles, Chennault International Airport got its start as a WWII-era Air Force base with a runway built to handle our nation’s largest aircraft. After reopening in the 1980s, Chennault helped lead Lake Charles out of the oil bust by carving out a unique role for itself.

Where other airports focus on commercial flights, Chennault is known as a great spot to support maintenance repair organizations and other service-oriented companies, charter flights, general aviation and many of our DoD and other government agencies to include Air Force One.

(Continued Next Column)


It’s also home to Chennault Park—a business community comprised of towering hangars and hundreds of acres of available land, lending to the airport’s dramatic skyline. Having already attracted such big names in aviation as Northrop Grumman, Landlocked Aviation Services and Citadel Completions, Chennault Park is expected to expand drastically over the next decade, with the potential to create thousands of new jobs. In fact, Chennault has the potential to attract 11,000+ jobs and provide over $1B in sales tax revenue to the state (Economic Impact of Chennault Infrastructure Master Plan Development, July 28, 2019)

Studies show Chennault is uniquely equipped to handle air cargo—a growing industry in an economy dominated by companies like Amazon. Chennault’s uncongested airspace allows for short wait times, and its location makes for easy access to Interstate highways, the Union Pacific railway and a deep water seaport.

Chennault is also quickly becoming a center for aerospace education. The airport regularly puts on Federal Aviation Association fly-ins and recently hosted a 2-day safety training course for airport personnel from across the state, along with regular tours and school visits. It’s also located next to Sowela Technical Community College, which offers degrees in aviation maintenance technology.

But for pilots, the real draw is the airport's fixed-based operator, Million Air, which features a luxury home-theatre and dining lounge, where they can enjoy Southern-inspired fare. Plus, the new self-serve gas station makes Chennault one of the cheapest stops in the state. 

(Continued Next Column)


Lake Charles has been the fastest growing market in the state for three year’s running, as multibillion-dollar industries flock to the region for its resources, business incentives and strategic location. In this time of growth, Chennault is poised to serve the area’s expanding population and business environment.  

The airport’s Executive Director Kevin Melton sums up the Chennault vision: “We aim to honor our rich history of aviation support while building a future for aerospace.  Our goal is to maintain our customer-focused airport services founded on safety and compliance while providing benchmark services to every tenant (we like to call them partners) and every aircrew member that transits our airspace or lands at Chennault. We strive for excellence in every aspect of our operation and we look to apply that ideology to our aggressive growth initiatives.”

If you’re an aviator and haven’t been to Chennault, come check it out and let Million Air FBO serve you, get some cheap self-serve gas, or just shoot some approaches and/or touch-and-goes to its 10,701 foot runway.

September Big Easy Wing Newsletter


To read the September newsletter of the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force click HERE

Auric Avionics Signs UAS Maintenance Agreement

Auric Avionics & Instruments has signed an exclusive agreement with Robotic Skies, LLC to be the sole maintenance provider and flight test facility of commercially operated Unmanned Aerial Systems and Optionally Manned Aerial Systems in the Gulf South area. Robotic Skies, LLC has investment partners such as Boeing, Jeppesen and Aviall to name a few. We are excited to venture on this new path in addition to what we already do.

Help Needed for Hurricane Dorian Recovery


How can you help? 

  • Donate
  • Fly Relief Missions
  • Buy T-Shirts

You can do all that via our website

Donations will go towards purchasing the needed supplies for the Hurricane Dorian recovery. 

Please share with your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.

Thank you!!!

Facebook Page:

Crowds Pack Lakefront to Tell Augustus Goodbye


By Katherine Mozzone | August 31, 2019 at 10:22 PM CDT - Updated August 31 at 10:36 PM

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - He was one of the first African American civilian airshow aerobatic pilots in the country, but Franklin Augustus will be remembered for much more than his impact on aviation.

His loved ones say his legacy lies most in his passion and personality.

By the time Taps echoed through the Lakefront Airport Terminal Saturday afternoon (Aug. 31), honoring Augustus’ inspiring life, there was barely a place to stand as crowds packed in to say a final goodbye.

Wilma Heaton, the chairwoman for the Lakefront Management Authority, was among those who spoke at the services.

“[This is] a tribute and a celebration of Franklin,” Heaton said. “This is hard for us to do, but it would be even harder not to.”

Augustus died in a plane crash on Aug. 16, along with FOX 8′s cherished anchor, Nancy Parker, who was working on a story about Augustus. The two were taking a ride in his plane when it started having engine trouble and crashed, fatally injuring them both.

Heaton said the large attendance at Saturday’s last minute tribute speaks volumes about who Augustus was and the impact he had others.

To read more and see a video click….HERE

Franklin Augustus Obituary

Click to Read

NTSB Issues Preliminary Accident Reports


NTSB Reports have been issued on the two recent tragic aircraft accidents that occurred in southeastern Louisiana:

  • Report on the Theophile Bourgeois seaplane accident….. Click to Read
  • Report on the Franklin Augustus Crash near Lakefront Airport….. Click to Read

Video Report on Operation LA Pilot Outreach


MISSION COMPLETE! Volunteer pilot Glenn Northcott and his crew have touched down safe in Monroe, completing their mission of flying to all 69 airports in Louisiana within 24 hours. Glenn's hope is to raise awareness of Pilots for Patients and to recruit more pilots throughout the state. If you or someone you know is a pilot, please share this along. Congratulations Glenn on this incredible accomplishment!

To watch a video summary of their flight click HERE

Some news coverage from Lafayette:  Click HERE

Propell Air Adds to Training Fleet


Propell Air in Deridder is excited to announce that two more airplanes have been added to our training fleet. The Stinson Voyager allows students to earn their tailwheel endorsement, and the Beechcraft Sierra will be for complex training.

Operation LA Pilot Outreach


Here is the crew before they departed…..

Well they did it!  They landed at all 69 public airports in Louisiana in one day…...

They dropped off lots of posters and signs for Pilot for Patients….

And they even made it back to Monroe a little more than 2 hours ahead of schedule.

I would like to say “Mission Accomplished” but I can’t just yet.  Remember the real purpose of the mission was to recruit more pilots for Pilots for Patients so that still needs to happen to call the mission truly successful.  But congratulations to Glenn, Austin and Donnie for doing something that no one else has ever done.  I bet they slept well last night.   

New LFT Terminal Taking Shape


The new Lafayette Regional Airport Terminal is taking shape alongside the current small, aging airport.  The steel framework is up and construction crews are working fast to hit the 24 month completion deadline.

With recent major improvements to the Lake Charles and Alexandria Airports and New Orleans' $1 billion new terminal opening soon (major problems have delayed it's opening), it was time for Lafayette to get in the game.  The new Lafayette Regional Airport solidifies Lafayette as a real city.

Lafayette's new terminal will cost $90 million and is expected to be completed in just 24 months.  It has provided, in addition to current airport employees, 300 construction jobs.

Read More

CAP Names Fritchie Teacher of the Year


Left to right, Assistant Principal Erin Holly, Mrs. Becky Fritchie, Lt Col Kathy Beauford, and Principal Laura Gilbert as Mrs. Becky Fritchie receives the Southwest Region Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award.

Geismar, La – Ascension Parish teacher Mrs. Becky Fritchie has won the prestigious Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Educator or the Year Award for its Southwest Region, naming her as one of the top 8 aerospace educators in the country. The Southwest Region of the Civil Air Patrol includes Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Mrs. Becky Fritchie has distinguished herself as an educator and won the

Louisiana CAP Aerospace Education Member (AEM) Award in 2017. In 2018 she won the Louisiana Aerospace Educator of the Year Award. Ms. Fritchie was also chosen to participate in STEM research at NASA’s Johnson Space Center with 10 other teachers from around the country for 2019. 

Ms. Becky Fritchie attends and presents at educator conferences and shares her enthusiasm, techniques and knowledge with other teachers. She says, “My professional aspiration is to empower teachers to have the courage and confidence to try new ideas so that they may grow in their professional abilities and inspire their students to grow as well.”

Ms. Fritchie teaches 5th grade math and science at Spanish Lake Primary School. Ms. Laura Gilbert, Ms. Fritchie’s principal, noted that “We are fortunate to have Becky Fritchie as a teacher. Her passion for teaching and learning is contagious.  The experiences that our students gain from being in her classroom are priceless as she includes innovative ideas and challenges them on a daily basis.” She adds, “Her way of inspiring students to have the same passion she has for exploration and learning is impressive.  She has an excitement that is rare.  I would definitely consider her a lifelong learner as she is constantly striving to do more and learn as many new innovative ideas as she can to bring back to her classroom to prepare our students for the future.” 

Yak-9U Aircraft Donated to Southern Heritage


Vicksburg/Tallulah- The Southern Heritage Air Foundation and Museum announced today that it is the recipient of a major donation in the form of a WWII aircraft, a Russian Yakolev Yak-9U. The plane will join, in SHAF’s hangar, the museum’s 1945 P-51 D Charlotte’s Chariot II, 1944 AT-6 Texan, 1995 (1939 Model) WACO Classic Bi-Plane, 1945 L-5 Stinson, and the late Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice’s last plane, a 2001 Amphibious Aviat Husky.  “Denny Hickman, of Gordo, Alabama, has honored us as the recipient of one of his prized aircraft. This Russian Yak – 9U is in flying condition and will be the perfect addition to the WWII and Vintage aircraft that the museum currently has. It will lend to our ‘living history’ section and be used for educational purposes, as well as, flying air shows to support its expenses,” said Dan Fordice, Chairman of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation.

“The Yakovlev Yak-9 fighters became the most important element of the Soviet air arm in the final two years of World War II. The Yak-9 was the last of the series that began with the Yak-1 in 1942, and saw production totals in excess of 30,000,” says Patty Mekus, President of the Southern Heritage Air Foundation.

SHAF’s new Yak arrived on Thursday, August 29th at approximately 1:00 pm. It was flown into the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport by Mark Henley of the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team.     

The Southern Heritage Air Foundation and Museum was founded by the late MS Governor Kirk Fordice and his son Dan Fordice. For more information about the Foundation and the Museum visit:

The Southern Heritage Air Foundation is located at the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport off of I-20, Exit 182, Mound, LA. 

CAP Uses New Tool to Find Downed Seaplane


CIvil Air Patrol's National Radar Analysis Team used a brand-new tool to quickly guide searchers to a crashed seaplane near New Orleans in bad weather, resulting in the rescue of two people – two of four saves credited Sunday to CAP.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination center activated the radar team to help find the missing plane, a Cessna 206, after a local fishing charter service reported the aircraft missing with three people aboard Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard had deployed a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew to search for the plane in the Chandeleur Sound amid heavy rain and choppy seas.

The CAP radar team quickly responded by using a newly developed tool -- still considered to be in the beta testing stage — that makes innovative use of ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance — broadcast) technology to quickly locate a target.

The team was able to provide the Coast Guard with the downed plane’s latitude and longitude “within a couple of minutes” after obtaining the ADS-B data “in 15-30 seconds,” said Lt. Col. Mark Young, team commander. “It all went fast and perfectly.”

The team “had brought (the tool) online about three weeks ago” and was using it for only about the third time, he added. “We’re just thrilled that this new product would work so quickly and so accurately.”

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Louisiana Fishing Legend Killed in Crash


ST. BERNARD PARISH- Popular Louisiana charter-fisherman Theophile Bourgeois was killed in a plane crash on Sunday.

The Coast Guard recovered three people in the water in Chandeleur Sound.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at 2:56 P.M. that a local fishing charter service, Bourgeois Fishing Charters, had lost communications with one of its seaplanes that had three passengers aboard.

A helicopter aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans searched the last known position of the seaplane in the Chandeleur Sound.

The aircrew recovered two people from the water and transported them to University Medical Center in New Orleans.

One of those passengers, later identified as Theophile Bourgeois, was declared deceased upon arrival.

The third passenger was found a short time later, and was transported to University Medical Center.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Theophile was a bit of a living legend as a popular fisherman, fish guide and all around sportsman.

He appeared weekly on Don Dubuc’s radio show, and often chartered his seaplane and boat to the islands.

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More Coverage…..Read More

Two Prominent New Orleanians Die in Crash


Thirty years ago, Franklin J.P. Augustus described himself as the "world's only black civilian air-show acrobatic pilot."

Augustus, 69, died Friday afternoon in a plane crash near Lakefront Airport, an accident that also took the life of Nancy Parker, a fixture of local television broadcasts for more than two decades.

Along with performing aerial stunts in air shows, Augustus was president of the Lake Charles Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc., according to a website for the organization. The group aims to honor the accomplishments and history of the famous African-American pilots and other members of the Army Air Corps group formed during World War II.

Read More from

Coverage from WWL-TV…. Read More

More coverage from WWL-TV…. Plane had engine problems…… Read More

Kathryn’s Report on the accident….. Click Here

New Weapon in Oil Spill Arsenal


HOUMA -- It can appear as a faint iridescent sheen, silvery like a mirror, black, brown or bright orange. It can be in long streamers, a uniform patch or a flat circle.

Whatever an oil spill’s form and shape, one Houma pilot says protecting the environment against it is a job he’s passionate about.

“To earn an honest living doing something for the environment: I enjoy that,” said Brad Barker, 39, vice-president at Airborne Support Inc., which does cleanup work on behalf of Clean Gulf Associates, a nonprofit co-op that keeps watch over oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. “It’s hard to say there’s not a rush when you’re going 200 mph 50 feet above the water. It’s a lot of fun.“

But Barker will soon be piloting a new weapon in the arsenal against contamination, thanks to a new Clean Gulf aircraft. The $6.5 million, 19,000-pound Basler BT-67 can drop up to 2,000 gallons of dispersant, an amber-colored chemical that helps scuttle the oil and reduce the risk to plant and animal life in the ocean.

The plane’s general model was created in 1945 as a cargo plane and troop carrier that was used extensively during World War II. 

There are only about 50 of today’s version in the world.

“The new plane is one of the major acquisitions in the spill-response community,” said Frank Paskewich, Clean Gulf Associate’s executive director. “It can treat over 40,000 gallons of oil. It’s really one of the primary tools that’s used in spill response up to 200 miles offshore.”

“It’s very much like a crop duster,” said Barker, of the plane that was delivered in early July. Operations like theirs play a key role by virtue of their location, Paskewich said.

Houma is ideal because it’s centrally located in the Gulf, Pakewich said, allowing loading and deployment to take place within half a day. 

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Richard Toups Memorial Seaplane Rating Scholarship


This scholarship was established honoring the memory of Richard "Dicky" Toups, an outstanding seaplane pilot that passed in 2018. The scholarship is intended to introduce an aspiring pilot to the world of seaplane flying. It is being administered by the Seaplane Pilots Foundation (a 501-C3 non-profit organization), and is sponsored by Southern Seaplane. This scholarship will fund a complete seaplane training program for a single-engine sea rating.

For more information click…..HERE

Bill Adams Memorial


Some of you may remember that when Bill Adams went west that his friends at the Louisiana Regional Airport raised a significant amount of money to build a memorial to remember him.  I was there the other day and noticed that the monument had been constructed and installed.  It ‘s a beautiful and fitting tribute to a wonderful aviator.  Be sure and take a look at it the next time you’re at KREG.

August Big Easy Wing Newsletter


To read the August Newsletter of the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force click...HERE

Power Lines To Be Moved in Slidell


SLIDELL, La. (WVUE) - In 2016, two pilots from the St. Tammany Mosquito Abatement died when their plane hit transmission lines on the north end of the Slidell Municipal Airport. While investigators ruled the accident pilot error, Slidell Councilman Val Vanney and Slidell Airport manager Richard Artigue led efforts to have the lines moved.

Three years after Wayne Fisher and Donald Pechon’s deaths, Vanney and Artigue got it done.

“Moving the power lines not only addresses a public safety issue, but it allows for expansion of the Slidell Airport,” Vanney said. “More runway means that we can accommodate larger aircraft, which is important for anyone who uses the Slidell Airport.”

In July, the Louisiana Public Service Commission voted to allow Slidell, Cleco and Entergy to move the power lines almost 3 miles out of the path of air traffic. The move puts almost 1,000 feet of runway back into use that went dormant when the transmission lines were installed, and allows for a possible runway expansion by another 1,000 feet.

Moving the power lines cost approximately $20 million, shared between Cleco and Entergy. But, Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer said it’s worth the price to keep people safe.

“This will save lives. It will also have a large economic impact, not just for the city of Slidell, but for St. Tammany Parish, the State of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region,” Cromer said.

Cromer went on to thank Vanney and Artigue, as well as Senator Sharon Hewitt, the public safety commission and it’s commissioner, Eric Skrmetta, Cleco and Entergy.

“Without this team we wouldn’t have gotten any of this done," Artigue said. "This has been an effort that [Vanney] and I started right after that accident. I’ve been here for 20 years, and I tried to get these power lines moved 20 years ago and couldn’t get it done. We finally got it done. Thank you very much.”

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Lewis Receives FAA Wright Brothers Pilot Award


Congratulations to Mike Lewis, retired captain for Continental Airlines with 27 years of flying, for receiving the FAA Master Pilot Award. The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. This award is named after the Wright Brothers, the first US pilots, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as "Master Pilots".

To learn more about the Wright Brothers Award click HERE.

Lisa Cotham from the FAA Baton Rouge FSDO presented the award.  Mike is still flying his Super Legend Cub and sharing his passion for flying by mentoring pilots. Attending were his closest friends and family.  Mike is the 48th Louisiana Pilot to receive this prestigious award.  

I wish that all of the events were more public because we don’t hear much if anything about them.  Obviously the number of folks receiving the award has been increasing.  

To see the entire list of Louisiana award recipients click Here and then put Louisiana in the State Search Field.

Acadian and Metro Partner to Operate Life Air Rescue


August 1, 2019—Beginning August 1, 2019, Acadian Air Med is partnering with Metro Aviation to operate the Life Air Rescue program in Shreveport, Louisiana. Acadian will provide certified flight paramedics, certified flight RNs and dispatch personnel, as well as operational and managerial staff. Metro Aviation will provide air transportation pilots and maintenance staff. The majority of Life Air Rescue’s current employees will join Acadian Air Med.

Acadian Air Med Program Director Michael Sonnier said, “As we build our statewide air medical network, we are excited to add Life Air Rescue’s Shreveport-based operations. We are dedicated to providing the same high level of service that residents and the medical community have come to expect from Life Air Rescue.”

The Life Air Rescue helicopter is a medically configured EC-135, twin-engine, IFR-rated aircraft. It will join Acadian Air Med’s fleet of 10 helicopters based across Louisiana and Southeast Texas. All FAA Part 135 aviation services are provided by Metro Aviation, Inc., which maintains exclusive operational control over all aircraft.

“Expanding our air medical network into the Shreveport area has been a goal of Acadian’s for quite a while. Earlier this year, we added an Air Med helicopter in Ouachita Parish and we have been very well received by the medical community in that area. We look forward to serving the residents of the greater Shreveport area,” said Acadian Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag.

Life Air Rescue was formed in 1993 to provide service for the Ark-La-Tex region. Since then, Life Air Rescue has transported approximately 600 patients per year and strives to uphold the highest standards in emergency and critical care transport. Their service radius covers north Louisiana, east Texas, south Arkansas and west Mississippi.

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More Issues for MSY Terminal


NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - After multiple delayed openings, more problems arose for New Orleans’ new billion-dollar airport after a contractor recently discovered multiple breaks in the sanitary drain line that runs underneath the terminal.

An airport representative said the new terminal is still on track to open its doors in the fall. But, repairs are now underway to fix those breaks in the drainage system that runs underneath and crews had to open up the first floor in order to fix the lines.

To put that in perspective, the representative said there are 15,000 linear feet of drain line under the terminal, and as a result of the recent breaks, the contractor will have to replace about 300 of those feet.

Before the most recent delay in May, the airport’s opening date was also postponed in September, due to a sinking sewerage pipe. The airport representative said the most recent issue is not related to that issue.

As of Tuesday (July 30), representative said repairs are almost finished and right now the contractor is covering the cost. But, crews are still trying to figure out what caused the recent drain line breaks.

The airport representative said once the problem was discovered, a full investigation was done to find the locations of the breaks. And as far as they know, all of the breaks have been found, the representative said.

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Metro and Kopter Sign Agreement


Metro Aviation and Kopter signed an MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) formally recording Metro Aviation's intent to purchase and take delivery of five (5) SH09 helicopters following FAA certification.

Metro Aviation has evaluated and selected the SH09 due to its twin-engine cabin volume for a single-engine price tag and low operating costs while offering best-in-class speed, range, payload and other desirable features and benefits.

The cooperation between Metro Aviation and Kopter started in 2018, when the two companies worked on the design and completion of several interiors for the SH09, which were successfully presented at several helicopter exhibitions in North America and emphasized the SH09’s versatility and attributes.

“We have become more familiar with the SH09 concept and we've worked in conjunction with Kopter to develop interiors for EMS, Airborne Law Enforcement and Tour Operations, which Metro has rolled out to the industry in the last two years,” said Metro Aviation President Mike Stanberry.

“Those interiors were very well received by the industry. The benefits of a twin-engine cabin with the purchase price and operation cost of a single-engine aircraft, along with exceptional performance, make the SH09 a very attractive option. It made sense for us to move forward with the MOA expressing our intent to purchase at this time.”

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Babineaux Honored for 45 Years of Service


July 23, 2019—At Acadian Companies’ annual company meeting, Erroll Babineaux was recognized for 45 years of service. Chairman & CEO Richard Zuschlag presented him with the award, along with sharing a few personal anecdotes.

“45 years of service truly speaks to his loyalty to the company,” said Zuschlag. “Erroll has been assigned almost every task and worked in every department of Acadian.” 

Babineaux was born and raised in New Iberia, LA, where he attended Catholic High School. He attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana beginning in 1973. Babineaux joined Acadian as a part-time employee in August 1974.

Babineaux progressed through the company as an ambulance driver, paramedic, supervisor, communications specialist and district manager of Iberia, St. Martin, Vermilion and St. Mary Parishes. 

He is currently the vice president of Acadian’s Air Services division, overseeing Acadian Air Med and Executive Aircraft Charter Service, a position he has held since 1992. He served as Acadian’s first commercial pilot in 1979.

Additionally, Babineaux provides marketing, public relations and governmental relations in many of our rural parishes. He maintains relationships with police jury associations and municipal associations, along with members of state legislature, state police and fire departments.

In the early 1980s, Babineaux worked with Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. to design and assist in building the first air ambulance helicopter used in Louisiana, which became FAA-certified. 

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Pilot Survives Crop Duster Crash


JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH - Authorities in Jefferson Davis Parish are investigating after a crop duster crashed Wednesday morning.

Around 8:20 a.m. a 911 call came in that a plane had crashed on LA 382 and David Road south of Roanoke. Authorities say the crop duster struck a pole, lost a wing, then crashed into a tree before it came to a stop in a field.

The unidentified pilot walked away from the crash and was taken to a hospital with only minor injuries.

The cause of the crash hasn't been determined at this time.

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July Big Easy Wing Newsletter


To read the July edition of the Big Easy Wing Newsletter click HERE.

LA Pilot Perishes in MS Glider Crash


RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - One person has died after an airplane glider crashed in Rankin County.

It happened Saturday afternoon near Kitty Hawk Circle in northern Rankin County.

According to Sheriff Bryan Bailey initial reports said that plane had gone down behind houses and that the pilot inside was entrapped.

When deputies arrived on scene they found that the pilot was deceased.

He has been identified as 65-year-old James Gately from Covington, Louisiana.

The NTSB is taking over the investigation.

Copyright 2019 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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$1.9 Million Infrastructure Grant for Louisiana Airports


WASHINGTON U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award $495 million in airport infrastructure grants, the second allotment of the total $3.18 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding for airports across the United States.

This significant investment in airport improvements in Louisiana will fund construction and rehabilitation projects that will help maintain high levels of safety in U.S. aviation, said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The grants include:

  • Bastrop/Morehouse Memorial- $58,500 to remove obstructions to support navigation aids; rebuild perimeter fencing
  • DeQuincy Industrial- $150,000 to rebuild perimeter fencing
  • Jena $103,500 to remove obstructions
  • Marksville Municipal $170,100 to update Airport Master Plan
  • Natchitoches Regional $100,000 to buy land for approaches
  • Port of South Louisiana- $869,843 to rehabilitate runway
  • Tallulah/Vicksburg- $112,500 to build taxiway, building
  • Winnsboro Municipal- $378,000 to rehabilitate taxiway, apron

For a complete listing of grants click HERE.

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2019 ACE Camp


Janet Gonzales and that great group of ladies in the NOLA 99’s have done it again.  They conducted another Louisiana Aviation Career Education (ACE) Camp at the Louisiana Regional Airport the week of June 10-14.

Because of their efforts, another group of young folks have been introduced to all kinds of aviation careers.  Hopefully, one day they will be out there working in the aviation industry.

Thanks, ladies, for introducing these campers to aviation and for your ongoing aviation advocacy in so many different ways.

For a video of the highlights click...


Louisiana Reaches Settlement with Bell


The state has reached a settlement with Bell Helicopter, closing the books on an economic development project that never took flight in Lafayette.

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson confirmed the general details of the statement when contacted by the USA Today Network, which has requested a copy of the settlement from the department.

Pierson said the settlement requires Bell Helicopter to pay the state about $9.5 million in cash. The state also will retain a helicopter that has been placed in the State Police fleet. It is valued at about $4 million.

Louisiana also continues to own the $26 million aviation facility that the Lafayette Airport Commission has now agreed to lease to Kopter Group AG.

Kopter Group AG's deal with the state will require it to eventually create 120 new jobs at the facility, where the company will assemble its new helicopters.

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Mason Andrews Gets Certificate


We already knew that Louisiana pilot Mason Andrews had the record.  Now he also has the official certificate….

Big Easy Wing June Newsletter


Big Easy Wing June Newsletter

The June Newsletter for the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is out.  The big news is their Stearman is back in the air with its new engine.  Their next membership meeting will be on June 22 at 10:00 AM at the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport in the Gray Aviation Hangar.

To read it click HERE.

Congratulations to New Private Pilots


Wow, three more Private Pilots out of Gulf Coast Aviation Baton Rouge Satellite

Congratulation to the Spencer Calahan family for obtaining another family pilot: Sutton Calahan. Proud pop Spencer says that’s three in the family, two to go!

Also congratulations to Cameron Capone and Christopher ‘Gage’ O’Neal for obtaining their Private Pilot Certificates!

Come fly with the great instructors and staff with Gulf Coast Aviation at the Baton Rouge Satellite. Come learn to fly in our Cessna 172 TAA aircraft-G1000


Camp Hope Visits Lakefront Airport

I'm always glad to see events where the Louisiana aviation community introduces young people to aviation. Here is a report about such an event from Owen Bordelon.  Thanks to Owen, Franklin Agustus, and the others that participated in this event at Lakefront Airport....

Had a great day at New Orleans Lakefront Airport today helping Franklin Agustus and members of the Tuskegee Airmen Lake Charles Chapter introduce about 50 kids from Camp Hope to the world of aviation.

They heard presentations on the history of aviation, Lakefront Airport and the terminal building, saw movies about the Tuskegee Airmen, watched demonstrations by the Lakefront Airport Fire Department, got a tour of the Children’s Hospital medevac helicopter, visited the control tower and ate a lot of pizza.

Camp Hope is a nonprofit organization of retired school teachers that tutors children after school and conducts a Summer Camp during school vacation.

Some future pilots were born today.

Fatal Crash on Atchafalaya Levee


Two Acadiana men are dead after the single-engine plane they were flying in crashed on a levee Wednesday.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz confirmed the pilot, 49-year-old Kirk Bellard, and passenger, 38-year-old Marcus D. Guidry, both of Breaux Bridge, were killed in the crash. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said they were the only two people in the aircraft at the time of the crash.

Lunsford said the single-engine Quicksilver Ultralight crashed on a levee of the Atchafalaya Basin, near the St. Landry-St. Martin line, around 12:15 p.m. under unknown circumstances.

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Unmanned Center Coming to KHUM


Economic Development Administration’s $1.35 million grant to pave way for aviation center focused on Gulf of Mexico technology missions

HOUMA, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Assistant Secretary John Fleming of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Terrebonne Parish President Gordon Dove and Houma-Terrebonne Airport officials to announce a $1.35 million airport infrastructure grant from the EDA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The grant will fund taxiway, access road, ramp and utility improvements for an undeveloped 10-acre parcel at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport, which will establish a Gulf of Mexico Center of Excellence for Large-Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or L-UAS. Gov. Edwards signed an executive order at the event designating the airport as Louisiana’s L-UAS site with the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA. Future improvements will include a new 40,000-square-foot hangar that will house automated navigation systems for unmanned aircraft flying the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas, hurricane reconnaissance, coastal protection, homeland security, research and military missions. 

“We are most excited by this announcement for its potential to provide new value for our oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico and along our coast,” Gov. Edwards said. “Louisiana has long been a leader in subsea technology in the offshore energy industry. Now, we will be at the cutting-edge of aerial technology. By joining our education, government and private-sector partners, we can make Louisiana a true leader in unmanned aircraft technology to tackle many of our biggest challenges in the energy, security and military sectors.”

At full development, the L-UAS Center of Excellence will create 150 new jobs, retain 70 jobs and generate $50 million in new private investment, according to EDA estimates. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 191 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 340 jobs in the Bayou Region.


Aviation Advocate Pat Ward Passes


I am very sorry to report that we’ve lost an individual that made a real positive impact on aviation and on Louisiana aviation in particular. I’m glad to have known her as a friend and to have worked with her on the Board of the Aviation Association of Louisiana. Thanks to a fellow Board Member and her close friend, Lisa Cotham, for writing this excellent tribute to a wonderful pilot and aviation advocate. Our deepest sympathy to her family and friends at this sad time. - Jim

A true champion of Louisiana aviation has flown west. Patricia “Pat” M. Ward, formerly of Baton Rouge, passed away on April 17, 2019, at her home in Telephone, TX, where she and her husband Roger lived for over 20 years.

Pat was born in Baton Rouge on October 17, 1938. She graduated from Istrouma High School in 1956 and married Roger on New Year’s Day, 1958. They have two daughters, Lauren and Leslie and several grand- and great-grand children.

Roger had earned his Private Pilot certificate in 1955, so Pat decided she needed to learn to fly, too. She earned her Private Pilot certificate in 1965, eventually possessing a Commercial certificate with Airplane Single and Multi-engine Land, Airplane Single Engine Sea and an Instrument Rating. She at one time ferried airplanes from the Cessna factory in Wichita. Roger was hired by Delta Airlines after Pat sent his application in behind his back!

Pat enrolled in LSU in the early 1970s, majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology, but her true passion was nursing. In 1978 she became an LPN and continued her nursing education to become a Registered Nurse in 1982.

Despite her busy schedule, Pat became an active participant and champion for general aviation.

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Chennault Encourages You to Visit


“From the Chennault Executive Director, Kevin Melton.  Hello fellow aviators!  We at Chennault are proud to serve our community of general aviation friends.  We look forward to having you come beat up the pattern or land for a great meal and great service with our Million Air FBO.  Our 10,701 foot long runway can accommodate any aircraft in the inventory whether it’s a C-172 or B747.  And something hot off the press, we are offering self-serve gas starting on or about May 15th.  You can expect to see a very sizeable reduction in cost from our full service fuel option.  We look forward to seeing you at Chennault, whether you come for one of our quarterly FAASTeam sponsored fly-ins, to fuel up your airplane or you stomach, or simply to conduct multiple touch and goes (on one pass) down our 2 mile long runway!  See you soon at Chennault International Airport.”

Thanks From Louisiana's Team


Dear LaTech Alumni and Supporters alike,

The LaTech Precision Flight Team would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our many friends, family, and Tech Alumni again for helping us achieve our goal. Competing in National Competition at Safecon 2019 is the highest honor of collegiate flying in the nation. We could not have done it without the monumental support for this momentous occasion. The LaTech Flight Team is proud and privileged to be supported by such wonderful alumni and friends of our program who share our passion for collegiate flying. Without them, nothing we have done would have been possible. We will continue to work hard and achieve new goals and have set our sights on Nationals in 2020, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin! See you all then!

BEW May Newsletter


BEW May Newsletter

To read the May Newsletter of the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative AIr Force click…..


Cirrus Convention Coming to the Big Easy


They call it the COPA Migration.  COPA is the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.  and the Migration is their annual convention.  This 17-year tradition continues in New Orleans, LA, (for the first time ever) with hundreds of Cirrus aircraft arriving to attend the COPA annual meeting, trade show, educational seminars, and social events. It will take place October 17, 2019 - October 20, 2019, at the Riverside Hilton. It’s a big event with about 150 airplanes flying in and 400 attendees. For all the info click…..

Jimmy Fordham First Flight Story


Jimmy Fordham, Louisiana AeroShell Aerobatic Team slot pilot tells his first flight story.  This man should be an inspiration to us all.  A remarkable career spanning almost 50 years.  He's truly living the dream.

To watch the video click HERE.

Baton Rouge Passenger Volume Up


Total passenger volume at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) increased 7.3% in March compared to the same month last year.

The statistics as reported by the airlines show 69,808 passengers traveled through the airport in March. The departing passengers, or enplanements, were up 7.5% at 35,033. Arriving passengers, or deplanements, were up 7.1% at 34,774. United saw the largest increase at 27.4% over last March, followed by Delta Air Lines with a 3.7% jump. American Airlines passenger numbers were flat year-over-year, but American has the top market share at BTR year-to-date followed by Delta and United. 

For the last two years combined, passenger volume has been up 8% at BTR.

Shell Team and Blue Angels Photo


Louisiana pilot Jimmy Fordham of the AeroShell Aerobatic Team sent me this special photo of a very special flight.  Besides the two Blue Angels in formation they had the other four Blue Angels pilots in the backseat of their AT-6 aircraft. It was a very special ride for them.  Thanks to Jimmy for submitting the photo for us all to enjoy.

"That's All, Brother" Visits Lakefront


During the last weekend in March,The Big Easy Wing hosted the CAF-Central Texas Wing C-47 crew.  David Capo, our unit leader, invited Ubert Terrell, a 99 year old World War II Veteran who parachuted into occupied France to join us as we greeted the C-47 crew on March 28.  The Big Easy Wing was honored that Ubert was able to join us and to have the opportunity to board this aircraft. Charles Marsala of AWE.News was present that day creating this video.  On this video, you will notice members of the Big Easy Wing – David Capo and Jim Riviere.  Our PT-17 Stearman is also shown.

AWE.News creates videos on groups that honor veterans.  All of their videos are posted on https://www.AWE.News. Included in this segment is a piece on the Victory Bells.

Click For Video

YouTube Links

News From Davis Aircraft

Davis Aircraft at the Northwest "T" hangars at KBTR airport is a uAvionix Sky-Beacon service center, if you are in need of an economical solution to ADS-B call us for a quote.

Visit our showroom where you will find a great selection of pilot supplies such as: Lightspeed headsets, Faro headsets (which includes a very economical ANR that has Bluetooth capability for $695),

ASA products, NOAA maps, oil, filters, etc. We also administer all the FAA written exams. If we don't have what you need, we can get it

As many of you know, Terri closed down Louisiana Avionics about a year ago. The avionics shop has been revitalized and moved behind Davis Aircraft at the Northwest "T" hangars. If you are considering upgrading your radio's, panel, ADS-B, let us give you a quote. I think you will find we have very competitive pricing.

Please let us know if we can help you in any way.

Davis Aircraft contact info: (225)356-3565 or

Kids Hear About Aviation Careers


A group of middle school students chattered excitedly as Christopher Patrick led them up a dim, narrow stairway to the top of the control tower at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport Saturday morning.

They followed Patrick, an air traffic controller, until reaching a room where huge windows offered a panoramic view of the city and the runways below. One of Patrick's colleagues was talking with a pilot over the radio — and soon, a small plane launched into the air, eliciting quiet "oohs" of admiration from the young visitors.

The middle schoolers were among about 80 children and teenagers who visited the airport Saturday during an event meant to introduce them to careers in aviation. They took turns touring the tower and hearing from pilots, Federal Aviation Administration employees, airport administrators, security personnel and others about how they help get planes off the ground and passengers safely to their destinations.

Floyd Miles and Cedric Grimes

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CAP Cadet Recieves Mitchell Award


Caption: Left to right, Congressman Cedric Richmond, 2d Lt. Valerie Titus, Cadet 2d Lt. Luke Titus, and Lt. Col. William Hunton.

Photo by Lt. Col. Kathy Beauford, CAP

Civil Air Patrol cadet earns the General Billy Mitchell Award

New Orleans, La. – Congressman Cedric Richmond presented Civil Air Patrol’s General Billy Mitchell Award to Cadet 2nd Lt. Luke Titus at a special ceremony held April 16 at the headquarters of Pontchartrain Cadet Squadron in Harahan, La.  Cadet Titus earned this award having qualified for promotion to 2d Lt. on February 27, 2019.

Congressman Richmond also presented Cadet Titus with a set of Congressional cufflinks while praising him for prestigious achievement in only 24 months.  Lt. Col. William Hunton, Pontchartrain Squadron commander, said, "Cadet Titus is an exemplary cadet.  He has achieved this milestone considerably faster than most cadets."

Attending the ceremony were Cadet Titus’ his mother, Lt. Valerie Titus, as well as other squadron members and guests.

The General Billy Mitchell Award marks the transition between cadet enlisted and cadet officer grades.  In his two years in CAP, Cadet Titus has promoted in record time and currently serves as squadron cadet commander, cadet leadership officer, and cadet emergency services officer. He has served as the squadron flight sergeant and committee chairperson for the Louisiana Wing Cadet Olympiad. 

Last summer, Cadet Titus attended Louisiana Wing’s annual Encampment at Barksdale Air Force.  He was chosen Honor Cadet from a field of 100 cadets from Louisiana Wing. He plans to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy. 

Brian Capone At It Again!


Brian Capone, Assistant Chief Flight Instructor, Gulf Coast Aviation, Baton Rouge satellite hosted Jr, Air Force ROTC seniors from Mentorship Charter Academy located in downtown Baton Rouge. Mr. Capone explained various career options, Flight Training requirements, along with a visit to BRCC Aviation Maintenance School in Central. There the cadets were provided a tour of the BRCC facility to see the equipment and staff that provides required FAA training to obtain an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate allowing one to work on aircraft. At the airport visit, the cadets were allowed to sit in an aircraft and learn some basic aerodynamics. All were excited, several thinking of a career in aviation, and were tasked to bring the enthusiasm back to the younger students and Jr AFROTC folks at Mentorship Academy.

The mission of the Mentorship STEAM Academy is to create a relevant and vibrant Project Based Learning environment that prepares all students to be successful in college, career, and citizenship.  The Board of Directors are proposing an aviation high school addition and looking for industry support. Anyone wanting to contribute to the future aviation generation, please contact Brian Capone ( to discuss and obtain school contact information.

April BEW Newsletter


The Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force has published their April Newsletter.  They have stayed busy as usual with a visit from “That’s All, Brother”, ground testing of the Stuka and the engine change on the Stearman.  We might see both of those aircraft back in the air in the near future.  To read the Newsletter click 


Boy Scouts Event at KAPS


Andre Olivier, pilots from AMA, KBTR, KASD, KHCD, KREG and flyers from the New Orleans Golden Eagles volunteered to share an aviation experience with a local Boy Scout Troop last Sunday in preparation for meeting some of the Aviation Merit badge requirements. The group gathered at Andre’s hangar at the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport to continue their aviation education that he had started with a workshop at the Thibodaux Scout hut a couple of weeks earlier.  After another workshop they will have completed their merit badge requirements.

Thanks to Andre and all of his group of volunteers for introducing this group of kids to aviation.  We need this next generation of pilots to keep aviation going!

To see a photo album with many more photos of their day click….HERE

Note From the Editor:  If you are involved with any activities that are introducing kids to aviation in any way, please drop us an email with just a few lines around what you did and a few photos.  First, it gives us an opportunity to thank you for devoting your time and money to promote aviation!  Second, it might provide some ideas for others to do something similar.  Thanks.

Knapper Receives Master Pilot Award


Alan Malone Aviation Essay

Alan writes about his good friend Steve Knapper who recently became the 46th person from Louisiana to win the prestigious FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in a ceremony at the Lakefront Airport.  

To read the essay Steve Knapper (Essay #289) click HERE

To see more photos click....HERE

If you would like to contact Alan Malone to thank him and comment on his essays he can be reached at

Flight School Opens at Port of South Louisiana Airport


April 4, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                

Southern Aviators Flight Training LLC Opens for Business                            

RESERVE,LA - Filling a much-needed void in St. John Parish and at our airport, the Port of Louisiana is happy to announce the opening of Southern Aviators Flight Training LLC.  The flight training school, owned and operated by La Place, LA  resident Quintin G. Wilson (aka Quintin Gerard W.), will be based at Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport (KAPS) in Reserve, LA.

Southern Aviators Flight Training, LLC , a member of Flight School Association of North America, was established last month and is now providing quality flight training services to the River Parishes Region and southern Louisiana by servicing students throughout the region who want to learn to fly, or advance their aviation ratings and careers.  “Executive Regional Airport has received numerous calls over the years from persons interested in getting their pilot’s license and we have always had to send them to other airports for this service, now we can say ‘there is a company operating here at KAPS’ “stated Paul Aucoin, Executive Director, Port of South Louisiana.  “We thank Southern Aviators Flight Training LLC for choosing to open their business at KAPS and bring that market niche here” added Aucoin.

For the rest of the Press Release Click HERE.

MSY Terminal Opening Delayed


Today, the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Aviation Board announced that, after evaluating the status of all construction activities and consulting with key stakeholders, the new terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) will now open to the public in fall 2019. The complex coordination of construction activities during the final phase of this major project has impacted the ability to provide the new, state-of-the-art airport facility to the Greater New Orleans region on the previously-scheduled date of May 15, 2019.

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Plane Lands on I-10 in Baton Rouge - 4/3/19


Photo From The Advocate

Story from WAFB-TV

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worked a plane crash off of I-10 near Bluff Road and Highland Road in East Baton Rouge Parish Wednesday morning.

A single engine 4-passenger aircraft made a crash landing just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 3 in an eastbound lane of I-10 between the Highland Road exit and Bayou Manchac.

The pilot, James Ritter of Prairieville, was the only person in the craft and was treated for minor injuries.

Ritter says he suddenly lost oil pressure and made an emergency landing on the interstate, clipping a truck on the way down. Officials say the truck left the scene.

"As I was coming down, evidently I skidded across the top of an 18-wheeler I couldn’t see. It came up underneath me and then once I skidded off of him, it threw me sideways and skidded through the ditch and into the trees,” Ritter said.

The aircraft came to rest in the tree line just off the side of the roadway.

“Any landing you walk away from is a good landing,” Ritter said. “Got scratches a little bit and beat up, but shaken up, but that comes with the territory. I’m fortunate, some wood to knock on. Been flying since I was 18 and [this is] the first time that’s ever happened, so I’m thankful for that.”

For More from WAFB-TV Click Here

For more Coverage from The Advocate Click Here

For more Coverage from WBRZ-TV Click Here

And Now It's Official.....


MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Well it's finally, officially official, Mason Andrews is the youngest pilot ever to solo circumnavigate the globe according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Andrew's will receive a plaque from the organization, as well as will remain on the Guinness website as the title holder for the record until or unless someone breaks it.

He says it's an awesome capstone to what was a life changing experience.

"In fact every time I get into an airplane there's different memories, good and bad, from the trip. It's still something that I'm really glad to have had that experience and it's still an awesome thing to look back on."

And Mason has no interest in resting on his laurels.

Right now he is working on a book about his travels which he expects to come out later this year. He is also working on another record-breaking flight.

It's top secret right now, but he did tell Taylor Yakowenko it could be the biggest aviation achievement of the last decade.

It's safe to say we haven't heard the last of Mason Andrews.

Read More

More Press Coverage on Mason Andrew’s Around the World record…..

Click Here

A New Look in the Big Easy


In May, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is set to get its biggest upgrade since it first opened.

MSY’s new terminal will finally open to the public, promising to transform the entire passenger experience at the fast growing airport.

Kevin Dolliole, director of aviation, New Orleans Aviation Board, said the old terminal’s layout made it physically impossible to relocate more concessions to the sterile side of the security checkpoints and the layout created a lot of inefficiencies with moving traffic.

“There are a number of things that you can correct that you can never correct with the old facility to improve the operations and efficiencies with operations,” he said.

Dolliole said the challenges with the old terminal weren’t just inside the facility, but the problems started in terms of access to the airport and the curbside drop off area.

Read More

PHI Files For Bankruptcy


Unable to pay off $500 million in debt that came due Friday, Lafayette-based helicopter services company PHI Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Thursday in a Texas court.

The move comes after months of talks with the firm’s creditors as PHI looked at various options to reorganize its capital structure.

PHI has slogged through a downturn in the oil and gas industry, its largest segment, in recent years. Its most recent quarterly earnings report showed an $11.5 million loss in the third quarter of 2018.

The bankruptcy filing is not expected to affect day-to-day operations of the firm, including at its Lafayette headquarters, a spokeswoman said.

To read more click HERE.

Chopper Down in Lafourche

A Bell 407 helicopter with two people on board crashed into shallow waters near Golden Meadow Sunday Coast Guard and Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed, claiming the life of the sole passenger.

The Coast Guard, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as well as Sheriff’s Office personnel and harbor patrols were continuing a search in waters approximately five miles east of Golden Meadow for the pilot. The crash site, rescuers said, is extremely shallow. That factor has hampered the ability of some boats to aid in the search of the immediate area.

The passenger was said to have been from the Houma area, an employee of Talos Energy. The passenger was identified as Nicholas Duplantis of Houma, whom acquaintances said was the father of three children. Sheriff Craig Webre confirmed that Duplantis’ family was notified by his employer.

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March Big Easy Wing Newsletter


To read the March Newsletter of the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force click HERE

If you’re interested in joining this dynamic group just send an email to for more information.

Ribbon Cut at Helicopter Assembly Facility - 3/11/19


On Saturday, Gov. John Bel Edwards joined CEO Andreas Löwenstein of Kopter Group AG, Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development, and other state, regional and local officials at a ribbon cutting event to celebrate Kopter’s selection of Lafayette for assembly of its SH09 helicopters.

It comes only days after Lafayette had been selected by Kopter for production and support of its helicopters throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Kopter’s manufacturing site will be located at the Lafayette Regional Airport, where the company will create 120 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of more than $55,000, plus benefits.

In addition, the company will make a $4.2 million capital investment to modify and equip a state-of-the-art, 84,700-square-foot helicopter assembly building at the Lafayette airport.

LED estimates the project will result in an additional 157 new indirect jobs, for a total or more than 275 new jobs in Acadiana and surrounding regions.

For more click…

Read More

For more coverage click….HERE.

2019 Girls Fly-in Forward - 3/11/19


That wonderful group of ladies in the NOLA 99’s have done it again!  They always do a great job with their Girls Fly-it Forward event at the Louisiana Regional Airport and they did it again last Saturday.  The event introduces women of all ages to aviation by allowing them to experience their first ride in an airplane at no charge. The winds were a challenge, so they had to cut the event short…..which is a very smart thing to do since you want their first ride to be a pleasant experience.  I’m sure those ladies that didn’t get their rides will get one shortly.

EAA Chapter 244 also held their second Saturday Lunch that day to make sure everyone that visited was well fed.  To see many more smiling faces in a photo album click….HERE

Thanks to Owen Bordelon, Kelli Kuntz and Julie Jones for sharing the photos.  And thanks to the NOLA 99’s (pictured below) for doing another wonderful event to empower young ladies and promote aviation.

Metro Aviation Purchases Guardian Mobility - 3/11/19


Metro Aviation (Booth C1023) has purchased Ottawa, Ontario-based Guardian Mobility, a provider of global tracking, voice and data communications, flight data monitoring (FDM), and analytics services. This is the second acquisition of this type by Metro—it previously purchased Outerlink Global Solutions in 2014 and has continued to develop its technology under the Iris brand, offering near real-time tracking, push-to-talk communication, FDM with voice and video, immediate alerts and warnings, and analytics.

Guardian’s G4 product provides global, real-time user tracking and two-way messaging in a single device equipped with automatic flight following (AFF) and additional telemetry unit (ATU). Metro said buying Guardian will give it access to portable products that fill gaps in its current Outerlink product line, as well as the benefits associated with Guardian’s status as an Iridium value-added reseller. 

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Hypolite Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Around the World Flight - 3/11/19


BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It may be the Mount Everest of aviation: a solo flight around the world in a single engine plane. If it sounds daunting today, imagine what it was like 50 years ago, before auto pilot and GPS navigation. For a young Louisiana doctor, it wasn’t enough to fly around the world. He wanted to break a world record.
Hypolite Landry rattles off foreign cities like an old time train conductor.
“Every day it scares me, 50 years later,” said Landry.
In May of 1969, man had yet to set foot on the moon, but the young doctor had already fallen in love with flight.
“I would just go everywhere. I’d go to my duck camp, every little airport, to Grand Isle,” Landry said.
To Landry, his Cessna was just another means to get from point A to point B.
“I would go hunting in the morning and fly back to see patients in the afternoon,” he said.
English actress, Sheila Scott, had just set the world record for a flight around the world. It took 26 days.
“After I bought the Bonanza, which is a real fast plane, I decided to see if I could break her record,” Landry said.
This was not an easy feat back then. The Bonanza had a range of about 800 miles, less than a third of the distance of the longest hops on a game of global leap-frog. He added fuel tanks inside the cabin to extend his range.    

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Metro Builds Interior Package - 3/11/19


Kopter Group will have a high-profile participation at this year’s Heli-Expo show in Atlanta, Georgia, displaying a full-scale mock-up of its new SH09 helicopter outfitted with a seven-seat transport configuration (five passengers and two pilots) engineered and manufactured by Metro Aviation.

After developing SH09 law enforcement and EMS interiors, Metro Aviation has extended its cooperation with Kopter Group to feature this new cabin layout – once again emphasizing the SH09’s versatility and attributes.

The multi-role SH09 helicopter is a highly adaptive and versatile platform to transport passengers with the highest levels of safety, comfort and visibility. Thanks to its large cabin, the SH09 allows multiple interior layouts that provide ample legroom as well as flexibility for added luggage loaded through the rear clamshell doors. The helicopter’s low vibration levels with its five-blade main rotor, as well as the silent noise signature of a shrouded tail rotor, create the ultimate flying experience.


Kopter Group and Louisiana State Announce New Helicopter Facility - 3/11/19


During an event taking place today at Heli-Expo, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Kopter Group’s CEO Andreas Löwenstein jointly announced that Kopter will establish a new production facility for its SH09 helicopter in Lafayette, Louisiana.

To Discover our video Click Here 

Kopter will lease a 84,700 sq. ft. facility from the Lafayette Airport Commission, which owns the state-of-the-art helicopter assembly buildings. This future production and support center comes in addition to the already existing and soon to be expanded Kopter sites in Switzerland, and will serve customers throughout the Americas. It is planned that it will ultimately source from U.S. suppliers parts representing more than 50 percent of the SH09’s value. 

The State of Louisiana initially funded construction of the $25.3 million Lafayette facility on a 14.7-acre airport site. Kopter plans to make an important additional capital investment in new equipment and building extensions. Kopter will begin hiring of personnel later this year and prepare operations by mid-2020. Deliveries of locally assembled helicopters will start in 2021. Kopter intends to create at least 120 new direct jobs by 2025 in Lafayette, while production should ramp up to an anticipated volume of around 100 SH09 per year.

“We are delighted that Kopter chose Louisiana and Lafayette for the assembly of a dynamic new aerospace product,” Gov. Edwards said. “The SH09 helicopter will be highly competitive in the marketplace and provide outstanding performance, great passenger and cargo capacity, and superior engineering and design. Kopter could have chosen any location in North America to assemble this new helicopter. Louisiana’s outstanding workforce and facility assets, and our competitive business climate, make Lafayette the clear choice for Kopter’s future in the Americas.”

Read More

Two Lost in Shreveport Plane Crash - 3/11/19

Friends Remember Plane Crash Victims


Friends are remembering two local men whose lives were tragically cut short after their plane went down in the Red River last week.

Friends say they will be greatly missed, but they will live on through all the lives they touched.

People who knew Ricky Lennard and Scott Hollis say they were in complete shock when they heard both men had passed in a plane crash Thursday.

They were traveling to Vernon, Texas. One man who knew Lennard says he was a great man who loved life and his family. "This dude was just a super dude, super guy. Kind hearted. I never saw him not get along with anybody," said Bill Moser, Family friend.

Authorities do not know the cause of the accident, but Lennard did tell the air traffic controller he wanted to return shortly after taking off.

Lennard's funeral is set for Wednesday at two at First United Methodist Church at two in Shreveport. Funeral arrangements for Hollis have yet to be set.

Read More

Additional news coverage of the accident...

Plane down in the Red River…..Read More

Recovery underway…Read More

Plane recovered….Read More

Investigation Begins….Read More

Can Aviation Help Stop Coastal Erosion? - 3/11/19


NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - This spring, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation plans to spread one million mostly cypress and Tupelo seeds over three sites along Louisiana’s coast, the second attempt to grow new forests on a much larger scale.

The seeds will be dropped by an aerial seeding plane at a site near Pass Manchac in Tangipahoa Parish and at two sites near Big Mar along the Plaquemines-St. Bernard Parish line.

“In some of these areas, the swamp has been so decimated there aren’t trees there to produce a new crop of trees,” said Dr. John Lopez, Director of the Foundation’s Coastal Sustainability Program.

Cypress tree plantings traditionally deploy volunteers to plant 2-year-old saplings.

“When we plant trees, we’re planting about 200 trees per acres,” Lopez said.

Dropping the seeds by air involves roughly 4,000 of them per acre, about half of which are cypress. Last year, the group attempted its first aerial seeding near Pass Manchac, dropping about 800,000 seeds over a 200-acre acre of marsh. This year, they plan a total of 250 acres of plantings in three different sites.

However, Lopez said, it will take a couple of years to know if the technique works, as they wait for trees to sprout to the surface in marshy areas. Nature intends for only a tiny percentage of seeds from a golf ball-size cone to grow into mature trees.

To see a video and read more click HERE.

Scout Troop Helps Chennault Museum - 3/11/19


Boy Scout Troop 66 helped sand down our F-86 fighter jet as part of Grayson Fuller's community project to earn his Eagle Scout designation. We're extremely proud and thankful that Grayson chose to honor our veterans and help in the restoration of our Korean War era warbird! 

“Having a family full of veterans drew me to military history when I was young. This interest contributed to my appreciation of the Chennault Museum. I’ve loved going to the museum since I was a kid. I was so glad to be able to help out. I think Chennault is important to the community and that by helping I could make a difference.” - Grayson Fuller

Barksdale Air Show Gets Website - 2/16/19

Our website is updated for the 2019 Barksdale Defenders of Liberty Air & Space Show! Please review the website here: 

We are thrilled with the Performers and Displays lined up for you. Our featured acts are the Canadian Force Snowbirds, the Army Special Operations Black Daggers jump team, and a re-enactment of Pearl Harbor...Tora Tora Tora. Please check our website and FB page frequently for new announcements and schedules as they become available.

Excuse the mess: Lafayette airport terminal's 2-year-long facelift ramps up - 2/26/19


Coverage about the New LFT Terminal being built next to the existing terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport. When the new terminal is complete, the current terminal will close.

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Go to "Come From Away" - 2/26/19


"Come From Away" is a Broadway musical based on the remarkable story of actual events of September 11, 2001. With American airspace closed, inbound flights from Europe were diverted to Canada.

99 Beverley Bass was Captain of an American Airlines B-777, one of 38 planes that landed in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. Her experience in Gander in the days following was one of several stories combined to create the PIC of this play. This is the story of how residents of this small town housed and fed 7,000 stranded travelers who "Come From Away."

The show will be at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, May 28 - June 2, 2019. NOLA 99s will be attending the matinee on Saturday, June 1, with other 99s from around the region.  Tickets are now on sale and are selling quickly. It would be great to have a big pilot group in the audience.  

Ted Schwarz Gone West - 2/26/19


It is with a heavy heart that I report that the Louisiana Aviation Community lost a valued member last Thursday.  Longtime aircraft mechanic Edward “Ted” Schwarz was the lead A&P at Skylens in Hammond, and also maintained a large number of aircraft for private owners in southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi including my own.  Besides being a highly knowledgeable and competent mechanic he was just an all around great guy. He will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to his family and friends.

For a news article from click HERE

Help Ted's Family...

I know that many of you knew aircraft mechanic Edward “Ted” Schwarz .  For many years Ted helped keep many of us safely in the air.  A fund has been started to help Ted’s family with funeral and other general expenses in this tough time.  If you would like to help you can contribute to:

  • Hancock Whitney Bank
  • Account Name: Edward E. Schwarz Benefit Account
  • Account Number: 062361221
  • Hancock Whitney Routing No. 065400153
  • Deposits can be made at ANY Hancock Whitney Bank.

Thanks in advance to the Louisiana Aviation Community for your help.

'Kindness counts': PFP Shuttles Patients- 2/26/19


When cancer patient Barbara Burton heads to Houston’s University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in March for her monthly treatment, she won’t have to waste precious time sitting in endless traffic, wading through crowded airports or standing in interminable TSA lines.

Instead, the Baton Rouge woman will climb aboard a private flight piloted by a local volunteer with the nonprofit Pilots for Patients, cutting her travel time in half.

For just over ten years, the Louisiana-based organization has eased the burden of travel for residents across the state afflicted with chronic illness.

It's a mission of mercy that sees pilots employ their skills and aircraft to fly ambulatory and medically stable patients to treatment facilities. They target patients who are fighting serious illness, many if them with compromised immune systems that make travel stressful.

Whether their journey is to Houston, Atlanta or Memphis, pilots provide transportation service free of charge to the patients and their families.

“Throughout the state there was a real need,” said Philip Thomas, president of Pilots for Patients. “We saw that when we were flying people, it gave them hope and a chance to fight their severe illness. It opened up a door for them that otherwise they didn’t have.”

With over 140 pilots, roughly 4673 missions completed and 1,729,013 nautical miles flown, the nonprofit Thomas heads has grown considerably since he and his wife, Sharon, founded the organization back in 2008.

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Pineville EAA Chapter Visits Fort Polk - 2/26/19


In our last meeting we had a guest speaker, Mr. Alan Seagul. Alan is the manager of the Fort Polk airport and is over all airspace from the ground to 10,000’ in this area. This includes both military and civilian. He spoke to us about the importance of flight following and how ATC facilities want and encourage general aviation pilots to use this service. Was a great meeting with him fielding many questions at the end which he graciously answered one by one. He also invited us on a guided tour of the facility which we of course, quickly took him up on. Learning and seeing first hand what these controllers do was a fascinating and rewarding experience. Everything was explained, every question was answered. What a fantastic team he has at Fort Polk!

Gary Vallery President CENLA EAA Chapter 614 

Get a Tailwheel Endorsement - 2/26/19


Attention everyone looking for a tailwheel endorsement! The Mistress will be putting her shoes back on after 3-15. If you want to get your tailwheel endorsement! Call Dave now to book your training 318-880-7787 

Support the LA Tech Flight Team - 2/17/19


In May 2019, Louisiana Tech's Precision Flight Team is attending the NIFA National Flight Competition in Wisconsin. We are excited to represent LA Tech and the State of Louisiana by competing against some of the best flight schools in the country! The organization is accepting any and all support that can be given, all donations are appreciated.

The money donated will enable the team to purchase trip necessities such as transportation, lodging, and other associated fees. If we do not reach our goal, or cannot attend NIFA Nationals for another unrelated reason, a full refund will be given to all who donate.

To donate click HERE

Aviation Art Winners - 2/17/19


The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Aviation Section recently held an art competition entitled, “My Dream to Fly”. Tisa Hill’s art students at Central Lafourche High School competed in the competition and the results are as follows:

State Winners: Diane Pina, Madison Larousse, Aaliyah Staples and Fayleigh Courteau.

In addition to being state winners Diane Pina and Madison Larousse’s work will move on to the national competition (National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education) being held in Washington, D.C.

This is a great honor due to the fact Central Lafourche has 2 of the 3 entries going to the national competition.

Leonardo Helicopters Opens Support Facility - 2/17/19


Leonardo Helicopters opened a new customer support facility yesterday in Broussard, Louisiana, bringing the number of such centers in the Americas to four. The 21,000-sq-ft repair and warehouse facility is situated on a two-acre site and will initially employ 15, provide 24/7 customer support, stock a wide variety of helicopter parts, and provide a far-ranging menu of repair services, including blade repair and mobile blade repair. It also includes space for sales, tech reps, and engineering support. Three tech reps will be based there. 

The Gulf Coast Support Center is strategically positioned to support the approximately 90 AW139 intermediate twins, 40 AW119 singles, and numerous AW109 light twins operating in the region, according to Michael Hotze, Leonardo’s vice president of customer support and training for AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp. Regional customers include major offshore energy helicopter service companies Arrow Aviation, Bristow Group, ERA, and PHI. 

“We’re here to be closer to our customers,” said Hotze. “This facility is here not just to support the oil-and-gas guys. It will support customers in the entire lower 48 states.” Hotze said employment at Broussard will likely double within 18 months. “Customers are really excited.” 

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Brief Illness Claims Shreveport Director - 2/17/19



Bill Cooksey, 53, died Tuesday following a valiant battle against multiple health issues that began a few months ago.

Cooksey, a former Shreveport Times reporter, joined Shreveport Regional in 1999 as its marketing and public relations director.

In 2012, Cooksey was named Shreveport Regional Airports' deputy airport director, a position he held until his death.

A 1983 graduate of Parkway High School, Cooksey earned his bachelor’s degree at LSUS in 1988.

He is survived by his wife Donna, daughters Taylor and Farron, and son Josh. For info on funeral services click HERE


BEW February Newsletter - 2/8/19


To read the February Newsletter of the Big Easy Wing of the Commemorative Air Force click…. HERE

LFT Terminal Construction Underway - 2/8/19


Construction is underway for the new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.

The airport’s executive director tells KATC, support structures are going in the ground next month.

“We’re actually going to start driving test piles this month,” Director Steven Picou said. “They sit for approximately 30 days and then in March we’ll actually start putting in permanent piles.”

He hopes the renovations will accommodate their growth in passengers.

“This year we had a 10 percent increase about 451,000 passengers came through Lafayette Regional Airport,” Picou said. “We’re hoping that trend continues to move forward.

The project is expected to be complete in two years.

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Keeping the B-52’s Looking Good - 2/8/19


It's the airmen from the Barksdale Air Force Base's Metal Sheet Shop that keep the huge aircraft picture perfect. Essentially they are in charge of the skin of the aircraft.

When it's time, they bring in all 32 pieces of the plane's cowling and inspect each one by one, inch by inch. They fix cracks, change rivets and even paint the B-52.

"It's our shop's responsibility to bring each piece into the shop. We do a visual inspection and a tap to look for loose fasteners, cracks, anything that might be missing on the piece,"  said Cliff.

The B-52 has several models. The first test model was built in 1952. But the one you see most often flying in and out of Barksdale is the H model -- also known as the Cadillac of B-52's because of its many upgrades.

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Corbin Joins Metro Aviation - 1/29/19


Metro Aviation is pleased to welcome Stewart Corbin to the team as he steps into a new role as Customer Communication Center Training Manager.  Within the same vein of Metro’s Transport Business Services and Customer Revenue Cycle Support, Stewart will provide yet another value-added service to Metro’s operations customers.

“Stewart will provide industry-leading training at our customers’ communication centers, both onsite and at the Metro Aviation CommLab,” said Metro Aviation Director of Operations Jim Arthur. “Additionally, he will add his expertise to operational assessments, recommendations to align with industry best practices, and onsite support for any Metro Aviation customer in need of this beneficial service.”

Stewart most recently served as the Vice President of MedComm Dispatching Services, where he was instrumental in the day-to-day operations of the company.  His 23-year career with MedComm includes time as a communication specialist and director, with experience in rotor-wing, fixed-wing and ground services. 

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UNO Moving Toward Professional Pilot Degree


The University of New Orleans this year has moved one step closer to offering a new degree program that will prepare students for a career in the field of aviation.

The Louisiana Board of Regents, the state’s top higher education board, last month approved a new professional pilot bachelor of science program at UNO, according to a university news release on Monday (Jan. 28). UNO will be allowed to begin accepting applications for the degree program only after the program is approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is UNO’s regional accrediting body.

The new program will be located within UNO’s College of Business Administration, UNO stated. In a statement, John Williams, dean of the Business Administration college, said the program will extend the vision of UNO as “an engine of economic development of the region.”

“Our professional pilot program will provide a diverse air space system environment that will expose our students to a wide variety of real world challenges, resulting in highly sought-after graduates,” Williams stated.

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EAA Chapter 261 Holiday Get Together


The annual EAA New Orleans Chapter 261 Holiday Get Together was held Saturday, Dec. 22, at Lakefront Airport Terminal. It was a scrumptious lunch in the Walnut Room, surrounded by Art Deco architecture, and attended to by Messina’s marvelous staff.

The elected officers for 2019 are: Ken Knevel, President; Don Ortego, Vice President; Buddy Hunter, Secretary; and Malcolm Hartman, Treasurer. It was reported that since Katrina, 265 Young Eagles have attended the cookout, toured the tower, and flown the city circuit – the highest number in the LA/MS/AL tri-state region. The spring Young Eagles event will be held May 11, 2019. Hope to see everyone then.

Also, everyone is reminded to complete, and send to Malcolm Hartman, the attached pdf fillable 2019 membership form and pay your dues, either by check or using the PayPal link below:

EAA Chapter 261 2019 Membership Dues - $30.00:  Click Here to Pay

Happy New Year –


EAA Chapter 261 President

Planning Commission to Consider New BTR Airport Hangars


The Planning Commission will consider plans for a new jet center—with three hangars for lease—at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport at Tuesday’s meeting.

Along with the three hangars, the Williams Jet Center will also have a taxiway connection and a fixed-base operation, or FBO, that provides fuel for private aircraft and passenger and crew amenities. The 20,000-square-foot center will be built off of Veterans Memorial Boulevard, near the Canada Street intersection.  

The project is being developed by property owner Lanny Lewis, of LWL Builders. Lewis could not be reached by this afternoon’s deadline for more information.

If approved Tuesday, construction is expected to begin in March and be completed by December, according to plans submitted to city-parish planning staff.

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Louisiana Native Receives FAA Award


New Orleans, Louisiana native John L. Peroyea, II. experienced his first airplane ride at 15.  That was the beginning of a 50 year span of a love affair with aviation. John immediately began flight lessons at New Orleans Lakefront Airport and earned his Private and Commercial Pilot Certificates before beginning college as a Professional Aviation major at Louisiana Tech University where he secured his Instrument Rating, Commercial Multi, CFI, CFII and landed a job as a flight instructor on staff at the University. John quickly earned his GOLD SEAL Flight Instructor status, and became the Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at Louisiana Tech.  At the age of 21, the Federal Aviation Administration awarded John the Flight Instructor of the Year District Award.  

John left college early, and in his senior year he accepted a position as Corporate fixed wing pilot at Petroleum Helicopters. Within a year he earned his Commercial Helicopter rating and became the Assistant Director of Flight Safety for what was at the time the largest commercial helicopter company in the world, PHI.

John left his aviation job to satisfy an entrepreneurial spirit, investing in radio broadcast stations, the first of which were in Louisiana. While he enjoyed many successes in his businesses for over 44 years, he always remained active in the aviation world. Always owning and operating airplanes, 


John kept his Flight Instructor ratings current for the last 46 years, and has served as an Accident Prevention Counselor and Wings Safety Team Representative for the FAA for over 40 years. John is a also a licensed A&P Mechanic and has Inspector Authorization.

Two years ago John completed his degree from Louisiana Tech University earning a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aviation and a Minor in Aviation Management, and just this year earned his Airline Transport Pilot rating. He’s retired from the broadcasting business now, and thoroughly enjoys a position at Flight Safety International Dallas as a Pilot Instructor and an FAA appointed Designated Examiner and Training Center Evaluator. John serves on the Board

of Directors of the Industry Advisory Board of the Professional Aviation Department of Louisiana Tech University.

In celebration of 50 years from the date he first soloed at New Orleans Lakefront Airport, John has now been honored to be presented the FAA’s Wright Brothers “Master Pilot Award” for his FIFTY years of dedicated service, technical expertise, professionalism and many outstanding contributions to further the cause of aviation safety…… He is now officially one of only 1400

aviators to receive the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.

AOPA Article on Mason Andrews = 1/9/19

Great article from AOPA on Louisiana pilot Mason Andrews…..



January 9, 2019 By David Tulis

Eighteen-year-old Mason Andrews circumnavigated the Earth in his family’s PA–32 Piper Lance during a 76-day solo flight for charity from July 22 to Oct. 6, 2018. He named the green-and-white N7278C the Spirit of Louisiane in a modern-day nod to Charles Lindbergh’s history-making Atlantic Ocean-crossing flight in the Spirit of St. Louis.

“I’ve always been inspired by Charles Lindbergh and read most of his books,” said the Louisiana Tech University professional aviation program student and instrument-rated pilot. His plan was to fly the 3,500-mile transoceanic flight to bring awareness for MedCamps of Louisiana, an outreach that provides free summer camps to those who have Down Syndrome; Spina Bifida; developmental disabilities; or hearing, speech, or visual impairments. The trip raised over $33,000 for the charity, “and since then, even more has rolled in.”

To read more click….HERE