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#399301 - 02/02/11 03:51 PM Questions Over An Unaccounted For Airplane
Marty Offline
There are reports tonight of a missing private aircraft. According to KREM Radio News, The Mexican registered Beechcraft 65 Queen Air, a twin engine light aircraft - was scheduled to return to the Phillip Goldson International Airport after a local flight on Saturday morning - but reports are that it never did.
The Department of Civil Aviation granted the Beechcraft permission to departed from the PGIA at 6:42a.m to test some instruments. But now that the plane has not returned, it has turned the investigation over to the Belize Police Department - which - according to the report - is now investigating whether there was a crash or that the aircraft simply proceeded onto another destination.

The aircraft which has been undergoing repairs in Belize since April of 2010, had twice gone on similar local flights and returned to the PGIA as scheduled.

Documentation indicated the tests would be done in the Dangriga Area. Minister of Police, Dough Singh told KREM news that a preliminary investigation was launched yesterday by the Anti-Drug Unit.

Channel 7

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#399303 - 02/02/11 03:52 PM Re: Questions Over An Unaccounted For Airplane [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Stolen airplane and helicopters changing registration numbers at Airport

There are several reports of suspicious if not illegal activity occurring at the Philip Goldson International Airport. Only a week ago, two Mexican choppers landed at the airport, and on the apron the brazen pilots were attempting to change the registration number. Apparently the authorities were informed and the pilots actually requested that relevant authorities witness the change of the registration numbers. The excuse given was that it would make it easier for the helicopters to be taken back and sold in Mexico. The helicopters were grounded for a short and have already left the country.

But there is another incident that has occurred over the weekend that seriously questions the security measures at the country’s only international airport. An aircraft of Mexican origin, a Beechcraft 65 with registration XBLRP, landed at the airport over a month ago. The last flight record showed it came directly from Jamaica. It is alleged that the plane was confiscated at the airport and grounded at the hangar. As it turns out, two Mexican pilots appeared at the airport over the weekend and asked to take the plane for a test flight. It is alleged that with permission from his superior, an air worthiness inspector by the name of Ismael Pererra gave the Mexicans the go-ahead to take the plane for a spin. The takeoff at six thirty a.m. was smooth, and eventually the plane disappeared off the radar. The pilots never returned with the craft and it is believed to have been stolen. Strangely enough, the incidents of the helicopters and this Beechcraft 65 have not made it onto any police reports.

Channel 5


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#399442 - 02/04/11 12:26 AM Re: Questions Over An Unaccounted For Airplane [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Statement on Aircraft Operations – Department of Civil Aviation

Belmopan, 3rd February, 2011. The Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture and the Department of Civil Aviation, take this opportunity to clarify certain reports in the local media about aircraft operations at the P.S.W.Goldson International Airport.

With reference to the Mexican registered helicopters, two of them landed on Wednesday, 19th January, 2011. Their nationality and registration marks were XA-UCC and XA-HSK. The two of them were of the type BELL 412EP. These helicopters and flight crew met all the technical requirements to operate in Belizean airspace.

On Sunday, 24th January, 2011, personnel from the Belize Airport Concession Company Ltd. alerted the Department of Civil Aviation that there were persons working around one of the helicopters and that it appeared that they were changing the marks on one of the helicopters. The Department of Civil Aviation did not consider this appropriate and immediately took action to stop the activity.

On Monday, 25th January, 2011, the flight crew from the helicopters visited the Department. They indicated that they had permission from the Mexican Civil Aviation Authorities to carry out this change. They provided the Department with approval documents from the Mexican Civil Aviation Authority. The Department of Civil Aviation informed them that in accordance with international standards, this activity cannot be done outside the boundaries of the State of Registry. In this case Mexico.

Even though there was approval from the Mexican Civil Aviation Authority, this activity was not authorized to be carried out in Belize. The helicopters departed back to Mexico (Cozumel) with their original nationality and registration marks that they had on their arrival.

In relation to the aircraft with Mexican nationality and registration marks, XB-LRP, Beechcraft 65, it arrived in the country on the 12th April, 2010. Most of the time this aircraft was parked at a private maintenance hangar at the P.S.W.Goldson Airport.

The aircraft did a test flight in August of 2010 and another in October, 2010. These flights were approved after flight safety inspectors from the Department of Civil Aviation perused the aircraft and flight crew documents to ensure that all are in order. These flight safety inspectors consist of pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers working for the Department of Civil Aviation.

On Monday, 25th January, 2011, permission was sought and there was no objection from the Department of Civil Aviation for another test flight since the documents were found in order a flight safety inspector. The flight test was carried out on Saturday, 29th January, 2011. This flight test was to be carried out in the area of Dangriga. After the flight departed, the Tower Air traffic Control Officer informed the pilot to contact the Radar Air Traffic Control Unit. Even though a Transponder Code was assigned, it was never activated by the pilot nor was there any radio contact made with this unit. This flight was considered as a local flight since at no time were the Air Traffic Services notified that this aircraft would leave the country.

After many attempts to contact the aircraft failed, and there was no indication of the aircraft having crashed, it was believed that the pilot’s action was that of not returning to its point of departure. The matter was then handed over to the law enforcement agencies at the P.S.W.G. International Airport for further investigation.

The Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture and the Department of Civil Aviation, will continue to promote the safe, efficient and expeditious movement of domestic and international air transportation through the provisions of proper regulatory procedures in accordance with the air navigation regulations in force and the Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
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#399482 - 02/04/11 03:24 PM Re: Questions Over An Unaccounted For Airplane [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
On Tuesday night's newscast we reported about a missing private aircraft. The Mexican registered Beechcraft 65 Queen Air, a twin engine light aircraft - was scheduled to return to the Phillip Goldson International Airport after a local flight on Saturday morning - but it never did.
In a highly unremarkable press release sent out today which only confirmed what had already been reported, the Civil Aviation Department said that there is no indication of the aircraft having crashed, it is believed that the pilot did not return. No kidding, right?

Police are now investigating.

The press release sent out by the Civil Aviation Department, also made mention of a mix up with two Mexican registered BELL helicopters which landed at the PGIA on Wednesday January 19th.

On Sunday, 23rd January , personnel from the Belize Airport Concession Company Ltd. alerted the Department of Civil Aviation that there were persons working around one of the helicopters and that it appeared that they were changing the marks on one of the helicopters.

The Department of Civil Aviation immediately took action to stop the changeup and the next day the flight crew visited to say and show proof that they had permission from the Mexican Civil Aviation Authorities. They were still denied permission and according to Civil Aviation, the helicopters returned to Cozumel Mexico with their original nationality and registration marks.

Channel 7

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#399606 - 02/05/11 03:37 PM Re: Questions Over An Unaccounted For Airplane [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Planes and games at PGIA!


Belize police say that they are investigating a series of strange happenings at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA) involving three Mexican aircraft, the key one being a previously confiscated craft (from a suspected drug operation) which has been taken out of Belize without proper clearance after two men, who police have not named, were approved to take it on a test flight, but never returned.

Minister of Police and Public Safety Doug Singh told Amandala today, Thursday, that police have still not solved the mystery of a Mexican registered Beechcraft Queen Air 65, which was apparently taken out of the country, violating the official approval for it to go only as far as Dangriga for a test flight. It departed the Philip Goldson International Airport at 6:42 a.m. on Saturday, January 29, 2011.

Singh said that the puzzling thing about this case is that there is no documentation available to police to indicate who the men are who took off with the plane. He said that three vehicles went into the airport compound that morning.

The possibility of collusion with locals is being investigated by police.

Observers find it strange, though, that Belizean authorities are indicating that they do not know the names of the men who made off with the Beechcraft, especially the pilot, who would have had to present some kind of formal documentation to get clearance to fly in Belize’s airspace.

The craft, with only the pilot and co-pilot seats, apparently intended for carrying cargo, has an interesting history .

It was confiscated by the Government of Belize a few years ago in the Belmopan area, following a suspected drug operation, and was later auctioned off, according to police reports. (The photo appearing with this article is an image of the original plane, which has since been refurbished.)

Amandala’s information is that the craft, built in 1960, had been registered in the US to Runway Enterprises Inc. of Florida (a company owned by Biro Ninoska but now inactive) with serial number LF-19. The craft was registered up until a year ago as N19LF in the USA, “N” being the code for the USA.

Then, in January 2010, the Beechcraft was de-registered in the USA and exported to Mexico, as cited by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

According to official Belize information, the Beechcraft registration number in Mexico was XB-LRP, “X” being the code for that country.

The craft, valued at around half-a-million Belize dollars, arrived in Belize from Jamaica in April 2010 for repairs, said Singh.

Amandala has learned that it had been housed at the PGIA at a private hangar of Belize Civil Engineering Co. Ltd., managed by Glis Marin, until it was taken out of Belize this weekend.

The plane was taken on a test flight last August and again in October. On this third outing, it did not return, although, according to Singh, the flight did not have clearance to go further than Dangriga.

Amandala sources say only that the craft, which had been fueled adequately for a long flight, went “south,” but no one is saying anything about the location of the plane.

Mexican authorities in Belize have claimed they know nothing apart from what has been reported in Belize media. Marcelino Miranda, press officer for the Mexican Embassy in Belize, told Amandala that he has no official information and they are awaiting the results of investigations by Belize police.

Our newspaper understands from a high ranking source at Civil Aviation Authority that it was the Belizean company that sought clearance for the test flight—not the Mexicans themselves—and all documents presented to them were in order.

The Authority believes that the pilot and his companion, who they have not named, intended to leave Belize without permission. The reason has not been explained.

The flight, we are informed, should have taken about 30 to 45 minutes. The pilot was instructed to contact them during the course of the flight, but never did.

The Civil Aviation official said that the radar housed in Belize is a secondary radar and only shows the location of a craft when the pilot operates what is called a transponder. This is different from a primary radar that shows the flight within the radar’s range as a blip. At no time was the craft visible on the radar, our source clarified.
Had the flight crashed, the official also said, an emergency transmitter locator would have immediately been activated on impact, which would have sent an alert on an emergency frequency. That also did not happen, we were informed.

We understand that Belize Aviation, the local company, was being paid by a client in Mexico for the repairs.

Our newspaper notes that the case is not being called theft, which suggests that the owner of the craft, who has also not been named, has not filed a complaint with the police.

Belize Civil Aviation is not talking to the press. Marin told Amandala, when we contacted him today for an interview, to call him back, but we were unable to reach him on subsequent attempts and up to press time, our calls have not been returned. We were informed this evening that a written statement will be issued.

In related news, the Government has confirmed a report reaching our news desk that a group of Mexicans who landed two helicopters at the PGIA on Wednesday, January 19, 2011, were attempting to change the registration numbers of the helicopters, XA-UCC and XA-HSK, also in violation of aviation protocols in Belize.

An official statement from the Belize Press Office says, “On Sunday, 23rd January 2011, personnel from the Belize Airport Concession Company Ltd. alerted the Department of Civil Aviation that there were persons working around one of the helicopters and that it appeared that they were changing the marks on one of the helicopters. The Department of Civil Aviation did not consider this appropriate and immediately took action to stop the activity.”

The parties had claimed that they had permission from the Mexican civil aviation authorities to change the registration.

“The Department of Civil Aviation informed them that in accordance with international standards, this activity cannot be done outside the boundaries of the State of Registry, in this case Mexico,” the Belize government statement said.

The choppers have reportedly been taken back to Cozumel, Mexico.

Amandala

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#399980 - 02/10/11 04:13 PM Re: Questions Over An Unaccounted For Airplane [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

P.M. questioned about the national security and plane that disappeared

Dean Barrow

The Mexican Beechcraft 65 airplane which took off from the Philip Goldson International Airport in January left Belize’s airspace on a test flight and never returned. It’s a troublesome security issue because since the Nine Eleven disaster in the U.S., most countries have been very stringent about passengers and pilots on planes. Yet the matter has gone under the radar and the Prime Minister was asked why the issue isn’t being taken seriously by the authorities.

Dean Barrow

“I gather that these were two more pilots sent by the owners. Now assuredly, the civil aviation people who gave permission for this test flight to be done, might have done a little more in terms of say file a flight plan even though it’s a test run. But as it had happened twice before and these people had brought back the plane, the fact that it was being test flown at the instance of the owners and the fact that those pilots didn’t bring back the plane, while it assuredly points up to a need for civil aviation to perhaps be a little stricter, I can’t see what harm has been done.”

Jose Sanchez

“Well, in terms of the police work being done, no one has been able to identify who even these pilots are. It is worrisome.”

Dean Barrow

“I assume that the authorities who have told me that these pilots were agents of the owner had a basis for saying that. I am not trying to be difficult, but where is the harm? What harm has been done?”

Jose Sanchez

“I believe the harm is that there are pilots, legitimate pilots, but yet the identity, the paperwork of who they are cannot be established by any parties involved with this particular craft. It is something that there should be a record.”

Dean Barrow

“I don’t know that there is not a record of the names of the pilots. I understand that the civil aviation people were satisfied that these were pilots sent down by the owners of the plane. I concede that surely civil aviation will be a little bit more careful in terms of recording particulars and I suppose in terms of insisting on some kind of a flight plan [umm] even though it’s a test run. But let me put a case to you: suppose they had insisted on a flight plan how would that have stopped the people from simply disregarding the flight plan and going wherever they wanted to go. As I said I don’t want to be obtuse. But, but…”

Jose Sanchez

“We should know who these pilots are.”

Dean Barrow

“And as I understand Civil Aviation knows.”

Up to news time tonight, the photo IDs and names of the pilots have not been released. The press release that was sent from Civil Aviation after News Five broke the story on the breach of airport security, did not address whether Mexico will be required to hand over the pilots.

Channel 5


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#400150 - 02/12/11 04:27 PM Re: Questions Over An Unaccounted For Airplane [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

New details about the airplane that escaped from the airport

In January two pilots took off with a Mexican plane that was grounded for months at the Philip Goldson International Airport. The story raised eyebrows because the pilots did not have clearance to take the plane out of Belizean airspace. According to Civil Aviation, the plane was to have carried out a flight test in the Dangriga Area, but after it departed, there was no contact with air traffic control. At no time were the Air Traffic Services notified that this aircraft would leave the country. This Wednesday the Prime Minister was questioned about what seems to be a clear violation of security at the P.G.I.A.; he played down the incident. But new details are now emerging that contribute to the drama of the missing Mexican plane. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Beechcraft airplane that left the P.G.I.A. in January without clearance has not been forgotten. Investigations reveal that a controller was questioned by police for money allegedly passed to the pilots of the airplane. An aviation employee, Ismael Perera, cleared the aircraft to do a local flight after informing air traffic control that all the documents were in order. According to the Director of Civil Aviation the documentation allowed for an instrument flight test, not an actual flight test, that is why air control asked additional questions.

Brian Dominguez

Then an airworthiness inspector, Brian Dominguez, while on sick leave, called a controller to allow the plane to leave the airport. Civil Aviation accepts that the paperwork of the pilots appeared to be in order; however, they can’t say for certain that the pilots of the plane were the same people that were listed on the documents. The Leader of the Opposition is distressed about airport security.

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“How on earth can we allow strangers to come and say, this plane is mine and I will take a test run and run and just disappear with it man. Something is wrong! How on earth can we be allowing planes to be landing on highways and then nobody knows anything about it. I mean these are questions that we need to ask and the government is not giving us the answer. And again the Prime Minister tries to wash away the problem, tries to find a way—as a good lawyer that he is, he finds a way how he can answer and dance around without really answering the question. Belize did not elect an attorney, Belize did not elect a trial lawyer; Belize elected a Prime Minister, Belize needs a Prime Minister. And our present Prime Minister needs to start to act like a Prime Minister and lead this country. And wherever there is a problem, let’s deal with it and let’s solve the problem. Nobody can see who these people are, but yet the Prime Minister for the first time I’m hearing, that all of a sudden it is with the owners that came to pick up this plane.”

Dean Barrow

The P.M. at his quarterly press conference contends that it was much ado about nothing.

Dean Barrow (File: February 9th, 2011)

“The Civil Aviation people who gave permission for this test flight might have done a little more in terms of filing a flight plan. But as it had happened twice before and these people had brought back the plane, the fact that it was being test flown at the instance of the owners and the fact that those pilots didn’t bring back the plane, while it assuredly points up to a need for civil aviation to perhaps be a little stricter, I can’t see what harm has been done.”

Jose Sanchez

“Well, in terms of the police work being done, no one has been able to identify who even these pilots are. It is worrisome.”

Dean Barrow

“I assume that the authorities who have told me that these pilots were agents of the owner had a basis for saying that. I am not trying to be difficult, but where is the harm? What harm has been done?”

Jose Sanchez

John Briceño

“I believe the harm is that there are pilots, legitimate pilots, but yet the identity, the paperwork of who they are cannot be established by any parties involved with this particular craft. There should be a record.”

John Briceño

“The Prime Minister just washes this under the rug as if nothing is happening. If other countries hear what is happening in Belize, airplanes like American Airlines and Delta, Continental, the U.S. who are very concerned about terrorist acts in their country and they start to hear and see how laxed we are about security. This can have a direct impact in our tourism industry; it could have a direct impact on all of us that we may not have these planes landing in Belize because they’re not convinced that we have the necessary security in place to ensure that these things do not happen. And again the Prime Minister, typical fashion, sweeps it under the rug.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

According to the Director of Civil Aviation, there was nothing sinister about the intervention by the air worthiness inspector who was on sick leave at the time of the flight. According to the director, the persons associated with the plane had the contact information for that civil aviation employee. The report about the plane came around the same time pilots of two helicopters were changing the registration marks on the apron. The Department of Civil Aviation felt it was and immediately stopped the activity.

Channel 5


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