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Sling planes soar to new heights

first_imgThe Sling aeroplane, manufactured by The Airplane Factory, is known as one of the most reliable and affordable light sport aircraft in the world. Company owners and airplane enthusiasts, Mike Blyth and James Pitman, have written the plane into aviation folklore after flying it around the world twice. (Image: Aaron Gautschi) • Andrew Pitman Marketing director The Airplane Factory +27 76 498 7391 +27 (0)11 948 9898 • Robots that can savce miners’ lives• SA engineer to help build Bloodhound • Bloodhound brings world focus to South Africa• SA air school, Boeing in unique deal• SA’s inflatable hovercraft By Shamin ChibbaThe little two-seater Sling 2 aeroplane buzzes through the amber sky, high above the town of Meyerton in Gauteng. The 3-D display screen indicates that it is flying at an altitude of 6 700 feet and at a speed of 120 knots – about 220 kilometres an hour. Holding the lever of the plane, you cannot help but be awed by the raw power at your command. It gives you the sense that you are holding your – and your co-pilot’s – destiny in your hands.The Sling 2 is one of South Africa’s best aeronautical exports in recent years, with 160 planes sold worldwide. And its story begins with a bit of aviation romance. It was designed and developed by Mike Blyth and James Pitman, two aviation enthusiasts looking to build the perfect light sport aircraft (LSA). Once it was finished, in 2009, they took their homemade plane and flew around the world in 40 days.Covering more than 45 000 kilometres, they stopped in 14 countries, including the United States, where they attended the Airventure Airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Sao Tome; Guinea; Brazil; and Malaysia. “The amazing thing was that we could design and develop an aircraft ourselves, get into it and in 40 days zoom all around the world in this little aeroplane we dreamed of making,” says Blyth.But the trip led to something even bigger. When Pitman and Blyth returned, they decided to turn their passion into a business venture and started up The Airplane Factory. The company produces some of the world’s most reliable light aircraft out of its hangar in Tedderfield Airpark, situated in the dusty town of Eikenhof between Johannesburg and Vereeniging. To prove just how stable the plane is, the team flew two more long distance flights in 2011 and 2013.“Just Google ‘best handling LSA in the world’ and you’ll see the Sling,” says Blyth. “It’s become very popular in many parts of the world.”The company has grown so rapidly in the last five years that it now employs 115 factory workers who turn sheets of metal into the beautiful Sling. Engineers at The Airplane Factory push one of their customer’s Slings into the service hangar at Tedderfield Airpark where the company is situated. The planes have to be serviced at least once a year or after every 100 hours of flying. (Image: Shamin Chibba) Veteran of flightBlyth, 60, may have been designing and developing aircraft for a great many years, but he did not know his passion, and his life’s work, would lie in aviation until he was 30 years old.His background is in engineering and his first venture was in the trucking industry. It quickly went bankrupt as he did not have the business acumen at the time to run it. It was not until 1984 that he found his passion in the skies. “When I was trying to find something to do again, I met this chap who took me flying and immediately felt this was great and decided to make a career of it.”Blyth threw himself into the world of flight, becoming an instructor and a designer of aircraft. He started developing and flying trikes, which he describes as motorised hang gliders. It led him to the World Microlight Championships in 1992, which he won, a first for South Africa.His first long-distance flight with the vehicle was from Cape Town to the northernmost tip of Norway, to a place called North Cape. His second flight with the trike was a nine-month trip with Swiss pilot Olivier Aubert in 1999, from the southern tip of South America to the top of North America. In 2004, Blythe and Aubert completed another trike expedition, this time flying from the Mozambican to the Namibian coast.But it was not until 2009 that he built the Sling, which would take him around the world for the very first time. Co-owner of The Airplane Factory, Mike Blyth, discovered flight 30 years ago after failing as a businessperson in the trucking industry. He has since circumnavigated the world twice, flown two long distance flights on a microlight and has won the World Microlight Championships in 1992. (Image: Shamin Chibba) Birth of the SlingWalk into The Airplane Factory’s reception area, and there is a large wing standing behind the receptionist’s desk. “That is part of the first prototype,” says Blyth. That particular Sling lasted just six months before the designers decided to scrap it. But they kept the wing as a reminder of how far the company has come in the five years since its establishment.Before the Sling, Blyth sold Rotax aircraft engines he imported from Austria. But engine sales were dipping and he had just sold another microlight venture, called Rainbow Aircraft, to a business partner. So he looked to design a new kind of plane. “I had been involved in many microlight manufacturing businesses before. And I wanted to develop a slightly better aircraft than I had been making before.”He put together a small team that included a draughtsman, an engineer and himself, and started working on the plane. A few years later, Blyth met Pitman, who had a passion for flight. Blyth did not have enough cash to start the business, and Pitman decided to channel funds into what became The Airplane Factory.They built the first prototype together, says Blyth. “We got the first aircraft into the air. We flew around for about six months, getting the controls and the engine right, and then scrapped it because it wasn’t perfect. We didn’t want an aircraft going into the marketplace that was not 100%.”A person at Denel helped with the aerodynamics of the second prototype, and Blyth decided to take the Sling to the skies. As a result, its handling, size and ergonomics turned out to be perfect, he says. The 3-D display screen that comes fitted in all Sling aeroplanes are designed and made in South Africa. It displays altitude, speed and even a three-dimensional rendering of any landscape that the plane flies over. (Image: Shamin Chibba)After the Sling 2 proved to be a success, Blyth and Pitman brought in a third shareholder, production director Jean d’Assonville, to build a four-seater aeroplane they called the Sling 4. The three owners completed a second round-the-world trip in 2011, flying eastwards in their new four-seater plane.In September 2013, the team completed a three-legged long distance flight with the Sling 2. Blyth and his son flew to Oshkosh, with Pitman flying from the US to England and his brother, Andrew Pitman, flying back to South Africa. The month-long trip cost them about R180 000 (about $17 400).There were no major problems with the Sling 4, but the troubles the pilots did experience were beyond their control. For Andrew, the company’s marketing manager, refuelling at airports in Africa that did not have fuel pumps took up to five hours. “You have to take your two 25-litre jerry cans out the airport, into a taxi, to a petrol station, back to the airport, through customs, out on to the runway, fill it up then go out again. And we have these long-range fuel tanks on our Oshkosh planes that take 450 litres of fuel.”But still, refuelling, says Andrew, was not as big a problem as the rigid bureaucracy at these airports. He first had to clear customs and “prove that you are a real pilot even though you’ve arrived in this tiny aeroplane”. Thereafter, he would have to run to several offices just to pay for landing and parking fees. Along the way, officials would ask for bribes to hasten the process.But The Airplane Factory has a strict policy against bribes, he stresses. “When someone tried to [solicit a bribe from] us we would say, ‘No, we will just sit here and wait until a high official comes around.’ So we didn’t end up spending a whole lot of money.” Stringent testing and quality control Mike Blyth does a mandatory inspection of a newly built plane before taking it on a test flight. According to Blyth, such meticulous inspections and quality control measures have made the Sling one of the most reliable light sport aircraft in the world. (Image: Shamin Chibba)Just outside the service hangar, d’Assonville lands on the tarmac with a Sling fresh off the production line. Andrew explains that he is testing the plane before it is shipped off to a training school in Australia. The test includes an all-round inspection of the plane while it is on the ground, followed by five flights to check for faults.According to Blyth, there have been no recorded problems with aircraft the company has sold. There have been a few minor incidents, but Andrew points out that these have not been the company’s fault. “When [Blyth] says minor he means in terms of no injuries at all. He also means that it’s been completely pilot error and not the fault of the aeroplane.” Sling is cheap and economicalAndrew says the company now manufactures two Sling 2 models – the original 700 kilogram plane and the 600 kilogram light sport aircraft. “The LSA category is useful for us because they are sold worldwide as factory built planes. Anything above 600 kilograms has to be a certified aircraft to be factory built. Our planes are non-type certified, a slightly less stringent form of certification we apply to. It is the reason we can sell our planes as cheap as they are.”Sling planes are marketed towards general aviation pilots, those who want to use them for personal use. A typical certified four-seater plane can cost as much as R6-million. However, since the Slings are non-type certified, they can be sold for R1-million. But this does mean they can only be used for hire-and-fly and training planes and not for charter flights. A factory worker feeds a sheet of metal into the sensory punch machine, which presses out parts that would eventually be bent into various components for the plane. (Image: Shamin Chibba)Andrew says the biggest advantage of the Sling is that it takes petrol, otherwise known as mogas, which is cheaper than aviation gas (avgas) and jet fuel. “In Accra, Ghana, avgas costs R78 per litre. So it would cost you R30 000 to fill up the plane. But normal mogas costs R6 per litre. So there’s a huge difference in price.”It is also economical, he says. The 150-litre fuel tank in the Sling 2 can give a pilot up to 11 hours of flying and the 168 litres on the Sling 4 as many as eight hours. This translates to 2 200 kilometres in the two-seater and 1 800 kilometres in the four-seater. Big in America The Sling is pictured flying over Santa Monica Pier in California. The plane has become so popular in the United States that The Airplane Factory has opened up a branch just outside of Los Angeles. (Image: Aaron Gautschi)Besides selling factory assembled planes, the company also produces kits for customers who want to build at home. The biggest market for this product is the United States, followed by Brazil, Australia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.The company’s success in the US has been possible because it has certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, which tests the safety of aircraft used in that country. As a result, it has built up a large client base and has even set up a branch in California. “The biggest market for general aviation is America. It is the leader and the rest of the world looks to them for trends, so we need to have a strong presence there.”The company is located at Torrance Airport, just outside Los Angeles. “At the moment it’s not so much a factory,” says Andrew. “It’s a chief executive, a marketing guy, and a few workers assembling kits. We have a flying aeroplane there for customers to go on demo flights.”Though one kit has been sold to a customer in Poland, it is difficult for The Airplane Factory to enter the European market because the company does not comply with the European Agency of Safety and Aviation (Easa) certification laws. However, James met Easa officials in Belgium this month to discuss the criteria needed to obtain certification. The futureAfter the success of The Airplane Factory, Blyth’s dreams for the company are flying as high as his planes. Though all three Sling models have proven reliable among pilots worldwide, Blyth believes the plane can be improved. “If you are an engineer you are always looking for ways to improve it. For instance, I would like to try a slightly different wing and a lot of little different things to streamline it.”Within the next year, he is looking to design a new high-winged version of the Sling 4. He is also set on building a faster twin engine aircraft. “One day, when I’m sitting on a beach somewhere, we’ll do jets. Eventually we’ll do airliners. There is no point in putting this amount of effort and only doing this. Take the business, hand it to your kids and let them take it to a new level.”For Andrew, The Airplane Factory’s success is down to just one thing: the passion the team has for flight. “People ask us why we still fly to Oshkosh and around the world; they say we don’t have to prove the aeroplane anymore,” says Andrew. “But our answer is we don’t do it to prove the aircraft, we do it because we love doing it.”last_img read more

Firing stops at Srinagar school, 2 militants believed dead

first_imgKilling of officer a sign of things to come in Kashmir Security forces were up against a huge task as the school complex has over 400 rooms. “It took time clearing the rooms one by one. We wanted to be sure that the militants were hiding in the complex. It slowed the operation,” said a police officer.Combing operationThe operation gained pace in the morning when explosives were used to break into the complex. The firing stopped in the afternoon and the forces launched a major combing operation.One CRPF officer was killed and two others injured as militants opened fire on a CRPF patrol near Pantha Chowk area on the outskirts of Srinagar on Saturday afternoon and managed their entry into the school. Vulnerability to the foreThe operation has once again brought to the fore vulnerability on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which witnessed more than six attacks in the past one year. Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had claimed responsibility for the Pantha Chowk attack. LeT spokesman, Abdullah Ghaznavi said its men attacked on the CRPF party. CRPF officers and police officers carry the coffin containing the body of the CRPF officer who was killed in a militant attack at Pantha Chowk during a funeral procession in Srinagar on Sunday.  | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad Security forces killed two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants, holed up inside Delhi Public School here, in an 16-hour encounter on Sunday.An intermittent firing, which started around 5 p.m. on Saturday, continued in the night and the militants stay put inside the building. Security forces used flashlight disallowing the militants to escape.“Two militants were killed in the operation in the complex,” said a police spokesman. Both the militants were foreigners and were identified as Abu Talha and Abu Huraira.Three jawans of the Army’s PARA unit also suffered minor injuries.Also Readlast_img read more

NRI Attends Own Wedding in India on Webcam

first_imgGiven the growing pressure and competition in this day and age, it is difficult to get a leave at work. But so much so that you have to attend your own wedding on webcam redefines crazy. Related Itemslast_img

Record Exports in July Fail to Allay Slowdown Fears

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Eric Kelly moves up to lightweight for Boku fight

first_imgLATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Guiao admits he hasn’t fully gotten over departure from Rain or Shine Photo from ONE CHAMPIONSHIPFilipino mixed martial artist Eric Kelly is set to move up one weight class as he faces Japanese fighter Kotetsu Boku in the ONE Championship: Kings & Conquerors in Macau on August 5.Kelly has been a featherweight throughout his professional career where he won 12 and lost three, but against Boku “The Natural” will fight in the lightweight division.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes “It’s been a year since the last time that I fought, I am looking forward to put on a great performance for my beloved country,” said Kelly. “I have been training hard and going through strategies. I hope to give my 110 percent inside the ONE Championship cage in Macau.”“I am coming to win.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ View comments Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ “It’s a new beginning for me, and it’s somehow a permanent move since this is my walking weight,” said the 35-year-old Baguio native. “We have to abide by the weigh-in rules of the company. I am comfortable with the weight.”“I am excited to be in this journey. I hope everything will turn out great for me as a lightweight.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsKelly, however, has suffered back-to-back losses inside the ONE cage and he sees this upcoming match against former lightweight champion Boku (25-11) as his road to redemption in the Asian promotion.His last fight ended badly after Narantungalag Jadambaa knocked him out in the first round back in July of 2016. Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

PH men’s volleyball team vows to give it all in SEA Games

first_imgTrump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games WATCH: Bodybuilder breaks neck after failed backflip attempt Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img “What I can say is this SEA Games will be more exciting.”The men’s national volleyball team traveled to Korea for its training camp where the team would train for almost 16 hours with meals serving as the only rest for them.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsAnd even though De Guzman and his peers went through rigorous activities during their two-week stay in Korea, the captain did not make any concrete promises.“I am not saying that we’re confident we’ll bring home the gold, but what I can say is we’ll do our best, we’ll play to our extent and we’ll take it to heart everything we’ve been through in Korea,” said De Guzman. Photo by Bong LozadaMen’s volleyball national team skipper John Vic De Guzman said Thursday the squad he’ll be leading in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games will be a different one from the 2015 team that failed to bring home a medal.“I can’t say where we are right now but we made sure that this team will be a different one from the 2015 one,” said De Guzman in Filipino in the athletes send-off for the SEA Games last Thursday.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo NGCP on security risk: Chinese just technical advisers Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo And one thing the team will definitely remember once they start playing in Malaysia is the injury to hitter Greg Dolor who suffered a broken pinky finger.De Guzman said the injury to one of their offensive weapons deeply hurt the team skills-wise, but it also bolstered the group in the attitude department.“That hurt but we all know now that we’re far more motivated going into the SEA Games and we’re braver now because we’ll be offering our games to Greg.”ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Indian cricket team leaves for West Indies tour

first_imgIn the absence of several senior cricketers, a second string Indian team, led by Suresh Raina, left for the West Indies on Wednesday to participate in a lone T20, five one-day internationals and three Test matches.The Indian team boarded a connecting flight to Barbados via London at 0230 hours from the Chhattrapati Shivaji International Airport here.India will play one T20 at Trinidad (June 4) and five-ODIs on June 6 (Trinidad), June 8 (Trinidad), June 11 (Antigua), June 13 (Antigua) and June 16 (Jamaica).Besides, it will also participate in a three match Test-rubber that will be held at Jamaica (June 20-June 24), Barbados (June 28-Jul 2) and Dominica (Jul 6-Jul 10).The Indian squad for the ODIs and the lone T20 is without nine players who were part of the World Cup winning team under regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.The players missing out include Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan– who has been rested, the injured Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Ashish Nehra and an unwell Yuvraj Singh.S Sreesanth and Piyush Chawla have been dropped.However, Dhoni and Zaheer will join the team for the Test matches along with V V S Laxman, Murali Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, and Sreesanth.When India last toured the Caribbean Islands in 2006 under Dravid, it created history by beating the home team (1-0 in a four match rubber) in a Test series for the first time in 35 years.However, the team will certainly look to change the 1-4 thrashing it got in the five-match ODI series then.ODI and T20 squad: Suresh Raina (capt), R Ashwin, S Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh (vc), Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Munaf Patel, Parthiv Patel (wk), Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwary, Shikhar Dhawan.advertisementTest squad: M S Dhoni (capt), VVS Laxman (vc), M Vijay, Abhinav Mukund, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, S Badrinath, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

ACU will look after alleged corruption in TNPL: CoA chief Vinod Rai

first_img Next Asian News International MumbaiSeptember 16, 2019UPDATED: September 16, 2019 17:19 IST Chepauk Super Gillies had defeated Dindigul Dragons to win second TNPL title. (Twitter: TNPL)HIGHLIGHTSVinod Rai said that the alleged corruption in TNPL is ACU’s partBCCI initiated inquiry over the alleged corruption in TNPLThere have been reports of an unknown person approaching some of the players during the leagueThe Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) chief Vinod Rai on Monday said that the alleged corruption in Tamil Nadu Cricket League (TNPL) is Anti-Corruption Unit’s (ACU) part and they will investigate the matter and as of now, nothing has come to the CoA.”It is an ACU’s part. ACU will look after the matter. Nothing has come to us. We are on track for elections,” Rai told ANI after the CoA meeting here.The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has initiated inquiry over the alleged corruption in Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), Anti-Corruption Unit’s (ACU) chief Ajeet Singh confirmed on Monday.There have been reports of an unknown person approaching some of the players during the league and the players then complained to the ACU to deal with the matter.”Yes, some of the players have approached us and based on their statements, we have initiated an inquiry. We have also recorded their statement on how and when they received messages from the unknown person,” Ajeet Singh told ANI.”Actually, there was a WhatsApp message that was sent by some unknown people and then the players approached the ACU. It can be anyone but we are sure that there is no international player involved,” added Singh.The TNPL has become an annual event, which features star players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Murali Vijay, and Dinesh Karthik.The matches are centred around the Chepauk Cricket Stadium in Chennai. The tournament was initially inaugurated by former India skipper and current Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni.advertisementOn the National Dope Testing Laboratory, Rai did not make any comment as it was banned by the World Anti Doping Agency last month.”No comments on the dope test of cricketers as the NDTL is banned by the WADA,” Rai said.Earlier, after the suspension of NDTL by WADA, the BCCI had written to the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) seeking clarity over the future course of action.In a letter addressed to the Director-General and CEO, NADA, the cricketing body had also expressed concern over the previously collected samples by NDTL at BCCI domestic tournaments.”It has come to our attention through media reports that NDTL has been suspended by WADA for a period of six (6) months owing to “non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) as identified during a WADA site visit,” BCCI had stated in its letter to NADA.”We request you to kindly let us know how this suspension will affect samples collected by NADA at BCCI Domestic Cricket tournaments. Since NDTL is unable to test the samples of our cricketers, what is the way forward to ensure a strict chain of custody and timely analysis of all samples,” it added.For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySaurabh Kumar Tags :Follow TNPLFollow Vinod RaiFollow Committee of Administrators ACU will look after alleged corruption in TNPL: CoA chief Vinod RaiThe Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has initiated inquiry over the alleged corruption in Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), Anti-Corruption Unit’s (ACU) chief Ajeet Singh confirmed.advertisementlast_img read more

Saskatchewan father upset sons hockey team not allowed to wear memorial patch

first_imgNORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. – The father of a young Saskatchewan hockey player who committed suicide calls a decision to remove a memorial patch from his son’s team’s jerseys a slap in the face.Neil Lascelle’s son Ash took his own life in January and his Battlefords Barons teammates had been wearing a patch on their sweaters in his honour.The circular crest reads: “In loving memory Ash, 2002-2018.”The Battlefords Minor Hockey Association recently ruled the patches cannot be worn next year.“It wasn’t very tactful. It was all about a power struggle versus what was in it for the kids, the team, whomever it really mattered to,” the father said. “It should never have been about a struggle.”Ash was 15 years old when he died.His father described him as a social butterfly who loved sports, especially hockey, but also excelled at football and track and field. His favourite teams included the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.Ash enjoyed the outdoors and was musically talented. He talked about having a career in policing and had recently considered joining the military.His father said that he excelled in school and achieved 97 per cent in his Grade 10 science class.There were nearly 1,500 people at his funeral.“I stereotyped him to not have any issues,” Lascelle said. “It seemed to me like he was the popular kid, he was athletic.“We thought some of the things he was going through were just teenage things.”Teammates wanted to keep the patch on their jerseys until 2021, when Ash would have moved on from midget hockey.But the minor hockey association ordered the crests be removed at the end of this season and reaffirmed that stance at an April meeting.The association’s board said that all jerseys need to be the same.“If 10 kids would want it and 10 kids didn’t, you can’t have 10 that want it,” said Kyle Kellgren, president of the Battlefords Minor Hockey Association.“There’s a possibility that kids don’t want it. There’s a parent that spoke against the patch at the meeting. It’s not all just one-sided.”Kellgren said players are still permitted to put the crests on hockey pants, helmets and bags.Lascelle attended the meeting and said that it felt orchestrated. People tried to ask questions about the crest, but they weren’t taken seriously, he said.“Never provided any proof or substantial evidence that this was a negative thing for the crest on the jersey and they never provided anybody that they talked to in regards to this,” said Lascelle, who stayed up until 3 a.m. after the meeting to take crests off the jerseys.Dr. Katy Kamkar, a clinical psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, suggested anything that “people can come up with that can help them build that resiliency” is a helpful way to cope.Every day since Ash’s death has become a little more manageable for Lascelle, his wife, Michele, and their two other sons Mitchell, 18, and Dion, 23, he said.But “you can’t explain the loss of a child.”He said he attended every game after Ash died and was proud of the team for wanting to remember him.Lascelle said more than a dozen children have reached out to him when they’ve felt down.“I had one parent call me up and say you saved my daughter, and from this point on, we’re family,” he said.“If I save one person, then my son will be proud of me.“Maybe I’m kind of having my son live through me in a sense that I’ve adopted or I’m trying to be that person that Ash was.”— By Ryan McKenna in Regina. Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitterlast_img read more

Positive drilling numbers expected for 2014

Positive drilling numbers expected for 2014 Steady as she goes, might be a phrase heard from a sailor, but it’s also an expression being used by the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) to describe drilling activity.First quarter numbers show the rig count is running at a slightly stronger pace than predicted in late October.Mark Salkeld, president and CEO of PSAC, said they are adjusting their numbers up slightly.“As an industry we like the steady consistent, know what you are going to do tomorrow kind of thing versus a boom and bust,” he said.Over the course of 2014, just fewer than 1,100 wells are expected to be drilled in western Canada with Alberta leading the way.Salkeld said Alberta would see more than half of that predicted activity and calls the increase manageable.Despite a recent rise in natural gas prices, Salkeld said most companies are still looking for oil, which has a much higher rate of return.He said the recent decline in the loonie is good news for his industry because they operate in Canadian dollars but receive American greenbacks for their products. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by News Staff Posted Jan 30, 2014 11:46 am MDT read more

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