Ameriflight LLC is an American cargo airline with headquarters at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It is the largest United States FAA Part 135 cargo carrier, operating scheduled and contract cargo services from 19 bases to destinations in 250 cities across 43 US states, as well as Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. Ameriflight serves major financial institutions, freight forwarders, laboratories and overnight couriers in the US and provides feeder services for overnight express carriers nationwide and internationally. Ameriflight averages 525 daily departures with over 100,000 combined flight hours annually and a 99.5% on-time performance. Ameriflight employs over 700 people (225 pilots, 140 mechanics).
Ameriflight was established in 1968 as California Air Charter. The company's first route, CalAir 103, was bank mail and cancelled checks flown in a Piper Cherokee Six (PA-32) from Hollywood-Burbank Airport to Riverside Municipal Airport, and then on to Blythe Airport near the Colorado River.
The company merged in 1971 with United Couriers (UCI), a wholly owned subsidiary of ATI Systems International (ATIS). In April 1993 the fixed-wing division of Wings Express (which was based at Van Nuys Airport) was purchased, and the outstanding shares of Sports Air Travel were acquired in mid-1997. In March 2007, when Canadian company Garda Security bought ATIS, Ameriflight was sold to a group of investors including the company's president, Gary Richards.
In late 2014 Ameriflight reached agreement to acquire Wiggins Airways (48 aircraft and 100 employees), which would result in Ameriflight becoming the largest regional air cargo carrier in the world with 163 aircraft in its fleet.
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The majority of Ameriflight's operations consists of air feeder service for major package express integrators such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Other significant customers include Lantheus Medical Imaging, ACS Products, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. On schedules set by the customers, cargo is received in the early morning from large jet freighters at hub airports and distributed by Ameriflight airplanes to smaller communities whose traffic (or airports) would not support the big airplanes. In the evening, the Ameriflight aircraft fly back to the hubs, in order to feed them with cargo from the smaller communities, which is carried onwards to the integrators' distribution centers for sorting and redistribution to the ultimate destinations.
Although demand is decreasing as use of digital imaging and electronic data transfer increases, Ameriflight also transports high priority intercity financial documents. Pharmaceuticals, film for development, medical laboratory samples, and other miscellaneous cargo are also carried.
Ameriflight is one of the few Part 135 cargo carriers in the U.S. with a special Department of Transportation permit to carry high Transport Index radioactive cargo, an important element in the company's time-critical radioactive medical raw materials business, which transports radioactive "generator" materials between points of manufacture and cities where it is used to produce materials used in diagnostics and cancer therapy.
In addition to scheduled flying (with contract schedules set by customers), all Ameriflight bases can respond to unscheduled on-demand cargo flights to destinations in Alaska, Canada, throughout the contiguous U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and into South America. A single King Air 200 was used for on-demand passenger charter flights but has since been retired.
The Ameriflight fleet includes the following aircraft:
|Aircraft||In Fleet||Orders||Max Payload||Notes|
|Beechcraft 1900||25||0||5,800 lbs|
|Beechcraft Model 99||52||0||3,500 lbs|
|Embraer EMB 120ER Brasilia||13||0||8,000 lbs|
|SA227 Metroliner||41||0||4,900 lbs|
|Aircraft||In Fleet||Retired||Max Payload||Notes|
|Dassault Falcon 20||-||-|
|de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter||-||-|
|King Air 200||1||2015||Charter|
|Piper PA-31T Cheyenne||-||-|
Accidents and incidentsEdit
|15 September 1989||AMF1952||An Ameriflight Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain (registered N70PE) on a cargo flight from Ontario International Airport to Santa Barbara Municipal Airport experienced an engine failure and the aircraft eventually rolled sharply right before impacting the ground in a near inverted attitude about a mile northwest of Runway 26R. The pilot was killed in the crash. The NTSB determined that a propeller blade separated from the right propeller hub. The rest of the propeller hub then separated striking the right front of the fuselage and the damage done made the aircraft uncontrollable.|
|03 March 1994||AMF107||An Ameriflight Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain (registered N78DE) on a cargo flight, departed from Hollywood-Burbank Airport flying non-stop to Oakland International Airport. At approximately 23:46 local time the aircraft collided with terrain near the summit of Mount Pinos approximately 9 miles west of Frazier Park. The airplane was destroyed, and the ATP rated pilot was killed in the crash. The NTSB determined the probable cause was the pilot's failure to select a cruise altitude which would ensure adequate terrain clearance. Contributing factors related to the dark, nighttime condition and to the pilot's lack of attentiveness.|
|16 November 1994||-||An Ameriflight Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N63995) on a cargo flight from Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport to Oakland International Airport descended steeply into the ground from cruise altitude near Avenal and the pilot was killed in the crash. The probable cause could not be determined, although pilot incapacitation was suspected.|
|23 December 1995||-||While performing a 135.297 instrument competency check, an Ameriflight Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain (registered N27954) impacted terrain in the hills southeast of Oakland International Airport (KOAK) at approximately 00:19 local time. The airplane was destroyed, and the two pilots were killed in the crash. In the National Transportation Safety Board's narrative, they determined the probable cause as the failure of the air traffic controller to comply with instructions contained in the Air Traffic Control Handbook and vectoring an aircraft at below the minimum vectoring altitude (MVA). In addition, the ATC supervisor’s failure to detect and correct the situation. Lower situational awareness by the flightcrew was also considered a contributing factor.|
|13 August 1997||AMF262||A Beechcraft 1900 (registered N3172A) was damaged in a crash, landing at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport and destroyed in a fire that had erupted from spilled fuel. Investigation into the accident determined that the airplane had been overloaded and that the pilot had been misinformed by staff members of the company that contracted for the flight about the cargo weight and center of gravity, which led to a stall during the landing flare.|
|12 February 1999||-||A Beechcraft C99 (registered N205RA) crashed into a canyon of the White Mountains, while en route a positioning flight from Tonopah Airport to Bishop Airport. The wreckage was finally discovered two days later. According to relatives and witnesses, the pilot (who was killed in the crash) had stated his intent to take aerial pictures of the local scenery and likely lost control of the aircraft while doing so.|
|14 October 1999||AMF121||An Ameriflight Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain (registered N1024B) on a cargo flight from North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT) to Sacramento Executive Airport (KSAC) impacted terrain 11 miles north of KVGT airport. The pilot was fatally injured. In the National Transportation Safety Board's narrative, they determined that the probable cause was the failure of the pilot-in-command to maintain separation from terrain while operating under visual flight rules. Contributing factors were the improper issuance of a suggested heading by air traffic control personnel, inadequate flight progress monitoring by radar departure control personnel, and failure of the radar controller to identify a hazardous condition and issue a safety alert.|
|29 November 2003||AMF1966||Flight 1966 from Boeing Field crashed into trees in bad visibility conditions while approaching its destination Felts Field, by which the pilot was killed. The aircraft involved, a Fairchild Metro III registered N439AF, had one of its two ILS receivers deferred due to intermittent flag activity at the time of the accident. The pilot had initiated his final descent late and then descended through the glide slope.|
|18 March 2006||AMF2591||A Beechcraft Model C99 (registered N54RP) crashed during a flight from Helena to Butte in Montana about 8.1 miles South West of its destination, killing the two pilots on board. The plane impacted trees and mountainous terrain, where the wreckage could only be located on March 20. The cause of the crash was determined to be the pilot's failure to follow the proper instrument approach procedure.|
|17 December 2007||-||A Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N206AV) that was operating as Flight 4844 landed short of the runway at Vernal Regional Airport in low visibility conditions, during which the aircraft was considerably damaged.|
|22 September 2009||-||An Ameriflight Fairchild Merlin IV-C sustained substantial damage to its nose and forward pressure bulkhead at Eppley Airfield, when another company's Cessna 402 collided with the parked plane. This accident was not charged to Ameriflight since their airplane was parked unattended at the time.|
|04 November 2009||-||A Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N330AV) suffered a bird strike when approaching Show Low Regional Airport following a cargo flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. A western grebe impacted and penetrated the left pilot side of the flight deck windscreen, striking and injuring the single pilot. The impact left an 11 inch by 8 inch hole in the windscreen. The pilot was able to continue the approach and land without further incident.|
|06 January 2010||-||A Beechcraft Model 99 (registered N206AV) was damaged in a hard landing at Kearney Regional Airport following a cargo flight from Omaha. The aircraft may have behaved unexpectedly because of unconfirmed icing that may have been present on the wings.|
|10 March 2011||AMF1951||A Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, slid off the runway and onto the grass at Boeing Field in Seattle when completing a flight from Nez Perce County Airport. Preliminary reports indicated a nosewheel steering problem, but there were also difficult wind shear conditions at the time of the accident. The single pilot of the airplane was uninjured.|
|30 June 2015||-||A Beechcraft Model 99 (Flight 1802) crashed immediately after takeoff on Salt Lake City International Airport's Runway 16L just before 8:00AM local time. Both pilots were reported uninjured. The flight was bound for Ely, Nevada.|
|06 February 2018||-||A Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner experienced a runway excursion at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. No injuries were reported and there were only minor delays to commercial flights.|
- "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 75.
- Murray, Lance and Nicholas Sakelaris. "Cargo carrier Ameriflight to relocate HQ, operations to D/FW Airport." Dallas Business Journal. May 15, 2014. Retrieved on May 16, 2014.
- Airliner World: 15. January 2015.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
- "Wiggins Acquisition Goes Ahead". Airliner World: 14. December 2014.
- "Fleets & Bases". Ameriflight. August 10, 2019.
- NTSB Report LAX89FA314 - 09/09/1992
- NTSB Report LAX94FA149, adopted - 02/24/1995
- Ameriflight 1994 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- NTSB Report LAX96FA078, adopted - 03/31/1997
- 1997 accident at the Aviation Safety Network
- 1999 crash at the Aviation Safety Network
- NTSB Report: LAX00FA014, adopted 04/06/2001
- 2003 accident at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Accident Description, Ameriflight 2591." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
- "NTSB Report SEA06FA068 - 03/18/2009." National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
- 2007 incident at the Aviation Safety Network
- "NTSB Report CEN09CA600 - 09/22/2009." National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
- "NTSB Report WPR10IA045 - 11/04/2009." National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
- Plane lands near Show Low after bird strike." The Arizona Republic. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
- 2010 Incident at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Cargo plane slides off runway at Boeing Field Archived March 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine." Seattle Times. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
- "AMF1951 Flight History 03/11/2011." FlightAware.com. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
- "NTSB Report WPR11FA159 - 03/10/2011." National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved on June 12, 2011.
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