The Federal Aviation Administration has revoked the licenses of
two Northwest Airlines pilots who overflew their destination airport
on October 21, 2009 while operating Flight 188 from San Diego to
The pilots were out of contact with air traffic controllers for
an extended period of time and told federal investigators that they
were distracted by a conversation. Air traffic controllers and
airline officials repeatedly tried to reach them through radio and
data contact, without success.
The emergency revocations cite violations of a number of Federal
Aviation Regulations. Those include failing to comply with air
traffic control instructions and clearances and operating carelessly
The revocations are effective immediately. The pilots have 10
days to appeal the emergency revocations to the National
Transportation Safety Board.
The Federal Aviation Administration is taking steps toward
helping airports buy equipment that will spot dangerous debris on
The agency published an advisory circular on Sept. 30 that lays
out the specifications the equipment must meet. The systems can use
cameras or radars, and be fixed or mobile. Airports can apply for
federal grants to buy systems that meet the specifications, setting
the stage for the first systems to be in place next year.
The agency¹s action comes more than nine years after the crash
that started the quest for debris-seeking technology. In that
accident, a strip of metal from a preceding flight shredded a tire
on an Air France Concorde. Rubber fragments flew against the
underside of the wing so forcefully that they put holes in the fuel
tank and ignited a fire as the plane took off. The plane crashed,
killing all 109 people aboard and four people on the ground.
An Israeli company, XSight Systems, installed a system at Logan
International Airport in Boston and tested it through two winters.
Alon Nitzan, president and chief executive of the company, said that
at the time of the crash, ³The entire industry begged for a tech
solution, including the regulators.²
Several other companies offer debris detection systems, including
QinetiQ and Stratech.
Xsight sells through distributors; Mr. Nitzan said the Pentagon
was one customer.
Airbus Urges Sensor
Switch After Crash
July 31, 2009
Airbus is urging airlines to switch most speed sensors on about
200 jets to Goodrich-made parts in the wake of the Atlantic jet
disaster, anticipating a European safety order.
affects Airbus A330 or A340 planes fitted with sensors
manufactured by Thales, like the Air France A330 passenger jet
which crashed en route from Brazil to Paris on June 1, killing
all 228 people on board.
Airlines are being urged to switch at least two thirds of the
sensors -- known as pitot probes -- on each plane to parts
supplied by US aerospace company Goodrich, which already
supplies most of the 1,000-strong A330/A340 fleet.
"We issued an AIT (Accident Information Telex) a few minutes
ago recommending that A330 and A340 operators fit at least two
probes supplied by Goodrich," Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath
said late on Thursday. About 200 of the 1,000 A330s and sister
A340s in operation are fitted with Thales sensors, Schaffrath
No deadline has been set, though one may be imposed if, as
expected, safety authorities make the move compulsory.
Apparently faulty speed sensor readings due to icing may have
contributed to the crash but were unlikely to be the sole cause,
which remains to be identified, investigators say.
With hopes fading of recovering the aircraft's cockpit
recorders, the investigation has focused on a handful of error
messages sent out automatically from the aircraft that raise
doubts over the speed data given to the pilots.
Some airlines including Air France have already said they are
upgrading speed sensors, but the new guidelines mean several may
also have to change suppliers.
A spokesman for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
said earlier it was drawing up a proposal to order airlines to
take "precautionary" action on Thales sensors.
The proposal would ban an older type of Thales sensor and
limit the use of a newer Thales model to one out of three
sensors fitted to each plane, with Goodrich supplying the rest.
Holtgen said EASA had acted in response to the "large amount
of information the agency has received over the last couple of
weeks on the performance of the three different types of pitot
tube currently in operation on Airbus long-range aircraft".
Although Toulouse-based Airbus supplies the airframe and core
systems, speed sensors are among a batch of components on which
airlines are allowed to choose from competing suppliers.
Three types are available for the A330 and sister A340, a
Goodrich sensor which is the standard model for those aircraft,
and two alternative models which are supplied by Thales.
There have been several reported incidents of problems with
Thales speed sensors, most recently on a flight from Rome to
Paris. Most would not have been noticed by passengers.
Thales has declined so far to comment on the sensors.
New chief executive Luc Vigneron said this week that Thales
was studying the progress of the crash investigation.
A Goodrich spokeswoman said it was "committed to meeting the
needs of the customer".
Airbus plans to help fund an extended search for flight
recorders and debris from the Air France crash, French
investigators said on Thursday.
Only a small amount of wreckage of the wide-body jet and
fewer than a quarter of the victims' bodies have been recovered.
The FAA is not making good use of the benefits that could be
provided by the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), according
report by the Transportation Department's Office of
Inspector General that was released this week. "ASAP, as
currently implemented, is a missed opportunity for FAA to
enhance the national margin of safety," the OIG report says. The
program allows airline employees to report safety violations to
their employers and to the FAA without fear of reprisal. To
realize the full benefits of ASAP, the FAA needs to clarify
which incidents should be excluded from the program and
emphasize to employees that ASAP is not an amnesty program, the
OIG said. The agency also should develop a central database of
ASAP reports and use it for trend analysis. "While ASAP is a
potentially valuable safety tool, we found that FAA's
ineffective implementation and inadequate guidance have allowed
inconsistent use and potential abuse of the program," the report
Currently, 73 airlines participate in ASAP, which has been a
thorny issue between airlines and pilot unions. American and
dropped out of the program last year after union leaders
complained that pilots who voluntarily disclosed problems were
Comair, which had also dropped out, rejoined last week.
"Reinstating this important program reaffirms Comair's
commitment to continue developing a strong safety culture," said
Comair President John Bendoraitis. "Programs such as ASAP are
designed to help provide a safe and reliable work environment
for our employees and travel experience for our passengers."
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 11:17:52 -0400
From: Dick Mills <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tail strikes from
improper settings (Knowlton,
airplane on a take-off run clearly could perform an
sanity check (comparing thrust settings and
actual acceleration with
gross weight, air
speed/temperature/pressure, flap settings ...) and
raise an alarm if something's seriously
As an engineer, I love this idea. A dash of physics, a bit of
programming, a tiny display. Life is good.
In fact, you could improve it. GPS databases already know
which airport you're at, and your heading tells it which runway
you're on. It would be easy to look up runway length from that
As a pilot, I'm highly skeptical of any such alarm that may
go off at the particularly sensitive time as take off. The alarm
could trigger an inappropriate takeoff abort; and that could
lead to a crash.
Displaying a new piece of information, say actual versus
planned acceleration, would be very welcome in the first 100
feet of takeoff roll.
The same information would be very unwelcome a few seconds
later as we near takeoff speed at 200 feet per second, At that
point, things happen too rapidly and the pilot is too focused to
deal with distractions or cognitive dissonance.
That makes the design an engineering challenge -- the more
time the gizmo takes to make sure that estimates are accurate
and alarms are not false, the less valuable the information is
to the pilot. Also, if we create a situation where trust
transitions from the machine to the pilot's instincts, and there
is no clear-cut transition boundary, then the design is a bad
Any new gizmo in the cockpit might be heroic or
counterproductive depending on the human interface, and our
ability to integrate it into pilot training.
We need to develop practiced responses to inputs that lead to
practiced recovery procedures.
Dick Mills, SV Tarwathie blog: dickandlibby.blogspot.com
Italy Convicts Crash Pilot Who Paused To Pray
March 24, 2009
A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency
measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has
been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along
with his co-pilot.
The 2005 crash at sea off Sicily left
survivors swimming for their lives, some clinging to a piece of
the fuselage that remained floating after the ATR turbo-prop
aircraft splintered upon impact.
A fuel-gauge malfunction was partly to blame but prosecutors
also said the pilot succumbed to panic, praying out loud instead
of following emergency procedures and then opting to crash-land
the plane instead of trying to reach a nearby airport.
Another five employees of Tuninter, a subsidiary of Tunisair,
were sentenced to between eight and nine years in jail by the
court, in a verdict handed down on Monday.
The seven accused, who were not in court, will not spend time
in jail until the appeals process has been exhausted.
A US jury has ordered Parker
Hannifin, the world`s largest
hydraulics manufacturer, to pay
$43.6m to the families of three
people killed in a plane crash in
Indonesia in 1997. The Los Angeles
Superior Court jury decided that
defects in the rudder controls of
the Silk Air Boeing 737 caused it to
plummet from an altitude of more
than more than 10km, killing all 104
The jury`s finding is at odds with
that of the US National
Transportation Safety Board, which
concluded that there were no
mechanical defects and that the Silk
Air pilot crashed the plane
The jury put all of the blame for
the crash on Parker Hannifin and
none on Silk Air or Boeing, which
manufactured the 10-month-old plane.
Parker Hannifin has denied that
there was a mechanical malfunction
and says the crash was the result of
"manual intervention". It is
appealing against the decision.
Following the LA court decision, the
families of 30 other crash victims
have now filed for a trial. If they
are successful, they could win a
combined payout of £500m.
Last remains from crash of Dominican-bound
flight are places in crypts
NEW YORK (AP) - The last unidentified
remains of people killed in the 2001 crash
of an American Airlines flight to the
Dominican Republic have been placed in two
crypts, officials said Saturday.
Families of the 265 victims of the crash
in the quiet neighborhood of Belle Harbor,
Queens, were invited to a dedication
ceremony Sunday at Woodlawn Cemetery in the
Bronx, said Susan Olsen, a cemetery
Olsen said the unidentified remains, in
four caskets, were entombed Friday at a
mausoleum in the cemetery.
The bodies of all the crash victims had
been identified, but the medical examiner's
office was left with some remains that could
not be matched, said Ellen Borakove, a
spokeswoman for the medical examiner.
She said that to her knowledge, these
remains, 889 bone fragments and other
pieces, were the last from Flight 587.
The cemetery space was purchased by the
Flight 587 crashed in the Belle Harbor
neighborhood after taking off from John F.
Kennedy International Airport. Many of the
victims were Dominican-born New York
residents on their way to visit the country.
The Nov. 12, 2001, crash killed 260
people on board and five people on the
ground, rattling a city still shaken by the
attacks on the World Trade Center just two
The National Transportation Safety Board
determined that part of the tail assembly of
the Airbus A300 had fallen off, and it
blamed pilot error, inadequate pilot
training and overly sensitive rudder
In November, on the fifth anniversary of
the crash, Mayor Michael Bloomberg dedicated
a memorial wall bearing the victims' names
and overlooking the ocean about 15 blocks
from the crash site. The $9.2 million
memorial was funded with private and public
Judge May Quit
Air India Bombing Case
The head of a Canadian inquiry into
the 1985 Air India bombing
threatened to quit on Monday unless
the government declassified
documents it has claimed must be
kept secret for security reasons.
The commissioner, former Supreme
Court Justice John Major, said the
issue hampered his examination of
the security lapses that allowed the
explosion, which killed 329 people
in history's deadliest bombing of a
"If the documents remain, in a
manner of speaking, blacked out,
there is no way I can carry out my
mandate, and if this remains I will
communicate my view to the prime
minister after assessing the state
of affairs on March 5," Major said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
who appointed Major last year, told
Parliament that federal law
prevented the release of a limited
number of documents.
But he said that, as a result of
Major's statement, he had given
instructions that government
departments apply the law in as
"non-restrictive" -- or uncensored
-- a manner as possible.
Air India Flight 182, originating
in Canada, blew up off the Atlantic
coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985. A
near-simultaneous attack aimed at a
second Air India flight killed two
Tokyo airport workers.
The attacks were believed to be
the work of Sikh militants in
revenge for India's storming of the
Golden Temple in 1984.
Major's inquiry is not to find
the perpetrators but to find out
what went wrong to allow the
Two Vancouver Sikh separatists
were found not guilty in 2005 of
murder charges in the case. Their
trial heard that fighting between
Canada's spy agency and the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police hampered the
Relatives of the victims demanded
the inquiry after the trial.
Cyprus's Worst Crash To Stop Flying
October 30, 2006
commercial airline, which changed
its name after Cyprus's worst
aviation disaster, said it would
terminate flight operations.
successor company to Helios Airways,
will end its flight schedule within
three months, said holding company
Libra Holidays in a statement
released to the stock exchange on
the decision was based on financial
considerations. AJet will remain a
legal entity because of financial
claims against third parties, it
has suffered a barrage of bad
publicity over its safety track
record since its Boeing 737-300
crashed into a Greek hillside on
August 14, 2005, killing all 121
people on board.
In one of
the most mysterious disasters in
aviation history, the aircraft flew
on autopilot for more than two hours
after taking off from Larnaca in
Cyprus for Prague. It crashed from
lack of fuel as a flight attendant
with rudimentary pilot's training
and the only person apparently
conscious on the aircraft grappled
with the controls.
fighter pilots, which scrambled to
intercept the aircraft after it
failed to respond to radio calls,
saw the attendant in the cockpit and
oxygen masks hanging in the cabin.
investigator's report released in
early October blamed the crash on
deficient technical checks, the
pilots' failure to pick up on
compression warnings regulating
oxygen supplies and shortcomings in
the safety culture at Helios.
blamed Cyprus's regulatory authority
for an inadequate execution of its
oversight responsibility and
planemaker Boeing for failing to
respond to previous pressurization
has challenged the report, saying it
offered no adequate or plausible
explanation of how its alleged
shortcomings could be linked to the
Accident Rate Up Slightly In 2005
Aviation fatalities from all sectors
dropped a bit last year, according to
preliminary figures released this week
by the NTSB, while GA deaths were up
slightly, to 562 from 558 the year
before. The number of people killed in
all aviation accidents in 2005 dropped
to 616, from 652 in 2004. Airline
fatalities increased from 14 to 22,
while air-taxi deaths dropped sharply
from 64 in 2004 to 18 last year. General
aviation fatal accidents amounted to 1.3
for every 100,000 hours of flying,
according to the NTSB's estimate. "It is
very disturbing to see transportation
fatalities rising," said NTSB Chairman
Mark V. Rosenker. "We need a concerted
effort by government, industry and the
traveling public to establish a strong
downward trend in the number of fatal
accidents." The full
aviation accident statistics are
THE RESULTS OF ICAO SAFETY OVERSIGHT AUDITS
Based on a recommendation of the Directors
General of Civil Aviation Conference on a
Global Strategy for Aviation Safety (DGCA/06),
a number of ICAO Member States have
authorized ICAO to publish information on
the result of their safety oversight audit
by ICAO. This information is available on
the ICAO Flight Safety Information Exchange
As a result of the current problems being
experienced by the Apple and Dell Corporations
with some of the batteries fitted to some
of their laptops, as a safety precaution
and with immediate effect, customers wanting
to use an Apple or Dell laptop on board
can only do so if the battery is removed.
Any removed or spare batteries must be individually
wrapped/protected and placed in your Carry
On Baggage. This is limited to two batteries
In cabins where the seats are fitted with
In Seat Power Supplies, leads/adapters will
be offered. Where no ISPS is provided or
no laptop leads/adapters are available,
the use of Apple and Dell laptops is prohibited.
Virgin is in communication with Apple and
Dell. As soon as this safety issue is resolved
these restrictions will be lifted.
plane crash not caused by mid-air break-up
- Investigators determined that
a federal firefighting air tanker involved
in a fatal crash last year did not break
up in mid-air, the National Transportation
Safety Board reported.
The NTSB report, issued on its Web site
Sunday, concluded that the four-engine P-3
Orion did not suffer engine or control problems
but was so close to the ground that a wing
tip smashed into rugged terrain. The crash
in Chico killed three pilots.
The report said the weather was clear,
there was enough light to fly safely and
the crew was healthy and not under the influence
The findings ease concerns regarding the
former Navy submarine attack planes, which
have become the backbone of the federal
aerial firefighting tanker fleet. The big
red-and-white turboprop planes are used
almost daily to fight wildfires.
The plane, manufactured by Lockheed Martin
Corp., was delivered to the Navy in 1966
and later refurbished as a firefighting
plane that carried 3,000 gallons of retardant.
The U.S. Forest Service already has suffered
permanent grounding of other big military-surplus
planes converted to air tankers after several
September 2, 2006 -
Iranian Plane Crash Kills Dozens
MASHAD, Iran – At least 29 people
were killed after a plane burst into flames
on landing at an airport in north-eastern
Iran yesterday in the latest in a string
of disasters that have prompted mounting
concern about the country's air safety record.
The Russian-built Tupolev
154 aircraft caught fire after a tyre burst
on touching down at the shrine city of Mashad.
First reports suggested 80 of the 148 people
on board had been killed, but this figure
was later downgraded by the countries' civil
aviation organisation. The plane, operated
by Iranairtours, was en route from the southern
port of Bandar Abbas. Initial reports suggested
that many of its passengers were pilgrims
visiting the tomb of Imam Reza, one of Shia
Islam's most revered figures, who is buried
in Mashad, about 620 miles from Tehran.
Iranian state television showed the
charred jet beside the runway as firefighters
tackled the blaze. Rescue teams carried
out corpses covered in blankets. A gash
could be seen in the middle of the fuselage,
while the cockpit and rear appeared largely
undamaged. Officials said accident investigators
were at the scene.
Airline safety has become a sensitive
issue in Iran following a spate of crashes
that have killed hundreds of people in
recent years. The country's rulers blame
US sanctions prohibiting the sale of Boeing
and Airbus aircraft to Iran. The embargo
has forced Iran to buy ageing Soviet-made
planes and to scour the black market for
parts for older US-built craft bought
before the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Many of the country's worst air disasters
have involved Soviet-made models. Three
crashes involving such planes killed more
than 400 people in 2002 and 2003.
An incentive package proposed by the
UN security council to settle the dispute
over Iran's nuclear programme offers to
lift the restrictions to allow it to buy
US and European civilian airliners. That
offer now appears in jeopardy after Iran
this week ignored a UN deadline to suspend
uranium enrichment in exchange.
However, the latest crash could renew
pressure on the Iranian government to
tackle airline safety. Last December there
was an outcry after a US-made Hercules
military transport plane crashed into
a block of flats in Tehran, killing all
94 people on board and 22 on the ground.
The crash provoked criticism in Iran's
normally pliant media amid claims that
fears about the plane's safety had been
Earlier this year the head of the revolutionary
guards and 10 other senior officers were
killed when a Falcon jet crashed near
Orumiyeh, in north-west Iran. Iran's worst
air disaster occurred in February 2003
when more than 270 revolutionary guards
were killed after an Ilyushin-76 crashed
in the south-east of the country.
L. Sumwalt Sworn In As NTSB Vice-Chairman
Sumwalt was sworn in on 21 Aug 06 as a Member
of the National Transportation Safety Board.
His term of office will run until December
31, 2011 -- the first two years of which
he will serve as Vice Chairman of the Board.
Prior to coming
to the Board, Sumwalt was Manager of Aviation
for the SCANA Corporation. Sumwalt was a
pilot for 24 years with Piedmont Airlines
and then US Airways, logging over 14,000
flight hours and earning type ratings in
five aircraft before retiring from the airline
The NTSB says
Sumwalt has extensive experience as an airline
captain, airline check airman, instructor
pilot and air safety representative. For
example, Sumwalt worked on special assignment
to the US Airways Flight Safety Department
from 1997 to 2004, where he was involved
in the development of numerous airline safety
programs, including an enhanced crew awareness
program and a windshear training program.
to 2004, he served on the US Airways Flight
Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) Monitoring
Team. In that time, Sumwalt also served
as a member of Air Line Pilots Association's
(ALPA) Accident Investigation Board, and
also worked with ALPA's Aviation Weather
Committee on improving the quality of weather
products available to pilots.
accident investigator, Mr. Sumwalt participated
in the NTSB's investigation of the crash
of US Air flight 427 in 1994 near Aliquippa
PA, and the Transportation Safety Board
of Canada's investigation of the accident
involving Swissair flight 111 off the coast
of Nova Scotia in 1998.
has written extensively on aviation safety
matters and has published over 85 articles
and papers in aviation trade publications.
He has broad experience in writing aircraft
operations manuals and airline and corporate
aviation policy and procedure guidelines.
He has been a regular contributor to Professional
the faculty of the University of Southern
California's Aviation Safety and Security
Program, where he has been the primary human
factors instructor. In recognition of his
contributions to the aviation industry,
Sumwalt received the Flight Safety Foundation's
Laura Taber Barbour Award in 2003 and ALPA's
Air Safety Award in 2004.
the vice-chairmanship of the Board from
Mark Rosenker, who was sworn in as NTSB
Chairman earlier this month after serving
as Acting Chairman since March 2005.
joint European effort is working on software
that would enable remote control of an aircraft
that could override any attempts by hijackers
to control the plane, and force a safe landing.
"The system would be designed in such
a way that even a computer hacker on board
could not get round it."
If successful, it would resolve various debates
such as those going on in Germany about shooting
down hijacked commercial airliners. The project
is budgeted for 36m Euros.
[Source: Yahoo News, 22 Jul 2006]
August 9, 2006
- Swiss Charge 8 in Midair Jet Collision
ZURICH, Switzerland -- Eight
Swiss air traffic control company employees
have been charged with negligent homicide
in a 2002 airliner collision that killed
71 people over southern Germany, a prosecutor
All of the employees, who were not identified,
deny any responsibility for the collision
of a Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 jet and
a DHL cargo plane in the airspace supervised
by the Skyguide air navigation service,
Winterthur District Attorney Bernhard
Hecht said in a statement Monday.
The victims included 45 Russian schoolchildren
headed for a vacation in Spain.
Hecht said the eight were charged in
the District Court of Belach on Friday.
They have also been charged with negligent
disruption of public transportation.
Hecht said the eight should be given
suspended sentences of six to 15 months
The statement said the defendants were
accused of organizational shortcomings
that led to a single air traffic controller
being left in charge of the area where
the crash occurred on July 1, 2002, and
with providing insufficient information
to him about technical work in progress
that decisively affected the communications
and radar systems.
"In the opinion of the district
attorney, the failures to carry out their
duties led to the collision and crash
of the two aircraft," the statement
find cause of fatal Utah plane crash
BY MOLLY MCMILLIN
The Wichita Eagle
The National Transportation Safety Board
indicated in a preliminary report Tuesday
that the linkage on an experimental twin-engine
plane that killed two test pilots, including
Wichita State University graduate Nathan
Forrest, was installed incorrectly.
The Spectrum 33 crashed July 25 during
takeoff from Spanish Fork-Springville Airport
at Spanish Fork, Utah. The NTSB report said
the plane's linkage -- which helps control
the plane -- was installed backward.
"It was connected in a manner that
reversed the roll control," the report
Witnesses indicated the airplane entered
a right roll almost immediately after takeoff
and the right wingtip hit the ground. The
airplane -- which was made from advanced
composite materials -- was destroyed by
the impact, but all major components were
accounted for in the wreckage, the NTSB
Spectrum president Austin Blue told Aviation
International News that the company will
continue with the program. First flight
of the next test plane, which will be designed
to ensure that the controls cannot be rigged
incorrectly, will occur sometime next year,
Aviation International said.
Forrest, 25, was a former Olathe resident
who graduated from WSU in 2003. Also killed
in the crash was 53-year old Glenn Maben,
Spectrum's director of flight operations.
Opts for Honeywell RAAS for Runway
France will install Honeywell's
Runway Awareness and Advisory System
(RAAS) to improve the situational
awareness of its pilots during airport
operations and reduce runway incursions.
Installations should begin later
in conjunction with Honeywell's
EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity
warning system), RAAS compares the
aircraft's GPS-derived location
against an airport database to pinpoint
its location on the surface, and
provide aural advisories to the
pilots - if needed - of the following
a runway and when their aircraft
is on a runway.
distance remaining call-outs
during rejected take-off or
inadvertent take-off attempt
from a taxiway.
take-off from a short runway
or approach to land on a short
on a runway for an extended
period of time.
optional advisory identifies the
runway when on final approach.
offers package to upgrade C-130s
YORK (AFX) - Boeing Co (NYSE:
. on Wednesday unveiled a program
to upgrade existing C-130 military
transport aircraft, extending
the life of one of the world's
most widely used planes by up
to 30 years for a cost of $10
million to $15 million.
Boeing announced the 'C-130 Total
Life Extension Program' at the
Farnborough International Air
Show, outside of London.
The upgrade 'addresses several
aircraft modernization needs,
including avionics, wiring, structures
and systems,' the company said.
The upgrade package includes an
avionics modernization program,
which would make the planes compliant
with requirements that will allow
them to be deployed worldwide.
The avionics system includes digital
displays and the flight management
system used on 737 commercial
The price of a new C-130J, the
latest version of the plane which
entered the Air Force fleet in
1999, is between $65 million and
$75 million, Boeing said.
The original C-130 was produced
for the Air Force in the early
1950s, but the planes are now
used by dozens of militaries around
have been informed of a recent case where
smoke, accompanied by an unpleasant smell,
spread through an A340 aircraft cockpit and
cabin during cruise flight, and sparks also
appeared in the cabin, resulting in an emergency
The cause was a feeder cable for galley power,
located behind the first class galley ceiling.
This cable shorted, and a 20 - 30cm length
Around 5 hours before the problems occurred,
a sound was heard above the first class galley,
and fragments of something fell.
Apparently the reason why the cockpit filled
with smoke is because the avionics bay air
pressure was a little lower than in the cabin,
so that the smoke generated above the galley
was sucked into the cockpit.
It is difficult for the installed smoke detectors
to catch all fires on board an aircraft.
At present, the ability of cabin crew to detect
the type of heat, sound, or smell, and details
of the fire's location, is apparently the
most effective method of detecting fires.
Airbus proposes including a section on this
in cabin attendant manuals, because early
detection and extinguishing of fires is so
Did Laptop Batteries
Aboard A UPS Cargo Plane Ignite,
Causing The Aircraft To Catch Fire?
July 13, 2006 -
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (USA)
- The National Transportation Safety
Board began looking into the question
at a hearing Wednesday.
All three crew members on the plane
were treated for minor injuries
after it made an emergency landing
shortly after midnight Feb. 8 at
Philadelphia International Airport.
Several other incidents have occurred
in recent years in which lithium
batteries - used in laptops and
cell phones - have caught fire aboard
Less than two months ago in Chicago,
a spare laptop battery packed in
a bag stored in an overhead bin
started emitting smoke, chief crash
investigator Frank Hilldrup of the
NTSB testified Wednesday.
A flight attendant used an extinguisher
and the bag was removed, but the
bag caught fire on a ramp, Hilldrup
Investigators in the Philadelphia
fire found that several computer
laptop batteries were on board the
plane, and that in many cases portions
of the laptop batteries had burned,
he said. "It is not known at
this time the role these batteries
may have played in the fire,"
Lithium ion batteries are sometimes
referred to as "rechargeable"
or "secondary" lithium
batteries. They, along with primary
lithium batteries, can present fire
hazards because of the heat often
generated when they are damaged
or suffer a short circuit.
It is expected to take several months
for the NTSB to reach a conclusion
about the cause of the fire in Philadelphia,
although several hazardous materials
on board the plane have been determined
not to be the cause. The NTSB is
also examining other related issues,
such as what can be done to make
cargo flights safer and the overall
emergency response to the incident.
In 1999, a shipment of lithium batteries
ignited after it was unloaded from
a passenger jet at Los Angeles International
Airport. Another shipment erupted
into flames in Memphis in 2004 when
it was being loaded onto a FedEx
plane bound for Paris.
In the case of the UPS cargo plane,
the crew declared an emergency on
approach into Philadelphia. Fire
and rescue crews met the four-engine
jet, a DC-8 that originated in Atlanta,
when it touched down shortly after
Firefighters said the blaze was
under control about four hours later,
although the charred plane smoldered
sets deadline in plane crash case
of suits generally allege negligence
by flight crew
A year and a half after the
deadly crash, the courts
are now trying to determine
what those injuries and deaths
are worth in dollars.
Posted: Wednesday, July 05, 2006 at
A federal judge set a July 31 deadline
to settle a consolidated case involving
the deadly crash of a commuter airliner
in northeast Missouri.
The two-man crew and 11 of 13 passengers
aboard Corporate Airlines Flight 5966
were killed in the October 19th, 2004,
Most were medical professionals heading
for a conference at the Kirksville
College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The courts are now trying to determine
what those injuries and deaths are
worth in dollars.
All of the suits generally allege
negligence by the flight crew.
The French air and space academy (ANAE) study
concludes that the “dysfunctional” relationship
between the judicial investigation and the
technical/administrative investigation of
accidents has a negative effect on all processes
and parties involved.
The organisation is “concerned about the
possible consequences of these proceedings
on whole sectors of activity in France,
and on travellers’ safety in the sectors
in question; ANAE considers that questions
raised by the victims’ representatives regarding
dysfunctions have not been properly addressed”.
The ANAE recommends a “reappraisal of both
legal procedures and administrative investigations”.
It says independent judicial and technical
investigations can have a “corrosive effect
on the sophisticated and – to passengers
– beneficial systems employed by the aviation
and air transport industry for managing
Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
has concluded that Australia has a good
safety record after comparing the fatal
aviation accident rate of the country between
1995 and 2004 with rates in Canada, New
Zealand, the United Kingdom and USA. The
ATSB study was prompted by claims in the
local media late last year, after a number
of incidents, of a growing trend in fatal
record safest year yet
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
June 08, 2006
FLYING was safer than
ever last year as international airlines defied
financial strife to deliver their lowest crash
rate on record.
Several high-profile crashes did not stop
the industry - which is facing combined losses
this year of $US3 billion ($4 billion) - recording
just one accident for every 1.3 million flights.
Members of the International
Air Transport Association, which account
for most of the world's international airlines,
reported an even lower rate of one accident
for every 2.9 million flights.
Giovanni Bisignani described the result
as "amazing" but warned that more
needed to be done in some areas, particularly
The association has
voted to make a new international safety
system a condition of membership and has
warned that countries that do not comply
will be ejected.
National Transportation Safety Board is investigating
an uncontained engine
failure on an American Airlines
B-767 that was undergoing testing, June 2,
at Los Angeles International Airport.
At 12:27 PST, during a ground maintenance
test run, the high-pressure turbine stage
one disk on the number one engine (GE CF6-80A2)
broke into several pieces that were found
embedded in the fuselage, the number two
engine, and scattered as far 3,000 feet
from the airplane.
Numerous holes punched in the wings by
pieces of the engine caused fuel leaks that
led to a ground fire that was extinguished
by airport fire department personnel.
There were no reported injuries to the
three maintenance technicians aboard the
airplane at the time of the accident.
NTSB investigators were at the accident
scene from June 3 to 7. Pieces of the high-pressure
turbine disk were recovered and brought
to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington
DC, for analysis. Initial examination of
the disk pieces found indications of fatigue
The failed engine has been brought to the
American Airlines facility in Tulsa OK,
for teardown this week under NTSB supervision.
A new dimension may
have been added to the
10-year effort to prevent
fuel tanks from exploding
in airliners. The right
wing fuel tank on a
Transmile Airlines Boeing
727-200 apparently blew
up while the plane was
on the ground at Bangalore,
India, last week. There
were no injuries or
damage to anything else
but it brought into
sharp focus the NTSB's
10-year battle to prevent
after the NTSB determined
a belly tank blew on
a TWA Boeing 747 in
1996 off Long Island,
killing everyone aboard.
(Though more people
were killed, that incident
not the first of
its kind.) The FAA is
now preparing a final
(from this NPRM)
that may require systems
to prevent fuel-tank
explosions to be retrofitted
on all airliners. But
the rule applies only
to center tanks and
not wing tanks like
the one that cooked
off last week. The proposed
rule is being opposed
by the Air Transport
Association. The ATA
says cash-strapped airlines
can't afford the retrofits.
Rather than trying to
eliminate sources of
ignition, the proposed
rule sets flammability
standards for the vacant
space in fuel tanks
known as the ullage.
The most likely way
of meeting those standards
is to pump inert gas
into that space to displace
the oxygen. Boeing's
working on just such
a system and hopes to
have it certified this
year. There have been
18 documented fuel-tank
explosions in airliners
and the FAA predicts
at least nine more over
the next 50 years if
something isn't done.
AIRPLANE CRASHED NEAR HELENDALE, CALIFORNIA
IN 2003 DUE TO LOSS OF CONTROL
Washington, DC-The National Transportation
Safety Board determined today that the probable
cause of a 2003 Learjet accident near Helendale,
California was the loss of airplane control
for undetermined reasons.
On December 23, 2003 a Learjet 24B, N600XJ,
registered to Pavair, Inc., Santa Monica,
California, departed San Bernardino County
Airport, Chino, California and was destined
for Friedman Memorial Airport, Hailey, Idaho.
Twelve minutes after the flight departed,
the crew requested to return to San Bernardino's
airport. However, the first officer
informed the air traffic controller he did
not need to declare an emergency. Less
than two minutes later, the airplane was descending
through 23,000 feet at a rate of
10,000 feet per minute and the first officer
declared an emergency. No further transmission
was received from the airplane before it crashed
near Helendale, California. The pilot
and first officer were killed and the airplane
The airplane was not equipped with a cockpit
voice recorder or flight data recorder and
Federal regulations did not require them.
Although primary and secondary flight controls
were identified, impact damage precluded any
determination of pre-impact control system
continuity and there were no useful remnants
from the cockpit instrument panel. Impact
damage precluded a determination of whether
the engines were operating at impact.
There was no evidence of an in-flight fire.
"This is another example of where a recording
device - whether a voice recorder, data recorder
or a video recorder - would have greatly helped
investigators determined what happened,"
NTSB Acting Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said.
An opportunity to improve aviation safety
was lost here."
military plane crash not
caused by technical failure:
May 16 (Xinhua) -- The crash
of a Slovak military transport
plane in Hungary in January,
which killed 42 peacekeeping
soldiers, was not caused
by a technical failure,
Milan Vanga, the spokesman
for the Slovak armed forces,
said on Tuesday.
no evidence that a technical
failure was behind the
added that human errors
as a possible cause had
not been ruled out and
a biochemical and psychological
analysis was still underway.
AN-24 aircraft, carrying
43 Slovak peacekeepers
from Pristina, Kosovo
to Kosice, Slovakia, crashed
into a 700-meter high
hill in east Hungary on
Jan. 19. Only one soldier
survived the crash.
two countries are planning
to build a memorial for
the victims on the hill
where the crash occurred.
damaged by CF6 engine disintegration
A FedEx McDonnell Douglas DC-10
was substantially damaged when
the low pressure turbine of the
General Electric CF6-6D engine
on its left wing disintegrated
The aircraft, N386FE, was operating
as FedEx flight 597 from Memphis,
Tennessee to Seattle, Washington when
an emergency was declared. It
is understood the aircraft was
still ascent at about flight level
300 (30,000ft/9,150m) when number
three engine blew.
GE says a significant part of
the engine’s low pressure turbine
landed in a rice field in northeastern
Arkansas. The location is defined
in a US Federal Aviation Administration
preliminary accident report as
Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, a town
located 130km (80mi) northwest
of Memphis. No ground injuries
However, substantial damage
to the aircraft was reported,
mostly to its left wing. The
pilot was able to safely return
the aircraft to Memphis at 16:30
without further incident.
Flight 597’s CF6-6Ds were among
the first of the CF6 engine
series to be produced more than
30 years ago. Most CF6-6D engines
in service power FedEx DC-10s,
Flight's ACAS fleet database,
FedEx’s DC-10 went into service
in 1974 for United Airlines,
and was transferred to FedEx
in 1997. The aircraft was converted
to an MD-10-10F freighter in
US National Transportation
Safety Board officials are investigating
Plane crash in
Miami-Dade lake blamed on maintenance, overloading
Improper maintenance and an overload of
freight caused a cargo plane to crash land
in a Miami-Dade County lake in December,
2004, according to a National Transportation
Safety Board report released Wednesday.
The twin-engine Convair 340, operated by
Miami Air Lease, had taken off from Opa-locka
Airport, headed for Nassau. It was three
miles east of the shoreline when its left
engine failed. The two pilots tried to return
to the airport.
Because the oil system had not been
adequately flushed, they were unable to
stop the left propeller from spinning, which
created drag. Also, the plane was almost
600 pounds over its maximum weight limit,
forcing it to descend, the safety board
The pilots ditched the plane in Maule Lake
just south of Aventura Mall. Neither one
Flaps set wrongly
on Mandala 737
LEITHEN FRANCIS / SINGAPORE
Investigators say incorrect
configuration meant twinjet was unable
to get airborne when taking off from Medan
Investigations into September’s fatal
crash of a Boeing 737-200 in Indonesia
have determined that an incorrect flap
setting was a contributing factor.
Industry sources in Indonesia familiar
with the probe say investigators from
Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety
Commission (NTSC) have discovered that
the Mandala Airlines aircraft failed to
get airborne because the flaps were set
The 737-200, registered PK-RIM, took
off from Medan airport on 5 September
and crashed into approach lights at the
end of the runway. It then went through
a fence and on to a street, where it crashed
into residential buildings, resulting
in the death of 99 of the 117 people on
board and nearly 50 people on the ground.
After the crash there were reports that
the NTSC investigators had found a fan
blade in poor condition. But a source
in Indonesia familiar with the probe says
investigators took the suspect Pratt &
Whitney JT8D-15 engine to Indonesian Aerospace’s
hangar in Bandung for examination and
found “there was no indication that the
engine was not working”.
NTSC investigators also determined there
was no fuel contamination, says the source.
The NTSC is still working on its analysis,
but hopes to “come up with a final draft
[report]” at the end of May.
Transportation Safety Board today opened a
public docket containing materials related
to the Safety Board's participation in the
investigation of the crash of an Egyptian
airliner in 2004.
On January 3, 2004, a Boeing 737-300 (SU-ZCF)
operated by Flash Airlines, an Egyptian
charter company, crashed into the Red Sea
shortly after takeoff from Sharm El-Sheikh,
en route to Paris, France, via Cairo. The
airplane was carrying 135 passengers and
13 crewmembers; there were no survivors.
The investigation was led by the Egyptian
Ministry of Civil Aviation. The U.S., as
the country of manufacture, participated
under the terms of Annex 13 of the Convention
on International Civil Aviation.
The public docket includes detailed NTSB
comments on the Egyptian draft of the final
accident report, a summary of those comments,
and a transmittal letter. These documents
are available on the NTSB's web site at:
Passenger fatalities more than
tripled in 2005 as ICAO's preliminary
analysis of aviation safety and security
data revealed that 18 fatal accidents
on scheduled flights involving aircraft
with an MTOW greater than 2,250 kg. killed
713 passengers last year. Nine accidents
in 2004 caused 203 passenger fatalities.
The rate of fatalities per 100 million
passenger km. doubled from 0.01 to 0.02.
There also were 18 fatal accidents involving
nonscheduled operations that resulted
in 278 deaths. The same number of accidents
in 2004 killed 207 passengers. ICAO does
not measure fatality rates for nonscheduled
ICAO said six acts of "unlawful
interference" were recorded in 2005,
resulting in three deaths and 60 injuries.
The incidents were broken down into two
unlawful seizures, two facility attacks
and two other acts. The organization is
convening a conference of directors general
of civil aviation to discuss the issue
March 20-22 in Montreal.
Tech To Supply Airbus Fire Barrier Materials
Tex Tech Industries,
a Portland, Maine-based high-tech textiles
manufacturer, has signed an agreement with
commercial jetliner maker Airbus S.A.S.,
France, whereby Tex Tech will produce the
fire barrier materials used in the passenger
cabins of the company’s new and existing
it currently has 30 orders for new aircraft
The deal signals
long-term growth and stability, especially
for Tex Tech’s North Monmouth, Maine-based
facility, which has 200-plus employees,
according to the company.
a great achievement for Tex Tech, working
with one of the largest and most progressive
aircraft manufacturers in the world,"
said John Stankiewicz, chief operating officer,
Tex Tech. "Not only does it represent
a significant achievement, but more importantly,
it is a testament to the innovation and
hard work that is happening right here in
studies threat of smoke, fire in jetliners.
fire affect about 1,000 commercial flights
a year and pose a greater threat to air travel
than many travelers think, according to new
data released by the International Air Transport
Association. The report says changes in airplane
design, maintenance and pilot training are
needed to reduce the threat of fire.
Feb 13, 2006
Confusion over icing recommendations
IFALPA issues a safety bulletin which addresses
operations when weather conditions exist with
precipitation in the form of light ice pellets
or snow pellets. In the light of the confusion
by some carriers over the recommendations
of FAA Notice 8000.309, several recommendations
are issued by U.S. ALPA. (IFALPA) Safety
aircraft, other than ultralights, were involved
in 258 reported accidents in 2005, a 2% increase
from the 2004 total of 252 but a 10% decrease
from the 2000-2004 average of 287. The 2005
estimate of flying activity is 3 832 000 hours,
yielding an accident rate of 6.7 accidents
per 100 000 flying hours, up from the 2004
rate of 6.5 but down from the five-year rate
of 7.3. Canadian-registered aircraft, other
than ultralights, were involved in 34 fatal
accidents with 51 fatalities in 2005, comparable
to the five-year average of 32 fatal accidents
with 54 fatalities. Twenty of the
fatal occurrences involved privately operated
aircraft (13 aeroplanes, 6 helicopters and
1 glider), and 12 of the remaining 14 fatal
occurrences involved commercial operators
(9 aeroplanes and 3 helicopters). The number
of accidents involving ultralights decreased
to 30 in 2005 from 36 in 2004, and the number
of fatal accidents decreased slightly to 5
in 2005 from 6 in 2004.
In 2005, a total of 823 incidents were reported
in accordance with TSB mandatory reporting
requirements. This represents a 9% decrease
from the 2004 total of 909 and a 2% decrease
from the 2000-2004 average of 837.
to mandate MU-2B training
Federal Aviation Administration plans to
require specific pilot training for the
Mitsubishi MU-2B have been welcomed by the
twin-turboprop’s manufacturer. The decision
results from a safety evaluation – the FAA’s
third such review of the MU-2B – that again
determined the out-of-production aircraft
meets its original certification basis,
but stopped short of requiring a type-specific
a series of accidents involving the MU-2B,
last produced in 1984, the safety review
has concluded the quickest way to address
the issues is a Special Federal Air Regulation
(SFAR) requiring specific pilot and maintenance
training, standardised checklist and the
latest flight and maintenance manual revisions.
is welcomed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
America (MHIA), which is responsible for
supporting the MU-2B, 400 of which are still
flying worldwide. "We have been asking
for mandated training for 15 years,"
says Ralph Sorrells, deputy general manager
of MHIA’s aircraft product support division
in Addison, Texas.
require a type rating were turned down by
the FAA, says Sorrells, who says the MU-2B
accident rate is lower in Australia and
Europe, where a type rating is required.
MHIA then changed tack to requesting an
SFAR, he says, describing the FAA’s decision
as a "very positive thing".
Under the review,
Sorrells says, the FAA evaluated the training
programme developed by MHIA and will implement
it for Part 135 operators, which account
for about 65 of the MU-2Bs still flying,
mostly in cargo operations.
MHIA is now
working to develop a maintenance training
programme, he says.
is very good value, and can be bought so
inexpensively, but some owners will not
spend the money to get training or to go
authorised maintenance centres and we are
seeing an increase in accidents," says
Sorrells. "If you get good training,
if you keep the aircraft maintained, its
safety record is better than any in its
There have been
no accidents involving pilots who have undergone
simulation-based MU-2B initial and recurrent
training provided by Orlando, Florida-based
SimCom since 2001, Sorrells says.
NTSB calls for reverser
Safety board says calculations
for stopping distance should exclude use
Airlines should be banned
from assuming thrust-reverser deployment
when calculating runway stopping distances,
according to the US National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB).
In a letter to the US Federal
Aviation Administration, the NTSB argues
that any advantage gained in practice from
thrust-reverser deployment at touchdown
should provide an additional safety margin,
and not be automatically factored into stopping
distance calculations because the operation
of all systems as predicted cannot be guaranteed.
The NTSB recommends the
FAA should change its regulations to disallow
the assumption of a fully functioning reverse-thrust
system following the 8 December runway overrun
of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 at
Chicago Midway airport.
Thrust reversers could not
be deployed on touchdown, according to the
captain, but were operated 18s into the
landing run when the first officer noticed
they were not deployed and activated them.
The NTSB says the Southwest pilots used
on-board laptop performance computers during
the flight to calculate the runway stopping
distance. Their entries into the computer
assumed engine thrust- reverser deployment
at landing, which is standard Southwest
procedure for its 737-700s, but not for
its -300s and -500s, the NTSB notes.
The FAA’s regulations prohibit
usage of thrust-reverser credit when determining
landing distances before dispatch, but on
some aircraft, including the 737-700, it
is permitted for calculating operational
landing distances en route using updated
runway friction co-efficients and meteorological
data. In this case the crew determined that,
with all systems operating as planned, their
aircraft would stop with 170m (560ft) of
runway remaining, the NTSB reports.
In the event, flight data
recorder information notes the thrust reversers
were not deployed until 18s after landing,
when only about 305m of usable runway remained,
according to the NTSB. The aircraft went
over the runway end at 50kt (93km/h). The
safety board concludes that if thrust-reverser
credit was barred, the computer would have
shown that a safe landing on runway 31C
at Midway was impossible. “As a result,
a single event, the delayed deployment of
the thrust reversers, can lead to an unsafe
condition, as it did in this accident,”
says the NTSB recommendation.
Oslo gets Europe's first
infra-red plane de-icer
Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:57 AM - Europe's first
airliner de-icing machine using infra-red
heatwaves opened at Oslo airport on Wednesday,
aiming to cut costs and protect the environment.
"Norway's biggest grill opened today,"
quipped Ola Strand, Norwegian head of ground
services at Scandinavian airline SAS which
will run the de-icing hangar built by U.S.-based
Radiant Energy Corp.
Planes will drive through the hangar as
heatwaves from the roof melt ice on the
planes to avoid the dangers of ice getting
sucked into the engines on takeoff. In New
York, a similar system has been in use at
Newark airport since 1999.
SAS will study whether the system could
save money and protect the environment by
reducing use of glycols, currently sprayed
on planes for de-icing. The chemicals can
harm plants and animals if not sucked up
from the tarmac.
Strand told Reuters that two de-icing hangars
could probably handle all of the 8,000 planes
that take off every winter from Oslo airport,
reducing use of glycols by perhaps 50-70
percent and replacing many of the 15 spraying
Radiant says the heatwaves do not damage
the surface of the plane, which gets no
hotter than if it were standing outside
on a warm day.
An SAS plane crashed shortly after takeoff
from Stockholm on December 27 1991 after
ice was sucked into the engines. The crash
was known as the "Christmas Miracle"
because all 129 people aboard survived.
outsourcing needs more checks
report by the Department of Transportation's
inspector general found companies not certified
by the Federal Aviation Administration did
major scheduled maintenance work for six airlines,
the Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney
writes. Outsourced maintenance work is not
inferior to work done by staff mechanics,
he writes. However, firms without certification
do not get the same level of FAA scrutiny.
McCartney believes there should be more checks
in the system as airlines rely more on outsourcing.
Releases Images Of Fatigue Cracks In Chalk's
Claimed 20 Lives
National Transportation Safety Board has
released photos depicting fatigue cracks
found on the separated wing of the Chalk’s
Ocean Airways plane that crashed into the
water near Miami Beach on Monday.
Tuesday afternoon, the right wing of the
aircraft was recovered. The wing had separated
at the inboard section, at the wing/fuselage
juncture. Safety Board engineers and metallurgists
agree that the signatures are consistent
with fatigue fractures. Portions of the
wing are at the NTSB metallurgy laboratory
in Washington, DC.
part of the investigation of this accident,
which claimed 20 lives, the Safety Board
will extensively examine the wing and other
structures in the coming days. The probable
cause of this accident has not been determined.
FAA Wants More Focus On Aircraft Wiring
October 9, 2005
US aviation regulators want the industry
to pay closer attention to aircraft wiring
that could pose risks for electrical failure
and fire, especially on older planes.
strong safety record as they outsource
airline industry's safety record remains strong
despite a growing reliance on outsourcing.
Department of Transportation statistics indicate
more than half of airline maintenance is now
done by outside workers, up from 33% in 1990.
Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)/Associated Press
and Constitution (Atlanta) (free registration)
TSA needs better system
for screening cargo, Congress says
lawmakers say the U.S. should adopt stricter
inspection rules for air cargo. This "is
a disaster waiting to happen," said Representative
Christopher Shays, R-Conn. Shays, who is co-sponsoring
legislation to improve cargo security, noted
it only takes a small amount of explosives
to blow up a plane. Examining every piece
of cargo would cost $3.6 billion over 10 years,
according to a TSA spokeswoman. Bloomberg
NASA still unsure
what caused foam loss
NASA is still trying
to determine why the space shuttle lost foam
during its July 26 launch. A one-pound chunk
of foam broke from Discovery's external fuel
tank in the first few minutes of the flight.
"We haven't found any eureka, or smoking
gun, so far," said John Chapman, manager
of NASA's external tank project office. NASA
has not set a launch date for the next shuttle
Cessna Prevails in
Caravan Icing Suit
An Alaska jury has determined that Cessna
Caravans do not have a design flaw that led
to the deaths
of 10 people in a crash near Dillingham, Alaska,
in 2001. The verdict came within hours of
the crash of a similar aircraft near Moscow,
attributed by Russian media to icing that
killed eight people. In early October, a Caravan
went down in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and
ice was also cited as a possible contributing
factor. The pilot of that aircraft was also
killed. In the Alaska case, the crash victims'
families tried to convince the jury that the
plane has design flaws that make it more susceptible
to ice accretion. Last spring, the FAA issued
an Airworthiness Directive making a tactile
examination of the plane's lifting surfaces
mandatory in icing conditions. According to
KTUU TV in Anchorage, there are at least eight
more icing-related suits involving Caravans
underway in the U.S. The station said that
as of December 2004, the NTSB had counted
26 icing-related Caravan accidents, resulting
in 36 fatalities.
the difference between an Airworthiness Directive,
a Service Bulletin and a Service Letter Service
bulletins are issued by the manufacturer and
are usually modifications or inspections.
These usually result either from defects operators
have encountered in the past or new technology
that allows for improvement of a system/structure
AD's are generated by the CAA or other national
bodies and are of a mandatory nature. They
are generally a result of a SB being issued
by the manufacturer which they consider to
be an urgent requirement in order to maintain
Service letters are issued by the manufacturer
and are helpful pointers and descriptions
of systems to aid in troubleshooting and general
maintenance. A very helpful tool indeed and
worth a read.
age may rise
The nation's pilots are one step
closer to pushing back their retirement
age from 60 to 65.
On Thursday, the Senate Commerce,
Science and Transportation Committee
approved Senate Bill 65, which would
require the Department of Transportation
to make the retirement age the same
as what an international group sets
it at, which is expected to be 65.
The International Civil Aviation
Organization is still trying to
come up with a final set of standards
for its age restriction. That decision
could come by November 2006.
The Senate bill would also require
pilots to continue flying until
their 65th birthdays as long as
they're accompanied by a co-pilot
who's age 60 or younger.
A date for the Senate vote has
not been scheduled. The bill must
also be reconciled with a House
version introduced by Rep. Jim Gibbons,
NTSB ADDS FOREIGN AVIATION INVESTIGATIONS
PAGE TO WEBSITE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The
National Transportation Safety Board has added
a new page to its website providing the public
with information on foreign aviation accident
investigations in which the NTSB has participated.
The Safety Board is responsible for investigating
every civil aviation accident in the United
States, about 1,800 a year. Less known by
the public is the Board's considerable activity
overseas. Under provisions of the International
Civil Aviation Organization, the NTSB participates
in aviation investigations in a foreign state
nvolving an aircraft of U.S. registry, a U.S.
operator, or an aircraft of U.S. design or
The new page has two major features. The first
is a table listing foreign investigations
having significant NTSB involvement during
the proceeding 24 months. Currently, that
list contains 23 investigations. Information
listed includes date, location and brief description
of the accident; the make, model and registration
number of the aircraft; the severity of the
event; and the type of operation.
The second feature is a searchable database
of more than 2,600 foreign accident investigations
going back to the 1960s.
"This is a terrific new resource for
the public," NTSB Acting Chairman Mark
V. Rosenker said. "This valuable information
shows the extent of the Safety Board's involvement
in improving the safety of aviation all around
HILL -- The chair of a House aviation
subcommittee is trying to get Congress to
equip some passenger airplanes with technology
that would defend them against shoulder-fired
Two companies -- BAE Systems and Northrop
Grumman -- say they have successfully tested
systems and both say they will meet the
government's deadline of producing a workable
system by January.
What is less clear is whether Congress or
the Bush administration will require airlines
to use the technology, and who would then
pay the multibillion-dollar tab.
A bill by Florida Republican John Mica
-- if it becomes law -- would require the
systems on the largest airliner, the Airbus
super-jumbo A-380. The legislation would
affect any A-380 that flew in the U.S. Those
planes are supposed to go into service late
Pilot Fatigue To
In the future, pilots may wear wristbands
that will be able to detect signs of fatigue,
stress or other dangerous conditions and send
a signal to a monitoring center. That's the
goal of an Australian project aimed at reducing
the number of fatigue- and stress-related
accidents in airplanes and heavy transport
trucks. Over the next three years, the Forge
Groupe and the University of Technology will
develop and test sensors that will enable
real-time monitoring of the alertness, stress
level and decision-making ability of pilots
and drivers. "This information will allow
feedback on a dangerous situation and alert
either the operator or the system controller
to make it safer," said project spokesman
Sara Lal. The sensors will also measure the
pilot's environment, looking for things like
temperature and noise. The information will
be used to create algorithms and computations
to detect changes in operator performance.
Components Found At San Diego
screeners found bomb components
in a carry-on piece of luggage
at San Diego Airport on Tuesday
and cleared the area to investigate,
a Department of Homeland Security
A department spokesman
said the screeners found
"all components of
an IED" (improvised
explosive device) in a piece
of luggage at around 7:45
a.m. (10:45 a.m. EDT/1445
GMT). They then evacuated
the commuter terminal of
the airport and bomb specialists
began to investigate, the
Nico Melendez said an employee
noticed a "suspicious
item" in a piece of
luggage as it was going
through the X-ray machine.
Officials at the airport
were not immediately available
The Homeland Security spokesman
said officials were investigating
to see if there was any
link between the discovery
in San Diego and bomb threats
at two Los Angeles-area
airports. Searches at Long
Beach Airport and a separate
threat at nearby Orange
County's John Wayne Airport
were resolved with no bombs
Toy, Cookie Are
Mistaken for Bomb
DIEGO - A terminal
at San Diego International
Airport was evacuated
Tuesday after luggage
a child's toy and
a cookie for bomb-
A screening machine
at the Commuter Terminal
detected what appeared
to be bomb-making
material in a carryon
bag around 7:45 a.m.,
A bomb squad was called
to the terminal, which
serves regional flights,
determined the bag
did not contain any
devices, Peppin said.
what they did find
was a child's toy
and some organic material
in a bag that turned
out to be a cookie,"
Peppin said. "Those
two items combined
on-screen, they very
much appeared to be
an IED, and it turned
out not to be."
The terminal was reopened
about 9:20 a.m. and
passengers were allowed
back in, Peppin said.
Five commuter flights
to Los Angeles and
one flight to Salt
Lake City were delayed,
said Steve Shultz,
an airport spokesman.
The discovery followed
bomb threats called
in earlier Tuesday
to airports in Long
Beach and Orange County.
The calls triggered
massive searches of
both facilities but
no explosive devices
Airlines agree to adopt
airlines have agreed to adopt better safeguards
for disinfecting drinking water on planes.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it
hopes the agreement reduces disease-carrying
bacteria in drinking water. Failure to comply
with the Safe Drinking Water Act carries a
fine of $27,500 for each violation. An investigation
last year found dangerous bacteria in 15%
of airplanes monitored. The Air Transport
Association said most of its members
signed the agreement and noted water on airplanes
is usually safe. "We don't think that
EPA's sample results provided enough meaningful
data to draw any conclusions," ATA spokeswoman
Katherine Andrus said. USA
Aviation officials prepare
for bird flu concerns
health and aviation officials are taking steps
to guard against the rising concerns regarding
bird flu by setting up more airport quarantine
stations. A better system is also in place
for tracking travelers who might have been
exposed. Katherine Andrus, spokeswoman for
the Air Transport Association,
said the industry is concerned but doesn't
want to overreact. "We are taking all
the appropriate measures to make sure that
if it's a pandemic, we're prepared to respond,"
she said. USA
Angeles Times (10/11),
Aviation Authority against EU airline
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA)
has come out against an EU proposal
for a centralised blacklist of unsafe
airlines. It does not see the need
for a centralised system. But the
Department of Transport said it supports
the proposed blacklist, on the basis
that it would help ensure the safety
of Irish passengers across the EU.
keeping a close eye on bird flu Airlines
are monitoring international headlines pertaining to the bird flu carefully, but
have not yet taken precautions against it. United Airlines' corporate
medical director said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet
recommended special actions for the bird flu. However, the CDC has developed a
passenger-locator system for airlines. International passengers provide information,
making it possible for the CDC to contact them in the event of an outbreak.
halt on A380 production
Airbus had to shut the A380 model's assembly
line from May until August to work out how to configure wiring and electronics
in the plane cabin, Chief Operating Officer Charles Champion said.
needed to determine specifications and locations for wires and electronics for
systems such as lighting and in-flight entertainment, said Champion, who is also
director of the A380 program. The plane will be the world's largest airliner,
seating 550 people in a standard three-class configuration.
the A380's first customer, is now scheduled to receive the first plane at the
end of 2006. All other deliveries will be delayed by six months until Airbus can
catch up on production, Champion said. No date for doing that has been set.