Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.-- Erica Jong, author, Fear of Flying

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Cowards die many times before their death. -- William Shakespeare To sit quiet and think, is the hardest thing a person can do, for when he does, all the Demons of the universe, show up and try to keep him from the truth. But these Demons must be faced,then slayed, in order to live a life worth living"-- R.H. Lascelle

 
If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem

               
FAA Revokes Pilot Licenses

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 Minneapolis.

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 and recklessly.

The revocations are effective immediately. The pilots have 10 days to appeal the emergency revocations to the National Transportation Safety Board.

 


US Airways, United face FAA fines for safety violations
10/14/09 08:16 PM, EDT
The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday proposed fines against two of the nation's largest airlines, saying the airlines flew planes on hundreds of occasions in violation of FAA or airline safety standards.
FULL STORY
Airports Get Aid for Device to See Debris By MATTHEW L. WALD

Published: October 5, 2009

New York Times (link)

The Federal Aviation Administration is taking steps toward helping airports buy equipment that will spot dangerous debris on their runways.

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

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.

The move 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 said.

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.

COMPETING 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.

Report Critiques FAA Oversight Of Aviation Safety Action Program

The FAA is not making good use of the benefits that could be provided by the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), according to a 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 says.

Currently, 73 airlines participate in ASAP, which has been a thorny issue between airlines and pilot unions. American and Delta dropped out of the program last year after union leaders complained that pilots who voluntarily disclosed problems were unfairly punished. 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 <dickandlibbymills@gmail.com>

Subject: Re: Tail strikes from improper settings (Knowlton, RISKS-25.68)

 An airplane on a take-off run clearly could perform an automatic

 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 amiss.

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 input.

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 one.

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

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.

Report is at this link

see original crash coverage at:  link   and  link

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 US Airlines Fight FAA Crew Rest Requirements

 ------------------------------------------------------

 January 5, 2009

 Seven US airlines have sued the Federal Aviation Administration,

 claiming the agency broke its own rules and may have compromised

 flight safety when it set new standards for pilot rest times last year

 without input from the carriers.

 Details: see this link

US jury blames Parker for plane crash

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 people aboard.

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 deliberately.

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 official.

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 city.

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 months earlier.

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 controls.

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 money.

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 passenger airliner.

"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 bombings.

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 investigation.

Relatives of the victims demanded the inquiry after the trial.

Airline In Cyprus's Worst Crash To Stop Flying
A Cypriot commercial airline, which changed its name after Cyprus's worst aviation disaster, said it would terminate flight operations.

AJet, 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 Monday.

Libra said the decision was based on financial considerations. AJet will remain a legal entity because of financial claims against third parties, it said.

The carrier 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.

Greek F-16 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.

A Greek 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.

It also blamed Cyprus's regulatory authority for an inadequate execution of its oversight responsibility and planemaker Boeing for failing to respond to previous pressurization incidents.

The carrier has challenged the report, saying it offered no adequate or plausible explanation of how its alleged shortcomings could be linked to the accident.

US FAA tests runway incursion systems
The US Federal Aviation Administration has completed a five-year evaluation of a system of runway and taxiway ultraviolet emitters designed to detect incursions.

The developer, Maryland-based Norris Electro Optical Systems, says its system is ready for production and could be installed within 12 to 18 months.

The Autonomous Runway Incursion Prevention System (ARIPS) uses UV light emitted from modified runway and taxiway lights, along with corresponding detectors, to create “trip wires” at runway thresholds and crossings. Unaffected by rain and fog, these can automatically detect moving aircraft and other vehicles. An incursion would be reported to the affected pilots by changing the state of runway status indicators.

An ARIPS prototype with 18 emitter-sensor pairs was installed on selected runways and taxiways at Providence, Rhode Island’s Green airport. The system was tested against six runway-incursion scenarios, based on actual incidents, including a potential collision on two intersecting runways and an aircraft blundering onto an active runway from a taxiway.

GA 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 available online.

 INFORMATION ON 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 (FSIX) website.

At: www.icao.int/fsix/auditRep1.cfm
LAPTOP BATTERY RESTRICTIONS


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 per passenger.

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.

Firefighting 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 of drugs.

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 mid-air breakups.

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 dismissed.

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.

Robert L. Sumwalt Sworn In As NTSB Vice-Chairman

Robert L. 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 in 2005.

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.

From 2002 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.

A trained 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.

Mr. Sumwalt 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 Pilot magazine.

Sumwalt joined 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.

Sumwalt assumes 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.

Subject: Anti-hijack software  (Robolander - link)

A 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]  link
 
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 said.

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 in jail.

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 said.

Investigators 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 said.

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 said.

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.

Air France Opts for Honeywell RAAS for Runway Safety

07-22-2006

Air 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 this year.

Working 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 situations:

  • Entering a runway and when their aircraft is on a runway.

  • Runway distance remaining call-outs during rejected take-off or long landings.

  • An inadvertent take-off attempt from a taxiway.

  • A take-off from a short runway or approach to land on a short runway.

  • Remaining on a runway for an extended period of time.

An optional advisory identifies the runway when on final approach. 

Boeing offers package to upgrade C-130s

NEW YORK (AFX) - Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . 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 models.
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 the world.

We 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 landing.

The cause was a feeder cable for galley power, located behind the first class galley ceiling. This cable shorted, and a 20 - 30cm length burned.
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 important.
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 airplanes.
 
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 said.
 
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," Hilldrup said.
 
Lithium ion batteries are sometimes referred to as "rechargeable" or "secondary" lithium batteries. They, along with primary or "non-rechargeable" 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 midnight.
 
Firefighters said the blaze was under control about four hours later, although the charred plane smoldered for hours.

Judge sets deadline in plane crash case

All of suits generally allege negligence by flight crew

Plane Crash
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.

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, accident.

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.

Travellers’ safety suffers
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 risk”.

Safety minded

The 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 accidents.

Airlines 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.

IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani described the result as "amazing" but warned that more needed to be done in some areas, particularly Africa.

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.

The 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 cracking.

The failed engine has been brought to the American Airlines facility in Tulsa OK, for teardown this week under NTSB supervision.

Wing Tank Blows In 727

By Russ Niles
Newswriter, Editor

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 fuel-tank explosions 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 was not the first of its kind.) The FAA is now preparing a final rule (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.

NTSB DETERMINES 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 was destroyed.

        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."
Slovak military plane crash not caused by technical failure: official
 
    BUDAPEST, 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.

    "Our investigation produced no evidence that a technical failure was behind the accident," Vanga said.

    He added that human errors as a possible cause had not been ruled out and a biochemical and psychological analysis was still underway.

    The 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.

    The two countries are planning to build a memorial for the victims on the hill where the crash occurred.

FedEx DC-10 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 mid-flight.

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 were reported.

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, says GE.

According to 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 2001.

US National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating the incident.

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 said.

The pilots ditched the plane in Maule Lake [link], just south of Aventura Mall. Neither one was hurt.[link]

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 incorrectly.

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.

Caravan Crash Report Cites Icing, Overload, Fatigue

Canada's Transportation Safety Board released its final report this week on a Caravan crash in which 10 people died in January 2004. Investigators found that the aircraft was over gross by at least 15 percent on takeoff, freezing participation was falling, and ice was visible on the leading edge of the wing. The aircraft climbed out at a shallow angle and stalled less than two miles out, most likely when the flaps were retracted. The Caravan impacted the frozen surface of a lake and sank. There were no survivors. The pilot's lack of appreciation for the known hazards associated with the overweight condition of the aircraft, ice contamination, and the weather conditions was inconsistent with his previous practices, the safety board said. His decision to take off was likely affected by some combination of stress and fatigue. The pilot had been on duty since 4:45 a.m., and had returned the night before from a trip to California, with only about five hours sleep time. He flew two legs that morning, took a break for a few hours, and was back at the airport at 3 p.m.

The National 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:

http://www.ntsb.gov/events/2006/flashairlines/default.htm

Friday March 17, 2006

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 operations.

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.

Tex 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 aircraft.

Airbus reports it currently has 30 orders for new aircraft in 2006.

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.

"This is 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 Maine."

from link

Report studies threat of smoke, fire in jetliners. Smoke and 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
23 FEB 2006 IFALPA: 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 Bulletin 06SAB009
Canadian-registered 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.
FAA to mandate MU-2B training

US 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 pilot rating.

Prompted by 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.

The decision 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.

Requests to 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.

"The aircraft 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 class."

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 ruling

Safety board says calculations for stopping distance should exclude use of engines

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 vehicles.

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.

Maintenance outsourcing needs more checks
A 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.
NTSB Releases Images Of Fatigue Cracks In Chalk's Wreckage

Accident Claimed 20 Lives

The 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.

On 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.

As 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.
 Details:
http://news.airwise.com/story/view/1128897966.html

FAA NPRM link

Airlines maintain strong safety record as they outsource
The 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.   Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)/Associated Press (free registration) (12/4),   Journal and Constitution (Atlanta) (free registration) (12/4)
TSA needs better system for screening cargo, Congress says
Some 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 (11/29)
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 flight.  

Florida Today (Melbourne) (23 Nov 05)

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.
Describe 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 or component.

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 airworthiness.

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.

 

Pilots' retirement 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, R-Nev.

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 manufacture.

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 the world."

The page may be accessed at the following URL:
www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/foreign.asp
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 missiles.

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 next year.

Pilot Fatigue To Be Monitored
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.
Bomb Components Found At San Diego Airport
Baggage 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 spokesmen said.

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 spokesman said.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman 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 for comment.

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 found.

Toy, Cookie Are Mistaken for Bomb Parts

SAN DIEGO - A terminal at San Diego International Airport was evacuated Tuesday after luggage screeners mistook a child's toy and a cookie for bomb- making components, officials said.

A screening machine at the Commuter Terminal detected what appeared to be bomb-making material in a carryon bag around 7:45 a.m., said Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Jennifer Peppin.

A bomb squad was called to the terminal, which serves regional flights, and investigators determined the bag did not contain any "IED," or improvised explosive devices, Peppin said.

"Essentially 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 were found.

from link
Airlines agree to adopt water safeguards
Twenty-four 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 TODAY/Associated Press
Aviation officials prepare for bird flu concerns
U.S. 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 TODAY (10/13),   Los Angeles Times (10/11),   Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Associated Press (10/13)
Irish Aviation Authority against EU airline blacklist

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.

Airlines 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.
Wiring forced 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.

Airbus 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.

Singapore Airlines, 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.

Which can say more than this rich praise, that you alone are you.*--Shakespeare

 

Hell begins the day that God grants you the vision to see all that you could have done, should have done, and would have done, but did not do. GOETHE