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

Page 12

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

               
With research suggesting as many as one in thirty healthy airline passengers develop a potentially-fatal blood clot on board a long haul flight, travel-related deep vein thrombosis is increasingly being recognised as an issue in Europe.

As a professional interested in public health issues in Europe you may be interested in the first international edition of DVTnews.(link)

Published by SSL International, the makers of Scholl Flight/Travel Socks, this newsletter is an occasional digest designed to keep you up to date with news on the latest developments, research and therapies about travel-related deep vein thrombosis.

If you know anyone else who would like to receive a free copy, or have news that you think will be of interest, please mail scholleurope@myriadpr.com or call +44 (0)1353 669939

Hands-off warning on SARS
By Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
April 22, 2003

TRAVELLERS can breathe easily on aircraft during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, but they should be careful what they touch.

Health and airline officials agree there is little chance of contracting SARS through cabin airconditioning but say close proximity to an infected person and contact with infected surfaces remain risks.

Experts believe there is little likelihood of the disease spreading through cabin air because of the nature of the virus and the design of aircraft airconditioning systems.

The entire volume of air in an aircraft cabin is exchanged every three to five minutes and at least half is passed through air filters similar to those used in hospital operating rooms.

World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Influenza deputy director Alan Hampson said it appeared SARS was transmitted through close contact with seriously ill people.

Dr Hampson said the most important move airlines could take was to exclude anyone showing symptoms from travelling. "It's far more important to do this than to be worried about cabin air quality," he said.

European Union Joins Eurocontrol; Safety Study Started
Creating a European “single sky" harmonized air traffic management (ATM) system took a significant political step forward on October 8 when the European Union (EU) joined Eurocontrol. All 15 EU states are already individual members of the 31-nation ATC agency, but the formal accession of the EU collectively is expected to lend political and legal weight to efforts to avoid duplication and inefficiency between Europe’s national ATC services. Meanwhile, the midair between two airliners this past July and last October’s runway collision between an airliner and a business jet have prompted Eurocontrol to organize the High-Level European Action Group for ATM Safety (AGAS). One of AGAS’ first resolutions is to find ways to make Eurocontrol member states fully implement safety enhancements agreed to by the agency. The EU’s membership of Eurocontrol could make a difference in this regard since it can–in theory–compel EU member states to implement changes. Non-EU member states have committed to enforcing the same safety standards. By next April, the group is due to present a comprehensive ATM safety action plan to the Eurocontrol Provisional Council.

U.S. and foreign airlines have met the U.S. government's Apr. 9
deadline for installing reinforced cockpit doors in 10,000 transport
aircraft, but there are two different projections of the cost,
according to AVIATION WEEK. FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey said
the total cost was $250 million while Air Transport Assn. CEO James C.
May estimated it at $325 million. Congress appropriated $100 million
to the FAA to distribute to U.S. airlines for security enhancements.
About $97 million of that has been disbursed to airlines for the cost
of doors, at about $13,000 per system. Blakey said about 50 aircraft
have been grounded by carriers that wanted to avoid paying the cost of
adding a door on an airframe that was close to retirement anyway.

Concorde Air Service to End Later This Year
VOA News
10 Apr 2003, 07:33 UTC
Email this article to a friend.Printer Friendly Version

British Airways and Air France will end their Concorde aircraft service later this year, bringing an end to flights aboard the world's only supersonic passenger plane.

The two airlines announced separately Thursday that their Concorde jets would formally be retired by the end of October due to falling passenger demand.

Air France said occupancy rates on their Concord planes have fallen to around 20 percent in recent weeks.

The aircraft debuted with great fanfare in 1976, and its passenger lists were regularly occupied by British and U.S. celebrities.

Concorde flights from New York to London took only three hours, less than half the time of a regular aircraft. But the Concorde has been besieged by problems in recent years. The entire fleet was grounded for a year after a plane crash in Paris in 2000 killed 113 people.

 

March 27, 2003 - Wiring Fire Led To Swissair Crash, Report Says

HALIFAX, Canada - A fire in the wiring was the major contributor to the crash of Swissair Flight 111, a new report says.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board released its final report into the accident Thursday morning. It says smoke from the fire caused the pilots to become disoriented, leading to the crash off Peggy's Cove on Sept. 2, 1998.

Swissair 111 slammed into the Atlantic Ocean as it was getting ready for an emergency landing at Halifax International Airport. All 229 people on board died. Investigators say the fire started in a hidden area in the ceiling on the right side of the cockpit.

That ignited the metallic plastic covering of insulation blankets in the area. Wires leading to the in-flight entertainment system were involved in starting the fire. The 330-page report brings to an end the largest and most complex air crash investigation in Canada's history, at a cost of about $57 million. The Transportation Safety Board has already made 14 safety recommendations. Thursday's report makes nine new safety recommendations, including having better information recording systems and using more fire-resistant insulation.

The report says "arcing" – discharges between two electrodes – in some of the wiring set the electrical insulation on fire, filling the cockpit with smoke. The jet crashed 21 minutes later. The report exonerates the pilots, saying they could not have landed the jet safely.

Full TSB Report (32mb pdf File)

March 27, 2003 - Plane-Truck Collision Described As Accident

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Yong Kay, director of the Aviation Safety Council (ASC), yesterday described as a mere accident a collision between a truck on the runway and a landing TransAsia Airway Airbus at Tainan last Friday.

Yong told a press conference the mishap was not a crash or an incident involving aviation safety."It was regarded as a runway accident," Yong said.

He said ASC and air force investigators are ascertaining the cause of the accident, in which only two men on the truck were slightly injured.

The accident occurred 7.5 seconds after the GE301 flight touched down on Runway 36 at Tainan Airport at 1005 p.m., Yong said. The Airbus took off from Taipei's Sungshan Airport at 10:02 p.m. Three trucks were on the runway, Yong said. The runway was under repair. Two of the trucks, facing the landing airliner, veered to avoid collision head on, Yong said. "The other one, running in the same direction on the runway and with the driver failing to see the approaching plane, was hit from behind," he added.

Air traffic controllers gave the Airbus pilot permission to land at 1004 p.m. The Airbus touched down at 1,320 meters on the runway and hit the truck at 2,534 meters, Yong said.

The truck was destroyed, with debris scattered over the end of the runway. None of the 175 passengers and crew members aboard the jetliner were injured. All three trucks entered the runway at 1000 p.m., Yong said. "But the TransAsia flight was delayed," he added. It landed 45 minutes later than scheduled. Visibility was fine, about 10 kilometers, at the time of the accident, Yong said. "The weather was fine," he added.

Other meteorological data is being collected, Yong said.

The curfew starts at the airport at 1000 p.m. However, the control tower gave the permission to land to the Airbus, which was delayed. In that event, Yong said, all the vehicles on the runway had to leave at once. Air Force personnel were involved in the repair of the runway. "We are investigating the cause of the accident in cooperation with military personnel," Yong said

needing?

FAA Implements 'Known Shipper' Rule
The FAA has increased cargo security measures in the aftermath of British and U.S. air attacks in Afghanistan. Under the new "known shipper" rule, freight forwarders can submit cargo to a passenger airline only if the goods come from a customer that has booked at least 24 shipments with that forwarder since Sept. 1, 1999. In addition, the shipper must have been doing business with the forwarder before Sept. 1, 1999. If the shipper does not meet those definitions,the shipper is considered an "unknown shipper". For "unknown shippers" the forwarder must validate that the customer is a legitimate business. Validation includes a visit to the shipper's premises and a check of the customer's financial records. The rule is to prevent terrorists from placing explosives, chemical or biological materials or other items that constitute weaponry on an aircraft. The rule may impact small business, other occasional shippers, and the forwarder's ability to market to new clients.

from this link

Prosecutor freezes bank accounts of former Swissair managers
Mon Mar 17, 6:45 AM ET

ZURICH, Switzerland - A Zurich prosecutor said Monday he has frozen the bank accounts of former top managers of collapsed national airline Swissair as part of a criminal investigation into the company.

Hanspeter Hirt Monday confirmed a report by the weekly SonntagsZeitung that the assets of Philippe Bruggisser, Eric Honegger and Georges Schorderet have been temporarily frozen.

The funds may eventually be used to cover expenses tied to criminal charges in connection with the collapse of Swissair in 2001. The amounts involved are "low six-digit Swiss franc figures" in each case, Hirt said.

Bruggisser and Honegger are both former chief executives of Swissair and Schorderet is a former chief financial officer. They, along with another former CEO, Mario Corti, and an unidentified fifth person face criminal charges including alleged falsification of documents.

Corti's accounts weren't frozen after he paid 150,000 francs (US$110,000) into a blocked account as a sign of his willingness to cooperate.

Hirt said it is unclear whether the money now frozen will be used. He said some of the managers have filed a complaint against the account freeze.

Heavily indebted Swissair collapsed in October 2001. A new national carrier, Swiss, was built on its remains after the country's government and corporate sector injected billions of francs into the new company.

from this link

LOT airline president resigns after corruption allegation linked to Swissair

 

WARSAW (AFX) - The president of the Polish airline LOT has resigned following allegations of corruption linked to payments made by shareholder Swissair to the management of the company, according to a statement published in the local press.

Company president Jan Litynski resigned after the supervisory board learnt of a report on pay received by members of the board, the statement said.

LOT management declined to comment on the report, while Marek Sidor -- president of the Polish civil aviation office and a former member of the LOT board -- was not immediately available for comment.

Polish and Swiss press reports have alleged recently that the Swiss airline Swissair Group had paid nearly 1 mln sfr to seven members of the board of LOT for consultancy services which had never been provided.

The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper has alleged that the Swiss airline, which restructured and changed its name after filing for bankruptcy, had promised huge sums to Litynski before buying shares in LOT.

In 1999 SAirGroup, the operator of Swissair, paid 183.7 mln usd for 37.6 pct of LOT. The following year the Swiss airline went bankrupt.

Pilot Fatigue Study Is World First

Mar 11, 2003

Pilot fatigue is to come under intense scrutiny in a major new airline safety study announced in Australia. It will be a joint project between the country's aviation authority, pilots, researchers and the nation's biggest airline, Qantas.

The three-year study will set a world first by developing a new risk management-based system for flight-crew rostering. This is the first time that an airline, safety regulator, pilots' association and academics have collaborated to find a scientific way of managing the risks associated with fatigue. Joining Qantas in the project are the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Australian and International Pilots Association and the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia.

The first phase, which is already under way, has involved volunteer flight crews being monitored for sleep patterns. Further research will try to discover how quickly pilots body clocks adapt to changes in time zones and use flight simulators to compare pilots actual performance with predicted fatigue.

CASA's Director of Aviation Safety Mick Toller said the study would provide real and lasting improvements in safety. "This project gives the regulator the first useful access to scientific data to predict when pilots are likely to have lower performance levels due to fatigue," he said.

"We all know when we are tired, but fatigue is more complex, particularly for pilots doing long flights and operating through numerous time zones most of their working week. Aviation safety will be better for this knowledge."

TSA to ban first class in the USA.

*** TSA Pulling the Curtain

Time -- That annoying curtain separating first class from coach on most airplane flights may be facing its own final
curtain. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which oversees viation security, has told the airlines
that it wants the barrier removed permanently, to allow cabin crews and federal air marshals (FAMs) to see the
entire cabin. Some airlines are not thrilled with the move, which could happen by the end of the month. Much
of their profit comes from passengers paying high first-class fares, and the companies are afraid of doing anything
to alienate those premium flyers.


from this link

http://www.ntsb.gov/Recs/letters/2003/A03_04.pdf

I wonder how many more of these safety “sleepers” are out there?

Goodrich, after hearing of a number of inflation failures for emergency escape slides/rafts, issues a “product improvement” (which gets through to very few operators).

After continuing failures of slides, Goodrich issues a non-mandatory Service Bulletin for fitment of an improved inflation hose that shouldn’t fracture. But, as is to be expected, Iberia and many other 747 operators decide that as they haven’t experienced any failures they shouldn’t bother implementing the SB. However as soon as they (Iberia) have a mass evacuation (Aug 02) they discover that 3/6 slides fail. The FAA, over six months later is now proposing to issue an AD to rectify this long known fault.

It makes you wonder how many more safety sleepers are out there in SB Land?

Aviation Law Expert Lee Kreindler Dies
Wed February 19, 2003 05:03 PM ET
By Gail Appleson, Law CorrespondentNEW YORK (Reuters) - Lee Kreindler, one of the world's top aviation law experts and a leading advocate for air-crash victims and their families, has died, his law firm said on Wednesday.Kreindler, 78, died on Tuesday from complications of a cerebral hemorrhage, said the firm Kreindler & Kreindler.The New York lawyer, whose career spanned more than half a century, became famous throughout the world as the lead plaintiffs' counsel in virtually every major domestic and international aviation litigation over accidents and bombings that occurred after his firm was founded in 1950.Kreindler was also known as a passionate champion of victims' rights who played a key role in winning changes to U.S. laws and international treaties that limit victims' claims against airlines."His life was a challenge to making the law better for people who needed help," said Marc Moller, a partner at Kreindler & Kreindler. "He was very much a catalyst for the improvement of aviation law and safety."Widely considered the dean of aviation accident lawyers, Kreindler's clients included plaintiffs in litigation stemming from the 1988 bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland; the 1996 crash of Trans World Airlines Flight 800 off Long Island, New York, and the 1998 crash of the Swissair MD-11 airliner in Canadian waters off Nova Scotia.In the Pan Am case, Kreindler showed that the airline had committed gross security lapses that allowed an unaccompanied suitcase carrying the bomb to be loaded on to the plane. After winning a jury verdict and several appeals, Kreindler was able to get full compensatory damages for passengers' families.He continued the battle in 1996 by suing Libya for its alleged role in the explosion. Libya recently offered to settle the case and other claims for $2.7 billion but a final accord has been delayed.A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, Kreindler was also a down-to-earth man, often seen sporting an old blue golfing hat, who could patiently translate complicated aviation and international law into plain English.He was also known for his vast knowledge of aeronautical engineering and aircraft operation.In October 1996 he was criticized by some other lawyers for suing over the TWA Flight 800 explosion before the government determined what caused the disaster. The suits claimed the airline and the maker of the plane were liable because a mechanical malfunction most likely caused the explosion.Kreindler told Reuters there was nothing frivolous about the lawsuits and that they had been filed only after his office had completed its internal investigations and shared its findings with the National Transportation Safety Board."There's a need to bring lawsuits as soon as reasonably possible to get the litigation going. There's a limit to what we can do just relying on public information," he said.He said information gathered by his office could help the government determine the cause of the explosion aboard the Paris-bound Boeing 747.In August 2000, the NTSB said that design flaws in the plane contributed to the explosion. It said that flammable vapors had most likely ignited in a center wing fuel tank.
Associated Press
HOUSTON -- The board investigating the space shuttle Columbia disaster Saturday toured the Louisiana plant where the orbiter's external fuel tank was built, while searchers scouring the mountains of New Mexico -- west of where any debris has been found -- were coming up empty.

Investigators also revealed that two more Columbia control jets, making at least four in all, continued to fire in a desperate attempt to stabilize the shuttle during its final minutes.

The jets fire automatically when flaps on the shuttle's wings and tail are inadequate to control abnormal motions encountered at supersonic speeds. The information was coaxed from the final 32 seconds of ragged data sent from Columbia as it was breaking apart, investigators said.

The last voice communication from the shuttle's seven astronauts came as Columbia streaked across New Mexico during reentry Feb. 1 before breaking apart about two minutes later.

People near New Mexico's Sandia Mountains, east of Albuquerque, reported hearing a whooshing sound, said Peter Olson, a spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. He said there also was radar evidence that debris could have fallen in the state, but he didn't have details.

About 140 searchers concentrated Saturday on a rugged 2-square-mile area of Embudito Canyon, walking a few feet apart. Nothing was found as teams began wrapping up by afternoon; one searcher picked up a small disc of melted metal that was later identified as part of a beer can. Two helicopters from White Sands Missile Range that criss-crossed the area also came up empty.

The Embudito Canyon search was expected to last only a day, but NASA could search elsewhere in the state, officials said.........

U.S. airliners would be equipped with missile-jamming gear -- at a cost of up to $10 billion -- under a bill introduced in Congress last Wednesday. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) sponsored the bill, which would pay between $1 million and $1.5 million to add the electronic gear to each and every airliner in the country. "This is a very, very serious danger," Schumer told a news conference held Sunday in Manhattan. Various options to protect airliners from portable ground-to-air missiles were explored by federal authorities even before two Russian-made missiles narrowly missed an Israeli Arkia Airlines jet taking off from a Kenyan airport last Thanksgiving. Security has been tightened around major airports and some airports have closed public viewing areas. Shumer and Israel reportedly told the news conference that the systems they propose work by steering the missiles away from planes by jamming their guidance systems. The shoulder-launched missiles we've heard of are heat-seekers, so we don't understand how those can be "jammed" per se, but for $1.5 million each, who knows? One thing is certain, however. Nobody better be asking the airlines to chip in. Budget carrier Southwest is the only major U.S. airline making money and at least one analyst says the rest of the industry is just about at the end of its rope. "The losses are so enormous that these cannot be sustained and we're probably pretty much at the end of our borrowing ability now in the capital markets," said Darryl Jenkins of George Washington University's Aviation Institute.
from this link

ACR HAD NOT INSTALLED A COCKPIT DOOR LOCK BAR OR CHANGED COCKPIT KEYS.

NARRATIVE

ACR X EQUIPPED ACR ACFT WITH A SECONDARY COCKPIT DOOR LOCK AFTER 9/11/01 IN THE AIRBUS , A320 AND 319 ACFT, THE SECONDARY LOCK CAN BE BREACHED IN 3 TO 5 SECONDS BY SLIPPING A MAGAZINE OR LAMINATED FLT ATTENDANT BRIEFING CARD INTO THE UPPER R SPACE BETWEEN THE DOOR AND FRAME THEN SIMPLY HITTING THE LOCKING MECHANISM IN A DOWNWARD CHOPPING MOTION. THE ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT COCKPIT DOOR LOCK IS KEYED WITH A BOEING STANDARD LOCK. THOUSANDS OF KEYS ARE IN CIRCULATION. IF NO KEY IS AVAILABLE, A CREDIT CARD WILL OPEN THE LOCK. IN OTHER WORDS, IN A LEAST 1/2 THE ACR X FLEET, THE COCKPIT DOOR CAN BE DEFEATED IN 3 TO 5 SECONDS BY NOTHING MORE THAN A CREDIT CARD (OR READILY AVAILABLE KEY) OR A MAGAZINE.

Reported in the Australian(2/12):

"INVESTIGATIONS into the crash of a Fokker 27 aircraft into Manila Bay last month, in which five Australian surfers were killed, have led to the arrest of the airline's Malaysian owner and Australian chief mechanic on immigration charges.

Although the official result of an inquiry into the crash has not been released, newspapers have reported a list of problems with the airline company and the plane, which crashed into the bay on November 11, killing 19 people.

On Friday, Australian national Jimmy Tan Chui, a board member of Laoag International Airlines, was arrested, along with his boss, company chairman Paul Ng, a Malaysian. Immigration commissioner Andrea Domingo said Mr Tan was the airline's chief mechanic and had been in The Philippines on a tourist visa. And although Mr Ng was married to a Filipina and had a resident's permit, he did not have appropriate work documents. Two pilots, who survived the crash, are also on an immigration watchlist to ensure they do not leave the country.

An airline spokesman, Alvin Yater, said Mr Tan was not an employee of the company and was merely a shareholder and "consultant". He said the pair was being held in an immigration detention centre but had not been formally charged.

Flight 585 was flying from Manila to Laoag, in the north of The Philippines, when it crashed into the bay just minutes after takeoff. Five young Australian friends from Sydney and Brisbane were killed, leaving a sole survivor from the group's planned two-week surfing trip to one of the best surfing breaks in The Philippines.

The Australian victims were: brothers Tim and Sam Coddington, 26 and 24, Darren Green, 23, Nick Wright, 24, and John Benson, 24.

Since the crash, newspapers have reported a series of problems with the airline and its planes. Transportation undersecretary Arturo Valdez claimed last week that the "fuel switch" was shut off. The aircraft's black box, although recovered from the bay, was effectively "blank" and yielded no information. Laoag Airlines was also being investigated for illegally importing Fokker 27 planes and avoiding duties, although it was not clear whether this allegation included the plane that crashed.

Mr Yater denied that the airline had smuggled the planes into the country. He expected the results of the investigation today.

"I would like to appeal to everyone to be patient and wait for the report," he said"

Iced debris may be cause: expert
February 02, 2003

DEBRIS that struck the left wing of Columbia during take-off may have been heavily iced and led to the shuttle's disastrous breakup, Japan's pioneer astronaut said.

"Even if it's just a heat insulator, heavy ice sticks to it," said Mamoru Mori, 55, the first Japanese astronaut to fly on a NASA shuttle, the Endeavor in 1992.

"If that iced fragment fell in the vibration of lift-off, there is about a 50 metre drop to the left wing, so the shock would be very big," he told a news conference at the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).

Ice would be formed because hydrogen fuel is stored at temperatures around minus 250 Celsius in the tanks from which the debris apparently fell, Mori said.

NASA shuttle program director Ron Dittemore told a news conference yesterday in Houston, Texas, that debris that struck the left wing of Columbia during take-off may have played a role in the accident that killed all seven astronauts aboard.

02 Feb 03

NASA is looking at the possibility that detached icing-hardened foam caused the damage sustained by the Orbiter's left wing during the launch of Shuttle Columbia. Damage to critical insulating tiles may have led to the Shuttle's system failures and subsequent breakup on re-entry:

7:53am CST  Left wing Hydraulic Inboard and Outboard Temperature Sensors lost readings

7:56am          Tire pressure loss and left main gear temperature increase

7:58am          3 Bondline/structure temp sensors on left wing loss of readings

7:59am          Left inboard/outboard tire pressure low readings - on display and acknowledged by crew

The word used in the Press Conference room was "off-scale" (but "explained" away as a loss of reading from the sensor). The loss of sensors was progressive, i.e. sensors were initially lost at the rear of the left wing and subsequently more-forward located sensors were lost. The sensors apparently did not show abnormal values but suddenly dropped off-line. They were not being channelled through the same signal processor or multiplexer. The piece of foam that that struck the left wing during launch is said to have hit the leading edge. An astronomer working for the CalTech/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California observed flashes of light from the orbiter over Owens Valley California. It is unclear whether theseay have been pieces of shuttle peeling away or plasma.

Breakup occurred at 207,000ft at Mach 18.3 (reported by NASA to be the point of higher  temperature stress). FAA reports have the debris cloud at 90 miles long and 25-30 mls wide.
SIGMETs
Dallas-Fort Worth SIGMET, prepared on the 1st at 2:40pm CST (2040Z).
SIGMET November 1 valid until the 1st at 6:40pm CST (0040Z).
Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas
From Longview TXUS [GGG]
to 30 miles north of Baton Rouge LAUS [BTR]
to 20 miles south of Baton Rouge LAUS [BTR]
to 30 miles south of Longview TXUS [GGG]
to Longview TXUS [GGG]
SIGMET for SHUTTLE DEBRIS between 9,000 feet and 15,000 feet moving
east-southeastward 35 knots. FAA ADVISES CAUTION this area. Conditions
continuing beyond 6:40pm CST (0040Z). North River [JNR NDB]

National Post (Toronto) of February 1, 2003, page A7, page header:
 
Quebec
 
Cockpit voice recordings useable in lawsuit, court rules.
 
Montreal * The widows of two pilots killed in a 1998 plane crash can use the cockpit voice recordings in a civil suit, a judge has ruled. Lynne Striker-Boulanger and Clemence Michaud say the tapes are crucial to their suit against the plane manufacturer. The judge ruled that it was in the public interest to release the tapes, which are usually kept secret.

Tough Times
Budget Crunch Squeezes FAA...

Money's tight all over, and as the U.S. House and Senate wrangle over the latest version of a budget bill for 2003, the cash deficit could translate to staff cuts for the FAA. Last week, the Senate passed a $390 billion "omnibus" budget bill, lumping together all the departments and agencies -- and it shortchanged the FAA's operating budget by $30 million. The House is expected to lobby for even less spending overall, and the end result -- due sometime next month -- is not likely to be brimming with good news. The Senate bill would give the FAA more than $7 billion for operations, but another cut of $200 million is expected before all is said and done, AviationNow reported this week. With mandated raises and a budget lower than last year's, the FAA's staff-intensive operation would have few options for making up the shortfall other than to cut jobs, sources told AviationNow.
...Despite Efforts At Cost Cutting
In its budget proposal, the FAA offers reductions of $149 million for security tasks transferred to the TSA, and additional savings of $111 million, mostly from eliminating (through attrition) about 400 jobs in Air Traffic Services. The agency proposes to cut funding altogether for a few programs, including $2 million for the Mid-America Aviation Resource Consortium and $6 million for contract tower cost sharing. Mandatory increases for raises and new hires total $398 million. The budget also promises to establish a performance-based operation for air traffic in 2003, with a chief operating officer at its head. While the budget battle wages in Washington, AOPA warned last week that budget deficits at the state level also threaten airport funding. Minnesota legislators, for example, have proposed to raid $15 million from the state airports to boost the sagging general fund. Aviation budgets in Arizona, California, Virginia, and Florida are also being watched, AOPA said.
from this link

Mon, Jan 27 2003

Emergency AD: Beech 1900

Lessons Learned in Charlotte?

An emergency AD has been issued by the FAA.
AD 2003-03-18 -- Raytheon Aircraft Company (Raytheon) Beech Models 1900, 1900C, and 1900D airplanes.
Subject: Recent ground testing and a review of the rigging procedures of a Raytheon Beech Model 1900D airplane reveals that the elevator control system could be mis-rigged to restrict elevator travel if current maintenance procedures are not properly followed. In these instances, it may appear to the crew that they have full elevator control column movement. However, the elevator may not have full travel. Such restricted travel may remain undetected until the airplane is operated in a loading condition that requires full elevator authority to control the pitch.

FMI: full text 

January 22, 2003 - Investigator: Ice was Gathering On Taiwanese Cargo Plane Before Crash

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Flight recorders have revealed that pilots were trying to remove ice from their twin-propeller cargo plane before it crashed into the Taiwan Strait last month, an investigator said on Wednesday.

The TransAsia Airways' plane, a French-made ATR72-200, went down 50 minutes after taking off from Taipei's international airport on a flight to Macau on Dec. 21. It plunged into the sea near the Penghu Island chain off Taiwan's west coast. The two crew on board were killed. Chou Kuan-tsai, chief investigator of the Cabinet-level Aviation Safety Council, on Wednesday released flight data and cockpit conversations recorded in the plane's 'black boxes' that were recovered from the sea.

According to the cockpit conversations, a pilot said, "There was ice. A big chunk of it," before starting the plane's de-icing equipment. But Chou said it was too early to say if the ice had caused the crash. "We only released the information recorded in the black boxes, and we have yet to make an analysis of the data," Chou told reporters, adding that wreckage of the plane recovered from the sea could also help identify the cause of the crash.

Before radio contact with the plane was lost, it had lowered its altitude from 5,450 meters (18,000 feet) to 4,240 meters (14,000 feet). The plane later dropped to 1,480 meters (4,900 feet), Chou said.

Pilots of the Turkish RJ-100 of THY (that crashed at Diyanbakir) were flying below Minimum Descent Altitude for the VOR/DME non-precision approach before having the runway in sight - according to early reports from an analysis of the CVR/FDR data and Tower tapes. Apparently for some reason the pilot commenced a steeply banked right turn at a height below MDA and lost height abruptly. This may have been due to a late sighting of the runway lights and a last second attempt to regain runway centre-line alignment.

see this link and this link and this link

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