Austrian To Change
Ice Plates After Munich Scare
Austrian Airlines is changing the
Rolls-Royce made ice protection equipment on
eight of its nine Fokker 70 planes because of
doubts over its safety after one such jet made
an emergency landing in Munich on Monday.
Austrian said in a statement it had decided
to change the Rolls-Royce made equipment,
which protects the plane's engines from ice
damage, after inspections led to complaints
The airline has said a preliminary
investigation showed that the emergency
landing, in which eight people were slightly
injured on Monday, was probably caused by
so-called "ice impact trays" breaking off.
"New ice protection equipment will be
installed by the manufacturer's specialist
teams in all engines in which the strength of
the ice protection equipment's mounting could
not be established beyond doubt," Austrian
said in a statement.
"To avoid any risk, the ice protection
equipment will be changed on eight aircraft."
Austrian said it had inspected all its
Fokker 70 fleet with Rolls-Royce. "These
(inspections) led to complaints," it added,
without giving details.
An official investigation into the Munich
accident is ongoing.
Africa continues to be the front-runner in a
race no one wants to win. Saturday's crash of
an Egyptian airliner in the Red Sea punctuated
a report by the
Aviation Safety Network calling the
continent the most unsafe place to fly in the
world. It accounts for less than 3 percent of
airline departures, but Africa claimed 28
percent of fatal airline crashes in 2003 in
what was the safest year ever for the world's
airlines. According to the report, there were
just 25 fatal airline crashes worldwide in
2003, easily eclipsing the previous record of
35 set in 2001. To put that into perspective,
Chicago O'Hare (ORD), alone, saw 911,917
departures and landings in 2001, according to
Airports Council International. The
accidents of 2003 killed 677 passengers and
crew, the third-lowest on record (644 in 1984
and 648 in 1954). Although the accidents were
fewer in number in 2003, they were apparently
more serious. Just 13 percent of people
survived the crashes in 2003, far less than
the most recent 10-year average of 32 percent.
The usual suspects remain the leading causes
of fatal crashes. Controlled flight into
terrain was the most likely cause of nine
accidents, while eight occurred during the
approach and landing phase of flight. Loss of
control and the elusive "human factors" round
out the list.
05 Jan 2004
Swiss say two Flash Airlines planes were
ZURICH, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Swiss authorities said
they had found two aircraft unsafe in 2002 that
were operated by the Egyptian Flash Airlines,
raising the possibility that one was the plane
that crashed into the Red Sea on Saturday.
In Cairo, Flash officials were not immediately
available to comment on the Swiss report.
But they have said the doomed charter plane was
one of only two that Flash has operated in
recent years, including all of 2002, although
Swiss officials were unable to confirm
positively that it was one of those they had
The aircraft, bound for Cairo and Paris, crashed
after taking off from Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh
resort, killing all 148 people on board.
The Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation said
it had inspected one of the company's aircraft
in April 2002 and found that navigation
documents were missing, fuel reserves were not
calculated to international standards and the
signposting of emergency exits was partly "in
"In addition, obvious maintenance deficiencies
were found in the areas of the landing gear, the
engines and the aircraft steering," it said in a
It said the inspection of a second Flash
Airlines aircraft in October 2002 had revealed
"essentially the same defects".
After the airline failed to provide sufficient
proof that it had remedied the defects, it was
barred from landing in Switzerland a few days
later, the office said.
It stressed that it was drawing no conclusion
about the cause of Saturday's crash.
Egyptian authorities have been eager to defend
their aviation safety record, and the head of
Flash Airlines told Reuters on Sunday the Swiss
landing ban had been based on financial disputes
between the airline and its Swiss handling
company, rather than safety concerns.
Have You ever Wondered
what the cause of Apollo 13's Problems were?
During a ground
test of the Apollo 13 rocket, engineers were unable to
drain liquid oxygen from a tank that had been slightly
damaged by handling. Their solution was to turn on a
heater, warming the super-chilled liquid into a gas
that then escaped through a vent. It was a tricky
operation, with no sensors to monitor rising
Sieck remembers how
Johnson Space Center told everybody not to worry,
asserting that a thermostat inside the tank would
prevent overheating. But the engineers overlooked the
fact that the thermostat was certified for 28 volts
from the rocket's electrical system - not for the 65
volts provided by a ground supply.
realized it, but the thermostat was fried - and
temperatures inside the tank got hot enough to char
insulation on electrical wiring. The damaged
tank was launched with Apollo 13. Two days later, the
wires sparked an explosion - and only luck and heroics
got the crew home.
preventable," Sieck said, who went on to direct 52
shuttle launches. "On a day-to-day basis, you've got
to be looking out for clues and signs of breakdowns."
to main article
NTSB REPORTS LOWEST NUMBER
OF "OPEN" RECOMMENDATIONS SINCE 1975
For the first time since 1975, the number of "open"
safety recommendations on the National Transportation
Safety Board's books has dipped below 1,000.
In making the announcement, NTSB Chairman Ellen
Engleman Conners said, "Since becoming Chairman in
March, one of my priorities at the NTSB has been
cleaning up our record, and that includes addressing
languishing safety recommendations. Open
recommendations mean that the safety loop is not
closed - open recommendations mean that our job is not
The current number of open safety recommendations
is 989 and the Chairman emphasized, "This major
milestone is the result of the Safety Board's hard
work and strong emphasis on aggressively pursuing
safety. We must continue to work with our partners in
safety to complete the safety chain and implement our
recommendations to save lives."
One of the Chairman's strategies to minimize the
open recommendations is to use the "SWAT" Team
approach. SWAT, or Safety With A Team, includes
frequent meetings with U.S. Department of
Transportation and industry leaders to address open
Since its inception in 1967, the Safety Board has
issued more than 12,100 safety recommendations and has
recorded a success rate of almost 82% -- meaning that
the vast majority of its recommendations have been
implemented by federal agencies, state and local
government, and the transportation industry.
Of the 989
open recommendations, 335 relate to aviation,
339 to highway, 125 to marine, 113 to rail, and 47 to
pipeline, and 30 intermodal.
Safety recommendations are issued by the NTSB as a
result of the investigation of transportation
accidents and incidents. In a recent six-month period,
the Safety Board has closed 78 recommendations because
they had been successfully implemented. They include:
- Better terrain depictions
on aviation charts and maps, an upgrade spurred by
the crash of an American Airlines 757. The jet hit a
mountain ridge on a night-time approach to Cali,
Colombia, killing 160 of the 164 on board in 1995.
- Improved standards to detect corrosion, to track
corrosion-caused pipeline failures; and new
toughness standards for new pipes installed in gas
and hazardous liquid pipelines.
- Upgraded standards and better disclosure of
medical conditions and medications affecting fitness
to pilot commercial vessels, stemming from the Star
Princess cruise ship accident in Alaska in 1997. The
cruise ship struck a huge submerged rock. There were
no deaths or injuries to the 2,200 passengers and
crew, but the cost of repairs and delays in
returning the ship to service topped $27 million.
- Fatigue awareness training and information for
Union Pacific Railroad and Canadian National Railway
employees as a result of collisions between freight
trains in Kansas in 1997, and Michigan in 2001.
- Better inspection criteria to detect reversed
air brake lines, and dual air brake systems on heavy
- Inspection and replacement
of static port heaters on MD- 80, MD-90, and DC-9
aircraft to prevent fires.
- New rules requiring air
traffic controllers to state an aircraft's location
in relation to the takeoff runway when a combination
of intersection and full length departures is
routinely being used at an airport. This is aimed at
addressing an issue on the Board's "Most Wanted"
list - Runway Incursions.
For further information about the Board's safety
recommendation program, and the "Most Wanted" list,
visit the Board's website at www.ntsb.gov.
NTSB Media Contact: Keith
Holloway, (202) 314-6100