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 16

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

           
Air India bombing suspects cleared
Two Canadian residents born in India have been acquitted of the deadliest-ever attack on an airliner — the 1985 bombing of an Air India 747 that killed all 329 people on board — and a related bombing that killed two at Tokyo’s Narita Airport. The acquittal, which ends a 17-year investigation and two-year trial, left families of the victims “devastated.” The investigation cost US$108 million — including the cost of a high-security courtroom built specially for the trial — but in the end the judge said evidence against the suspects had “fallen markedly short” and that he could not find them guilty if there remained any doubt. Following the verdict, families of the victims called for an inquiry into how Canada’s police and intelligence agencies handled the case. Police are continuing with their investigation of the bombing.
FAA Investigating How Immigrants Got Licenses

GREENSBORO -- The Federal Aviation Administration wants to know how five people arrested on immigration charges were able to take licensing tests for the agency's high-level repair licenses.

An agency spokeswoman says FAA administrators are looking into documents used by the five in seeking the right to test for Airframe and Powerplant certification. The A&P license allows mechanics to work on the more complex parts of a plane.

Spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says it's permissible for foreigners to test for an A-and-P license as long as they provide valid proof of training and experience, which can come from their home country and is then verified by the U.S. State Department.

The five were arrested two weeks ago at TIMCO, an aviation-maintenance company at Piedmont Triad International Airport. Federal agents detained 27 workers at TIMCO, 24 of whom are charged with being in the United States illegally.   from this link
 
NTSB: Who Will Lead?

Still No Word From White House On Replacing NTSB Chairman

Come Sunday, the NTSB could be in an unusual spot -- without a chief when the current chairman, Ellen Engleman-Conners, is forced to step down.

Conners' term is up on Sunday. So you might figure, no problem -- there's always Vice Chairman Mark Rosenker. But his term is up on April 2nd.

Heard this song before? You bet you have. Two years ago, the Bush administration waited until the last hour before naming Conners to replace Acting Chairman Carol Carmody as her term came to an end.

In the meantime, Engleman-Conners is not winning many friends in DC. ANN has already reported on a number of internal issues that have arisen among NTSB staffers over her conduct and management style, while the public comments (as to cause... long before any real data is collected) she has made shortly after high-profile accidents have angered several high-profile aviation officials. As a result, several pundits on the hill see the Engleman-Conners scenario as having "little future at the NTSB."

 

Space station suffers second broken gyro
 
Space StationThe second of four gyroscopes aboard the International Space Station has broken down again after a circuit breaker failed on Wednesday. Ground controllers believe the problem was caused by a tripped circuit breaker.
No Rush to Fix Space Station Circuit Breaker

 
Space StationAstronauts will have to replace a failed circuit breaker outside the International Space Station, but the work can be put off for a few months because the orbiting complex is holding steady, a NASA official said.
http://www.faa.gov/avr/afs/whistleblower/

The Whistleblower Protection Program provides protection from discrimination for air carrier industry employees who report information related to air carrier safety or participate in other protected activities.

Employees of air carriers, their contractors, and their subcontractors, are protected from retaliation, discharge or otherwise being discriminated against for providing information relating to air carrier safety violations to their employer or to the Federal Government, or filed, testified, or assisted in a proceeding against the employer relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard of the Federal Aviation Administration or any other Federal law relating to air carrier safety, or because they are about to engage in any of these actions.

To qualify for protection under the Whistleblower Protection Program, you must:
 
  1. Be or have been an employee mentioned above,
  2. Be or have been engaged in an activity mentioned above, and
  3. Believe you are being or have been discriminated against by your employer for engaging in an activity mentioned above.
For more information, you may call the FAA Whistleblower Hotline at:
1-800-255-1111 (Press 1 for Main Menu, then press 5)
Engine Fails On BA Jet Twice In A Week

A British Airways Boeing 747-400 was forced to shut down one of its engines in mid-flight twice in one week after a replacement engine failed, the airline said on Friday.

In what BA described as a bizarre coincidence, the number two engine on the 747 flying from Singapore to London was shut down last month after the pilot received an oil pressure warning.

The aircraft, carrying 356 passengers, arrived safely in London after flying for more than 10 hours on three of its four engines. The 747-400 is designed to fly safely on three engines.

The same jet was forced to fly on three engines from Los Angeles to London less than a week earlier after the previous number two engine stopped mid-way into the flight after a fuel surge.

The plane made an emergency landing at Manchester Airport after fuel ran low. The faulty engine was replaced with a new engine fresh off the production line.

"It looks like one of those freaky coincidences. It is perfectly safe to fly on three engines, and the 747 can fly on two engines," a BA spokesman said.

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said it was monitoring the BA investigation into the incident but said it saw no reason to issue any operational guidance on engine failure to carriers.

"It is not a common event but it happens from time to time," an aviation source said.

BA has rejected any suggestion the decision to fly on only three engines was linked to new rules which force airlines to compensate passengers for major delays.

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report On Fatal Air-Evac Crash

Pilot Says Lack Of Airspeed Caused Helicopter To Spin, Descend

 
UPDATED: 11:23 am CST March 3, 2005
National Transportation Safety Board investigators released a preliminary report Thursday morning that provided more information about a fatal Air-Evac helicopter crash.

Slideshow: Air-Evac Helicopter Crash

A 71-year-old Texas man died in the crash, which happened Feb. 21 near Cherokee City in west Benton County. Paramedics had just retrieved the man from the scene of a rollover car accident when the crash happened.
 
The NTSB released witness and pilot accounts, but a specific cause for the crash has not been determined.

According to the preliminary report, the Air-Evac helicopter began to spin and eventually crashed after the pilot was unable to gain airspeed during takeoff. The pilot, Dennis Enders, stated that the aircraft began an uninitiated turn to the right shortly after takeoff.

As he tried to fly out of the turn, Enders said, he was unable to gain airspeed. He said this caused the aircraft to spin to the right and descend.

All three Air-Evac employees who were on board at the time survived and were transported to are hospitals with serious injuries.

Enders and paramedic Clayton Bratt are still hospitalized at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale. Flight nurse Dee Ann Miller is still hospitalized at Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville.

A final NTSB report will not be finished until later this year, officials said.

Posted on Wed, Mar. 02, 2005


US Airways employee hurt, plane emptied in mishap


A US Airways employee was injured and 111 passengers were evacuated from one of the airline's wide-bodied jets late Monday at Philadelphia International Airport after a mishap involving aircraft-deicing equipment, airline and airport officials said yesterday.

The accident occurred about 11:30 p.m. at the airport's deicing station near the west end of the field. A boom used to spray deicing fluid on airplane wings collapsed on the wing of the Airbus A330 jet, pulling the cab of the equipment, which is similar to a construction crane, to the ground. The injured employee was operating the boom from the cab.

The airline did not release the name of the employee, who officials said was kept overnight at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

No passengers were injured in the incident, which forced the cancellation of the plane's scheduled flight to London while the airline assessed the damage, US Airways said. The airline and the airport are investigating the cause of the mishap, the officials said.

What Happens When You Challenge The TSA

Woman Mouths Off To Screener, Luggage Blown Up

You see the signs every time you pass through the airport security
checkpoint: Don't even joke about bombs or guns or knives. Don't even think of protesting the foolishness of it all... as the TSA has a weird way of getting even.

The problem was, 46-year old psychiatrist Esha Khoshnu wasn't joking. Not in the least. Apparently more-than-miffed at the long line ahead of her as she made her way through security at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, AZ, Dr.
Khoshnu snapped. Police say she told the screener, "if there was an item in my baggage, the security screeners probably couldn't find it."

Oops. On further contemplation, that may not have been the wisest thing the good doctor could have said (no matter how true it may have been).

She was detained, but her bag made it onto her America West flight, according to police. The commuter aircraft landed in San Diego a short time later and its crew was instructed to taxi to a remote area at Lindbergh Field.

After the 35 or so passengers and crew were carted away by airport bus, the San Diego Fire Department Bomb Squad moved in. They found no explosives on board the aircraft. They then located Dr. Khoshnu's bag and determined there was nothing suspicious about it. Still, as a precaution (or revenge), they blew it up, then -- to be extra-sure -- they soaked it with water from a fire hose.

After getting the all clear from Lindbergh Field, Phoenix Police freed the good doctor and sent her on the next flight to San Diego, where she was scheduled to attend a conference. Phoenix officers said they would forego charges against her (Felony Frustration? Misdemeanor Mouthing Off?).

Of course, Dr. Khoshnu's ordeal makes us wonder, who counsels those who counsel?
How old is that plane, anyway?
Northwest carefully maintains a fleet of aging DC-9s. If you remember when LBJ was president, you might have seen them; they first flew in

 1965. Analysts say Northwest's 1995 decision to gut and refurbish those planes rather than replace them helps it weather high fuel prices and low-fare competition. For one thing, Northwest owns much of its fleet. "Putting a plane down is much different when you own it than when you're paying $330,000 per month" in debt payments for a new airplane, Tom Bach, Northwest VP tells The Associated Press. Northwest's DC-9s account for more than a third of its 432-plane fleet, giving the carrier an average plane age of about 18 years, according to BACK Aviation Solutions. By contrast, the average plane age of the other five U.S. major carriers is about 10 years. Safety isn't an issue because of federal rules, according to Ed Greenslet, publisher of the Airline Monitor trade journal. At the Federal Aviation Administration, it's not the age but the number of times a plane flies, determined by how often it pressurizes and depressurizes — generally, once a flight. The DC-9 is approved for 105,000 of these cycles. Bach said some of Northwest's are nearing that limit and being retired.

Armed Pilots: Fourth Biggest Law Enforcement Agency In America

More than 4,000 Now Armed Flight Deck Officers Although less than two years old, the Federal Flight Deck Officers Program, which arms cockpit crew members in hopes of providing commercial flights with a last-ditch protection system, has grown to become the nation's fourth-largest law enforcement organization. And to hear it told in Washington, the program is much more of a success than even the TSA's air marshal operation.

But, as with any federal program, there have been some glitches.

Take, for instance, the case of an armed pilot pulled from a flight last month and accused of trying to fly drunk. Or the FDOP pilot who was arrested for carrying government-issued ammunition in his luggage while flying off-duty.

There are also complaints from pilot union executives that the pilots aren't getting any pertinent intelligence from Washington. They aren't on the distribution list for items like the government's report on suspicious incidents, which is issued every week.

"The government wants it both ways," said one pilot quoted by Time Magazine in its Monday editions. "They want us to protect aircraft, but they don't want to pay much for it, cover us for injuries or even really treat us as law-enforcement officers."

from link
The 49ers Get a Cathay Offer

Cathay Pacific is offering payouts of about HKD $1 million or re-employment opportunities for pilots sacked during the 2001 industrial dispute, if they agree to drop legal action against the airline.

If the offer is accepted, those sacked pilots. also referred to as the "49-ers" can either take a 10-month payout or an interview for a job as freighter pilots, positions junior to those they previously held.

However all re-hired pilots be subjected to psychological testing, to make sure that they do not hold a lasting grudge against the airline. The pilot who suicided will not be made an offer.

The 1,000-member Aircrew Officers Association, which has supported the dismissed pilots financially and funded their lawsuits, is due to decide at an extraordinary general meeting on February 15 whether to approve Cathay's offer.

One of the pilots, Canada-based Steve Urquhart, 36, said he wanted to accept the offer and return to Hong Kong. "We could be bitter for the rest of our lives but I would rather put it behind me and go back to work," he said. "Hopefully in five years it will all be ancient history."

Cathay's director of flight operations Nick Rhodes said Cathay's offer was a "full and final" one and if it was rejected the matter would be sorted out in the courts.

"There comes a time in any dispute when you have to move forward," he said. "We are very pleased the association is now run by a business-minded committee."


http://www.scmp.com/topnews/ZZZ7ZIAHJ3E.html
 

Washington (AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board is out with a possible cause for the deadly helicopter crash in the Potomac River earlier this month.

Two crew members died and a third was critically injured when the medical chopper plunged into the icy water near the Wilson Bridge on January 10th.

A preliminary report issued Friday says investigators suspect that air wake turbulence caused by a larger aircraft may have been responsible for the deadly accident.

The report says that radar from Reagan National Airport (website - news) showed that a 70-passenger jet passed over the Wilson Bridge about a minute and 45 seconds before the helicopter passed over the bridge at a lower altitude. Investigators say that plane may have created a wave of unstable air, and the helicopter ran into that air, causing the pilot to lose control.

The report rules out mechanical failure and a collision with one of the construction cranes near the bridge as possible causes.
 

Some US Airlines Outsource Maintenance to Central America

There's more outsourcing of jobs -- now it's the airlines industry.
The latest, preferred location for airline maintenance? El Salvador.

The Wall Street Journal reports at least two airlines -- Jet Blue and America West -- send their planes to El Salvador for "long distance" maintenance, outsourcing the work to cut costs.

Air safety experts are said be concerned that it jeopardizes safety and makes scrutiny by regulatory agencies more difficult.   
link

Report: Hong Kong aviation panel backs report blaming China Airlines pilot for 1999 crash

(AP) A Hong Kong aviation panel has backed investigators' findings that blamed a China Airlines pilot for a 1999 plane crash in the territory that killed three, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Flight CI642 from Bangkok flipped over while landing in Hong Kong during a tropical storm on Aug. 22, 1999. The MD-11 jet burst into flames. Three died in the accident, but more than 300 passengers and crew members survived.

Hong Kong's official report blamed pilot error, but Taiwan-based China Airlines challenged it, saying pilot Gerardo Lettich had no time to respond to sudden wind changes that caused the crash.

However, a three-member review panel upheld the original report, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday, citing anonymous sources.

The panel rejected evidence presented by a China Airlines expert witness because it was too biased, according to the Post.

A China Airlines spokesman who refused to give his name declined comment.

The Post reported the review panel last month submitted its report to Hong Kong's leader Tung Chee-hwa, who has not released it. A government spokeswoman didn't have immediate comment.

China Airlines has one of the worst safety records in the world. It has recorded 10 fatal crashes since 1970.
 
 
 
Inflight broadband to fight hijacks
Correspondents in Paris
JANUARY 13, 2005
US aircraft maker Boeing has patented a system that would use broadband satellite connections, now being installed on airliners to provide passengers with internet access, to help respond to a hijacking.

Its patent suggests hiding tiny microchip-based cameras and microphones around the cockpit and passenger cabin, the British weekly New Scientist reports in next Saturday's issue.

In a hijack, a crewmember would discreetly press a button that orders the broadband connection to start transmitting whatever images and sound the cameras and microphones are capturing to controllers on the ground.

The controllers can then monitor what the hijackers are doing and saying, which would be a boon for responding to the crisis.   link

   
2 commercial planes grounded for safety (Jakarta)

The Ministry of Transportation has grounded two aircraft that failed to comply with proper safety requirements, a senior official says.

Minister of Transportation Hatta Radjasa said on Tuesday his department had completed an audit of the country's operating airlines -- including their financial reports, aircraft and maintenance procedures.

"We found two aircraft (that did not follow proper safety measures). They were immediately grounded," said Hatta without elaborating.

The audit was conducted following the deadly crash of a Lion Air plane in Surakarta, Central Java less than two months ago, which, according to critics, exposed a lack of supervision on part of the government over the industry's safety measures.

Hatta said several airlines had been also given warnings to provide the necessary equipment required by standard safety regulations.

"We give them time (to comply) and we'll check them again. If they still have not complied, we'll ground them as well," warned Hatta.

Lion Air spokesman Hasyim Arsal Alhabsi said none of its fleet had been grounded.

"In fact, we have 10 new aircraft coming in," he said.    link
Safest year for airline passengers since 1984

 
AIRLINES enjoyed their safest year for 20 years in 2004, according to crash statistics out today.

A total of 466 people were killed in airliner flights last year, the figures from Flight International magazine showed.

There were 28 fatal accidents involving airliners last year. This compares with 27 fatal accidents in 2003 in which 702 people died.

Flight International said the only year in the jet era that comes close to the 2004 safety record was 1984, when 448 people died in 29 fatal airline accidents.

That year, however, was extraordinarily safe by the standards of its time, and the accident rate - the number of fatal accidents per million flights - was almost three times what it is now because there were far fewer flights in 1984.

Continuing a record that has held since 2001, there were no fatal accidents involving European, North American or Australasian-registered large jets in 2004. There were five fatal accidents involving big jets, and these involved two aircraft registered in Africa and Asia.

The number of fatal accidents last year, which increased by one over 2003, was inflated by an unusually high proportion of non-passenger aircraft crashes, mostly involving pure cargo operators.

Seventeen of the fatal accidents involved non-passenger flights, and these accounted for 49 fatalities.
S. Korean Airlines Make it Five Years Without Accidents
SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's two flag carriers have accomplished five years of accident-free flights, the Ministry of Construction and Transportation said Thursday.

It said the record is the result of continuous efforts by Korean Air and Asiana Airlines to increase training of maintenance crews, which in turn has improved the level of checkups they give the planes. Regulations governing maintenance personnel have also been strengthened to fully meet international standards, while the two airlines contributed by recruiting foreign safety inspectors and adopting a "safety first" management posture.

In the 1990s, South Korea's flag carriers were involved in seven major accidents, or 0.21 cases for every 100,000 flights. This was twice the global average of 0.11 at the time.

No South Korean flag carriers have been involved in a serious accident since 1999, when Korean Air lost two cargo aircraft in Shanghai and London.

"Things have improved since the 1997 Guam Korean Air crash, and at the present rate the country's airlines will be able to reach accident rates of 0.05 cases per 100,000 flights in 2010," a transportation ministry official said.
The Importance of Earthing during Refuelling Operations

December 21, 2004
Explosion Rocks Jackson, TN Plant

Jackson, TN - Two people are being airlifted to the Med in Memphis after an explosion this morning at Tennessee Aircraft Services. Authorities say the accident happened around 8:15 a.m. while the men were refueling a plane. At first report it appears static electricity caused a flash fire that burned one person on the arms and another person on the face. The explosion triggered a secondary explosion and other planes were damaged. A third person is also reportedly injured. There were no fatalities.

Tennessee Aircraft Service is located near the Tennessee Technical Center on Tech Center Drive in Jackson.

Tulips Protect Amsterdam Airport

Fields of tulips and daffodils being planted around Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport will not only add more color in the spring but also make it safer for planes to land, the airport said on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Schiphol -- one of Europe's busiest airports -- said the vibrant blooms were a deterrent to birds damaging planes after being sucked into jet engines during landing or take off.

He said the mice and other rodents that some birds hunt were repulsed by the scent of tulip and daffodil bulbs and that without their prey, the winged predators would have little reason to frequent the area around the airport.

"It's a known fact that this works and it is certainly a more friendly way of getting rid of the birds than some other airports have employed," the spokesman said.

The airport reports approximately three bird strikes for every 10,000 landings and take-offs.

Aviation Safety Agency Moves

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has officially opened its new headquarters in the German city of Cologne. The agency certifies aircraft and compiles regulations for civil air travel in Europe. The agency was launched back in September last year from its temporary location in Brussels. Günter Verheugen, Vice President of the EU Commission described the aviation sector as an important part of the European economy. "Of all modes of transport, aviation has experienced the greatest growth over the past decades," he said. He added that the EASA was the answer to the development in the European aviation industry, which has long since exceeded its national boundaries.
link
New System Would Help Pilots Avoid Ground Obstacles

Lights are fine for marking towers, except when they're not working, and those big orange balls help in spotting power lines, except when visibility is poor. To help prevent collisions, the FAA in Fort Worth, Texas, is testing a radar system that would continually scan the area around power lines or antennae for nearby aircraft, and trigger a strobe light to warn pilots (as opposed to just having a strobe running all the time on every tower), The Dallas Morning News reported last week. The Obstacle Collision Avoidance System could also broadcast a warning over the aircraft's radio. Two recent accidents highlighted the dangers of low-level obstacles -- a Gulfstream jet in Houston that hit a light pole on approach, and an Army helicopter that hit the support cables of an unlit tower in Texas. In Australia, helicopters were grounded recently, after three separate incidents of power line strikes. There have been more than 1,000 aviation accidents in the U.S. involving power lines since 1990, including more than 300 that have caused a fatality, according to the FAA, the Morning News said. The radar system would be solar-powered, making it more reliable and less likely to be affected by storms or power failures, and could be available as early as next year.

Report: "Polished Frost" Is Not A Safe Concept

The FAA needs to change its rules to encourage pilots to totally clean frost from their aircraft's wings before takeoff, rather than just smooth it out to remove the bumps, according to a safety recommendation from Britain's Department for Transport. The recommendation was prompted by the investigation into the crash of a U.S.-owned and operated Bombardier CL-600 that crashed in the U.K. in 2002, under circumstances similar to last week's crash of a CL-600 in Colorado that killed three people. FAR Part 91.527 says pilots must remove frost from the wings and other aerodynamic surfaces "unless that frost has been polished to make it smooth." The British report says it's not clear exactly how pilots should "polish" the frost, and that the rule may give the pilots the impression that some amount of frost is acceptable. "The concept of 'Polished Frost' is particularly inappropriate and potentially dangerous to modern aircraft types and detracts from the importance of strictly observing the clean wing principle," the report says. A safety recommendation was issued to the FAA, suggesting that they should delete all reference to "Polished Frost" in the regs and ensure that the term is expunged from operations manuals.

Meanwhile, the publicity from last week's Colorado accident has apparently alerted not only pilots but commercial air passengers to the dangers of icing. An American Connection flight out of Columbia, S.C., was delayed last week when passengers complained to the flight crew that they could still see ice on the wings, after a crew had finished cleaning them and the airplane was preparing to depart. The wings were re-cleaned before the flight took off.

A Canadian judge said on Friday he will rule in March 2005 on whether two Sikh militants are responsible for the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 over the Atlantic Ocean, a disaster that killed 329 people.

Arguments wrapped up on Friday afternoon in the trial of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, who are charged with murder and conspiracy in connection with two bomb attacks, including the one on Flight 182, which is history's deadliest bombing of a civilian airliner.

Police allege the June 1985 bombings were the work of Vancouver-based Sikh militants who wanted revenge for the Indian Army's 1984 attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sikhism's holiest shrine.

The second bomb was intended for an Air India jet over the Pacific but exploded prematurely at Tokyo's Narita Airport, killing two luggage handlers, investigators say.

Bagri, a Kamloops, British Columbia, sawmill worker, and Malik, a wealthy Vancouver businessman, deny they were part of the conspiracy and say the prosecution's case is based on circumstantial evidence and untruthful witnesses.

The trial in British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver took testimony from 115 witnesses over 19 months of hearings, and included a tour of the partially reconstructed wreckage of Flight 182's Boeing 747 aircraft.

The court's ruling in the case will be made by a judge and not by a jury.

A third defendant in the case, Inderjit Singh Reyat, pleaded guilty to reduced charges last year before the trial started.

Report says aircraft hazmat inspections need improvement

The government needs to do a better job monitoring and inspecting hazardous materials shipped aboard airlines, according to a report released today by the Transportation Department's inspector general.

How well the Federal Aviation Administration monitors dangerous cargo came into question after the 1996 ValuJet crash in the Everglades, which killed 110 people. The accident was blamed on a fire caused by illegal shipment of oxygen generators in the cargo hold.

Since then, the report said, “the FAA's enforcement of hazmat regulations has been in flux.” It criticized the agency for reviewing paperwork to make sure shippers and air carriers are properly declaring hazardous materials, without conducting covert tests to make sure airlines are handling them properly.

The report, by Assistant Inspector General Alexis Stefani, said the FAA also takes too long to enforce hazardous materials cases.

FAA spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere said the FAA took action to strengthen the hazardous materials program well before the report was issued.

The agency is developing new ways to speed actions on cases and working with air carriers to voluntarily report hazardous materials violations, Spitaliere said.

The FAA, though, can't conduct covert inspections because the law doesn't allow hazardous materials labels on packages that don't contain such material, she said.

 

Today in History:

Date of Accident: 26 November 1979
Airline: Pakistan International Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 707-340C
Location: At Ta'if, Saudi Arabia
Registration: AP-AWZ
Previous Registrations: AP-AWB, G-AZPW
Flight Number: 740
Fatalities: 156:156
MSN:
20275
Line Number: 844
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
Engine Model: JT3D-3B
Year of Delivery: 1970
Accident Description: The aircraft crashed shortly after the crew reported an in-flight fire. Crew incapacitation due to smoke.
 
United Airlines Maintenance Division Wins FAA Diamond Award

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- United Services, United's aircraft maintenance division, has won the Federal Aviation Administrations prestigious Diamond Certificate of Excellence Award for its mechanics training program. The FAA award is the highest honor an aviation maintenance employer can receive for its training program.

AMT (aviation maintenance technician) training at the maintenance base and on the line -- including all U.S. domestic and international stations -- contributed to our industry-leading performance," says United Services Senior Vice President Greg Hall. "This award affirms that United Services mechanics are among the most qualified in the industry and are ideally positioned to insource work from other carriers in its most competitive areas -- engines, high-tech components--including avionics, landing gear and line maintenance"

To qualify for the FAA award, 25 percent of an organizations eligible employees must have earned individual technical training awards in 2004.
United Services exceeded the qualification by 50 percent; 57 percent of United Services; AMTs have completed eligible training requirements.
Additionally, to qualify for any individual AMT award, all mechanics must have attended a minimum of 2 hours of training on FAA regulations and policy. "The AMT award program was initiated in 1991 as an incentive to encourage AMTs and employers to participate aggressively in available initial and recurrent maintenance training courses. It has produced a win - win situation where the mechanic gains knowledge to make his or her job easier which increases safety"  said Robert P. Bauer, FAA Fleet Program Manager - San Francisco.   link
 
NTSB calls for modification of A300-600/A310 rudder system

US National Transportation Safety Board in a letter to the DGAC has recommended that the French aviation regulator "review the options for modifying the A300-600 and the A310 to provide increased protection from potentially hazardous rudder inputs at high airspeeds," and on the basis of the review, require modifications to the rudder control system on the aircraft. NTSB issued a similar recommendation to FAA. The action flows out of the Safety Board's investigation of the Nov. 12, 2001, crash of an American Airlines A300-600R that killed all 260 persons onboard as well as five people on the ground. Although NTSB determined that excessive rudder pedal inputs by the first officer led to the separation of the vertical stabilizer and the crash of the aircraft, it also found that the A300-600 rudder design was a contributing factor to the catastrophe. "Because of its high sensitivity…the A300-600 rudder control system is susceptible to potentially hazardous rudder pedal inputs at higher airspeed," the board stated.--
Overloading ruled out in Halifax cargo jet crash

Halifax -- Investigators in the fatal crash of a massive cargo jet near Halifax have ruled out overloading as the cause and are instead probing why the engines were underpowered at takeoff.

Bill Fowler, lead investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the flight data recorder shows the MK Airlines 747 jet's weight at takeoff was "fairly close to" 352,400 kilograms.

That was the maximum the plane was allowed to weigh for the runway at Halifax International Airport on Oct. 14.   link
 

TSA Orders Air Carrier Passenger Information

Order Clears Way For Testing Of "Secure Flight"
The TSA last week announced the issuance of the Final Order in the Federal Register on Monday, requiring air carriers to provide historical passenger name record (PNR) information to TSA for testing. The 30-day block of PNR data will be used to test TSA’s new passenger pre-screening program, Secure Flight, which will work to prevent terrorists and others who pose a threat from boarding aircraft. The deadline for airlines to submit the data to TSA is November 23.

"TSA has created Secure Flight as another tool to further our mission to combat terrorism and protect the nation's air travelers," said Rear Admiral David M. Stone, USN (Ret.), Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for TSA. "The data from the airlines will enable us to test the program's operating capacity and fine-tune it. This process will also provide an opportunity to ensure that privacy safeguards are appropriately addressed before moving to implementation."

TSA is requesting PNR data for domestic flight segments flown between June 1, 2004 and June 30, 2004. Air carriers may elect to exclude PNRs that contain information about flight segments between the European Union and the United States.

Under Secure Flight, TSA will take over from the air carriers, comparison of domestic airline Passenger Name Record (PNR) information against records contained in the consolidated Terrorist Screening Center Database (TSDB), to include the expanded No-Fly and Selectee lists.

Testing will be governed by strict privacy and data security protections.
Historical passenger information provided for testing will be used in a limited test with commercial data to determine if passenger information is incorrect or inaccurate, and to help resolve false positive matches against TSDB records. TSA is firmly committed to maintaining robust privacy protections during the testing of these procedures.

FMI: www.tsa.gov
 

Dateline:  Friday November 12, 2004     

NTSB calls for modification of A300-600/A310 rudder system

US National Transportation Safety Board in a letter to the DGAC has recommended that the French aviation regulator "review the options for modifying the A300-600 and the A310 to provide increased protection from potentially hazardous rudder inputs at high airspeeds," and on the basis of the review, require modifications to the rudder control system on the aircraft. NTSB issued a similar recommendation to FAA. The action flows out of the Safety Board's investigation of the Nov. 12, 2001, crash of an American Airlines A300-600R that killed all 260 persons onboard as well as five people on the ground (ATWOnline, Oct. 27). Although NTSB determined that excessive rudder pedal inputs by the first officer led to the separation of the vertical stabilizer and the crash of the aircraft, it also found that the A300-600 rudder design was a contributing factor to the catastrophe. "Because of its high sensitivity…the A300-600 rudder control system is susceptible to potentially hazardous rudder pedal inputs at higher airspeed," the board stated.--
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A volcano erupted under Iceland's biggest glacier, spewing thick black ash into the air and disrupting flights over eastern regions but posing little threat to people or property, officials said on Tuesday.

The eruption began on Monday evening under the Vatnajokull glacier in eastern Iceland. Authorities issued a warning and directed all flights away from the column of smoke, which was 13 km (8 miles) high.

"Flying into a cloud of volcanic ash is extremely dangerous," said Bergthor Bergthorsson of the Civil Aviation Administration. "It has been known to stop all four engines of an aircraft."

Bergthorsson said the cloud of smoke was expected to drift 500 miles over the North Atlantic, and might move closer to the Norwegian coast.

The eruption was not expected to threaten lives or homes as the area around Vatnajokull is scarcely populated.

But the floods of water from melting glacial ice might damage roads south of the volcano, said Hjorleifur Sveinbjornsson, geologist at the Meteorological Office.

"The eruption is stable, but we don't know yet how big it is, or how long it's going to last. It might last for a few days, or stretch into weeks," he said.

Sveinbjornsson said the eruption was not expected to threaten the dam site at Karahnjukar, where Iceland is building a power plant for a new Alcoa aluminum smelter.

"They could see the eruption from there though, and other places in eastern Iceland," he said. "They said it was quite a show, with lightning and everything - an incredible sight."

The volcano is a part of Iceland's Grimsvotn volcanic system. Iceland's last eruption was in 2000 at one of its major volcanoes, Hekla.

High-Flying Crews Face Cosmic Cancer

Add cosmic radiation to the confirmed list of threats to the health of long-haul flight crews, although we don't know where it ranks along with deep vein thrombosis, boredom or the food. A British study has confirmed what pilots and flight attendants (and other studies) have been saying for decades. Spending too much time in the rarified air up there can be hazardous to your health. The study of 411 British Airways pilots showed increased rates of melanoma, colon and brain cancers attributable to cosmic rays. There's also a risk to the unborn children of pregnant crew members. "There's more data coming out about the risks," Michael Mijatov, of the Australian Flight Attendants Association, told The Age. "There's evidence that the higher you are, the more exposure you have to cosmic rays. He said female crew members more than 16 months pregnant are already prevented from working. Cosmic rays are made up of neutrons, gamma and alpha rays put out by the sun. The atmosphere filters most of them out before they reach earth but most airliners fly above much of that protective layer.

October 25, 2004 - 777 Blaze Sparked By Loose Screw

CHURCHILL, Canada - A loose screw caused a cockpit fire that forced an Air France flight to make an emergency landing in Churchill two years ago. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its report earlier this week about the Oct. 17, 2002, incident.

The Air France Boeing 777 -- with 172 passengers, 17 crew and one pet chimpanzee on board -- was en route from Paris to Los Angeles when passengers and cabin crew smelled a funny odour in the cabin.

The captain of the plane went to investigate the smell, and while he was gone a fire broke out in the cockpit. The fire, which burned for about two minutes before being extinguished by crew members, cracked the windshield -- forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Churchill. No one on board was hurt, but many of the passengers got in some unexpected polar bear sightseeing. The TSB's report shows the fire started when a polysulphide adhesive in a terminal block of the windshield's built-in anti-fog and anti-ice system was ignited.

The report stated a connector screw that was supposed to have been torqued to between 25 and 30 inch-pounds was only tightened to five inch-pounds, causing the terminal to overheat two months prior to the Churchill incident.

At the time, the plane had only been in service for a month. The report stated the plane was likely delivered to Air France with the loose screw. Air France put off repairing the terminal because a computer glitch indicated the parts weren't available when in fact they were, according to the report. During the first incident, the solder joint at the connector degraded as a result of resistive heating due to the loose screw. Because the solder connection was compromised, electrical arcing occurred during the Churchill flight, which created enough heat to spark the fire, said the report.
Safety doubts on crashed aircraft at Halifax

A GIANT cargo plane which crashed in Canada yesterday killing its seven crew, including four Britons, was owned by a British-based company which had been singled out for urgent safety inspections.
The crew died when the Boeing 747 crashed and exploded into flames at the end of a runway seconds after taking off from Halifax, Nova Scotia, shortly before dawn.

It was the fourth crash in 12 years for a plane belonging to MK Airlines, a company which is based in East Sussex but has safety certificates from Ghana for its 16 ageing aircraft. The airline is used by Tesco, Asda and Marks & Spencer to fly in fruit and vegetables.

In August the Department for Transport ordered the Civil Aviation Authority to carry out unannounced safety inspections of MK Airlines aircraft. But the authority has been unable to do so because, a week after the order, the company shifted its operations from Kent to Belgium.

Yesterday’s crash involved a 20-year-old plane loaded with lobsters and tractors bound for Spain. Witnesses told police that the tail of the jet appeared to have hit the runway on takeoff and snapped off.    link

Pinnacle Airlines Aircraft Accident Further Update

MEMPHIS, TN -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 10/15/2004 -- A Pinnacle Airlines (NASDAQ: PNCL) repositioning flight was involved in an accident last night at 10:30 p.m. Central Time. The incident occurred just outside Jefferson City, MO. The flight departed Little Rock, AR at approximately 9:21 p.m. Central Time and was enroute to Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN. There were no passengers or flight attendant on board. The two pilots on board the aircraft did not survive the incident.

"I am greatly saddened by the loss of our crew," said Philip H. Trenary, President & CEO of Pinnacle Airlines. "My prayers and the prayers of all Pinnacle People are with their family and loved ones."

The flight was operated with a Canadair Regional Jet. This aircraft has a capacity of 50 passengers, two pilots and one flight attendant. The aircraft operating this specific flight was delivered to Pinnacle on May 18, 2000, and was new at the time of delivery. The aircraft had flown 10,161 hours and had been inspected in accord with FAA regulations and manufacturer specifications. The major inspections revealed no major findings.

The pilots were Captain Jesse Rhodes and First Officer Richard Peter Cesarz. Captain Rhodes joined Pinnacle in February 2003. Previously, he had been a Captain at another regional airline and had accumulated over 6,700 flight hours. First Officer Cesarz joined Pinnacle in June 2004.

Pinnacle Airlines is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board on this investigation.

Pinnacle Airlines, Inc., operates under the name Northwest Airlink and provides service to destinations in the United States and Canada. Pinnacle operates an all-jet fleet of Canadair 44- and 50-seat Regional Jets from Northwest hubs at Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis - St. Paul. Pinnacle Airlines maintains its headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., and employs more than 2,800 People. For further information, please contact Philip Reed, Vice-President, Marketing at 901-348-4257, or visit our web-site at www.nwairlink.com.

 

ICAO Ready For A Crackdown - Will Start Publishing Info On Safety Slackards.

The ICAO says it's just unacceptable for countries to continue putting millions of air passengers at risk by neglecting or ignoring altogether safety standards. So the UN agency is going to start talking about which countries are guilty of what violations.

The ICAO general assembly, meeting in Montreal last week, heard that only a third of its standards on pilot training, equipment operation and navigation
have been put into effect around the world.
The French news agency AFP reports 50 countries around the globe have ignored the standards altogether.

But even the ICAO admits, keeping track of violators is one tough job. Commercial passenger aircraft can be registered in one country, leased out
to a company in another country, used by a company registered in a third country and get its operating permits in a fourth, according to the AFP.

The French news agency cites as an example a UTA 727 that went down in Benin Christmas day (below). The aircraft reportedly had been poorly maintained, was loaded by a poorly trained ground crew, and tried to take off from a runway that was too short. The result: the 727 went down in the sea, killing 139 of the 161 people on board. In the year before its demise, that aircraft had been registered in three different countries.


So now the ICAO will start publishing what had been confidential reports on companies and countries that disregard safety standards both in the air and
on the ground. It's something the organization hasn't been willing to do in the past -- but officials say they have few choices if they want to keep
passengers and crewmembers safe.
www.icao.int
 

Aircraft Company Layoffs

Layoffs at Raytheon Aircraft Company in Wichita are expected next month. The layoffs are caused by the shifting of wire harness work from Wichita to Mexico.

Raytheon Aircraft has given layoff notices to 75 people who work in its wire harness operations in Wichita. The company says their last day will be November 19th.

In all, about 300 jobs will be eliminated in the division. The company announced its intentions to move the work last November.

Company officials say moving the work will mean significant savings to the company, which has been working to improve its financial performance.

The wire harness division in Wichita makes the wiring systems that operate electrical components on Raytheon aircraft.
Studies show more rest periods benefit pilots on ultra-long range flights

SINGAPORE : Singapore's pilots may have made yet another contribution to the global aviation industry.
Their experience on Ultra Long Range (ULR) flights may lead more airlines to consider doubling the number of rest periods pilots get on other long-haul flights.

When the 18-hour non-stop flight took off from Singapore to New York in June, Singapore pilots not only made aviation history.
They also helped set global industry aviation standards on practices - like flight route and what is the optimum amount of rest pilots need to stay alert.

Now, pilots the world over are modelling their ultra-long range flight practices after benchmarks set by Singapore.
Singapore's ULR experience also has spin-off impact on other long range flights.

Studies showed that for flights longer than 10 hours, such as the Singapore-London route, two rest periods would be better, where pilots can use one to get some shut-eye.

Dr Jarnail Singh, Chairman of CAAS Ultra Long Range Task Force, said: "One of the things we have seen in the ultra-long range flights is that the availability of two rest periods inflight seems to be better than one rest period.

"And there is a possibility that this data may be relevant to current long-range flights as well. And we will have to see if this will actually be useful. Some other airlines, I cannot comment on whom, seem to be of the opinion that even in current long-range flights, two rest periods would also be beneficial." - CNA http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/110788/1/.htm
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Egypt investigators still undecided on cause of Flash Airlines crash

CAIRO, Oct 7 (AFP) - Investigators trying to find out the cause of the crash early this year of a Flash Airlines aircraft off the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh have simulated the crash, an Egyptian official said Thursday.

The official from the civil aviation ministry said the exercise was carried out recently at a Boeing Co. facility in the United States, but insisted it was still too early to determine the cause of the crash.

The Egyptian-operated aircraft plunged into the Red Sea in January, killing all 148 people on board, including 135 French holiday-makers.

A team comprised of Egyptian, French and American experts investigating the crash, and from Boeing, the manufacturer of the aircraft, were present during the procedure, said the official.

The aim of simulating the flight was to test theories based on information recovered from the airplane's cockpit voice recorder and its technical data recorder.

He added that the joint investigating team would meet on December 15 to analyze the results of the simulation, but could not say when a final report was expected.
 

Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 30 September 2004 2343 hrs


Singapore launches SINCAIR Programme to enhance aviation safety
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia

 

SINGAPORE : In a bid to boost aviation safety, individuals can now report aviation incidents and safety deficiencies anonymously.

This was announced by Minister of State for Transport Lim Hwee Hua at an aviation safety seminar on Thursday.

The information provided will be gathered into a database.

The aviation community can then get extracts of such cases through periodic publications.

Called the Singapore Confidential Aviation Incident Reporting or SINCAIR Programme, it is meant to prevent accidents.

The programme is in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisations' recommendation for a non-punitive reporting system which offers protection to the sources of information.

It also complements mandatory incident reporting systems.

The programme, established by the Air Accident Bureau of Singapore, starts from Friday.

The bureau is responsible to the Transport Ministry for local and overseas air accident investigations. - CNA


Civil aviation safety record for 2003 lauded

(Canadian Press)

MONTREAL -- The international agency that governs civil aviation says last year was the safest in nearly 60 years.
"One measure of our collective success is the safety record achieved in 2003, when the number of accidents involving fatalities on the world's scheduled operations was the lowest since 1945," Assad Kotaite, president of the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization, said yesterday.

"Even with the quantum leap in the number of flights and passengers over six decades, aviation safety in 2003 was safer than when ICAO was created."

There were no successful hijackings on international flights and no loss of life on the three domestic hijackings that occurred, he told the opening of the organization's 35th session assembly.

Another official said civil aviation was 100 times safer in 2003 than when the organization was created in 1945. The assessment was based on the number of flights and passengers and the number of passenger-kilometres travelled.

Federal Transport Minister Jean Lapierre told the assembly that government has no greater responsibility than protecting citizens from harm. He said Ottawa has spent nearly $8-billion since 2001, primarily to prevent terrorist attacks.
 
ANA jet hijacker faces life behind bars

Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded life imprisonment for a hijacker who fatally stabbed a pilot on an All Nippon Airways jumbo jet.

Tokyo prosecutors called the crime committed by Yuji Nishizawa, 34, cruel but they showed leniency in not requesting capital punishment.

"It was the first hijacking case that left someone dead in Japan," one of the prosecutors told the Tokyo District Court. "We thought capital punishment would be appropriate for this crime, however, we have considered the fact that he was in a confused state of mind after taking anti-depression drugs."

Prosecutors added that Nishizawa should be held responsible for the crime because he had grown up normally and it was premeditated.

On July 23, 1999, Nishizawa thrust a knife at a flight attendant and stormed into the cockpit of the ANA jet that took off from Tokyo's Haneda airport for Sapporo.

He fatally stabbed captain Naoyuki Nagashima in the chest and neck and took control of the plane, according to the indictment.

After he was subdued by crewmembers and arrested, Nishizawa made strange remarks, saying that he wanted to fly the airplane under the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo.

Nishizawa had carefully planned the hijacking by exploiting a security lapse at Haneda airport. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, Sept. 29, 2004)

 

NTSB Chastises FAA For Not Acting On Lap Children

Board recommended long ago that the FAA ban children travelling on parents' laps, and the agency does not act. We all know the drill. Before an airliner can take off or land, passengers must stow their bags, place tray tables and seats in the full upright and locked position and buckle up. There are some very good reasons for this, not the least of which is restraint in case of a crash or other accident. However, these same passengers are allowed to hold infants or toddlers below age 2 on their laps. Unrestrained. The NTSB is mad about this, and rightly so.

The five member National Transportation Safety Board voted unanimously last month to issue a statement that the FAA's lack of action on earlier recommendations on infants and small chidren being restrained properly during landings, takeoffs and turbulence is unacceptable. In fact, the Board has put the requirement to bar "lap children" on airliners on their "Ten Most Wanted" improvements for the airline industry.

Apparently, the FAA agrees, but doesn't want to act. Spokeswoman Alison Duquette told the Boston Globe, "We want children off laps and into child-safety seats," but the Administration flatly refuses to issue new rules to make that happen. Their concern? That families will reject being forced to buy another airline ticket for the infant or toddler, and instead will drive. This, says the agency, would put the entire family in greater risk of an accident.

Duquette also said the FAA is reviewing the recommendation, but for now all it will do is urge parents to voluntarily buy a ticket for the infant or toddler and use a child safety restraint approved for airline use. She also added that some airlines allow parents to put their children in empty seats in order to use the safety restraints.

According to FAA estimates, infants and toddlers traveling on parents' laps represent about one percent of all airline passengers. In years past, because seat restraints could not accommodate small childrens, they were allowed to travel on their parents laps. However, these days all states require children to be restrained in safety seats when their parents take them with them on automobile trips. Most of the seat restraints usable on cars are also certified for use in airplanes.
 

EPA Makes Passenger Aircraft Water Testing Information Available

 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

(Washington, D.C. - September 20, 2004) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today is informing the American public of results from initial testing of drinking water onboard 158 randomly selected passenger airplanes. Preliminary data released by EPA today shows that in the recent tests, most of the aircraft tested (87.4%) met EPA drinking water quality standards. However, 12.6 percent of domestic and international passenger aircraft tested in the U. S. carried water that did not meet EPA standards.

As part of enforcement activities, EPA, during August and September 2004, randomly tested the water supplies on 158 aircraft. Aircraft tank water is used in the galleys and lavatory sinks. Initial testing of onboard water supply revealed 20 aircraft with positive results for total coliform bacteria; two of these aircraft (1.3 percent) also tested positive for E.coli. Both total coliform and E.coli are indicators that other disease-causing organisms (pathogens) may be present in the water and could potentially affect public health. When sampling identified total coliform in the water, the aircraft was retested. In repeat testing on 11 aircraft, the Agency confirmed that water from eight of the aircraft tested still did not meet EPA's water quality standards.

A significant part of aircraft travel includes international flights. According to the Air Transport Association (ATA), about 90 percent of ATA member aircraft have the potential to travel internationally. These aircraft may board water from foreign sources that are not subject to EPA drinking water standards.

EPA is committed to keeping the American public well informed of further testing and actions taken, reviewing existing guidance to determine areas where it might be strengthened, concluding water quality protection agreements with the airlines and taking enforcement actions where warranted.

We believe the information released today will help the traveling public make informed decisions. Passengers with compromised immune systems or others concerned may want to request canned or bottled beverages. EPA will update its information and advice to the traveling public as soon as new information is available.

EPA is working actively with ATA, which represents a number of major airlines, as well as with non-ATA members, on agreements regarding steps the airlines will take to ensure acceptable drinking water quality. The Agency is also discussing how airlines would provide the necessary additional testing to determine the nature and extent of the problem. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement or agreements promptly, EPA will exercise its enforcement authorities to achieve these goals. EPA anticipates an agreement with U.S. airlines shortly.

EPA began a review of existing guidance in 2002. In response to the aircraft test results, EPA has accelerated its priority review of existing regulations and guidance. The Agency is placing specific emphasis on preventive measures, adequate monitoring, and sound maintenance practices such as flushing and disinfection of aircraft water systems.

For more information on the regulation of water supplies on airplanes and to view publicly available testing data, go to: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/airlinewater/ .

link

Conference looks at ways to reduce expensive and damaging mid-air collisions between planes and birds


BALTIMORE - As demand for flights has grown in the United States, so has the number of planes in the air - and the collisions with birds that cannot always manoeuvre around the fast and quiet modern jets.

Fowl play: 3 incidents

•An American Airlines plane made an emergency landing on Thursday at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport because of a malfunction that appeared to be caused by birds being sucked into an engine. The plane, carrying 107 people, landed safely and there were no injuries.

•A Boeing 737 was climbing after takeoff from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport last December when it struck three snow geese. The aircraft sustained US$502,000 (S$849,000) in damages to its nose, wing and tail and was out of service for more than a week. There were no injuries.

•A plane approaching New Jersey's Newark Airport last November was struck by snow geese, causing an engine to shut down. It landed safely.

But after about a decade of effort, aviation and wildlife experts believe they are pecking away at the costly and sometimes tragic problem that has caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages annually and almost 200 deaths since 1990.

Innovations beyond shooting migrating Canada geese and other feathered, and some furry, wildlife are being shared here this week at an international conference on bird 'strikes'.

'We're making airports as unattractive and uncomfortable for wildlife as possible,' said Mr Richard Dolbeer, national coordinator for the US Department of Agriculture's wildlife programme in Ohio, and chairman of the conference sponsor, Bird Strike Committee USA, a group of government and aviation officials.

Mr Dolbeer said officials appear to have stemmed the upward trend in strikes in 2004 after years of effort.

In 1990, 2,175 strikes were reported nationwide to the Federal Aviation Administration. By 2003, the number had grown to 6,819. But the number appears to be down significantly this year - with 2,237 strikes reported so far. (Up to 80 per cent of strikes are not reported, officials said.)

Mr Dolbeer said there is no 'silver bullet' for the fowl problem. Compounding efforts are federal and state environmental laws to protect wetlands that draw birds near runways. Further, migratory birds such as geese and herons that are particularly large and threatening to airplanes are protected by law.

Besides quieter airplanes and growing bird populations, the larger number of commercial and military flights may be the biggest culprit in the increase in strikes through 2003: The number of flights rose from 17.8 million in 1980 to 28.1 million in 2003.

Few airplanes are destroyed by birds but about 15 per cent are damaged.
Sometimes the birds leave a streak of blood or feathers, which are sent to laboratories to determine their kind. The data may help in getting the strikes' downward trend to continue, Mr Dolbeer said.    link
 

September 16, 2004 - NTSB to Announce Crash Probe Findings

WASHINGTON (USA)  - The National Transportation Safety Board will announce within two months the findings of its investigation into the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, which killed 265 people on Nov. 12, 2001.

NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the investigation has been completed and a hearing to discuss the probable cause will be held before the third anniversary of the accident.

"We're very close," said Engleman Conners, who did not discuss any findings.

Flight 587 plunged into a New York neighborhood 103 seconds after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 passengers and five people on the ground.

Investigators believe a series of sharp rudder movements caused the Airbus A300-600's tailfin to break off shortly after takeoff for a flight headed to the Dominican Republic.

The investigation's central question has been whether the pilot used the rudder improperly or if the movements were caused by a flaw in the flight controls' design.

The probe has been characterized by fingerpointing between American Airlines and Airbus. The airline has accused Airbus of withholding information about similar incidents; Airbus has said the pilots operated the plane improperly.

Engleman Conners said that back-and-forth has not hampered the investigation. "We are very focused on our investigation," she said. "The goal is to find the probable cause."
 
Bribery, Negligence Cited in Russian Jet Sabotage

MOSCOW, Sept. 15 -- Bribery and negligence by officials helped Chechen suicide bombers board two passenger planes last month and blow them up, Russia's chief prosecutor said in an interview published Wednesday. The bombers were initially detained by police after arriving at the airport, but were then released without being checked, he said.

Ninety people were killed when the two planes crashed nearly simultaneously on Aug. 24, the start of a wave of attacks in Russia attributed to Chechen separatists.

A week later, a suicide bombing outside a Moscow subway station killed 10. That was followed by the school siege in southern Russia in which at least 338 people were killed, about half of them children.

Investigators on Wednesday confirmed that the planes, which took off from Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, had been destroyed in midair by explosions on board. Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov drew a picture of security negligence that led to the air crashes.

In an interview published by the Interfax news agency and posted on the Web site of the government daily newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta, he said two Chechen women blamed for the blasts and their companions had been detained by a police patrol soon after arriving at the airport from the southern town of Makhachkala, near Chechnya.

"The patrol identified them" as suspicious persons, then "withdrew their passports and handed [them] over to the officer in charge of counterterrorism in the airport," Ustinov said. "But the captain let them go without any checks, and the group started hastily trying to buy air tickets in the same airport building."

Ustinov said they later paid 5,000 rubles (about $170) to a black market dealer, who sold them tickets for the flights and helped at least one of them to bribe her way onto the plane, bypassing security checks.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday gave his government two weeks to work out tough measures to tighten up security across the nation.

Ustinov said official negligence and corruption had become a major threat to national security. "We recently checked how regional officials adhere to anti-corruption laws. . . . Almost everywhere, officials are involved in commercial activities, occupy executive posts in different structures, abuse their powers in other ways," he said.

link

September 15, 2004 - Algeria Plane Crash Due to Technical, Human Error

ALGIERS, Algeria - Human and technical error caused an Air Algerie Boeing 737 to crash in the Sahara desert last year killing 102 people, an official inquiry into Algeria's worst air disaster showed on Tuesday.

The state-owned plane had been heading for Algiers on the Mediterranean coast when it crashed near Tamanrasset, 1,920 km (1,200 miles) from the capital in the far south of the country last March. Some French nationals were among the dead.

"There are three key reasons behind the crash -- losing the engine during takeoff, failure of the wheels to fold in, and the pilot being unaware of engine problems (before takeoff)," Hasane Afane, head of the government commission, told a news conference.

He gave no explanation as to why the left engine fell off, nor why the wheels did not fold back into the Boeing body, but Afane said the pilot failed to check the engines prior to departure.

The commission called for more training for Algerian pilots, particularly on emergency situations. It said French and US experts were also involved in the investigation.

Initially, the commission believed the crash was due to an engine glitch. It was the worst air accident in Algeria since the North African country gained independence from France in 1962.
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV, September 2
Near-collisions down at NLV Airport
 
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The number of planes nearly colliding with other aircraft or objects on runways at the oft-criticized North Las Vegas Airport continued to drop last fiscal year.

That's according to a new Federal Aviation Administration report.

In the 2003 fiscal year, North Las Vegas had two such incidents, called runway incursions by the FAA, down from seven the year before. But in 2003 the general aviation airport was also one of only two accidents last year in the nation involving aircraft colliding.

The FAA has found that nearly two-thirds of the near-collisions nationwide are caused by pilot error, or by the error of someone driving another vehicle on the runways.

Nationally there were 324 near collisions in 2003, down from 339 in 2002 and from 405 in 2000.

 

Air Safety Week’s David Evans Wins International Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award

(POTOMAC, MD, July 22, 2004) — David Evans, editor of Air Safety Week, this week won the Royal Aeronautical Society’s (RAeS) prestigious 2004 Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award in the maintenance category. He accepted the award at a gala dinner in London on July 19.

Evans’ May 26, 2003, Air Safety Week article, “Air Midwest Crash Exposes Systemic Shortcomings,” garnered top honors this year in the Maintenance Category -- one of 15 categories in the Awards program. This is Evans’
fourth RAeS award.
 
US Safety Agency Urges 777 Cargo Hold Fix

US safety investigators on Monday urged quick replacement of light bulbs in the cargo holds of Boeing 777 aircraft after an Emirates flight experienced a fire warning last year.

The heat of a halogen light bulb was found to have ignited a bag when the September 28 flight from Dubai to Singapore diverted to Chennai, India, after discharging a fire extinguishing agent into the cargo hold of the wide-bodied twin jet.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the Federal Aviation Administration planned within six to 12 months to make mandatory a Boeing service bulletin advising operators of the 777 to use cooler incandescent bulbs in the cargo hold.

"The Safety Board agrees with Boeing's and the FAA's planned actions but is concerned that during the time needed for the FAA to issue an (airworthiness directive), a fire risk exists in 777 cargo compartments that warrants more urgent action," the NTSB wrote in a letter to the FAA.

The safety board said the incandescent bulbs could be placed in the existing light fixtures and the work should be done on an "expedited schedule."

It further urged that 777 operators avoid placing material near the cargo compartment ceiling until the halogen bulbs are replaced.

 
Arc Fault CBs Available from Eaton

Eaton Aerospace's new arc fault circuit interrupter circuit breakers are now available in single- and three-phase AC and 28-volt DC applications for military and civil aircraft. Arc fault circuit interrupter technology allows immediate detection of arcing events in wiring, reducing the chance the wires might catch fire and generate toxic smoke or cause a larger inflight fire. According to Eaton, the new arc fault circuit breakers are compatible with existing circuit breaker designs or they can be custom-designed for specific applications. Phone: 941-751-7112, www.eaton.com.

 
Hamilton System To Prevent Fuel Tank Explosions On 7E7

Boeing picked Hamilton Sundstrand to supply the nitrogen generation system
(NGS) on the 7E7
, the sixth system win for the United Technologies subsidiary.

The system reduces oxygen levels in fuel tanks to prevent explosions similar to the accident that occurred on TWA 800 in 1996.

Unlike existing NGS systems, Hamilton's won't use bleed air from the aircraft's engines because the 7E7 systems will be all electric. Donald Stein, Hamilton Sundstrand 7E7 program manager for air management system, said the system would use air generated by an electric compressor located close to the plane's air conditioning system for the NGS. Hamilton Sundstrand is partnering with two divisions of Cobham -- FR HiTemp and Carlton Life Support Systems -- to deliver the NGS into one integrated package, the air separation module, compressor and heat exchanger valves.

FAA plans to issue a proposed rule next fall that would require passenger jets to have NGSs, and said the rule would most likely require installation of the systems on the 7E7, as well as the Airbus A380. Stein said that Hamilton Sundstrand would work with Boeing on the system's certification and that the details were still being worked out with FAA.

Boeing is working with Honeywell on NGS systems for its existing aircraft designs. It has completed tests on a 737-700, and could use those results to refine its 747 NGS designs. Boeing worked with FAA to test a NGS on a 747-400 test bed last year. The airframer aims to certify the 747 NGS in the first quarter 2005, followed by certification for the 737 and 777 in the first quarter 2006.

In addition to the NGS, Boeing picked Hamilton to supply the 7E7's environmental control system, electric power generating and start system, remote and primary power distribution systems and the auxiliary power unit.
Boeing tapped FR-HiTemp to supply pumps on the 7E7 for engine fuel feed, fuel override and jettison, auxiliary power unit, center fuel tank and water scavenging.
http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_aviationdaily_story.jsp?id=news/ham07064.xml
 
 
The accident report on the crash of the Twin Otter DHC 6-300 Transmaldivian Airways flight been released in a press conference.
TVM 15-08-2004

The accident report on the crash of the Twin Otter DHC 6-300 Transmaldivian Airways flight on 17th May this year, has been released in a press conference held today.

The investigation was carried out by the Accident Investigation Coordinating Committee, the Civil Aviation Department of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, the flight operator and technical personnel from the manufacturer of the aircraft engine, Fret and Witney.

The incident took place soon after take off from the Male’ International Airport’s water runway, heading for Velaavaru Island. 14 passengers and 3 crew members were in the aircraft at that instant.

The causes for the crash as identified by the Accident Investigation Coordinating Committee, were revealed in the press conference by the Director General of Civil Aviation, Mr.Mahmood Raazee.

Factors that contributed to the incident were, failure on the part of the crew to select the flaps to the standard 20 degrees, as required and to abort the take-off and failure from the part of the pilot-in -Command in not taking any action to abort the take-off as the aircraft approached the sea wall.

The recommendations of the investigations were to amend the checklist to repeat vital checks before every stage, review the performance of DHC-6 sea planes and the re-examination of criteria by the CAD for the carriage of flight recorders by aircraft.
Rockwell Collins and NASA conduct synthetic and enhanced vision flight tests

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (August 17, 2004) - Rockwell Collins, in conjunction with the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), recently conducted a synthetic and enhanced vision flight test on a Gulfstream GV aircraft.
The flight test demonstrated how the synthetic and enhanced vision concepts may be used to conduct complex visual approaches at night or during inclement weather. The flight test was conducted in Reno, Nev., an area known for mountainous terrain and a difficult noise abatement procedure arrival for pilots.

Pilots flew SVS and EVS approaches using Rockwell Collins' Flight Dynamics Head up Guidance System (HGS™) and head down cockpit displays with computer-generated images of the terrain with and without integrated sensor information. Sensor data was provided by the Rockwell Collins WXR-2100 MultiScan weather radar, additional advanced sensors and a voice-recognition system.

The demonstration was part of NASA's Aviation Safety and Security Program, which researches and evaluates new onboard systems that improve a pilot's situational awareness, resulting in reduced incidents of controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) and runway incursions.

Synthetic vision technology provides intuitive guidance cues to reduce pilot workload while raising the crew's situational awareness so potential dangers are avoided before traditional warning systems become necessary.
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Paris grounds Jordanian charter flight over safety fears

PARIS, Aug 15 (AFP) - A group of passengers, stranded at Paris' main airport
this weekend after French authorities grounded a flight by a Jordanian
charter airline for security reasons, were likely to leave for Ivory Coast
by Monday night, an airport spokesman said.

A representative of the charter airline Jordan Aviation, banned by French
officials Friday from flying to and from France after authorities found
serious security lapses, told passengers that a solution would be found so
they could leave for Abidjan by late Monday, the spokesman for Charles de
Gaulle airport said.

Most of the 150 passengers were accommodated at an airport hotel paid by
airport operator Aeroport de Paris.

The airport authority had said earlier it was trying to find a substitute
flight as quickly as possible.

The French civil aviation authority said in a statement Friday security
checks by the French and Italian authorities on aircraft belonging to Jordan
Aviation during stops on European territory had "brought to light serious
security lapses."

"These checks led the French and Italian authorities to ban flights in and
out of France as from today."

In Amman, the head of the airline Mohammad Khashaman on Friday strongly
denied the security claims, saying it all came down to a problem with
paperwork.

"This has nothing to do with security," Khashaman told AFP. He said the
problem was linked to "operation documents" requested by the Italian civil
aviation authorities, which he said is denying Jordan Aviation landing
rights in Italy.

Duma to pass amendments to Aviation Code

Interfax. Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004, 5:29 PM Moscow Time

MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) - Russian State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said the Duma will pass amendments to the Russian Aviation Code during its fall session to hand over security functions at the country's airports to the Interior Ministry.
"During the next session, the State Duma plans to debate a number of amendments to existing legislation aimed at transferring security functions at Russia's airports to police officers. Among other responsibilities, they will carry out pre-flight checks of passengers," Gryzlov said



FAA says IT reduces airport runway hazards

By Mary Mosquera
GCN Staff


Runway incursions at the nation’s airports dropped 20 percent over a four-year period, due in part to technology, said an FAA report released today.

U.S. airports recorded 324 incursions last year, 15 fewer than in 2002.

Last year, 32 of the incidents were characterized as high risk, five fewer than in 2002 and a 50 percent drop since 2000. For the second consecutive year, none of the most serious incursions involved two large commercial jets.

“Pilot awareness programs and new technology continue to pay real safety dividends on the nation’s runways,” said FAA administrator Marion Blakey.

To prevent runway accidents, FAA has delivered to 34 airports new technology called the Airport Movement Area Safety System, which warns air traffic controllers of potential runway accidents, and is deploying the new Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X to another 25. ASDE-X creates up-to-the-minute maps of all airport operations that controllers oversee. It is especially helpful at night or in bad weather, when visibility is poor, FAA has said. (GCN story)

A runway incursion is when an aircraft, vehicle, person, or object on the ground creates a collision hazard or is too close to an aircraft taking off, intending to take off, landing or intending to land. The incursion rate per million takeoffs and landings was 5.2, unchanged from 2002.
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FAA Cites Fewer Mistakes on Runways

WASHINGTON (AP)- Runways at U.S. airports were slightly safer last year than they were the year before, the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday.

Fewer people, vehicles and airplanes entered runways by mistake, thus reducing the chance of collisions, the FAA said.

The FAA reported 324 so-called runway incursions between Oct. 1, 2002, and Sept. 30, 2003, a 4 percent decrease from 339 in the previous 12 months.

The number of most serious incidents - when a collision was avoided only because a plane or vehicle quicly moved out of the way - fell 50 percent over the last four years, from 67 to 32.

The agency credited new technology and an education campaign for the safety improvement.

One of the worst aviation disasters in history happened on a runway, when two jumbo jets collided at the airport in Tenerife in the Canary Islands in 1977, killing 582 people.

ON THE NET   link

Federal Aviation Administration:

Airbus may allow mobile phone use

AUGUST 26, 2004

AIRBUS said it is collaborating with the German aerospace centre DLR, to try and come up with a system which would allow passengers to use their mobile phones in-flight without interfering with the plane's navigation systems.
Airbus and DLR were "working very intensively" to try and develop such a system, spokesman David Voskuhl said.

But he refused to confirm or deny a report in the Thursday edition of the Financial Times Deutschland which said the first tests would be carried out on September 3.

"That depends on the weather and a number of other factors," he said.

By coming up with such a system, Airbus is trying to out-do arch rival Boeing which has come up with a system allowing high-speed internet access on board its aircraft, enabling passengers to consult their email and surf the world wide web in-flight.

Agence France-Presse

United reinforces cockpit
United Airlines has taken cockpit security a step further by adding a second fence barrier to the cockpit door.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- United Airlines plans to install steel cable barriers on its planes to block access from the passenger cabin to the flight deck when the cockpit door is open, government and airline officials said Wednesday.

It is the first voluntary move by a major U.S. carrier to take structural steps to restrict cockpit access beyond a post September 11 requirement by the government for airlines to install stronger cockpit doors.

Bankrupt United, the No. 2 airline, lost two planes in the 2001 hijack attacks.

Jeff Green, a United spokesman, said the secondary barrier resembles a fence that blocks the forward crew corridor from the passenger cabin. It can be locked into place when pilots leave the cockpit to use the restroom or receive meals.

The airline has been using wheeled beverage carts to block the cockpit entrance while the door is open.

"That was a short-term solution. The cart is not secured," Green said.

While its use is more likely on longer flights, the airline plans to install the barrier on all 500 of its planes. United tested the device on its Boeing 757 aircraft.

Green would not say how much the change will cost the company but said the project has been in the works for some time.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently approved the modification. U.S. transportation security officials have no authority over its installation or use but said they were aware of United's plans.

Iridium News

NetJets Inc., Woodbridge, N.J., a fractional business aircraft provider, has placed an order for 50 AirCell ST 3100 Iridium satellite communications systems for its fleet of Raytheon Hawker 400XPs. The AirCell system provides airborne, worldwide access to voice and data services through the Iridium network. The systems will be installed in the aircraft prior to retail delivery.

In more Iridium news, Aloha Airlines, Honolulu, has outfitted three Boeing 737-200 aircraft and nine 737-700 aircraft with automated flight information reporting systems (AFIRS) from AeroMechanical Services Ltd. (AMS), Calgary, Canada. AFIRS uses the Iridium network to transmit operational data from the aircraft through AMS' Uptime near real-time data service. Visit www.iridium.com.

Technical news from the nation's capital
NASA reaches milestone in quest for 'all-electric' planes




NASA engineers have completed tests on a device that opens the path for development of "all-electric" aircraft. Called the Electro-Hydrostatic Actuator, the device eliminates or minimizes airborne dependence on hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical systems. NASA tested the device on the left aileron of its F/A-18 Systems Research Aircraft without using the plane's central hydraulics. Taking its signals from the aircraft's flight-control computers, the device uses its electronics to trick aircraft computers into thinking a standard actuator is on board.

Although the device contains a small amount of hydraulic fluid, it uses an electric motor to drive its pump. The force created moves the aileron. For many years, NASA, the Air Force, and the Navy have sought to eliminate heavy hydraulic systems in aircraft in favor of electrical "power-by-wire" systems for operating flight controls. The new device results from the Electrically Powered Actuation Design program of the Air Force.

Rat's dinner blacks out airport

Washington, DC, Sep. 5 (UPI) -- A rat brought Washington's Dulles International Airport to a standstill Saturday, causing a power outage and forcing flight cancellations.

The busy terminal building at Washington's main international airport was suddenly blacked out at 7.27 p.m. Passengers were left to blunder around in darkness for nearly 40 minutes before the airport's emergency generators kicked in, eyewitnesses said.

A spokeswoman for the Washington Airport Authority said there were no security concerns because the cause of the power failure was quickly identified as a rodent.

"The speculation is that a rat had gnawed through the power cable that went to the fueling system, and shorted the airport's entire power grid," Tara Hamilton said Sunday. The rat was found dead near the damaged cable, she added.

Security inspections and passenger check-in stopped when the terminal blacked out and resumed when emergency power came on.

However, for many, that was just the beginning of their ordeal. Flights were delayed and eventually canceled because of damage to the airport fuel distribution system.

UPI Editor-at-large Arnaud de Borchgrave, who boarded British Airways flight BA 292 for London on schedule at 9.30 p.m., reports sitting in the plane until 3 a.m. waiting for a fuel truck to arrive.

By the time the plane was refueled the BA crew had reached their maximum working time, and the flight had to be canceled. Full power was restored at Dulles Airport at 4 a.m.

It's thought that work on expanding Dulles International facilities had caused the fuel cable to be exposed and made it a rat's dinner.

Air NZ wins DVT case
Auckland: Air New Zealand has won a precedent-setting case in the United States after an American woman sued it over deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Adriene Rodriguez, who flew with Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to Auckland in 2000, sued the airline, claiming it had not done enough to warn passengers over the dangers of DVT.

The Federal Appeals Court has ruled the airline was not responsible for the potentially fatal blood clot Ms Rodriguez developed.

American commentators say the Federal Appeals Court ruling dealt a blow to scores of lawsuits by passengers seeking compensation from airlines.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in a 3-0 decision the condition was not an accident, but instead the result of Ms Rodriguez's reaction to the aircraft's normal operations.

Had it been an accident the airline could have been liable for damages.

The court also said there was no evidence the airline violated its own policy or an industry standard by allegedly failing to provide an adequate warning of the risk of blood clots.

Air New Zealand communications manager Glen Sowry said yesterday the airline had been educating passengers for years in a programme which began long before the woman flew. There was little more it could do.

The case would not lead to a change in its programme to educate passengers about the risk of DVT, he said. "Already on board the aircraft in our pre-flight video briefing there is quite a detailed bit. We advise customers to exercise, to move their feet around, to walk around the aisles."

Mr Sowry said Air New Zealand's economy class seats on its Boeing 747 aircraft had more space between them than any other airline.

Ms Rodriguez's lawyer, Clay Robbins, has been reported as saying in the San Francisco Chronicle on the weekend he would ask the full appeals court for a rehearing.

Ms Rodriguez collapsed after her 12-hour flight to Auckland and when she regained consciousness, could not speak or control her right arm.

She was taken to hospital, but recovered and flew to Australia. - NZPA

Tuesday, 7-September 2004

 

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