An Airbus A320 on approach to Gold Coast Airport in Queensland, Australia, on March 31 descended to just 500 feet above the ground before either of the two pilots realized they had mis-set the aircraft altimeter. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reported that 15 minutes before beginning their descent, the crew received the altimeter setting from the ATIS and transferred the information to the cockpit takeoff and landing data card.
Accidents, Safety, Security and Training
News about significant aircraft accidents and information from accident reports; information on safety procedures and concerns; crew, passenger, aircraft and airport security issues; and news about simulators and training procedures.
An Israel Aircraft Industries Westwind II was destroyed when it crashed into a field shortly after takeoff from Huntsville International Airport in Alabama on June 18. Witnesses said the airplane climbed to an altitude of approximately 100 feet before banking sharply right and crashing. All three occupants aboard perished in the accident.
The FAA is proposing updated policies for Part 121 carriers to ensure crews understand their roles in fighting in-flight fires, as well as the equipment and procedures necessary. The new policy provides guidance on the installation of emergency equipment while also looking at crew procedures and training. The agency published an advisory circular–AC 120-80–to address the issues a decade ago.
The two largest French air traffic controller unions–SNCTA and UNSA-INCA–voted Friday to hold a six-day strike beginning June 24 and running through June 29. The controllers are protesting budget cuts designed to reduce air navigation costs by reorganizing airspace into functional blocks. The strike is expected to affect nearly 50 percent of all French air traffic.
Swedish air navigation service provider LFV has given a green light to begin remote-control ATC operations using Saab’s remote tower technology. Operations are set to begin this fall at Sundsvall Airport on Sweden’s east coast.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to announce the probable cause of last summer’s crash of an Asiana Boeing 777 at San Francisco International airport at a June 24 meeting. The doors to the NTSB’s board room at 429 l’Enfant Plaza SW, in Washington, D.C. open at 7:30 a.m. EST, with the meeting due to begin at 9:30 a.m. EST. The session can also be viewed online.
An NBAA safety committee podcast reminds pilots that anything less than a through understanding of new cockpit technologies before flight can easily turn the pilot-in-command into a “pilot simply along for the ride.” Extremely long user manuals make learning more difficult, but pilots still need to spend the time to understand their cockpit automation to prevent major distractions in flight, and such distractions can lead to runway incursions.
Aviation alphabet groups slammed USA Today’s “sensationalistic” story published yesterday about general aviation safety. The story, “Unfit for Flight,” “fails to acknowledge the significant progress general aviation manufacturers have made to improve safety,” noted GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “The reality is that the number of fatal accidents in general aviation aircraft has declined substantially in recent years. In fact, the goal of one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown by 2018 now appears increasingly likely.”
It is way too soon to speculate about what might have caused the Gulfstream IV runway excursion crash at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. on May 31, but the NTSB preliminary report’s focus on the gust lock system raises some questions.
In the wake of the May 31 GIV accident near Boston, Gulfstream issued a maintenance and operations letter on Friday to all Gulfstream operators to “remind flight crews of the importance of adhering to flight procedures published in applicable Airplane Flight Manuals (AFM) to confirm flight control integrity and freedom of motion.” It added that crews should perform the following as set forth in the applicable AFM procedures: ensure the gust lock is o