British ATC provider NATS announced last week that a new system that uses time intervals rather than distance to separate arriving and departing aircraft should be in full operation at London Heathrow Airport next spring. The dynamic time-based separations (TBS) system is expected to reduce aircraft delays while increasing an airport’s landing acceptance rate by accounting for wind-speed changes that current distance-based separation ignores.
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.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), in collaboration with the FBI and the FAA, on February 11 launched a 12-city public awareness campaign about the safety issues surrounding laser attacks on aircraft cockpits. Reports of aircraft laser illuminations in the U.S. have increased sharply over the past few years–to 3,960 last year from 2,836 in 2010.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has rebuffed attacks on its safety record made in the Scandinavian media in relation to Norwegian Air Shuttle’s controversial plan to operate under an Irish air operator certificate even though none of its services will depart from Ireland. The authority condemned what it said are “misguided” statements.
The Helicopter Association International (HAI) will offer registered attendees no fewer than 44 educational seminars during the three-day event’s rotor safety challenge at next week’s Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, Calif. The event opens with NTSB-led sessions covering lessons learned from helicopter accidents in which investigators will look at the facts gathered through safety recommendations related to pilot training and helicopter maintenance.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada reported that the crash of a Bell 206B last May 75 miles north of Fort McMurray in Alberta was caused by the pilot’s failure to recognize that the aircraft was entering a right-quartering tailwind that reduced the effectiveness of the helicopter’s tail rotor.
The investigation into the EC135 fatal crash on November 29 in Glasgow, Scotland, is struggling to find any specific cause or telltale evidence. The investigators have determined that both of the helicopter’s engines flamed out, according to a special bulletin the Air Accidents Investigation Branch published on Friday. They now still have to understand why this happened with a functional fuel system and 25 gallons of fuel in the tanks.
Just in time for the Heli-Expo show, the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST) announced an app–I Fly Safe–that will provide helicopter pilots and operators with expert safety information. The app will offer access to a library of the latest safety bulletins, essays, fact sheets and videos, as well as a link to the new www.USHST.org website. I Fly Safe can be used on iPads, iPhones and Android phones and will be available from the Apple Store on February 24.
Eclipse Aerospace received a supplementary type certificate from the FAA on February 10 covering the autothrottle and anti-skid braking (ASB) systems on the new Eclipse 550. “The [550’s] is the only ASB in general aviation that does not require a complex aircraft hydraulic system and it can be retrofitted to most earlier Eclipse 500s,” the company said.
The FAA released a safety alert for operators (Safo) last week for the Cessna Citation 500 reminding pilots to observe the Citation’s operating limitations by ensuring aileron trim is properly set before takeoff. The Safo also highlights the need to avoid excessive use of trim in flight. A Citation 500 operated under Part 135 rules crashed in 2007 shortly after takeoff, killing the two pilots and four passengers.
France’s Zodiac Aerospace has unveiled a new in-flight ice detection system capable of detecting ice in any format, including large droplets. Zodiac says current systems are incapable of detecting ice crystals. The new ice-detection system is set to begin flight-testing in 2016, with service entry planned for 2017.