Aspen Investigation Spawns Two Safety Recommendations

 - April 16, 2008, 9:41 AM

The NTSB issued two recommendations to the FAA as a result of its investigation into the March 29, 2001, fatal crash of a chartered Gulfstream III at Aspen, Colo.

• The Safety Board has asked the FAA to revise restrictions that currently refer to night operations at airports in mountainous terrain to account for the “entire period of insufficient ambient light conditions,” rather than the 30 min after sunset currently used. The accident, which killed all 18 aboard, occurred about 30 min after official sunset. But the Safety Board determined that the sun would have set below the mountainous terrain about 25 min before official sunset. Witnesses reported that it was “very dark” at the time of the crash. Although the pilot told ATC that he had the runway in sight, that “would not ensure that he could also have seen intervening unlighted terrain, especially given a higher-than-normal descent rate and his maneuvering to align with an upsloping runway,” said the NTSB.

• Revise FAR Part 135 to require on-demand charter operators that use two or more pilots per flight to establish an FAA-approved crew resource management training program for their flight crews in accordance with that required in Part 121 Subparts N and O.