OK, so it wasn’t an accident; it’s just that the NASA folks are getting rather good at intentionally crashing helicopters. The latest in its series of engineered rotorcraft crashes was conducted earlier this month when the agency dropped the more than four-and-a-half-ton fuselage of a former U.S. Navy CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter for the second time in little more than a year.
One of the things we talk about in the Current Topics in Aviation course I co-teach at Vaughn College of Aeronautics is how to report safety issues without being labeled a whistleblower or, worse, being fired. It’s an important issue for anyone entering a field where safety is so important and the “penalties” for being labeled a whistleblower can be high. Even the federal Whistleblower Protection Act covers only a small segment of the industry: airlines and their contractors. Some states might also have some protections for workers.
The audience demographics of Business Jet Traveler—the AIN sister publication that I edit—are eye-popping.
The latest round of economic sanctions imposed against Russia by the U.S. and European Union (EU) did not directly target the civil aerospace and air transport sectors, but they may yet inflict collateral damage on these industries. The U.S. sanctions, announced on September 12, included the Rostec defense group, which has ambitions in the civil sector, such as its planned joint venture with Canada’s Bombardier to build Q400 regional airliners in Russia.
One-hundred octane low-lead avgas (100LL) is on its way out. Despite the fact that studies by the Environmental Protection Agency have failed to demonstrate a clearly higher risk attributable to lead emissions by piston-engine 100LL-burning aircraft, lead is poisonous in any concentration.
Every time you turn around these days, you hear about another person on a medically restricted diet. The reasons range from lactose intolerance to autoimmune conditions to life-threatening allergies.
Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), father of the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights (PBOR), is proposing some amendments and additions to his original law. According to a press release issued by the senator’s office at the end of June, “[T]he first Pilot’s Bill of Rights was a victory for the aviation community and made possible by the support of pilots and industry leaders across the nation.
The FAA mandate to equip with ADS-B OUT avionics is coming in fewer than 5.5 years, and many owners and operators are still waiting to upgrade their aircraft, either because they’re hoping prices will drop and technology will improve or they aren’t sure they’ll be keeping their aircraft beyond the deadline.
I’ve been thinking a lot about complacency since the crash of a Gulfstream IV on takeoff from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., that left seven people dead. Any accident, especially one with fatalities, affects those of us who have spent our entire lives and careers in aviation. But one that occurs at an airport where we regularly work has a particular impact. The accident investigation continues, but the National Transportation Safety Board has already issued a preliminary report that raises some troubling questions about whether the pilots conducted a routine flight control check.
This has got to stop. We all know that FAA inspectors at the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) level are overworked and that FAA regulations, policies, procedures and programs impose impossible requirements on agency personnel. But when a drop-dead simple piece of paperwork that needs an approval signature hits the desk and gets delayed for some obscure confounded reason, causing the grounding of a multimillion-dollar jet, well, this simply has got to stop.
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