AINsafety » July 21, 2014
The number of fatalities from business jet accidents worldwide in this year’s first half has already exceeded the total number for all of last year, according to statistics gathered by AIN. In the first six months of this year, 29 people died in seven crashes of U.S.- and non-U.S.-registered business jets compared with 23 people killed in eight mishaps in all of 2013.
The pilot of an MBB-Kawasaki (Eurocopter) BK117B2 flying a trauma recovery mission at 5,000 feet agl in South Australia last year saw a number of hydraulic fluctuations on the helicopter’s system indicators just before the aircraft experienced an uncommanded and violent pitch up. That excursion was followed closely by a left roll and descent, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
An Australian company has created a cockpit lighting system that might also solve the persistent issue of pilot spatial disorientation.
With current technology a pilot must first recognize disorientation using the attitude indicator and other supporting flight instruments. The Go Light, which has received provisional patent approval, is a system of cockpit lights that gives pilots a constant reference point of the horizon in their peripheral vision.
The number of U.S. helicopter accidents dropped 17 percent during the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to data from the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). From January through the end of June this year, there were 62 civil helicopter accidents compared with 75 during the same period last year. During the first six months of this year, nine helicopter accidents resulted in 15 fatalities, compared with 18 fatal accidents that resulted in 41 fatalities during last year’s first half.
One of the top priorities for the NBAA safety committee is to help pilots better understand the airport environment at unfamiliar landing locations. To assist cockpit crews, the safety committee recently rolled out a prototype of a new airport safety assessment tool to quantify airport risks around the world. The airport audit tool currently takes the form of a seven-page safety checklist for crews to use before their first arrival.
In response to the apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) denied even the possibility that any airline risks the safety of its passengers, crew and aircraft for the sake of saving fuel by taking the most direct flight routings. “Airlines depend on governments and ATC authorities to advise which airspace is available for flight and they plan within those limits,” said IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler on July 18.
Southampton recently became the first airport in the UK to use the Bird Control Group’s handheld Aerolaser to disturb and repel birds from runways. The laser technology simulates a physical danger to the birds, provoking them to fly away to protect themselves. The laser is calibrated for use in daylight and incorporates a safety feature to prevent its shining at aircraft or the control tower.
A team of ICAO investigators is expected to be dispatched this week to assist in the search for what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The Ukraine government officially requested the Montreal aviation organization’s help on July 18. Under ICAO’s Annex 13, the country where the accident happens is primarily responsible for conducting the investigation, unless, as in this case, that country requests additional assistance.
Canadian air navigation service provider Nav Canada says the number of monthly controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) contacts in domestic airspace has grown 10-fold since September 2012. At that time the monthly tally was about 7,000, but by May this year it had reached 76,000. National adoption of CPDLC was completed in April this year when the Toronto center began employing the text-based communications system.