Many cockpit crewmembers believe the ingestion of ice crystals by a jet engine is essentially harmless if the engine’s igniters are turned on. However, aeronautical engineers generally do not agree, citing incidents when mixing ice with standard intake air resulted in a noticeable reduction in engine power output and, at its worst, a complete engine flameout. Ice formation inside an engine compartment can also lead to indicator anomalies that may not shut down the engine, but may lead to air data system failures.
According to the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO union, 70 percent of airline maintenance is conducted by outside contractors, and some of the most comprehensive work on transport aircraft “should be conducted only by Part 145 certified repair stations,” according to TTD president Edward Wytkind.
The FAA is planning to reduce expenditures by approximately $600 million for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013 should sequestration cuts take place March 1.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conducted a fresh audit of the aviation safety system run by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in what regulators there hope will lead to an upgrade of that nation’s Category 2 safety status to Category 1. Such an upgrade would spearhead the move to allow Philippine airlines to operate to the U.S. and Europe. The FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 over safety concerns in 2009, with Europe blacklisting the carriers in 2010.
Timothy Hershman, a Kona, Hawaii, resident, was indicted by a federal grand jury last week for falsely reporting a potential hijacking aboard an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 en route to Seattle from Kona. Hershman called the FBI office in Honolulu January 17 and reported a hijacker might be aboard the aircraft, which caused the Oregon Air National Guard to scramble two F-16s to escort the aircraft to a safe arrival at Seattle, where the hoax was discovered.
A pair of California Highway Patrol helicopter pilots saved the life of a hiker who was being stalked by a mountain lion just before sunset in the hills about 50 miles northeast of Sacramento. The hiker called for help after trying to scare the cat away by throwing rocks and shouting at the big animal. When the CHP arrived they found the cat standing face-to-face about 20 feet away from the hiker. The pilots flew low over the cat and scared it off, allowing for the hiker’s rescue.
Eastern Michigan University senior Robert Chapin is conducting a survey on air rage as part of a research fellowship. After digesting nearly everything that’s been written on the topic since 2001, Chapin realized no one had ever surveyed airline pilots on the topic. If you’d like to take part in the survey, visit his research survey site.
Citing design issues, on February 11 Russia’s Rosaviatsia aviation authority ordered Aeroflot to ground four of its 10 Superjet 100 airliners. Manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. said the issues related to a service bulletin about aircraft slats and landing gear. On February 15, Sukhoi announced that all four aircraft had been cleared to resume operations.
While filming a stunt for the Asian version of the popular TV show “Top Gear” in which a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 races a Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter across a racecourse finish line, the pilot of the Cobra lost control of the aircraft and struck the ground. The pilot escaped with minor injuries but the Cobra was destroyed in the crash. The stunt was planned to duplicate one that ran on the original BBC show in 2008.
Newly issued airworthiness directive AD 2013-03-07 for the Hawker 400A was prompted by a report that the cockpit wiring for the 5-volt direct current (DC) system on the aircraft is undersized and does not have adequate circuit protection for the smaller gauge wire. The directive, which is effective as of March 19, requires installation of an in-line fuse in the 5-volt DC system for each of the five instrument lighting control power supplies.