Last year the U.S. business jet fleet experienced fewer fatalities compared with 2004, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. The Part 91 corporate executive segment’s previous two-year nonfatal streak, however, came to an end early last year, with the crash of a Circuit City Citation 560 on February 16. That accident took the lives of both pilots and the six passengers.
Aviation International News » February 2006
Houston-based ExpressJet Holdings has taken a $700,000, 49-percent share in JetX Aviation, a new regional start-up that plans to operate as ExpressJet Europe and possibly use some of the Embraer ERJ 135/145s scheduled for release by Continental Airlines starting next January. Continental has said it will not require 69 of the 274 regional jets now flown by ExpressJet.
The five major fractional operators hired nearly twiceas many pilots last year as in 2004. According to AIR, an Atlanta-based employment consultant, NetJets, Flight Options, CitationShares, Flexjet and Avantair, combined, hired 816 pilots last year, compared with 482 in all of 2004. AIR predicts the fractionals will hire 1,000 pilots this year.
Blackhawk Modifications has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval for its engine upgrade for the King Air C90A/B. The Waco, Texas firm replaces the C90’s standard engines with two 750-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135s to give the turboprop twin a true airspeed increase of about 35 knots. Takeoff and climb speeds are also improved, the company said.
Investigations into two accidents involving Eurocopter AS 350 helicopters led the NTSB to determine that the hydraulic pump drive belt (P/N 704A33690004) prematurely failed in flight. Additionally, an inquiry of the FAA’s Service Difficulty Report database found 43 failures and/or replacements of hydraulic pump drive belts with that part number between February 1995 and the present.
Nav Canada, the nation’s provider of ATC services, plans to start building a new control tower at Toronto Buttonville Municipal Airport this summer. The tower, expected to become operational next June, will be located on the south side of the airport, opposite the side of the existing facility built in 1967.
Twenty-nine-year-old Chana Daskal, the sole survivorof an Aug. 10, 2001, Grand Canyon Helicopter crash, will receive $38 million under a settlement. Besides losing her husband in the accident, Daskal suffered severe burns and had both legs amputated.
Dangerous Goods International of Redwood City, Calif., designs training modules and conducts compliance seminars in various cities for regional airlines and air-taxi operators to enable them to meet new hazardous materials regulations. Certificate holders have until February 7 of next year to comply with the new requirements, which apply to both “will carry” and “will not” carry operators.
Two recent fatal accidents in icing conditions involving Cessna Caravans prompted the NTSB to issue more recommendations for the turboprop single. The Safety Board wants the FAA to require that operators maintain at least 120 knots when flying in icing conditions. The NTSB also wants Caravans to be prohibited from operating in more than light icing conditions and flown manually when in icing conditions.
Full FAA certification of the super-midsize Hawker 4000 (née Horizon) has slipped again–from the end of last year to early this month, a Raytheon Aircraft spokesman told AIN. The delay, he said, stems from the company’s recently opting to install lightning protection on RC5–the function and reliability (F&R) test aircraft–before, instead of after, FAA approval.