It could have happened to any two professional pilots flying a nonprecision approach, in darkness, into weather that turned out to be worse than they expected after a night of back-side-of-the-clock flying. But the NTSB’s September 9 hearing into the Aug. 14, 2013 crash of UPS Flight 1354, an Airbus A300-600, on approach to Birmingham, Ala. (BHM), proved that even crews flying heavy jets can lose situational awareness and get just as far behind on nonprecision approach as King Air crews, especially when a handful of other factors also come into play.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
A fire, thought to have been started by an arsonist, early in the morning on September 26 immediately closed the Chicago En Route ATC Center (ZAU) in Aurora, Ill., shutting down air traffic at Chicago O’Hare and Midway International airports, as well as at a half dozen business aviation airports in the area. A Chicago flight services briefer told AIN on September 27 that ZAU will remain closed until September 30.
The Professional Airways Safety Specialists union described the damage to the center’s equipment as “substantial.”
The overall number of civil aviation accidents declined significantly between 2012 and 2013, according to NTSB data published earlier this month. However, bucking this trend were Part 135 operations, for which the number of accidents doubled during the same period.
The FAA’s September 26 approval of a half dozen exemptions for some TV and film production companies to operate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) stopped just short of complete approval of those operations in the national airspace system. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the UAS to be used in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.
The Center for Aviation Safety Research at Saint Louis University (SLU) and the Professional Aviation Board of Certification and Professional Testing have signed a joint agreement to evaluate the use of enhanced knowledge testing for pilots. The aim is to ensure that pilot training effectively prepares new aviators for employment in an industry with knowledge and skill requirements radically different from those previous generations faced.
Teterboro (N.J.) Airport will be closed to fixed-wing traffic this coming Saturday morning, October 4, from 6 a.m. to noon local time to allow crews to repaint the runways. Helicopter operations will be permitted. The Teterboro Users Group urges operators to check Notams for specific times.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) released two new safety bulletins last week focused on risk assessment and professionalism. The first, a flight/ground risk assessment tool (Frat/Grat), explains how a good Frat/Grat is intended to operate, and offers operators guidance for how to create their own. The second bulletin is called “Setting the Right Example: Flying Safely Even When No One Is Watching.”
A chartered DHC-6 Twin Otter crashed September 20 near Port Moresby-Jacksons International Airport in Papua New Guinea, killing four of the seven people aboard. The aircraft, operated by Hevilift in what was reported as “poor weather,” was approaching Port Moresby inbound from Woitape Airport, 60 miles north.
Qantas was criticized by an Australian senator and some airline employees last week for its plan to remove life rafts from more than half of its Boeing 737-800 fleet to save fuel. ICAO regulations do not require aircraft flying within 400 nm of land to carry rafts. The airline said it is also pulling the equipment to simplify flight operations.
Airbus Helicopters said Protean won its 2014 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award for development of the LZControl.com landing-zone database, a free-flight safety service for the air medical industry. Pilots using the company’s LZControl can easily access landing-zone maps and satellite images, pull down current weather and IFR information and locate site-specific contacts.
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