Four days of NTSB public hearings on helicopter EMS safety began today in Washington, D.C., amid calls by the agency and the industry itself for reform. Last month, the NTSB determined the probable cause of four recent fatal helicopter EMS crashes. Three of the four involved inadvertent flight into night instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), while one was attributed to loss of control during low and slow flight.
Bell 407, Bow, N.H., Dec. 22, 2008–The Speedway Aviation helicopter lost power about 3.5 miles from the destination heliport, Brigham Heliport in Pembroke, and made a forced landing in Bow. The commercial pilot said there were no caution or warning lights, and the fadec remained in automatic mode. He did not notice any unusual noises or yawing of the helicopter before the shutdown.
Yankee Pacific Aerospace has merged two of its holdings– Executive Aircraft Completions (EAC) and Cabin Innovations– into a single division called Cabin Innovations. The new company’s design, engineering and certification office will remain in Tulsa, Okla., with a production and engineering office based at Cabin Innovations’ new 39,630-sq-ft facility in Lewisville, Texas.
MD Helicopters Explorer Models 900 and 902 are the subject of an FAA Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2008-22-53) following several recent reports of loss of yaw control in the no-tail rotor (Notar) helicopters. The latest incidents occurred in October, both apparently caused by the separation of the vertical control rod from the actuator.
The Air Moorea DHC-6-300 Twin Otter turboprop that crashed near Moorea Island on Aug. 9, 2007, took off with an almost failed pitch-control cable, due to recent exposure to jet blast, according to French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) chief Paul-Louis Arslanian. Other causes include the omission of cable inspections and the use of stainless-steel cables, which are more prone to wear.
When it issued Eclipse 500 Airworthiness Directive 2008-24-07, which becomes effective today, the FAA asked for comments from operators. The AD limits the Eclipse 500 to a maximum pressure altitude of 37,000 feet due to “several incidents of engine surge” of the jet’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-A engines. The surge is due to carbon buildup on the static vane during high bleed flow conditions.
Rotorcraft Leasing has acquired 53 Bell 206 single-engine helicopters and related assets operated by the Bristow Group in the Gulf of Mexico for $65 million. The deal includes spares; bases at Rockport, Texas, and Abbeville, La.; and offshore fueling equipment. Most of Bristow’s affected employees are expected to be offered positions
The New Nose Company’s twin-turboprop ClipperSpirit amphibian was announced in early October, coincidentally at about the same time Dornier relaunched the certified Seastar amphibian program. The ClipperSpirit at present is a design looking for a financial partner.
On November 4 Learjet 45 XC-VMC crashed into a mixed residential and commercial area in central Mexico City during an approach to Benito Juarez International Airport in clear weather. All nine occupants were killed. Five people on the ground were also killed and another 40 people injured.
Would-be manufacturers of supersonic business jets–Aerion, Gulfstream and Supersonic Aerospace International–are encouraged by an updated FAA policy statement that aligns noise limits for future civil supersonic aircraft with current Stage 4 noise regulations. According to the FAA, this action is intended to provide guidance on noise limits for supersonic jets.