Failed inverters appear to be the prime suspect in the NTSB’s investigation of the January 27 crash of a King Air 200 in Strasburg, Colo. The two crewmembers and eight Oklahoma State University (OSU) basketball team members and personnel aboard the twin turboprop were killed in the accident.
Garmin introduced its latest portable GPS receiver, the GPSMAP 196, at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. Typically priced at $999, the new unit features an improved processor, 320 by 240 pixel monochrome display, pop-up map details and a panel-like page that shows facsimiles of an HSI, airspeed indicator, atltimeter, turn-and-bank indicator and a vertical-speed indicator.
Researchers at the University of West Florida’s Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola are developing a symbol-based, flight-deck display that is capable of providing an instantaneous presentation of an aircraft’s flight situation to the pilot. Named Oz, the surprisingly intuitive concept is seen as applicable to all fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, large and small, civil and military.
LEARJET 35A, GROTON, CONN., AUG. 4, 2003–The first officer’s inadvertent retraction of the flaps during low-altitude maneuvering caused Learjet N135PT to stall and crash into a house while attempting to land at the Groton/New London Airport, said the NTSB. Factors were the captain’s decision to perform a low-altitude maneuver using excessive bank angle, the flight crew’s inadequate coordination and low clouds surrounding the airport.
LEARJET 25B, DEL RIO, TEXAS, SEPT. 19, 2003–Learjet 25B N666TW was destroyed when it overran the departure end of Runway 13 while landing at the Del Rio International Airport (DRT). The ATP-rated captain was killed, and the first officer was seriously injured. VMC prevailed for the Part 91 repositioning flight. The airplane was being operated by Ameristar Jet Charter, of Dallas, a Part 135 on-demand air taxi cargo operator.
This year’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget provided an opportunity for me to see Dassault’s new Falcon 7X up close before I got my chance at the left seat, alongside Dassault 26-year veteran senior test pilot Yves (Bill) Kerherve, who has since retired from the company. A former French Navy fighter pilot, Kerherve flew the ultra-quiet 7X through a series of maneuvers for the crowd on the opening day of the show.
By the middle of last month, Eclipse Aviation had delivered two airplanes to individual owners and three to air-taxi operator DayJet, which is using its airplanes for pilot training. DayJet plans to certify installation of a stand-alone attitude indicator to make its first airplanes Part 135 compliant until Eclipse receives certification for a third ADAHRS.
CESSNA 425 CONQUEST I, SAN JOSE, CALIF., MARCH 6, 2002–The NTSB concluded that the in-flight breakup of Conquest N444JV was caused “by the pilot’s loss of control, which resulted in exceeding of the design stress limits of the aircraft, leading to an in-flight structural failure.” The loss of control was blamed on the loss of primary airspeed reference resulting from pitot tube icing, caused by the internal failure of the pitot heat switch.
The NTSB believes currently required stall-warning systems are not adequate to cover all critically low-airspeed conditions and has recommended that the FAA require the installation of so-called “low-airspeed alert” systems on all airplanes used in FAR Parts 121 and 135 commercial operations.
Eurocopter AS 350 B3, Pilar, N.M., Jan. 29, 2005–The NTSB blamed the accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain control and his improper use of night-vision goggles (NVGs). His spatial disorientation, self-induced pressure to return the helicopter to its home base, lack of experience in the use of NVGs, use of exterior lights on a dark night, under overcast skies and against snow-covered terrain, were listed as contributing factors.