Static electricity may cause pitot static probes to fail, according to a Cessna Citation X owner-pilot who survived a simultaneous failure of all three pitots during a flight earlier this year. Kirill Minovalov, a Russian entrepreneur and private pilot, was flying in stormy weather conditions when the incident happened; he managed to land safely at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.
Harco general manager Michael Milardo said his company would support the Eclipse EA500–for now. Harco makes the airspeed probes for the compact very light jet. Milardo said his company is planning to participate in the Eclipse Aerospace suppliers conference scheduled for October 27 in Albuquerque, N.M., and will work with Eclipse’s new owners and current aircraft operators.
The FAA today issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on Airbus A330s and A340s that requires replacing certain Thales Avionics pitot probes with certain Goodrich or newer-design Thales probes. The AD requires compliance within 120 days. It intends to prevent airspeed discrepancies, which could lead to disconnect of the autopilot and/or auto-thrust functions and consequent increased pilot workload.
France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) has issued a statement confirming that sensors aboard the Air France A330-200 that went missing over the Atlantic Ocean on the evening of May 31 registered conflicting airspeed information.
West Star Aviation recently installed dual Waas-capable Universal UNS-1Ew flight management systems in a Learjet 60. The upgrade also included an L-3 Avionics GH-3100 solid-state standby altitude/airspeed and vertical speed indicator, dual Rockwell Collins RTU-4220 radio tuning units, Universal MFD-890 display with ASU (application file server) and a WSI weather datalink system.
The FAA issued Information for Operators (InFO) 09005 last week, urging proper pilot training for boot operation and maintaining airspeed in de-icer-boot-equipped airplanes.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is continuing its search for a lightweight and affordable low-speed indication and warning device for use in the civil helicopter market. The agency launched the tender in October, citing the need for accurate speed measurement and the poor performance of current pitot tubes.
The FAA yesterday issued Airworthiness Directive 2008-19-01 warning that some Harco Labs pitot/angle-of-attack (AOA) probes are causing airspeed disagree caution indications in Eclipse 500 VLJs due to blockage within the pitot/AOA system from freezing condensation. Last year, the FAA issued AD 2007-13-11 because of a similar problem, and Eclipse Aviation issued a service bulletin to address the issue.
“Everybody talks about the weather,” Mark Twain once famously quipped, “but nobody ever does anything about it.”
Cessna 650 Citation III, Atlantic City, N.J., Oct. 27, 2007–The NTSB blamed this accident on the first officer’s failure to maintain airspeed during approach, and the captain’s inadequate correction. The first officer’s failure to comply with procedures, wind shear and the lack of wind shear warning from ATC contributed to the nonfatal accident.