France’s BEA air accident investigation agency has released its serious incident report into the loss of control of an Air France Boeing 777 on November 11 while it was flying a Category III approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. During a go-around, the aircraft came within 63 feet of the ground before it established a positive climbout. The BEA said the pilot flying–the 14,370-hour captain–failed to execute the go-around according to Boeing procedures.
The May 2013 yaw-induced control incident aboard a Sikorsky S-76 at the London-area Denham airfield was caused by the failure of a metal sealing ball inside the pedal damper trim actuator, according to a UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch report issued last week. During arrival, the Sikorsky’s autopilot disconnected on its own and caused the helicopter to begin yawing to the right, which the pilot attempted to correct before ultimately making a safe landing.
Aspen Avionics’ new EA100 autopilot adapter is now capable of emulating the Century 52D66, 52D67, 52D166 and 52D167 attitude indicators, providing digital-to-analog data for an aircraft’s attitude-based autopilot system. As such, the EA100 is compatible with all attitude-based Century IIB, III and IV autopilots, as well as Piper Altimatic-branded autopilots. This new certification is in addition to the Century 21, 31, 41, 2000 and 4000 approval announced in October.
Atlas Air’s internal investigation into how its crew landed a Boeing 747 Dreamlifter at the wrong airport last November has uncovered important factors explaining how the freighter, headed to Wichita’s McConnell Air Force Base, mistakenly landed at the smaller Jabara Airport, nine miles to the northeast of the air base.
Garmin has released a free software upgrade–version 6.21–which increases the capability of its G500/G600 flight displays. The G600 version is available immediately, while the G500 version will be released in February. Some new capabilities include control of altitude preselect for KFC 200/250 autopilots using the G500/G600 when paired with a GAD 43e autopilot interface adapter; provision of basic GWX 70 weather radar functions; support of Cessna 400B/800B/1000 IFCS autopilots (when paired with a GAD 43e); and flight director display with Century IV/41/2000 autopilots.
During hearings on December 11, National Transportation Safety Board officials described the final approach sequence of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6. The Boeing 777 was cleared for a visual approach to Runway 28 Left where, as per a Notam, the glideslope was inactive.
The FAA awarded a supplemental type certificate to Century Flight Systems for installation of its Century C4000 autopilot in the Piper PA-30 and PA-39 Twin Comanche. Prices start at $19,995 (plus installation). The autopilot’s features, according to Century, include “GPS/VOR/LOC/LOC REV coupling, fully automatic glideslope coupling from above or below, selected angle intercept capability when using an HSI (45-degree intercepts using a DG), altitude hold, voice prompter, attitude hold command, auto-trim or trim prompting.”
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s final report on the 2011 crash of a Eurocopter AS355F2 cites spatial disorientation as one of the reasons the pilot lost control of the helicopter and crashed into terrain, killing all three people aboard. The helicopter was being operated under visual flight rules in an area east of Lake Eyre in South Australia, the lowest point in the country at 50 feet below sea level.
In its report on a 2011 incident in which a Sikorsky S-92 nearly crashed off the Canadian coast, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada implicates the pilots’ poor understanding of automation, insufficient basic flying skills and a misleading flight manual, which it says caused an inadvertent, vertiginous descent.
Cobham Integrated Systems of Mineral Wells, Texas, announced the S-Tec 5000 autopilot for jet and turboprop aircraft, at NBAA 2013. The new three-axis autopilot, which accommodates a full digital or a combination digital and analog interface, will be certified to meet the requirements for use in Part 25 aircraft.