The fatal crash of a CHC Scotia-operated Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma on August 23 off the Shetland Islands in the UK has created an outcry among passengers and is puzzling experts. Investigators have found no evidence of technical failure so far, nor have they hinted at human factors. Meanwhile, a pilot based in the North Sea noted that the helicopter seriously deviated from the expected course, two nautical miles from its destination, Sumburgh Airport.
Aviation in the United Kingdom
While the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch is still probing the Eurocopter Super Puma fatal accident that killed four in August, the country’s CAA, its Norwegian counterpart and the European Aviation Safety Agency have launched a wider safety review of North Sea helicopter operations.
The UK Parliament’s Transport Committee has criticized the European Union’s proposed flight- and duty-time regulations, saying that while they represent an improvement over the current versions, some of the new rules seem to fly in the face of current scientific research. The changes, driven by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), are expected to take effect in November this year.
The Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA) is holding seminars at two aviation events in the UK this month. The first seminar will address charter brokerage and operator issues during the Business Aircraft Europe Expo and Conference, which will be held September 11 and 12 at London Biggin Hill Airport. The second seminar will be held in conjunction with the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) on September 17 at the British and General Aviation Day at Cambridge Airport.
Nearly 90 percent of the UK public would be concerned about flying with a pilot who had been awake for an extended period of time, according to a survey conducted for the British Air Line Pilots Association (Balpa). The survey asked 2,052 people in the country over the age of 18 one important question related to pilot fatigue: “How concerned…would you be for your safety if you were on board an aircraft being flown by a pilot who had been awake for…[22 hours]?”
Amid calls for the grounding of Eurocopter Super Puma helicopters in the wake of the August 23 crash of an AS332L2 in the North Sea, the British Air Line Pilots Association (Balpa) has asked all operators of the Super Puma line to wait until the cause of has been positively determined before taking any action. The pilots’ union said its members still strongly support the aircraft. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department told AIN it has no plans to ground its three AS332L1s.
Flying commercially using a single-engine aircraft under instrument flight rules (SECIFR) or at night may be taken for granted in the U.S., but it has not been possible in Europe–until now. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has cracked the door open–first for cargo operators and more recently, in the past few months, for flights carrying fare-paying passengers. It has left the decision to individual countries’ regulators, however, and France and Finland have taken the lead.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) recovered the cockpit voice/flight data recorder today from the Eurocopter Super Puma that ditched last Friday, killing four.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday issued an airworthiness directive (AD) calling for either the removal or inspection of the Honeywell fixed emergency locator transmitter (ELT) in Boeing 787s.
The July 12 fire aboard an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 at London Heathrow Airport (ELHR) has prompted the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) to recommend operators turn off Honeywell’s Rescu 406 AFN emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) aboard the Dreamliner until appropriate airworthiness actions can be completed.