In one of her first acts as chairman of the NTSB, Ellen Engleman vowed to take a fresh look at the Board’s safety advocacy programs, including its “Most Wanted” safety improvements.
Ballistic Recovery Systems
NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker told the House aviation subcommittee yesterday that his agency is disappointed with the FAA’s response to five of six aviation items on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of safety improvements.
Pilatus PC-12, Bellefonte, Pa., March 26, 2005–The NTSB determined the probable cause of the crash of the PC-12 on an ILS approach to University Park Airport, State College, Pa., was the pilot’s failure to maintain sufficient airspeed to avoid a stall, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and spin. Factors also included the pilot’s failure to follow procedures/directives and clouds.
Cessna Citation 560, Pueblo, Colo., Feb. 16, 2005–The failure of the crew to activate the de-icing boots of the Circuit City Citation on approach to Pueblo in icing conditions and failure to maintain airspeed caused the crash of the airplane, the NTSB concluded. (See page 1 for full article.)
An excerpt from the NTSB’s update on its investigation into the crash of the Cirrus SR20 that hit the 30th floor of an apartment building on October 11 while trying to make a U-turn over the East River (New York) provides insight into the role of the wind. “Radar data indicate that the airplane was flying over the east side of Roosevelt Island prior to initiating a 180-degree turn.
The good news is that the single-engine Diamond D-Jet is getting a parachute recovery system from St. Paul, Minn.-based Ballistic Recovery Systems. But the bad news is that Diamond has raised the aircraft’s price from less than $1 million to $1.36 million, nudging the $1.5 million tag for the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet. The increase is due to the manufacturer including previously optional items as standard equipment.
Airline Transport Professionals (ATP), a Jacksonville, Fla.-based organization that provides advanced pilot training at 23 flight schools nationwide, reported at AOPA Expo yesterday that it purchased 20 Diamond D-Jets and five Diamond flight training devices. In addition, Diamond Aircraft and ATP formed a partnership in which ATP will provide factory-approved initial type ratings and recurrent training on the single-engine very light jet.
The NTSB is recommending that pilots of Cessna 208 Caravans approved for flight into known icing conditions be required to undergo annual training for ground de-icing and flight in icing conditions. The Safety Board also wants Cessna to develop appropriate guidance materials to minimize the chance of Caravan icing accidents. The recommendations stem from the NTSB’s study of 26 icing-related Cessna 208 accidents in the U.S.
Don’t expect to see Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) parachutes on the first crop of very light jets. The Minnesota company, which makes the parachutes for the Cirrus line of piston singles, received a $600,000 grant in 2003 to study the possibility of such parachutes, but the two-year program did not yield a marketable product.
In its January 10 final report on the fatal crash of a Cessna Caravan more than three years ago, the NTSB said there was “no evidence of an in-flight collision or breakup.” The Safety Board modified its factual report, which previously contained language that suggested the possibility of an in-flight collision, perhaps with a nearby FedEx DC-10, before it lost control and crashed on Oct. 23, 2002, killing the sole-occupant pilot.