Chalk’s Ocean Airways has voluntarily grounded its remaining fleet of four Grumman Turbo Mallards after investigators found a serious fatigue crack in the wing spar of the Mallard that crashed off Miami Beach on Monday. Meanwhile, NTSB investigators spent yesterday poring over flight and repair records and scrutinizing Chalk’s maintenance program, developed for the salt-water environment and rough landings the amphibians encountered each day.
Cockpit voice recorder
The NTSB recovered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from the Learjet 35A that crashed while on final approach to Truckee Tahoe Airport, Calif., on the afternoon of December 28, but there was no immediate word as to its condition or the presence of useful information. Pilots Jonathan Martin, 40, and Brett Karpy, 34, were killed in the accident.
A Massachusetts company that has developed a flight data recorder (FDR) for aircraft in the category of the Cirrus SR20 and SR22 piston singles says the technology could also be applied in Part 23 business jets and turboprops, at a fraction of the price of current-generation FDRs.
The final NTSB report on the Dec. 23, 2003 crash of a Learjet 24B near Helendale, Calif., released last week, concluded that the probable cause was loss of control for undetermined reasons. Twenty minutes after Pavair’s Learjet N600XJ left San Bernardino County Airport, Chino, Calif., bound for Hailey, Idaho, the crew requested a return without declaring an emergency.
It is hard to believe that despite the passage of more than nine years since that hot July night, the discussion continues about TWA Flight 800, which crashed off the coast of Long Island in July 1996.
In part because of two-high profile fatal crashes–one involving eight federal government employees and the other a U.S. senator–the National Transportation Safety Board held two days of hearings in late July on its recommendations that a cockpit image recorder (CIR) be installed in nearly all turbine-powered aircraft.
Carol Carmody left the NTSB in April after nearly five years as a member, two of them as vice chairman. During that time she served twice as the Safety Board’s acting chairman.
Over the last 10 years business aviation safety has improved immensely. During the same period, the entire aviation industry has been subject to a number of equipment, avionics and procedural requirements designed to reduce accidents.
The NTSB last month issued a scathing report highly critical of the FAA and the transport-helicopter industry for not embracing flight data recorders (FDRs). The Safety Board criticized the FAA for its lack of enforcement of Part 135 helicopter FDR requirements, the wording of those requirements that enable operators to avoid compliance by removing seats and for granting numerous requests for exemptions from helicopter operators.
The NTSB has recommended to the FAA that all U.S.-registered turbine helicopters certified to carry at least six passengers be required to have terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS). The recommendation stems from the investigation of the crash of an Era Aviation Sikorsky S-76++ in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed all 10 people on board and destroyed the helicopter.