The crew of a Beech 1900C and the handling controller were both responsible for a controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accident, according to the NTSB’s recently released final report. The twin turboprop was on an IFR Part 135 cargo flight in IMC on March 8, 2013, and was 10 miles east of Aleknagik, Alaska, when the accident happened. Both pilots were killed.
Controlled flight into terrain
“Humans are not naturally good at monitoring highly reliable automated cockpit systems for extended periods of time,” said NTSB member Robert Sumwalt. “And what do we have in our airplanes today…highly reliable, highly automated systems.”
Don Bateman, corporate fellow and chief engineer technologist for flight safety systems and technology at Honeywell Aerospace, was recognized March 4 with the 2013 Elmer A. Sperry Award for Enhancing the Art of Transportation. Bateman was honored for his development of Honeywell’s ground proximity warning system (GPWS).
Honeywell chief engineer technologist for flight safety systems and technology Don Bateman received the 2013 Elmer A. Sperry Award for Enhancing the Art of Transportation yesterday. The award recognizes Bateman for his development of Honeywell’s ground-proximity warning system (GPWS), a terrain awareness and warning system that has helped reduced controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents.
Bell Helicopter has announced that it has delivered the first 407GX aircraft into India. The customer is SpanAir, a leading air charter company that has operated the Bell 407 since 1996, and later added a Model 429. The company provides customized travel options and offers a modern, well-equipped fleet.
The FAA has certified a new functionality on the Sikorsky S-92: an automated rig approach for offshore operators intended to decrease workload when the crew is in a critical flight phase. Sikorsky intends eventually to bring the same capability to the smaller S-76D.
The S-92’s autopilot already had a search-and-rescue (SAR) mode that could fly the rotorcraft to a point in space. Sikorsky design engineers, collaborating with operator PHI, built on this mode to create the new functionality. In addition, the weather radar ensures the flight path is free from obstacles.
Aircraft synthetic-vision systems (SVS), when combined with GPS, gyros, accelerometers and terrain and obstacle databases, provide pilots with a colorful, animated depiction of the world outside the cockpit, matching what they would see looking through the windshield on a clear day. But to really see what is outside in dark or low-visibility conditions, you need an infrared (IR) camera. When you add forward-looking IR to SVS, you get a heat-referenced, real-world view along with a 3-D, database-derived and geo-referenced virtual view. Together they are called enhanced or combined SVS.
Honeywell already delivers synthetic vision for business aircraft under the brand name SmartView, a system that uses the terrain database of the company’s renowned Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), merged with head-up display (HUD) symbology. It then presents the SVS graphics on an aircraft’s primary flight displays (PFD).
While most aviation safety sources have identified loss of control (LOC) as the leading cause of accidents in the past few years, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) “is making a strong comeback,” according to Flight Safety Foundation fellow Jim Burin.
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