Bell 206B JetRanger, Cushing, Okla., June 26, 2004–The chartered JetRanger was giving sightseeing rides at 8:45 p.m. (three minutes after sunset) when it hit unmarked power lines running 30 to 40 feet above the river. The helicopter crashed into the water, 90 percent submerged. The pilot and a passenger were killed; three passengers escaped with serious injuries.
Although excessive rainfall and mudslides have hit Southern California hard this winter, near-record lows in rain and snowfall elsewhere in the west are increasing the risk of forest fires. A Columbia Helicopters spokesman said, “There have already been several fast-moving grass fires in the area. If these conditions continue–and forecasts say they will–we will have tinder-dry forests that are ripe for fires.
Imperial Transport, flying a Citation 501, and US Smokeless Tobacco Brands, operating two Challenger 601s, received the “Spirit of Noise Abatement” awards for last year for achieving the lowest average sound level for a single jet and a fleet operation, respectively, at Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, N.Y.
Some three-and-a-half years ago, Safe Flight Instrument of White Plains, N.Y., received supplemental type certification for its Powerline Detection System (PDS) on the company’s own Aerospatiale SA341G Gazelle. Since then the Safe Flight system has been certified and installed on Eurocopter AS 350s, EC 135s and AS 365s and Mil Mi-17s flying in Australia, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and the U.S.
Million Air Columbus at Port Columbus International Airport (CMH), Ohio, has acquired an additional 32,000 sq ft of heated hangar space. The expansion brings the FBO’s total hangar area to more than 121,000 sq ft equipped with doors measuring 120 feet wide by 30 feet high. Some revisions to the ramp layout have improved safety and ground-traffic flow.
Even as officials of the North Carolina Department of Transportation celebrated the centennial of manned flight at ceremonies on the Outer Banks on December 17, a state audit issued three weeks earlier was recommending some extensive cost-cutting measures with regard to the state’s aircraft operations.
Van Nuys Airport, Calif., the busiest general aviation airfield in the world and already subject to a noise curfew applicable to Stage 2 and “noisier” Stage 3 airplanes, is now the target of an “attempt to implement multiple proposed noise and access restrictions,” according to Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the operating authority for VNY.
Until the start of the new millennium, the business of monitoring helicopters as they flew over inhospitable expanses of land or water could be a haphazard affair, especially when the helicopter was out of radar or radio contact. Given the altitudes at which rotorcraft routinely fly, that accounts for a large proportion of airborne time and, as such, was something that many pilots preferred not to think about.
A Pilatus PC-12 that lost power at an altitude of about 6,000 feet made a deadstick landing December 14 on four-lane Highway 933 North in the midst of a commercial area of Roseland, Ind., about three miles east of South Bend Airport. The turboprop single, with a pilot and four passengers aboard, was damaged when it clipped a utility pole, but no one was hurt in the incident.
The European Union’s new emissions trading requirements for aviation could be imposed on a much larger group of business aircraft than has been anticipated. According to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the European Commission (EC) intends to extend emission trading to all aircraft weighing more than 5,700 kg (12,566 pounds).