The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) has concluded in a draft report that extreme cold most likely caused a lithium-ion battery on an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 to malfunction in January 2013, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. The board plans to release a final report in September or later.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued safety regulations July 31 for transporting lithium batteries by air, a move intended to harmonize existing U.S. rules with international standards. The Air Line Pilots Association praised the action as recognition of the serious risk unregulated shipments of lithium batteries pose to all who depend on air transportation.
North Sea helicopter operators expect to deploy improved emergency breathing systems (EBS) progressively, beginning in the middle of this month, to comply with CAA rules issued to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. The Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) expected the first batch of approved equipment to arrive soon after the UK CAA approved the system, which had not taken place as of early last month. Training will be based on a classroom session lasting a maximum of 90 minutes.
The European Commission (EC) on July 9 officially launched the Clean Sky 2 joint technology initiative, a €4 billion ($5.44 billion) follow-on to the ongoing Clean Sky research program. It includes a number of projects for business aircraft–both turboprops and jets–as well as regional turboprops and rotorcraft.
An ATR 72 operated by TransAsia crashed on July 23 during an instrument approach to Makong Airport, near Penghu in the Taiwan Strait. Forty-eight of the 58 people aboard the aircraft were reported dead. Local weather at the time of the late afternoon accident included heavy rain generated by Typhoon Matmo. Taiwan-area schools and financial markets were closed at the time of the crash due to the typhoon.
The Air Algerie McDonnell Douglas MD-83 carrying 110 passengers and six crewmembers that had gone missing while en route from the West African nation of Burkina Faso to Algiers has reportedly crashed.
Bombardier Aerospace recently completed a non-temperature-restricted bleedless auxiliary power unit starting test, following a 10-hour cold soak at -40 degrees F and using a starter/generation system and lithium-ion battery system. The Safran Microturbo e-APU system included a starter generator and power electronics from Thales and a Saft Li-ion battery system. The prototype equipment was designed for business jets, Bombardier said. The tests were conducted at the Safran Turbomeca cold-chamber facility in Pau, France.
Southampton recently became the first airport in the UK to use the Bird Control Group’s handheld Aerolaser to disturb and repel birds from runways. The laser technology simulates a physical danger to the birds, provoking them to fly away to protect themselves. The laser is calibrated for use in daylight and incorporates a safety feature to prevent its shining at aircraft or the control tower.
A proliferation of large wind farms in recent years has posed a new challenge to both air traffic control and the renewable energy industry. The rotating blades of wind turbines can appear as false aircraft returns on air traffic and other radars. This clutter can lead to radars becoming de-sensitized in the area of the wind farms, resulting in genuine aircraft tracks being all too easily lost. This phenomenon has already prevented or delayed the establishment of new wind farms due to objections from aviation authorities.
Israel’s Elbit Systems (Hall 1 Stand C14) and Nicarnica Aviation of Norway signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Farnborough International Airshow yesterday to implement Nicarnica’s volcanic ash detection technology into Elbit’s enhanced vision system (EVS) cameras on commercial aircraft. The combination will help pilots avoid flying into contaminated areas while still maintaining safe operation in areas affected by volcanic eruptions.