The enhanced vision system (EVS)–a tiny infrared camera that marries an image of the world outside the airplane to the head-up display–could easily be listed as one of the most important aviation safety innovations of the last 20 years.
BOEING 737-200, PATNA, INDIA, JULY 17, 2000–What causes a flight crew to lose control of their aircraft, without mechanical failure as a catalyst, and stall on final approach in visual conditions? While we can never fully navigate a pilot’s psyche, a court of inquiry formed by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation recently released its findings into just such an accident.
After many years of diligent, and what must often have been discouraging, marketing efforts by their manufacturers, sales of head-up displays (HUD) have now taken off and are climbing rapidly. The main impetus behind this is the recognition by the airlines that HUD confers unique operational and cost benefits that are simply not available in the standard flight deck.
The SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) program to define and implement a new air traffic management system for the Single European Sky (SES) presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to develop a common concept of operations (ConOps, in Eurocontrol jargon).
For a glimpse into aviation’s future one need look no farther than Seattle Boeing Field, the home of a specially modified Boeing 737-900 outfitted with an array of experimental avionics and flight controls. For much of the spring Boeing has been inviting select groups of airline representatives aboard its technology demonstrator for flights to Moses Lake Airfield in Central Washington to showcase the cutting-edge systems.
CESSNA 421B, NORMAN, OKLA., DEC. 10, 2000–The NTSB listed as the probable cause of this accident “the pilot’s failure to follow the instrument approach procedure and his continued descent below the prescribed minimum descent altitude (MDA).” Contributory factors were the pilot’s physical impairment from drugs, the low ceiling, fog and dark-night light conditions. The pilot and his passenger were killed in the accident.
HAWKER SIDDELEY HS-125-700, JACKSON HOLE, WYO., DEC. 20, 2000–Two passengers and two pilots walked away from their substantially damaged aircraft after landing 195 ft left of the runway centerline. Night IMC prevailed for the ILS approach to Runway 18 into the Jackson Hole Airport (JAC).
MITSUBISHI MU-300, CLEVELAND, OHIO, FEB. 10, 2002–Substantially damaged aircraft and uninjured pilots do not often go hand-in-hand but two pilots remained just so in an overrun at Cleveland Cuyahoga County Airport (CGF). The crew was landing after a Part 91 positioning flight from Palwaukee (Ill.) Airport (PWK) in night IMC, with snow and high winds.
A little known FAA policy statement, dated June 1 of this year, stands to dramatically change the helicopter industry as we know it. Helicopter pilots and manufacturers have long known the unique capabilities of rotorcraft, but have always been obligated to follow regulations and policies set forth and to operate in airspace designed for the much more prevalent fixed-wing aircraft.
The FAA has said it might raise decision heights on instrument approaches at Hanscom Field, Boston’s primary general aviation reliever airport in Bedford, Mass., because of tall trees infringing on the runways’ extended centerlines. Local citizens’ groups have retained an attorney to try to block FAA plans to trim the trees–perhaps indefinitely.