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.
Instrument landing system
In February, London Heathrow became the latest European airport to opt for the microwave landing system (MLS) as its future precision approach landing aid. The UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS) ordered four Category III systems for Heathrow’s Runways 27R, 27L, 09R and 09L, all of which will be installed later this year.
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.
On March 29, 2001 a series of operational and instrument approach procedural errors led to the crash of N303GA, a Gulfstream III, just 2,400 ft short of the approach end of Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE)’s Runway 15 while attempting to complete the VOR/DME C circling approach. Eighteen people, including three crewmembers lost their lives in the accident.
One of the things that most infuriates Jim Morton when he’s on his job is when he hears ATC telling nearby traffic, “Caution: FAA practice instrument approaches under way.” Morton is an FAA airspace system inspection pilot, and he and his crew must frequently emphasize to ATC and pilots that “we are not shooting practice approaches.” His mission is flight checking the accuracy of electronic navaids in the U.S. and abroad.
Swiss authorities have implemented plans for a six-degree approach angle at Lugano Agno Airport, effectively banning the airplane most frequently used there–the Saab 2000 turboprop. The rule change came as several parties jockeyed for position to start new regional operations into Lugano with Saab 2000s after Swiss International Airlines announced plans to severely curtail its service there.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced it will issue revised standards for helicopter navigation this fall that are intended to take advantage of GPS receiver technology and new types of instrument approach procedures.
Airservices Australia and Qantas are working with Honeywell at Sydney Airport to supplement the signals broadcast by global navigation satellite systems. Those systems include the global positioning system that will provide the same level of precision approach guidance as a Category I instrument landing system–that is, to a height of 200 feet above the ground as long as visibility on the airport surface is adequate.
Aero Commander 500B, Gaylord, Mich., Nov. 16, 2005–The pilot of the Central Air Southwest Aero Commander was killed when the airplane crashed on a nonprecision approach one mile from Gaylord Regional Airport in night IMC.
Rockwell Collins has gained the first-ever TSO approval for a multi-mode receiver with microwave landing system (MLS) capability. Besides MLS, the receiver integrates VOR, ILS, marker beacon and GPS. Cat III MLS approaches are in use at a handful of European airports, most notably London Heathrow. The precision navigation concept has also been adopted by the military for set-up of “portable” precision approaches anywhere in the world.