A Fokker F100 charter flight in Western Australia experienced a hard landing on Oct. 12, 2012 after encountering a dry microburst-induced wind shear. No one was injured; however, the aircraft was substantially damaged, including wrinkled skin in the forward and rear portions of the airframe and the deformation of several structural beams. The flight departed Perth Airport headed north to Nifty aerodrome, with the expectation of a few thunderstorms along the way.
A video showing lightning striking a Copa Airlines jet parked at the gate clearly demonstrates why all aircraft fueling ceases when thunderstorms are near. Pay particular attention to the small manhole cover near the front of the aircraft that goes flying toward a ground tug shortly after the strike.
The FAA is reissuing and revising a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SW-08-03R4) covering recommendations for rotorcraft powered by turboshaft engines flying into snowy or icy conditions. The SAIB describes procedures to reduce the probability of an uncommanded in-flight engine shutdown due to snow and/or ice ingestion and reminds operators that most helicopters are not approved/equipped for flight into icing conditions.
Even as researchers study ways to improve detection of in-flight icing and make airframes and engines more resistant to icing conditions, they continue to struggle to understand the icing phenomenon–especially the formation of ice crystals–according to speakers at a conference on the subject organized by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne, Germany recently. Ice-prevention techniques present their own challenges, which aircraft makers, airports and ground handlers are endeavoring to solve.
Boeing and GE have warned companies operating Boeing 747-8 and 787 airliners powered by certain versions of General Electric’s GEnx engines about the risk of in-flight internal-engine icing that can reduce engine performance if aircraft wander too close to areas of significant precipitation, like thunderstorms at high altitudes. Engine models affected are the GEnx-2B on the 747-8 and the GEnx-1B on the 787 Dreamliner.
Lockheed Martin (Stand 1975) is installing its WindTracer windshear and turbulence-detection system at Dubai International Airport (DXB), where it will be used to detect aircraft wake vortices, thus allowing for increased runway utilization. Two WindTracers have been installed this year and a third one is to follow in the first quarter of next year, Michael Margulis, WindTracer program director, told AIN. WindTracer is a long-range, 3-D-scanning pulsed doppler lidar-based system.
The families of victims of the October 1994 crash of an American Eagle ATR 72 into a field in Roselawn, Ind., met October 31 to remember their loved ones and discuss fundraising efforts to build a permanent memorial. All 68 people aboard American Eagle Flight 4184 died in the accident. The pilots lost control of the aircraft after it accumulated a significant amount of ice while flying at low speed in freezing rain in the holding pattern, a problem that triggered an autopilot disconnection while the aircraft was severely out of trim.
Aviation weather service provider WSI (Booth No. C7915) of Andover, Mass. is here at NBAA showcasing the latest updates to Pilotbrief Optima, its flight planning and real-time weather monitoring tool.
Equipment manufacturer Zodiac Aerospace is developing two new in-flight icing detection systems (FIDS). Scheduled to be ready for entry-into-service in 2015, the first system will detect supercooled droplets of less than 50 microns in diameter. This size is consistent with current standards for large aircraft (CS-25, Appendix C under EASA rules).
On Friday, Rockwell Collins unveiled its new EVS-3000 enhanced vision system, which includes a multi-spectral EVS sensor that “significantly improves detection of outside terrain, hazards and obstacles in low-visibility conditions caused by weather phenomena such as fog.” The EVS-3000 also brings the industry-first ability to fully detect LED lighting, which is increasingly being used by airports as a runway lighting solution. It does not require a built-in cooling system, reducing weight.