The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s final report on the 2011 crash of a Eurocopter AS355F2 cites spatial disorientation as one of the reasons the pilot lost control of the helicopter and crashed into terrain, killing all three people aboard. The helicopter was being operated under visual flight rules in an area east of Lake Eyre in South Australia, the lowest point in the country at 50 feet below sea level.
Two crewmembers and five passengers aboard a Sikorsky S-92 operated in IMC by Cougar Helicopters were only 38 feet above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean when the pilot, having suffered a bout of spatial disorientation, regained control of the helicopter, according to a September 12 report from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board. The incident occurred on July 23, 2011, 217 miles southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive for Bell Helicopter Textron Canada models 206, 206A, 206A-1, 206B, 206B-1, 206L, 206L-1, 206L-3 and 206L-4 with Aviation Specialties Unlimited night-vision imaging system lighting modified by STC SR01383SE. It requires determining the date of STC installation and whether the aircraft has an unfiltered turbine outlet temperature internal over-temperature warning light, and based on those findings, installing an NVIS filter. The U.S.
Emivest Aerospace, formerly Sino Swearingen Aircraft, on September 23 delivered its first SJ30 light jet and continues to ramp up production at its San Antonio plant. The twinjet, S/N 008, was handed over to owner Harry Mohney of Déjà Vu Consulting of Lansing, Mich., for use in support of his entertainment business. Emivest said five more SJ30s are currently on the production line.
The UK civil aviation authority (CAA) is recommending prevention and mitigation action to reduce the number of helicopter accidents in poor visibility. Proposed improvements include pilot guidance on whether to fly and better handling qualities. Together, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), spatial disorientation and loss of control form the largest single cause of small-helicopter fatal accidents in the UK.
A partial settlement has been reached in the Oct. 16, 2000 crash of the Cessna 335 that killed Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan and two others on board when the recip-twin crashed into the wooded hills south of St. Louis. Also on board where the governor’s son Randy, who was acting as pilot, and Chris Sifford, a campaign aide.
Gary Robb, an attorney with Robb & Robb of Kansas City, Mo., filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the families of the deceased. It names Cessna Aircraft; Textron, Cessna’s parent company; Parker Hannifin; Sigma Tek; and Aeroflite, the maintenance provider. The defendants maintain that Randy Carnahan’s negligence led to the crash.
King Air 200, Strasburg, Colo., Jan. 27, 2001–At about 5:37 p.m. MST, King Air N81PF–owned by North Bay Charter and operated by Jet Express Services–crashed into rolling terrain near Strasburg. The twin turboprop departed from Jefferson County Airport (BJC) in Broomfield, Colo. at approximately 5:18 p.m. with two pilots and eight members and associated personnel of the Oklahoma State University basketball team.
Eurocopter AS 350 B3, Pilar, N.M., Jan. 29, 2005–The NTSB blamed the accident on the pilot’s failure to maintain control and his improper use of night-vision goggles (NVGs). His spatial disorientation, self-induced pressure to return the helicopter to its home base, lack of experience in the use of NVGs, use of exterior lights on a dark night, under overcast skies and against snow-covered terrain, were listed as contributing factors.
American Eurocopter’s training center at Grand Prairie, Texas, has won FAA Part 141 approval to offer training on night vision goggles (NVGs). The package provides initial and recurrent training, including lessons in unusual attitude recovery and how to deal with spatial disorientation, during both NVG and night urban flying.
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