The 24 deadly seconds of the Sept. 14, 1999, Dassault Falcon 900 in-flight upset are under scrutiny by the Athens First Degree Court. The trial, which started May 13, was expected to last several days and was still ongoing at press time. The court has been asked to decide if the accident was due to pilot error, a technical malfunction or a combination of the two.
Pilot error caused the February 26 crash of a King Air 200 in Southern Bosnia that killed Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, six of his aides and the two pilots, according to a Bosnian civil aviation directorate report.
New tools exist to prevent those accidents that most worry safety experts.
The flight instructor’s lack of experience was cited by the NTSB as causing the fatal crash of a Falcon 20 on April 8, 2003, in Swanton, Ohio. The crew was practicing ILS approaches in IMC with low clouds and rime ice. A first-officer-in-training occupied the right seat, while the instructor, serving as PIC, was in the left seat. On the second approach, the airplane stalled and crashed short of the runway.
Switzerland’s Federal Bureau of Air Accident Investigation, known as the BFU, identified pilot error as the cause of a Crossair Avro RJ100 accident on Nov. 24, 2001, near Bassersdorf, Switzerland, during an approach to Zurich Airport. However, investigators also pointed to external deficiencies at other levels.
Ask any flight department manager his top operational priority and the number-one answer is running a safe operation. But today, we still face a dilemma that’s been with us for decades. Dr. Jerome Berlin, a consulting aviation psychologist says, “Twenty-five years ago, we started to see changes to the causes of accidents.
While the NTSB determined that “unnecessary and too aggressive” rudder inputs by the first officer broke the vertical stabilizer off American Airlines Flight 587, there was plenty of blame to spread among the airline, U.S. and French aviation regulators and Airbus Industrie, builder of the A300-605R that crashed into the community of Belle Harbor, N.Y., on Nov. 12, 2001.
The NTSB is recommending modifications of Honeywell flight management system (FMS) software that would provide warnings to pilots if they try to enter inconsistent weight and performance information.
Nearly four years after the accident, the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (BFU) published its final report on the Jan. 10, 2000 crash of a Crossair Saab 340B at Nassenwil near Zurich Airport. The unusual delay stems from appeals filed against the BFU’s conclusions, the most publicized objection coming from Moritz Suter, Crossair’s CEO at the time of the accident.
While the NTSB ruled that the chartered Challenger 600 that overran a runway at Teterboro Airport (TEB) on Feb. 2, 2005, was loaded improperly, the accident also shone a spotlight on the murky issue of operational control of such flights.