Meggitt/S-Tec later this year plans to introduce an all-new digital autopilot for twin turboprops and light jets as part of a top-to-bottom revamping of its autopilot product line. The product, as yet unnamed, will be centered on an embedded flight control system and targeted at OEM and retrofit applications with “all the features of a full business jet automatic flight control system,” including the ability to upgrade to autothrottle
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.
The NTSB’s debunking of the ice-bridging hypothesis in the conclusions of its investigation of the Feb. 16, 2005, fatal crash of a Circuit City Citation 560 and determining that the pilots did not activate the de-icing boots on the approach will take some pilots back seven years. In February 2000 the long-time policy of waiting for ice to build before activating boots got the boot.
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) is scheduled to announce a “human factors tool kit” project at its European Aviation Safety Seminar this month in Warsaw, Poland. The project aims to reduce human error, a causal factor in more than 85 percent of aviation accidents and incidents.
In addition to much healthier sales, GAMA had some other good news to share with attendees at its annual industry review and outlook meeting. Despite the high-profile accidents at the end of last year, the NTSB’s preliminary statistics on the number of general aviation accidents last year show a decline of about 8.7 percent. Fatal accidents were down 11.6 percent.
A meeting late last month between the FAA’s top regulatory officials and business aviation interests will likely result in renewed emphasis on new and existing aviation safety programs rather than any sweeping regulatory changes. The meeting came in the aftermath of six fatal turbine business aircraft accidents since late October.
Much has been written lately about the potential cost of not de-icing a business airplane before attempting to fly it, so we posed the question recently in our AINalerts twice-weekly electronic news bulletin, “What about the cost of de-icing? The price seems to vary wildly. What is the most you have paid to have a business jet de-iced? What type of airplane was it, which facility de-iced it, and what were the circumstances?”
A Raytheon Beech T-34 Mentor crashed on December 7 when the left wing snapped off about four inches inboard of the root attach point. The Mentor was being operated by Texas Air Aces/Aviation Safety Training (AST) and crashed near Houston Hooks Field, killing the flight instructor and front-seat passenger. AST’s mission was emergency upset training for major flight departments around the U.S.
U.S.-registered turbine business aircraft accident numbers were mixed last year, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. The total number of accidents was down slightly last year compared to 2005, thanks mostly to the turboprop sector, which saw a 17.5-percent reduction.
Last month this column looked at safety management systems (SMS) and considered why the industry is embracing them. This month focus shifts to the key elements of such systems and their contribution to the industry’s livelihood.