It’s difficult for me–and perhaps many of you who have worked late night shifts, as well–to read the NTSB’s preliminary report of the UPS Airbus A300 that crashed in the early morning hours of August 14 last year just short of the runway in Birmingham, Ala., and not think of our own experiences working midnight shifts. Both the pilot and copilot were killed and the aircraft was destroyed. This accident, like any aircraft accident–especially one with fatalities–is disturbing to those of us who have spent our lives in aviation, but particularly so when the circumstances of the crew hit uncomfortably close to home.
Under a newly constructed International Standard for Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO) registration, business aviation safety firm Baldwin Aviation is now offering a co-operative registration plan to qualifying flight departments–meaning one aircraft and four or fewer staff members–that are working directly with the company on IS-BAO compliance and registration. Baldwin became the first IS-BAO registered safety management system (SMS) implementer in 2007; achieved Stage II registration in 2010; and this year met the requirements to establish its new Safety Co-op program.
In the unending efforts to improve flight safety, there are increasingly useful resources available to pilots online. For instance, NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) site allows a pilot, controller, mechanic or cabin crewmember to admit an operational mistake and avoid FAA prosecution, assuming the incident was not intentional. ASRS produces a monthly newsletter, Callback, with snippets of the best safety reports reviewed during the previous month, minus the names. The site also offers a searchable incident database.
NBAA traditionally fills the opening general sessions to the largest trade event in business aviation with distinguished speakers from the industry, legislative and regulatory areas. The opening session at NBAA 2014 in Orlando, Fla., yesterday was no exception, as NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.); Christopher Hart, acting secretary of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB); and Enterprise Holdings chairman Andrew Taylor.
The new Artex ELT 1000 emergency locator transmitter from ACR Electronics, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,has received Cospas-Sarsat and FAA approvals and is now for sale.The ELT 1000 is designed with multiple installation configurations to reduce overall installation cost and is “competitively priced.” Information on the new ELT and the other ACR Electronics offerings is available at the ACR/Artex booth (4035).
Everyone seems to talk about aviation safety and the perpetual need to improve it, and there are a few valuable websites that anyone with a similar interest will find useful. Of course this is the Internet, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of everything you may find at any of these sites, only that I think they’re worth digging into. If you know of others we should include in this list, write me at email@example.com
Recently launched Wingspan Systems of Mission, Kan., is in Orlando this week (Booth 1637) for the debut of its new RampTrack ground accident avoidance warning system. As the name suggests, RampTrack is a ground-based technology to help FBOs and ground-handling personnel avoid aircraft accidents.
Employing its “sensor fusion software,” RampTrack places multiple types of sensors inside hangars and on ramps to detect problems and alert ground crews to the potential for an accident in time to plan for avoidance, both for aircraft being moved and those that are parked.
“Owner-flown aircraft face unique challenges such as a lack of guidance, financial support and clear safety procedures set to a standard,” said NBAA Safety Committee chairman Jim Lara. To that end, the association is conducting a full-day, single-pilot safety standdown on October 20, just before the NBAA Convention. The gathering will draw upon the experiences of pilots, with an emphasis on peer-to-peer information sharing.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has no choice but to cut the services it provides or raise more money over the next decade, according to an FAA executive involved in planning the agency’s next reauthorization.
The U.S. Department of Interior announced via the Federal Register on September 23 that it is considering new rules to reduce the risk of injury or property damage at offshore oil-platform helidecks. The rules, which will be issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement, focus on new safety standards for the design, construction and maintenance of helidecks, as well as the storage and handling of aviation fuel. The public can comment until November 24.
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