In its determination of probable cause, the NTSB implicated a history of stability issues at high Mach speeds in the April 26, 2003, crash of Sino Swearingen’s number-one SJ30-2 prototype. Company test pilot Carroll Beeler was killed in the accident.
A new pitch actuator will be required in some 330 U.S.-registered Pilatus PC-12s if the FAA adopts a proposed AD. The directive will require certain flap and autopilot limitations until the new actuator is installed. Pilatus reports the new actuator, which removes the flap-in-motion signal to the autopilot, is designed to prevent an abrupt nose-down pitch when the autopilot is disengaged while the flaps are at a 40-degree setting.
Challenger 600, Tupelo, Miss., March 9, 2005–Inadequate design of the STCed microphone jack assembly, resulting in restricted aft movement of the control column, was blamed for the accident of Romeo Mike Aviation’s Challenger.
The prospect of marginally qualified pilots hurtling through the rarefied atmosphere of the flight levels in very light jets and promoting fear and loathing in the heavy-metal professionals–which is how some people view the imminent advent of the “Volksjet” era–has been a topic of lively debate of late, and no surprise to Eclipse Aviation founder, president and CEO Vern Raburn.
While Ibis Aerospace officials have been cheering publicly for months that the Ae270 Spirit turboprop single is nearing FAA and EASA approval, their mood behind closed doors was likely more muted. This is because the Ae270, until recently expected to be certified late this or early next year, is not meeting performance guarantees and won’t enter production in its current form, a U.S. spokesman told AIN last month.
Raytheon Beech King Air A90, Pensacola, Fla., Aug. 17, 2004–The pilot of Eclipse Enterprises King Air N45TT took off from Ferguson Airport, Pensacola, Fla., to refuel at Jack Edwards Airport, Gulf Shores, Ala. But seconds after the airplane rotated, the right engine quit because of fuel exhaustion. The airplane drifted right, and the pilot applied full left rudder and lowered the left wing to correct.
Raytheon Beech King Air E90, New Roads, La., June 23, 2005–While making a go-around at False River Regional Airport, the 4,000-hour pilot lost control and the King Air pitched up, stalled and crashed into a cornfield. All five people on board were killed. The NTSB determined the cause of the accident was the multi-engine- and instrument-rated pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed during the go-around.
“It caught my eye becauseit was…different,” said Brad Brooks, a customer service agent. That difference was an angleof ascent more than 45 degrees– other than a brief correction so violent that the tail pitched over the nose. “I’ve never seen that before,” said Brooks.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, Ferndale, Md., May 14, 2004–The MU-2 pilot was finishing his third round-trip IFR Part 135 cargo flight from Baltimore Washington (BWI) to Philadelphia. Starting the previous evening, at about 9:50 p.m., he had flown back to BWI, landing on Runway 15R at 11:05. At 2:30 a.m., he returned to land on Runway 28.
Ibis Aerospace’s Ae270 turboprop single completed EASA certification, and FAA certification is expected shortly. However, the current version of the Ae270 has not met performance targets and the Czech manufacturer intends to develop an improved Ae270 to go into production. Ibis said it will receive additional financing this year to fund development through to the point that series production can begin.