Confronted with years of stubborn and static accident statistics for general aviation operations, the NTSB is taking more aggressive actions in an attempt to reduce the number of crashes. Last month, the independent safety agency issued five GA Safety Alerts, to be followed later this spring by a series of videos.
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) began its annual safety symposium with an attention-grabbing slide. It shows the accident rates for U.S. Part 121 airlines and all Part 135 operations for the years 2007-2011. The accident rate for all Part 135 operations is 0.60 per 100,000 flight hours, approximately four times worse than the airlines’ 0.159 per 100,000 flight hours.
Hawaii’s Island Air closed the sale of the airline in late February to a newly formed holding company owned by the billionaire co-founder and CEO of Oracle, Larry Ellison. Island Air said it plans no staff changes and will continue its operations as usual while it maps out routes, airplane acquisitions and services.
French aerostructure specialist Daher-Socata appears determined to reduce lead times in an effort to accommodate demand from OEMs. It predicts its ongoing production rate increases will contribute to a major jump in revenues, as outlined in Daher’s recently announced Performance 2017 strategic plan. Performance 2017 calls for a turnover increase from €925 million ($1.2 billion) in 2012 to €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) in 2017. Aerospace and defense activities, under the Daher-Socata brand, account for 60 percent of the group revenues.
A plainly visible sign of progress on the Airbus A350 program emerged last week with the installation of the first pair of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and the new Honeywell HGT1700 auxiliary power unit at the airframer’s production facilities in Toulouse, France.
India’s long-awaited new civil aviation policy needs to address key issues on infrastructure and high taxation, according to Tony Tyler, director general and CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Speaking at the annual India Aviation Day in New Delhi on March 26, he urged the country’s government to produce a coordinated policy framework for aviation that all relevant departments, including the ministries for finance, economy, development, rural infrastructure and tourism, can pursue.
An Air France A340-300 nearly crashed while on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on March 13 last year because the crew failed to understand the danger cues the aircraft’s flight systems were showing them. The aircraft was already above the recommended altitude for glideslope intercept–with speedbrakes deployed–as it was being vectored for the Runway 8R Cat III ILS at CDG. On low-visibility approaches at CDG, ATC procedures also require aircraft to be slowed to less than 180 knots within 15 miles.
I really thought we had heard the end of the FAA’s one-level-of-safety mantra after Colgan Air Flight 3407, masquerading as a Continental Airlines codeshare, crashed in a fiery ball in a residential area just outside Buffalo, N.Y., one snowy February night four years ago.
Controller operational errors are on the rise, according to a February 27 audit report from the DOT’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), prompted by requests from the Senate subcommittee on aviation operations, safety and security and, separately, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. According to FAA data, controller operational errors at the Southern California (SoCal) Tracon, jumped from 33 in FY09 to 189 in FY10, an increase of 473 percent.
The FAA lowered the boom on airports serving mainly GA, business and regional airline traffic, announcing on March 22 that it will close 149 ATC contract towers as part of its effort to slash spending by more than $600 million in the current fiscal year under the federal government’s “sequester” mandate. The action could spell the end of the agency’s 30-year-old contract tower program.