A preliminary report into a February 20 elevator disconnect incident on a Virgin Australia ATR 72 showed that maintenance technicians at Sydney Airport initially misdiagnosed the extent of the damage that occurred during that February arrival. The twin turboprop was later cleared to re-enter service and flew 13 more trips before severe damage to the tail was discovered in the area where the horizontal and vertical stabilizers were joined.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Acellent Technologies said its structural health monitoring system (SHMS) was installed on the Bombardier Learjet 85 prototype–dubbed flight-test vehicle one (FTV1)–before the jet’s maiden flight last month. According to Acellent, Bombardier installed the SHMS on the left and right panel of the composite vertical stabilizer of FTV1. The layered sensor system can detect such things as strain, temperature and pressure. Bombardier has not said whether it will install SHMS on production aircraft.
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America (Vector HS-NA) has introduced new services at its facility in Richmond, B.C., Canada, covering the Airbus Helicopters AS350, AS355 and EC130B4. A factory-approved maintenance and repair center, Vector HS-NA offers 12-year inspection service as well as structural repair capability on canopies, floors and aft structural assemblies, tail booms and vertical stabilizers. Also available are full component overhauls on Arriel 1 and Arriel 2 turboshafts, including lease and exchange engines.
Aveo Engineering Group, a multinational company headquartered in the Czech Republic, has gained FAA TSO C30c and C96a certification for its Ultra Galactica series of two- and three-function wingtip lights, as well as its Red Baron anti-collision beacon for aircraft. The company says it is now in the process of receiving STCs for Hawker jets and aircraft built by Cessna (singles and twins), Mooney, Cirrus, Piper and Robinson Helicopter.
It took eight months of waiting since its industrial launch, but the C Series finally drew its first firm orders this month, putting to rest gathering speculation by industry observers that the airplane might never materialize.
Hawker Beechcraft Beech 1900D, St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 7, 2008–The empennage of the Great Lakes Aviation 1900 struck a building overhang while parking at its gate at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, aided by a marshaler and a wing walker. The vertical stabilizer was twisted and the rudder and the right side of the elevator were wrinkled. No one was injured.
A proposed airworthiness directive for the Sikorsky S-76 would require inspections of the tail rotor vertical stabilizer aft spar assembly every 50 hours after an assembly has 1,000 hours time-in-service. It would also require track and balance of the tail rotor within 30 days and every 200 hours thereafter. The AD would affect an estimated 216 S-76A/B/Cs on the U.S. registry.
Piper PA-42 Cheyenne, Prescott, Ariz., Oct. 18, 2006–The NTSB determined that, during air-to-air photography, the Cheyenne photo ship came too close to the subject MiG’s jet core exhaust, causing the separation of the Cheyenne’s T-tail upper section vertical stabilizer. The Cheyenne, registered to Flying Moose, crashed and the ATP-rated pilot and four passengers were killed.
Jet Aviation Saarbrucken, Germany, recently performed extensive repairs on a Citation II that was heavily damaged by hail in just 15 seconds. The aircraft was on approach to Amsterdam Airport at an altitude of 10,000 feet when it encountered a hail storm. The aircraft, which was traveling at 250 knots, encountered hail stones “the size of tennis balls.”
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.
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