The FAA proposed an airworthiness directive last week on the autothrottle computers installed on the Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900 to correct a glitch that in 2009 allowed a faulty radar altimeter aboard a Turkish Airlines 737 to tell the autothrottles to revert to idle thrust while the aircraft was still on final approach. The aircraft crashed in Amsterdam, killing nine people and injuring 117.
Accidents, Safety, Security and Training
News about significant aircraft accidents and information from accident reports; information on safety procedures and concerns; crew, passenger, aircraft and airport security issues; and news about simulators and training procedures.
Business aviation operators are lacking in safety management system (SMS) internal evaluation programs and safety training, according to the 2013 SMS Audit Result report released yesterday by aviation services company Argus. The report highlights recurring deficiencies found in SMS implementation and execution, it said.
“A view into the industry-wide aperture helps aviation operators focus their efforts on common deficiency areas cited by auditors,” Argus noted. “Operators can then use this information to improve their own SMS implementation and execution efforts.”
NBAA joined a coalition of aviation groups this week in calling for the Senate to pass legislation that would require the FAA to get industry input before implementing mandatory testing of pilots and air traffic controllers for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) before receiving a medical certificate. The U.S. House of Representatives passed an identical bill on February 11 by voice vote.
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) and Argus have reached an agreement in principle to offer the charter and fractional ownership industry a single audit combining both the ACSF industry audit standard (IAS) and the Argus Platinum standard. Under the agreement, Argus will offer an IAS module as an add-on to its proprietary Platinum audit standard. Operators that successfully complete the audit performed against the Platinum standard, including the IAS module, will receive the Argus Platinum rating and be added to the ACSF registry.
A new airworthiness directive issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has resulted in the grounding of 15 Xi’an MA-60 turboprops following two incidences of landing gear failure. The directive requires operators inspect the undercarriages and gear annunciation systems of airplanes that have logged more than 6,400 takeoffs. Two Chinese airlines–Okay Airways and Joy Air–and carriers from the Philippines, Laos, Zimbabwe and Bolivia operate the 15 airplanes.
NetJets accounted for more than a third of the revenue increase at Berkshire Hathaway’s “other service” businesses last year, according to the parent company’s year-end results released on Saturday. The division, which also includes FlightSafety International and several other non-aviation companies, saw revenues climb by $821 million, to $9 billion, with NetJets’ share rising by $288 million–up 7.5 percent year-over-year–thanks to higher sales of fractional aircraft shares.
Preliminary Report: G200’s Access Door Opens In Flight
Gulfstream G200, near Savannah, Ga., Jan. 14, 2014–A NetJets-operated Gulfstream G200 on a Part 91 maintenance test flight from Savannah/Hilton Head airport was substantially damaged when the auxiliary power unit (APU) access door opened in flight. Neither pilot was injured during the event.
Troubled by an increase in the number of helicopter accidents in the last several years, the FAA has launched the Rotorcraft Safety Initiative (RSI), an effort to curb helicopter fatal accidents.
From Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2013, the U.S. helicopter industry experienced 38 fatal helicopter crashes, a 100-percent increase over the same period in 2011-2012. These accidents resulted in 76 fatalities, 95 percent more than the same period the year before and the highest number of fatal accidents since 1994.
Ever notice how everyone becomes an expert accident investigator within seconds of a crash? Without facts, though, most of what the media reports is simply guesswork. That’s what happened after an Asiana Boeing 777 crashed short of Runway 28L at San Francisco International last July. Less than a day later some “really bad animations” started appearing on tv, recalls Jack Suchocki, a forensic animator who runs Boca Raton, Fla.-based litigation support company Eyewitness Animations. “There are many companies that create compelling videos, but they may not be at all accurate,” he said.
The EASA is considering increasing the time in which a pilot is expected to respond to engine failure in a single-engine helicopter, to align certification standards with real-world human performance. The new standard, if adopted, would require helicopters to be designed so that the pilot has more time to respond before a decay in rotor rpm takes the machine into hazardous dynamic territory. A study by Dutch aerospace research center NLR shows that this would add weight and cost.