At a time when aviation has achieved an extraordinarily high level of safety, regulators and safety organizations are pushing for more improvements in pilot training to preempt future accidents and ensure that new pilots entering the ranks start off with the right approach. One of the key areas receiving extensive examination is stall training, both in the early stages of ab initio training and how it is taught later to pilots who are flying sophisticated high-performance jets.
The FAA is adopting a new Airworthiness Directive (FAA-2011-0518) for Airbus A300/310 airliners to prevent high loading of the vertical stabilizer caused by excessive rudder pedal inputs, which could cause failure of the vertical stabilizer and consequent loss of control. The AD, effective Dec. 14, 2012, applies to A300 B4-600, B4-600R, F4-600R and C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called the A300-600 series), as well as to the A310 series.
Recently I was fortunate to experience something that is probably fairly ordinary for most corporate pilots, initial type rating training at a simulator training center. I had the opportunity to complete a Citation V type rating initial course at FlightSafety International’s Long Beach, Calif., learning center. And for a pilot who hasn’t spend much time in a two-pilot cockpit environment nor flying a jet, the experience was tremendously beneficial, illuminating and hugely enjoyable.
Turbine Aircraft Services (Booth No. 3724) announced that The Aviators, the popular PBS program now in its third season, will feature a segment on the Mitsubishi MU-2 turboprop in episode 11. Spoiler alert: Program host and commercial pilot Sara Rependa declares the aircraft “sturdy” and comments on the high quality of its handling characteristics.
The National Aeronautic Association has been certifying aviation records since 1905, and here the NBAA Convention honors Dassault Falcon, Gulfstream and Hawker Beechcraft for recent record-setting feats. The top speed reached among the group was 599.63 mph, captured by a Gulfstream G150. This is a far cry from the first record certified–25 mph!– on an Oct. 23, 1906 flight by Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Brazilian aviation pioneer, in his 14-Bis, or Oiseau de proie (French for “bird of prey”), one-of-a-kind biplane.
The new MD 302 standby attitude module (SAM) developed by Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics offers avionics installers another option for standby instruments, especially in panels with little extra space. The MD302 is entirely self-contained and provides attitude, altitude, airspeed and slip information in a small package measuring just two inches by five inches and weighing 1.6 pounds.
Pilots looking for aviation-oriented accessories for their tablet computers might want to visit the MyGoFlight exhibit (Booth No. 1091). The Denver-based company, which makes accessories for aviation, marine and land vehicle use, has announced several new products, including flight bags, yoke mounts and kneeboards, all designed for use with iPads and other tablets.
The International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes (Icatee) published an article this summer in the ICAO Training Report that said, “The number-one cause of commercial jet transport fatalities…[is] loss-of-control-in-flight (LOC-I).” Icatee chairman Sunjoo Advani said, “[The problem] cannot be simply solved through technology or through current pilot training paradigms.” Coincidentally, Boeing’s statistical summary of commercial jet airplane accidents worldwide operations 1959–2011 showed more fatalities caused by LOC-I accidents than by any other.
The Discovery Channel’s Curiosity Show ran an episode last week titled “Plane Crash” that gave viewers a look inside one of the most spectacular safety experiments ever conducted into the survivability of aircraft crashes.
Having achieved some success in lifting import taxes for some foreign-made business aircraft, the Russian United Business Aviation Association (RUBAA) has said it will not lobby to eliminate duties for aircraft weighing more than 20 metric tons (44,000 pounds) operating empty weight (OEW). The decision, which is likely to frustrate Western aircraft manufacturers, was this week during Jet Expo 2012 in Moscow.