National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairwoman Deborah Hersman announced Tuesday that she will depart the agency next month after nearly a decade of service. She was appointed to the board in 2004 by President George W. Bush and was named as chair by President Obama in 2009, serving as the agency’s face during many press conferences and hearings. She leaves to join the Illinois-based advocacy group National Safety Council, as president and CEO. Christopher Hart, currently NTSB vice chairman, will take over as acting chairman.
The prolonged search for the Boeing 777-200 operated as Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 brought attention to onboard data transmission systems that report an aircraft’s position and other information in real time. Such a system could help track an aircraft that disappears from radar coverage.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide is holding its second massive open online course (MOOC) from April 7 to May 11 on human factors in aviation accidents. The free course is limited to 2,000 students and will cover “the mental and physical factors that contribute to aviation accidents,” according to the university. Students can view lectures and complete assignments on their own schedules and participate in live sessions and interact with other students on discussion boards and social media.
Last week the NBAA’s safety committee published its annual list of top business aviation safety priorities designed to promote safety-focused discussion and advocacy within the business aviation community. The list this year includes the need to establish a positive safety culture, single-pilot safety, crewmember fitness for duty, airport safety, airmanship skills, distraction management, public policy, managing the talent pipeline and technology management.
The European Parliament adopted a new accident/incident-reporting rule on March 4. The legislation is intended to accelerate the flow of relevant accident/incident information, thereby speeding the analysis and adoption of new procedures to reduce accidents.
Internal evaluation programs and safety training account for a majority of the deficiencies highlighted in the 2013 audit report from Argus International based on its involvement with customers’ implementation of safety management systems (SMS) and their day-to-day operations. All aspects of the flight operation are reviewed during each audit, including the organization’s safety management system. The report is a summary of audit results and how they compare with the Argus Platinum and IS-BAO standards.
An FAA evaluation team will travel to Nigeria on March 31 to conduct an international air safety assessment (IASA) to determine if that country will maintain its category-one safety certification. The recertification is an important part of Nigeria’s aviation strategy because it allows direct access to U.S. airspace by carriers from that country. The enhanced safety rating also directly affects the insurance premiums Nigerian airlines pay, considered to be one of the greatest operating costs for those carriers.
Don Bateman, corporate fellow and chief engineer technologist for flight safety systems and technology at Honeywell Aerospace, was recognized March 4 with the 2013 Elmer A. Sperry Award for Enhancing the Art of Transportation. Bateman was honored for his development of Honeywell’s ground proximity warning system (GPWS).
Cristina Gonzalez, a master of science in safety science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is looking for input on her final graduate research project on the standardization of English in international aviation. She has set up an anonymous survey to learn more about how the English language proficiency requirement fits into the world of aviation today.
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.
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