The FAA reauthorization legislation that President Obama signed into law in February 2012 gives the FAA the authority to regulate a model aircraft as an unmanned aircraft if it is flown in an unsafe manner, the FAA states in a policy notice published in the Federal Register on June 23.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigation into the fire on board a Boeing 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines at London Heathrow Airport on July 12, 2013, discovered improper wiring of the lithium metal battery that powered the aircraft’s Honeywell 406AFN fixed emergency locator transmitter (ELT). According to an AAIB special bulletin published last week, the investigation concluded that the battery had been incorrectly wired to the ELT during the manufacturing process.
The North Sea Helicopter Safety Steering Group (HSSG) expects the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will approve a new emergency breathing system for helicopter passengers at the end of this month. The first batch of approved equipment is expected to arrive early next month, allowing training–both in classroom sessions and online–to begin in mid-July. Passengers on offshore flights in the North Sea will need to know how to inspect the equipment and conduct a buddy check.
An Airbus A320 on approach to Gold Coast Airport in Queensland, Australia, on March 31 descended to just 500 feet above the ground before either of the two pilots realized they had mis-set the aircraft altimeter. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reported that 15 minutes before beginning their descent, the crew received the altimeter setting from the ATIS and transferred the information to the cockpit takeoff and landing data card.
The FAA is proposing updated policies for Part 121 carriers to ensure crews understand their roles in fighting in-flight fires, as well as the equipment and procedures necessary. The new policy provides guidance on the installation of emergency equipment while also looking at crew procedures and training. The agency published an advisory circular–AC 120-80–to address the issues a decade ago.
An Israel Aircraft Industries Westwind II was destroyed when it crashed into a field shortly after takeoff from Huntsville International Airport in Alabama on June 18. Witnesses said the airplane climbed to an altitude of approximately 100 feet before banking sharply right and crashing. All three occupants aboard perished in the accident.
Swedish air navigation service provider LFV has given a green light to begin remote-control ATC operations using Saab’s remote tower technology. Operations are set to begin this fall at Sundsvall Airport on Sweden’s east coast.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is expected to announce the probable cause of last summer’s crash of an Asiana Boeing 777 at San Francisco International airport at a June 24 meeting. The doors to the NTSB’s board room at 429 l’Enfant Plaza SW, in Washington, D.C. open at 7:30 a.m. EST, with the meeting due to begin at 9:30 a.m. EST. The session can also be viewed online.
An NBAA safety committee podcast reminds pilots that anything less than a through understanding of new cockpit technologies before flight can easily turn the pilot-in-command into a “pilot simply along for the ride.” Extremely long user manuals make learning more difficult, but pilots still need to spend the time to understand their cockpit automation to prevent major distractions in flight, and such distractions can lead to runway incursions.
Aviation alphabet groups slammed USA Today’s “sensationalistic” story published yesterday about general aviation safety. The story, “Unfit for Flight,” “fails to acknowledge the significant progress general aviation manufacturers have made to improve safety,” noted GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “The reality is that the number of fatal accidents in general aviation aircraft has declined substantially in recent years. In fact, the goal of one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown by 2018 now appears increasingly likely.”