The number of fatalities from business jet accidents worldwide in this year’s first half has already exceeded the total number for all of last year, according to statistics gathered by AIN. In the first six months of this year, 29 people died in seven crashes of U.S.- and non-U.S.-registered business jets compared with 23 people killed in eight mishaps in all of 2013.
The pilot of an MBB-Kawasaki (Eurocopter) BK117B2 flying a trauma recovery mission at 5,000 feet agl in South Australia last year saw a number of hydraulic fluctuations on the helicopter’s system indicators just before the aircraft experienced an uncommanded and violent pitch up. That excursion was followed closely by a left roll and descent, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
The number of U.S. helicopter accidents dropped 17 percent during the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to data from the United States Helicopter Safety Team (USHST). From January through the end of June this year, there were 62 civil helicopter accidents compared with 75 during the same period last year. During the first six months of this year, nine helicopter accidents resulted in 15 fatalities, compared with 18 fatal accidents that resulted in 41 fatalities during last year’s first half.
One of the top priorities for the NBAA safety committee is to help pilots better understand the airport environment at unfamiliar landing locations. To assist cockpit crews, the safety committee recently rolled out a prototype of a new airport safety assessment tool to quantify airport risks around the world. The airport audit tool currently takes the form of a seven-page safety checklist for crews to use before their first arrival.
In response to the apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) denied even the possibility that any airline risks the safety of its passengers, crew and aircraft for the sake of saving fuel by taking the most direct flight routings. “Airlines depend on governments and ATC authorities to advise which airspace is available for flight and they plan within those limits,” said IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler on July 18.
A team of ICAO investigators is expected to be dispatched this week to assist in the search for what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The Ukraine government officially requested the Montreal aviation organization’s help on July 18. Under ICAO’s Annex 13, the country where the accident happens is primarily responsible for conducting the investigation, unless, as in this case, that country requests additional assistance.
[Updated: 10.35 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 18]
This month marks a milestone for NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), the 35th anniversary of its monthly safety bulletin, Callback. Capt. Rex Hardy, a decorated U.S. naval aviator and test pilot, created the publication in 1979. His vision of a short, readable and informal format to present “lessons learned” (selected from the thousands of anonymous ASRS submissions by flight crews, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others) was an immediate success. Yesterday, current editor Don Purdy published Callback issue number 414.
Malaysian Airlines has confirmed that one of its Boeing 777s has crashed in eastern Ukraine, about 31 miles from the border with Russia. Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 280 passengers and 15 crew on board. According to Ukrainian air traffic controllers, they lost contact with the aircraft at around 14.15 UTC almost 20 miles from the waypoint at Tamak.
DRS Technologies, part of the Finmeccanica group (Outside Exhibit 1), is promoting a flight data recorder that deploys upon impact in the event of a crash. The system has been used for many years in military aircraft and helicopters operating in the offshore industry, and has been put to the test many times. The need for a system for commercial aircraft that can be easily and quickly recovered has been brought into sharp focus following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in March.