NASA’s October 1 crash test of a former-U.S. Marine helicopter at the Langley Research Center’s Landing and Impact Facility was designed to test three energy-absorbing composite subfloor concepts. The tests are designed to improve protection for occupants from injuries sustained during a real accident. Forty cameras installed in the cabin recorded how 13 crash dummies reacted to the accident.
An Airbus Helicopters EC130 crashed on October 2 just after transmitting a mayday at about 9:30 a.m. local time near Bart in eastern France. Seven people were on board the light single, registered in Switzerland and owned by Heli-Lausanne. Five died and the other two were severely injured. The EC130 had taken off from Lausanne and crashed in a back yard, close to Montbéliard Airport. French accident investigators are in charge of the probe.
Thomas Haderli, a Swiss pilot, is writing a thesis on crew resource management, which includes an anonymous survey, for the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich. Haderli encourages any pilot to take the survey, which he says will take just 10 minutes to complete.
The Step Change in Safety organization, which represents a number of players in the North Sea oil-and-gas industry, is reporting progress in the implementation of the safety improvement measures required by the UK CAA in its CAP 1145 review. To improve survivability in the event of a ditching, helicopters are being equipped with a better emergency breathing system (EBS) and more attention is being focused on the shape and size of passengers in relation to the size of emergency escape windows.
Preliminary Report: AStar Substantially Damaged During Training
Airbus Helicopters AS350B3, Hemet, Calif., Aug. 28, 2014–The flight instructor and his student, both sheriff’s deputies, received minor injuries when their helicopter landed hard and rolled on its side during a late-morning VMC training flight. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department operated the Part 91 helicopter.
Within Six Months
Oct. 14, 2014
NTSB Proposes Changes to Investigation Procedures
The NTSB is faulting the pilot for the fatal air tour crash of a Blue Hawaiian Helicopters Airbus EC130B4 that went down in heavy rain and limited visibility on the island of Molokai on Nov. 10, 2011. The crash killed pilot Nathan Cline and his four passengers.
One of the things we talk about in the Current Topics in Aviation course I co-teach at Vaughn College of Aeronautics is how to report safety issues without being labeled a whistleblower or, worse, being fired. It’s an important issue for anyone entering a field where safety is so important and the “penalties” for being labeled a whistleblower can be high. Even the federal Whistleblower Protection Act covers only a small segment of the industry: airlines and their contractors. Some states might also have some protections for workers.
It could have happened to any two professional pilots flying a nonprecision approach, in darkness, into weather that turned out to be worse than they expected after a night of back-side-of-the-clock flying. But the NTSB’s September 9 hearing into the Aug. 14, 2013 crash of UPS Flight 1354, an Airbus A300-600, on approach to Birmingham, Ala. (BHM), proved that even crews flying heavy jets can lose situational awareness and get just as far behind on nonprecision approach as King Air crews, especially when a handful of other factors also come into play.
The FAA plans to restore its Chicago air route traffic control center (Artcc) to normal operation by October 13 following a fire that damaged the facility’s communications equipment and led to the disruption and cancellation of thousands of flights. The agency has also tasked its Air Traffic Organization (ATO) and unions to review contingency plans for major facilities in the wake of the September 26 fire, which was allegedly set by a disgruntled contract worker.