Pilatus PC-12, Bellefonte, Pa., March 26, 2005–The NTSB determined the probable cause of the crash of the PC-12 on an ILS approach to University Park Airport, State College, Pa., was the pilot’s failure to maintain sufficient airspeed to avoid a stall, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and spin. Factors also included the pilot’s failure to follow procedures/directives and clouds.
Piaggio Avanti, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., March 20, 2007–The Avanti, operated by fractional operator Avantair, was substantially damaged when landing at Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ATP-rated first officer was flying the airplane, on approach to Runway 9R, at 120 knots.
Dassault Falcon 900, Rifle, Colo., March 23, 2007–Falcon N129KJ sustained substantial damage when it overran the 7,000-foot-long runway at Garfield County Regional Airport at night in VFR. The crew had the runway in sight on the downwind leg and before reaching the final approach fix for the ILS approach to Runway 36.
McDonnell Douglas MD-369FF, Haena, Hawaii, March 11, 2007–The Inter-Island Helicopters MD-369 was destroyed and a passenger was killed when the helicopter crashed into trees during a sightseeing tour. In cruise, the tail-rotor output shaft and the tail-rotor blades separated from the tail-rotor gearbox and fell into the ocean. The pilot autorotated to a campground near the beach.
Eurocopter AS 350BA AStar, Princeville, Hawaii, March 8, 2007–Four people were killed and the Heli-USA Airways AStar was substantially damaged following loss of control while it was landing at Princeville Airport. VMC had prevailed for the 45-minute air-tour flight.
AgustaWestland has announced orders for six AW139s in Australia. The Queensland Government and CHC, in New South Wales, have each purchased three of the medium twin helicopters. They will operate them in emergency medical and rescue services. The helicopter manufacturer has also won a contract from the Japan National Police Agency to supply five AW109 Power light twins for law-enforcement missions.
Everest Rescue Trust, a New Zealand-based charity organization, is planning to operate an unmanned helicopter to rescue stranded climbers on Mount Everest, starting next year. The piston-engine Alpine Wasp will be able to carry two climbers at a time. Flight tests were scheduled to start at the end of last month and continue through November at New Zealand’s 12,300-foot Mount Cook.
On April 1, the NTSB celebrated its 40th anniversary. On that date in 1967, the Bureau of Safety was removed from the Civil Aeronautics Board and became the new accident investigation agency. Each year, the agency’s staff of fewer than 400 employees investigates more than 2,000 accidents and incidents.
An April 10 safety recommendation issued by the NTSB calls for the FAA to revise its policies related to air traffic controller work schedules to account for disruptive sleep patterns and the accumulation of so-called sleep debt. It also recommends the institution of a training program to educate controllers and schedulers about the incidence and effect of fatigue on performance.
Implementing safety management systems (SMS) and developing operator decision-making skills are imperative to improving the accident record for helicopters. That was the message more than 100 helicopter pilots, crewmembers and industry managers heard at the third annual Helicopter Safety Forum, co-sponsored by FlightSafety International and Rotor & Wing magazine, held this year in Dallas-Fort Worth.