In response to what it referred to as “inaccurate speculation” in the media and elsewhere about the status of fuel supplies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the FAA said in a statement released Thursday, “We are continuously canvassing airports, airlines, and jet fuel providers to ensure sufficient supplies are on hand to support normal commercial operations.
Even though weather-related accidents are not frequent, they account for a large number of aviation fatalities. According to the NTSB, only 6 percent of general aviation accidents are weather-related but they account for more than 25 percent of all GA fatalities annually. NTSB investigators collected data from 72 GA accidents that occurred between August 2003 and April 2004.
Accident investigators have determined that Tunisian mechanics replaced a faulty fuel gauge in the ATR 72 that crashed off the northeast coast of Sicily on August 6 with the wrong model, a mistake that apparently led the doomed airplane’s pilots to upload less fuel than they needed to complete their trip from Bari, Italy, to Djerba, Tunisia.
The simultaneous dual flameout of a Garuda Indonesia Airlines 737 and its subsequent ditching on Jan. 16, 2002, has led the NTSB to issue two recommendations targeting FAA turbofan rain and hail ingestion engine certification standards. The CFM56-3-B1 engines failed when the aircraft flew through a thunderstorm and encountered “extremely heavy” precipitation and hail on the approach.
According to the NTSB’s factual report of the March 16 ground collision at the Signature Flight Support ramp at Newark Liberty International Airport, a Boeing Business Jet started to taxi without ground assistance and then hit a GIV preparing to taxi with ground assistance. The Safety Board reported that, “according to an FAA inspector, ground personnel were in place to assist the Gulfstream for its taxi out of the ramp area.
NTSB acting chairman Mark Rosenker said the FAA’s airport movement area safety system (AMASS) is not adequate to prevent serious runway collisions. Citing several recent near-collisions at Boston and New York airports where AMASS allegedly did not perform, Rosenker noted that the situations were instead resolved by flight crew actions sometimes bordering on the heroic–and luck.
“The MU-2B turboprop does not need yet another certification review,” according to AOPA. Reacting to congressional pressure, the FAA is “rushing to fix a problem that has not even been quantified.” The issue stems from two recent accidents involving MU-2Bs at Denver Centennial Airport. That led to a demand from Colorado lawmakers that the FAA investigate the safety of the twin turboprop.
The Department of Civil Aviation of Brazil is investigating the September 16 crash of a 1997 CitationJet following an apparent loss of control during the initial takeoff climb from Rio de Janeiro International Airport, killing the two pilots on board. IMC prevailed during the positioning flight to nearby Jacarepagua Airport. The airplane, S/N 525-0175 and registered as PT-WLX, was owned by JCA Holdings e Participacoes, a Brazilian company.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is inviting European operators to comment on its proposed operations and licensing regulations. Alexandria, Va.-based Helicopter Association International has posted a series of 15 questions on its Web site (www.rotor.com), and will coordinate operator feedback with the International Federation of Helicopter Associations (IFHA) and European Helicopter Association.
Sikorsky plans to make Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS) standard equipment on all future production S-76s and S-92s. A Sikor-sky and Honeywell team originally developed EGPWS for helicopter applications using the S-76, and after FAA approval in 2001 it was listed as an option for the model.