A cocktail of prescription drugs was found in the body of the pilot of a King Air that crashed on April 4, 2003, at 9:35 a.m. in Leominster, Mass. The NTSB factual report, just released, revealed that post-mortem tests showed he had morphine, antidepressants desipramine and imipramine and anticonvulsant carbamazepine in his system. A combination of the drugs could cause drowsiness and lack of coordination.
Working on reducing high-frequency cabin noise produced by air passing over the fuselage skin, UK-based Ultra Electronics and QinetiQ found what a spokesman described as “a fantastic solution to the wrong problem.” After flight tests of new-generation hybrid active/passive cabin shell mounts, researchers concluded that the system works extremely well, reducing noise transmitted through the mounts by as much as 30 dBA.
Dassault plans to introduce an exceptionally quiet cabin in its new Falcon 7X business jet. The company announced at EBACE in May that it expects to create a cabin with noise levels in the 52-dB range, about four decibels less than in the Falcon 900EX. Normal cabin conversation is typically conducted in the 55- to 70-dB range.
Pilot-in-command Lowell Lawson, 67, and copilot James Robinson were killed June 13 when their King Air 200 crashed on a Part 135 positioning flight from its home base at Summerville Airport, W. Va., to pick up passengers at Greenbriar Valley Airport in Lewisburg, about 30 miles southeast. The aircraft wreckage was located about 15 miles west of Greenbriar on or near Big Mountain, where the terrain rises to more than 3,900 feet msl.
The pilot’s decision to rapidly maneuver the helicopter at a high density altitude near steeply sloping terrain was the cause of a fatal air-tour helicopter crash on Aug. 10, 2001, according to the NTSB’s final report. The pilot and five passengers were killed and one passenger was seriously injured when the Papillon Airways AS 350 hit terrain during an uncontrolled descent near Meadview, Ariz.
The S-92 medium-twin helicopter has become the first rotorcraft to be certified by the new European Aviation Safety Agency. Transport Canada certification is expected later this year summer and full icing certification later this year.
The National Air Transportation Association expressed relief with the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to propose a 12-month delay–until August 17 next year–for FBOs to submit amended oil-spill-prevention plans, and Feb. 18, 2006, for FBOs to implement the plans. Comments on the proposal, due by July 7, are expected to be overwhelmingly in favor of the delay. Initial compliance is scheduled for next month.
A 25-year-old Illinois man jumped to his death from a Papillon Airways Bell 206L while in cruise flight over the Grand Canyon on June 10. According to Papillon, the passenger called on June 9 and requested a window seat on a tour flight. A window seat wasn’t available, so the passenger called back the next day (June 10) and was told that he could get a window seat.
Deborah Hersman, sworn in last month as a member of the NTSB, has minimal aviation experience compared with the extensive background of John Goglia, the Safety Board member she replaced (see page 74). For the last five years and before joining
The Air Line Pilots Association welcomed the NTSB’s findings of pilot fatigue and color blindness as factors in the crash of the FedEx 727, but didn’t believe the Safety Board went far enough in its investigation.