Using a new Web-based tool, operators who typically fly below Class A airspace can now obtain icing forecasts up to 12 hours in advance of their flight. The FAA tool provides a color weather map and a flight route display of icing potential from 3,000 to 18,000 feet. The user can select forecast times from three-, six-, nine-, and 12-hour intervals to help plan their routes.
Citing insufficient evidence, an NTSB law judge dismissed FAA allegations that charter operator Air East did not comply with several ADs and that some personnel were not properly qualified. The charges precipitated an emergency revocation of Air East’s Part 135 certificate on March 8, grounding the Farmingdale, N.Y. charter operator.
The accident picture in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year showed mixed results, according to statistics compiled by Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. There were two fatal accidents involving jet operations in the first three months of last year, compared with no fatal accidents in the January-through-March timeframe this year.
The family of the late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan–who died in the October 2000 crash of a Cessna 335 along with an aide and his son, Randy, who was at the controls–has asked that a trial be held to consider punitive damages. A jury previously ordered the manufacturer of the aircraft’s vacuum pumps to pay the family $4 million, but the judge reduced the amount to $2.4 million.
Publicly traded Macquarie Group, the Australian company that owns the Atlantic Aviation chain of FBOs, is purchasing the FBOs owned by private-equity firm Allied Capital and will merge them into the Atlantic network. Macquarie, which bought Atlantic in April 2004, is performing due diligence to purchase Allied’s 22 Mercury Air Centers, Corporate Wings, FirstAir and IX Jet Center FBOs, according to Atlantic v-p Sue Sommers.
PIPER PA-46-310P MALIBU, OSTENN, FLA., JUNE 14, 2002–Trying to thread through a hole in an area of thunderstorms on an IFR flight from Raleigh, N.C. to Marco Island, Fla., the pilot of Malibu N9143B asked ATC for a deviation 12 miles to the west. He attempted to fly through an area of light radar echoes between the two large areas of heavier echoes.
The NTSB continues its investigation into the April 14 crash of a 1985 King Air 300 while being vectored in VMC to Spruce Creek Airport, a private residential airport community south of Daytona Beach, Fla. One of two occupants suffered serious injuries and the turboprop twin was destroyed when it crash landed in a field.
CESSNA 425 CONQUEST I, SAN JOSE, CALIF., MARCH 6, 2002–The NTSB concluded that the in-flight breakup of Conquest N444JV was caused “by the pilot’s loss of control, which resulted in exceeding of the design stress limits of the aircraft, leading to an in-flight structural failure.” The loss of control was blamed on the loss of primary airspeed reference resulting from pitot tube icing, caused by the internal failure of the pitot heat switch.
2003–The NTSB cited the flight instructor’s inadequate supervision of the flight of Grand Aire Express’s Falcon 20 N183GA, while practicing ILS approaches in IMC with low clouds and rime ice, for causing the airplane to crash.
Israel Aircraft Industries 1124 Westwind, Tocumen, Panama, July 2, 2004–Westwind N280AT, operated by Air Trek as a Part 135 air ambulance flight, crashed into a building shortly after takeoff from the Tocumen International Airport. The airplane was destroyed and all six occupants were killed. A seventh person on the ground was also killed. VMC prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed.