Swiss police have in custody a man accused of stabbing to death an air traffic controller. The man reportedly lost his wife and children in the midair collision of a DHL Boeing 757 and a Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 on the night of July 1, 2002. The controller had been handling traffic in the airspace where the collision occurred.
Wreckage of an Era Aviation Sikorsky S-76 was found late last month, two days after it crashed into the Gulf of Mexico about 60 miles south of Galveston, Texas. Several bodies were also recovered. The twin-turbine helicopter, carrying two crew and eight passengers, was en route from Galveston to an oil platform when it went down.
An Airnet Systems Learjet 35A on a Part 135 cargo flight was seriously damaged March 19 during a failed attempted to abort the landing. The two pilots were not injured. According to the NTSB, N800AW was too high during the approach to the 6,000-foot runway at Oneida County Airport, Utica, N.Y. The copilot decreased engine power, but the sink rate became “too great” and the crew initiated a go-around.
No fatal accident involving Part 121 or 135 scheduled carriers occurred in 2002, versus three last year in which 24 people died, according to NTSB data. The crash of an Air Midwest Beech 1900 in Charlotte, N.C., accounted for 21 of those fatalities. More serious crashes by air-taxi operations raised their total and fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours from 2.03 to 2.61, and 0.62 to 0.64, respectively, in 2002 and 2003.
The NTSB issued a scathing indictment of the FAA’s oversight of contract maintenance providers, essentially validating a DOT inspector general’s report that again exposed one of the lesser known practices of the U.S. airline industry. The latest report, made public in late February, again pointed to lax FAA scrutiny of a third-party maintenance contractor as one of the main contributors to the January 2003 crash of Air Midwest Flight 5481.
The Argentine government took emergency action last month, relieving the nation’s Air Force of responsibility for providing ATC services. The government announced the creation of the National Administration of Civil Aviation, a civilian entity that will take over ATC in the country. The decision came after pilots and air traffic controllers complained about poor aviation safety.
BEECH 65-A90, FENTRESS, TEXAS, OCT. 17, 2003–King Air N511BF was destroyed during a forced landing at approximately 3:30 p.m., following a loss of engine power near Fentress. The sole-occupant commercial-rated pilot sustained minor injuries. The King Air A90 was registered to American Aircraft Sales International of Venice, Fla., and was operated by Sky Dive San Marcos of San Marcos, Texas.
PIPER PA-46-500TP, DAYTONA BEACH, FLA., DEC. 17, 2003–At 9:33 a.m. EST Piper Meridian N155BM was destroyed when it crashed into trees near Daytona Beach. The aircraft was operating under Part 91 on a personal flight in marginal VMC and was not on a flight plan. The non-instrument-rated private pilot and his only passenger were killed.
AYRES S2T-T65, MAGDALENA, N.M., JAN. 8, 2004–Ayres N3100E, registered to the U.S. Department of State Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Matters (INM), was destroyed during a forced landing in a heavily forested area west of Magdalena at approximately 10 a.m. According to the local police, the engine quit, and after the airplane crashed it was consumed by fire.
BEECH KING AIR E90, GALESBURG, ILL., JAN. 8, 2004–During climbout from Galesburg Municipal Airport (GBG) at about 2:27 p.m., King Air N48TA sustained substantial damage when the cabin door opened in flight, became separated and struck the empennage. The nonscheduled domestic passenger flight, headed for Mountain Empire Airport (MKJ) near Marion, Va., was operated by Tidewater Aero under Part 135.