The NTSB on Tuesday is scheduled to adopt its final investigation reports, including the determination of probable cause, of two fatal Learjet accidents–departure from controlled flight, Learjet 24B, N600XJ, Helendale, Calif., Dec. 23, 2003; and controlled flight into terrain, Learjet 35A, N30DK, San Diego, Calif., Oct. 24, 2004.
The FAA last week revoked the Part 135 certificate of American Air Network (AAN) of Chesterfield, Mo., saying the company permitted flights for hire to be conducted on its air carrier certificate but allowed individuals who did not hold such a certificate to have operational control of those flights.
The NTSB today concluded that a combination of flight crew and ATC deficiencies led to a controlled flight into terrain accident involving an air ambulance Learjet 35A near San Diego on Oct. 24, 2004. The captain, copilot and three medical crewmembers were killed in the 12:30 a.m. crash.
The FAA postponed until January 1 next year a decision to limit “priority service” for aircraft registration in connection with conducting international flights to allow only one request per aircraft (by N-number) in any three-month period. The original implementation date was June 1.
Eurocontrol, the Flight Safety Foundation, the European Regions Airline Association and other pilot and ATC organizations are implementing a new action plan to address air-to-ground communications safety issues in Europe. These include callsign confusion, altitude busts, runway incursions, undetected simultaneous transmissions, radio interference, use of nonstandard phraseology and prolonged loss of communication.
The final NTSB report on the Dec. 23, 2003 crash of a Learjet 24B near Helendale, Calif., released last week, concluded that the probable cause was loss of control for undetermined reasons. Twenty minutes after Pavair’s Learjet N600XJ left San Bernardino County Airport, Chino, Calif., bound for Hailey, Idaho, the crew requested a return without declaring an emergency.
The comment period was extended to July 1 for the FAA’s draft environmental impact statement on proposed plans to redesign the airspace in the Northeast, which is intended to improve safety, reduce delays and handle growing air traffic.
Investigation has started into a June 2 accident involving Learjet 35 N182K, which crashed in Baker Cove a few hundreds yards short of the runway while trying to land at Groton-New London Airport, Conn. The accident killed the two pilots–Robert Janule and Michael Kiser–but the three passengers escaped with only minor injuries.
On Tuesday, President Bush sent to the Senate the nomination to the NTSB of Robert L. Sumwalt III, a long-time aviation safety advocate and aviation department manager of South Carolina-based Scana. If confirmed, Sumwalt would occupy the seat vacated last August by Richard Healing and, with an accompanying reappointment, would continue until the end of 2011.
As the user-fee battle rages, rhetoric from Air Transport Association member airlines is reaching vast audiences. Lost in the debate, however, is a reference made by ATA v-p of operations and safety Basil Barimo late last year, in which he coined the term “commercial airspace” and attempted to connect the user-fee issue with safety in relation to less experienced pilots flying very light jets in so-called commercial airspace.