Disaster

September 29, 2014 - 12:10pm

A fire, thought to have been started by an arsonist, early in the morning on September 26 immediately closed the Chicago En Route ATC Center (ZAU) in Aurora, Ill., shutting down air traffic at Chicago O’Hare and Midway International airports, as well as at a half dozen business aviation airports in the area. A Chicago flight services briefer told AIN on September 27 that ZAU will remain closed until September 30.

The Professional Airways Safety Specialists union described the damage to the center’s equipment as “substantial.”

September 29, 2014 - 12:05pm

The overall number of civil aviation accidents declined significantly between 2012 and 2013, according to NTSB data published earlier this month. However, bucking this trend were Part 135 operations, for which the number of accidents doubled during the same period.

September 29, 2014 - 12:00pm

The FAA’s September 26 approval of a half dozen exemptions for some TV and film production companies to operate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) stopped just short of complete approval of those operations in the national airspace system. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the UAS to be used in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.

September 29, 2014 - 11:48am

The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) released two new safety bulletins last week focused on risk assessment and professionalism. The first, a flight/ground risk assessment tool (Frat/Grat), explains how a good Frat/Grat is intended to operate, and offers operators guidance for how to create their own. The second bulletin is called “Setting the Right Example: Flying Safely Even When No One Is Watching.”

 

September 29, 2014 - 11:40am

A chartered DHC-6 Twin Otter crashed September 20 near Port Moresby-Jacksons International Airport in Papua New Guinea, killing four of the seven people aboard. The aircraft, operated by Hevilift in what was reported as “poor weather,” was approaching Port Moresby inbound from Woitape Airport, 60 miles north.

September 29, 2014 - 11:30am

Airbus Helicopters said Protean won its 2014 Vision Zero Aviation Safety Award for development of the LZControl.com landing-zone database, a free-flight safety service for the air medical industry. Pilots using the company’s LZControl can easily access landing-zone maps and satellite images, pull down current weather and IFR information and locate site-specific contacts.

September 25, 2014 - 3:21pm

Airbus Brazilian subsidiary Helibras recently held its second “Operational Safety Days,” filling São Paulo’s Anhembi Morumbi University auditorium to its 300-seat capacity. “We’ll need a bigger place next year,” Helibras safety manager Antonio Modesto told AIN, describing the helicopter safety event as “the realization of a personal dream” with full company support.

September 25, 2014 - 3:10pm

Russian Helicopters and Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies have started testing the Mi-171A2 helicopter with KBO-17 avionics. The first flights of the upgraded Mi-171 will take place in Moscow. The medium-twin helicopter features a five-display suite and an obstacle warning system. With the new system, the required crew is reduced to two. Certification, once slated for this year, has been postponed to 2015.

September 25, 2014 - 2:55pm

An advance notice of proposed rulemaking from the Bureau of Safety and Environment (BSEE) seeks to improve safety for operations related to helicopters and helidecks on fixed offshore facilities. The BSEE invites comments on whether to incorporate in its regulations industry standards for design, construction and maintenance of helidecks, as well as standards for aviation fuel storage and handling.

September 25, 2014 - 12:26pm

The Japan Transport Safety Board has concluded its investigation into the overheating of the lithium-ion main ship battery aboard a Boeing 787 last year without reaching a definitive conclusion on the cause. However, the report, issued on Thursday, said that “inappropriate” testing might have contributed to the Jan. 16, 2013 incident, which led to a worldwide grounding of the Dreamliner fleet until Ethiopian Airlines resumed service on April 27 that year. It also pointed to low temperatures as a possible culprit due to lithium metal’s tendency to form deposits on a battery’s electrodes in such conditions.

 
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