France’s BEA air accident investigation agency has released its serious incident report into the loss of control of an Air France Boeing 777 on November 11 while it was flying a Category III approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. During a go-around, the aircraft came within 63 feet of the ground before it established a positive climbout. The BEA said the pilot flying–the 14,370-hour captain–failed to execute the go-around according to Boeing procedures.
On February 20, the FAA issued a far-reaching final rule that will require helicopter operators, including air ambulance services, to abide by stricter flight rules and procedures that better prepare both pilots and helicopters for safer operations. Within 60 days, all operators will be required to use enhanced procedures for flying in challenging weather, at night, and when landing in remote locations.
Federal investigators are combing through the wreckage of a Beechcraft King Air B100 that crashed on February 19 while on approach to Pearland Regional Airport 17 miles south of Houston, Texas. Only the pilot was on board the aircraft when it reportedly overshot the runway during the first landing attempt in foggy weather. The aircraft crashed during a subsequent attempt to land visually.
The NBAA said March 1 is the application deadline for its annual Flying Safety award program, which recognizes member companies for exceptional achievement in maintaining safe flying operations. Awards will be presented this October at the association’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.
Two flight attendants were injured on February 17 in separate onboard incidents. A Russian Ural Airlines attendant fell from an open cabin door during ground servicing in Dubai after a service vehicle struck the aircraft. Reports said the truck struck with enough force to move the aircraft 10 feet on the ground. In another incident, three United Airlines attendants were injured after their Boeing 737 encountered severe turbulence on approach to Billings, Mont. One attendant was critically injured, while the other two were treated and released from a local hospital.
Fresh pressure is being placed on the FAA to revise and finalize its 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would mandate the installation of helicopter terrain avoidance and warning systems (HTAWS) and radar altimeters on all U.S. emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters. The NPRM drew a firestorm of criticism from affected stakeholders for favoring high-cost solutions over less expensive, and some argued, more effective safety technology such as night-vision goggles (NVGs).
The UK CAA unveiled a series of stringent measures today as a result of a review it launched last September to improve the safety of helicopter operations in the North Sea. These changes are expected to improve survivability after a ditching.
Bell Helicopter has sold two Bell 412EPIs and two 407GXs to Chongqing General Aviation, marking the first Bell helicopters to be used in China for parapublic missions, including firefighting and search-and-rescue. The four aircraft will serve the Chongqing Fire Fighting Department. “We are pleased to collaborate with Chongqing in its efforts to further its parapublic offerings,” said Chris Jaran, managing director for Bell Helicopter in China.
On February 17 the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked the aircraft single-handedly and flew to Geneva airport to seek political asylum. Although both Italian and French aircraft were scrambled to escort the 767, the fighters of the Swiss Air Force remained firmly on the ground. A Swiss air force spokesman confirmed that no interceptors were on alert at the time, as the air force operates to office hours only, or by special notification. However, the air force was keen to point out that it could have generated interceptor sorties given more warning.
The Helicopter Association International (HAI) will offer registered attendees no fewer than 44 educational seminars during the three-day event’s rotor safety challenge at next week’s Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, Calif. The event opens with NTSB-led sessions covering lessons learned from helicopter accidents in which investigators will look at the facts gathered through safety recommendations related to pilot training and helicopter maintenance.