Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today there will be “no time limit” in the search for a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 that has been missing since March 8. On March 28, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced that the search area for Flight 370 had been refined to a new location nearly 700 miles north of the earlier search region of the southern Indian Ocean.
Five bodies were located in the fuselage of a Socata TBM 700 that crashed into a reservoir 25 miles south of Montrose, Colo., on March 21. The aircraft came to rest upside down in 60 or 70 feet of water and about three feet of silt, according to a crash area spokesperson, who said the aircraft had to be pulled ashore before the victims could be removed. An NTSB source said the pilot reported his aircraft spinning before the crash and that the aircraft’s tail separated before impact.
An emergency airworthiness directive, effective immediately–AD 2013-12-06–was issued March 24 covering Airbus Helicopters legacy models MBB BK117A-3, BK117A-4, BK117B-1 and BK117C-2 that use a Metro Aviation vapor-cycle air conditioning kit pulley. Affected aircraft use pulley number 30001 installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate SH3880SW, which now requires immediate inspection of the drive pulley for looseness and properly installed lock wires and reinstallation of the pulley.
The FAA wants input before it updates its drug-and-alcohol-testing rules for some airline maintenance personnel who perform safety-sensitive functions outside the U.S. The agency is seeking input to assess the likely economic impact on the companies affected. Responses must be received by May 16.
Japan’s ANA Holdings on March 27 said it will place firm orders for 70 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the new Boeing 777-9X, additional 787 Dreamliners and new Airbus A320neos. ANA valued the order at $16.6 billion at list prices, the largest aircraft order in its history.
As India enters the final phase of elections carried out in phases over five weeks starting April 7, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued strict safety guidelines for general aviation aircraft operators conducting flights for candidates. It warned that non-compliance could lead to suspension of licenses and air operator permits.
Operators of helicopters in the UK sector of the North Sea will soon have to provide extra safety equipment or be forced to carry fewer passengers on each flight. Under new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules taking effect June 1, operators can carry passengers only in seats immediately adjacent to emergency exit windows unless they install extra flotation devices or improved emergency breathing systems (EBS). The UK’s helicopter safety steering group estimates the new rule could reduce North Sea fleet seating capacity by about 40 percent.
The NTSB has begun trying to learn what caused the pilot of a Eurocopter AS350B2 to lose control of the newsgathering rotorcraft moments after liftoff from a TV station helipad in downtown Seattle on March 18. The pilot and a TV station photographer were killed in the accident.
The Flight Safety Foundation’s Business Aviation Safety Summit (BASS) begins April 16 in San Diego, Calif. Confirmed speakers include Sergei Sikorsky, former vice president of Sikorsky Aircraft; and Chuck Aaron, chief helicopter pilot and director of maintenance with Red Bull.
After 14 months of research into the design, manufacture and assembly processes behind the Boeing 787, the FAA, working closely with Boeing’s technical experts, has concluded the aircraft was soundly designed and meets its intended safety level. The FAA determined that the manufacturer and the agency had effective processes in place to identify and correct issues that emerged before and after certification.