An average of 1.2 aircraft go missing each year, according to an illustrated map released last week by Bloomberg News that pinpoints the last known position of 83 aircraft that have gone missing since 1948. The Douglas DC-3 is the aircraft lost more often than any other in the past 65 years. The fact that the number of aircraft lost in the past 20 years has declined dramatically reflects the continual improvements in aviation safety over the past seven decades.
NTSB investigators are examining the tail-rotor drive assembly following the fatal crash of a 2003 Airbus Helicopters AS350B2–registered as N250FB–that plunged from its sixth-floor helipad to a Seattle street on Tuesday morning. Pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59, and cameraman Bill Strothman, 62, were killed in the crash, and a person on the ground was seriously injured.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) will hold a general aviation rally on March 28 at Bombardier’s Dallas Service Center at Dallas Love Field. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) and House Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D), Sam Johnson (R), Pete Sessions (R) and Marc Veasey (D) will be the featured speakers.
Air traffic controllers calling in sick on March 30, 2012, left two ATC sectors–Kimberley and Cable–too short of personnel to keep them operational, according to a recent report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). Airservices Australia, the air navigation service provider, erected a temporary restricted area (TRA) designed to prevent aircraft from entering because there was no one to provide necessary ATC service. Despite the TRA, two Airbus A330s somehow entered and flew through the unmonitored airspace.
The North Texas Business Aviation Association’s (NTBAA) second annual Safety Showdown is set for April 3 at the Million Air Dallas FBO located at Addison (KADS) Airport. The day-long event includes a dozen different safety presentations by speakers drawn from the NTSB, NBAA safety committee, FlightSafety/Medaire, the Van Allen Group and Jackson & Wade.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is preparing to reduce its staff by 20 percent in the face of government budget cuts. Safety inspectors, mostly based in Canberra, make up just over half of the 110 personnel who might be let go. The union representing the safety inspectors is fighting the planned cuts.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairwoman Deborah Hersman announced Tuesday that she will depart the agency next month after nearly a decade of service. She was appointed to the board in 2004 by President George W. Bush and was named as chair by President Obama in 2009, serving as the agency’s face during many press conferences and hearings. She leaves to join the Illinois-based advocacy group National Safety Council, as president and CEO. Christopher Hart, currently NTSB vice chairman, will take over as acting chairman.
The prolonged search for the Boeing 777-200 operated as Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 brought attention to onboard data transmission systems that report an aircraft’s position and other information in real time. Such a system could help track an aircraft that disappears from radar coverage.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide is holding its second massive open online course (MOOC) from April 7 to May 11 on human factors in aviation accidents. The free course is limited to 2,000 students and will cover “the mental and physical factors that contribute to aviation accidents,” according to the university. Students can view lectures and complete assignments on their own schedules and participate in live sessions and interact with other students on discussion boards and social media.
Last week the NBAA’s safety committee published its annual list of top business aviation safety priorities designed to promote safety-focused discussion and advocacy within the business aviation community. The list this year includes the need to establish a positive safety culture, single-pilot safety, crewmember fitness for duty, airport safety, airmanship skills, distraction management, public policy, managing the talent pipeline and technology management.