Despite some distressing recent accidents, the level of safety in the ranks of professionally flown aircraft has never been better, and it is likely that modern avionics have a lot to do with that. Although discussions about too much cockpit automation inevitably crop up in relation to these accidents, the pace of technological change in cockpit avionics has accelerated, and avionics manufacturers continue to focus their engineers toward new designs and ways for pilots to interact with the increasingly complex aircraft that they fly.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) says he wants the FAA to apply noise rules to all helicopters transiting the Los Angeles basin, including those flown by emergency services. “Not all law-enforcement flights are emergencies,” Schiff said during an interview with SoCal public radio station KCRW.
The SoCal Aviation Association (SCAA) has developed what might be the first business aviation-focused system in the U.S. to allow users to read and interact with operational safety data from other members of the same organization. Called Share (Safety Hazard Awareness Reporting & Empowerment), the program uses an open-format interface created by Baldwin Aviation and does not require an operating safety management system (SMS).
“Human error is now the principal threat to flight safety,” according to an article by Don Harris in the February 2014 issue of The Psychologist, the magazine of the British Psychological Society.
Three people (the pilot and two passengers) aboard a Bell 206 died January 27 near Silt, Colo., when their power line patrol helicopter crashed after striking a wire at about 11:20 a.m. Rifle, Colo.-based DBS Helicopters operated the aircraft.
A video showing lightning striking a Copa Airlines jet parked at the gate clearly demonstrates why all aircraft fueling ceases when thunderstorms are near. Pay particular attention to the small manhole cover near the front of the aircraft that goes flying toward a ground tug shortly after the strike.
The FAA announced January 31 that it is downgrading India’s aviation safety rating to category two from category one in response to a recent International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) audit. A category-two rating means India no longer complies with ICAO safety standards. India will be allowed to maintain its current level of airline service to the U.S.
Preliminary Accident: Premier I Crashes near Atlanta
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has downgraded its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program rating of India from a Category 1 to a Category 2 based on a recent reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority. Under Category 2, India’s airlines can continue to fly existing service to the U.S., but they cannot establish any new service until the FAA reinstates the country’s Category 1 status.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is stepping up efforts to improve helicopter operational safety after adding this to its Most Wanted list of goals for increased awareness and advocacy.
In a January 14 statement, the NTSB said that between January 2003 and May 2013 there were 1,470 helicopter accidents, resulting in 477 fatalities and 274 serious injuries. The Board is concerned that helicopter accidents will continue to happen unless a concerted effort is made to improve the safety of rotary-wing operations.