Two former Carson Helicopter Services executives, Steven Metheny and Levi Phillips, were indicted by a federal grand jury February 1 for “endangering the safety of flight” by falsifying aircraft documents, including weight-and-balance and performance charts on a Sikorsky S-61N helicopter owned and operated by the company. The helicopter crashed in December 2008 while performing firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Nine of 13 people aboard were killed in the crash, while four others received serious injuries.
Italian police arrested the current and former CEOs of AgustaWestland on bribery charges this morning and raided the company’s Milan headquarters. Giuseppe Orsi, who served as the helicopter manufacturer’s CEO until December 2011 and is currently head of its parent company, Finmeccanica, was taken into custody, while current AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini was placed under house arrest.
For flight department managers, the work necessary to locate the best qualified temporary pilots, flight attendants or maintenance technicians has become easier over the past decade, thanks in part to the communications technology of the Internet. However, for the handful of staffing companies that actually serve as the go-between for employers and employees, the job has become considerably tougher as those companies assume much more of the risk than before.
Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee last week cited pilot error for the September 2012 crash of an Antonov An-28 in Kamchatka that killed 10 of the 14 people aboard, according to a February 6 report in the Moscow Times. Rescuers located the aircraft on the side of a 1,600-foot hill in the Pyatibratka Mountain region. Medical examiners had announced earlier that alcohol was found in the pilots’ blood and that a criminal investigation is under way.
Many, but not all, former Silver State Helicopter students have had their student loans forgiven in the wake of the 2008 bankruptcy and liquidation of what was then the largest civil helicopter school in the U.S. However, Cleveland-based KeyBank did not offer loan forgiveness, prompting 100 former students to sue, charging that the bank knew of Silver State’s precarious financial condition when it offered them high-interest-rate loans of up to $70,000 to attend the school. Arguments in the case were heard late last year by the Ninth Circuit U.S.
The Turkish Civil Aviation General Directorate plans to levy fines against passengers who violate no-smoking regulations, as well as those who fail to turn off electronic devices when asked or fail to remain seated when signs illuminate. These offenses will result in a fine of approximately $568, while the penalty for anyone on the ground convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft will be $5,680.
The FAA proposed two civil penalties totaling $633,000 against Bridgeton, Mo.-based Trans States Airlines last month for alleged maintenance violations involving two Embraer ERJ145s.
In the first case, the FAA alleges Trans States improperly installed replacement radio altimeter antenna cables on two airplanes and then operated the noncompliant airplanes on 268 revenue flights. Inspectors found the new cables lying unsecured to the airframe inside each aircraft’s large aft wing-to-fuselage fairing rather than mounted to the walls. The violation would carry a fine of $322,000.
The FAA has proposed two civil penalties totaling $633,000 against Trans States Airlines. The carrier is alleged to have operated two Embraer ERJ145 regional jets on 3,660 passenger flights while the aircraft were out of compliance with FARs.
The International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), a global organization dedicated to reducing the civil helicopter accident rate, has added Robinson Helicopter president Kurt Robinson to its executive committee. He is a commercial helicopter pilot and he holds an MBA and a law degree from the University of San Diego.
Against the bitter aftermath of the 2006 midair between a Legacy 600 and a Gol 737 over the Amazon jungle that was fatal for all aboard the jetliner, Brazilian safety experts recently set out to show the nation’s prosecutors and judges that criminalizing aircraft accidents will never improve aviation safety.