A Bell 407 crashed into a wooded area in the Pocono Mountains, about 90 miles north of Philadelphia, on October 10, killing two of the three people on board, including the pilot. The passenger in back, in critical condition, managed to use his cellphone after the accident to call for help. Weather sources said local visibilities in the crash area were approximately half-a-mile in fog.
Aviation accidents and incidents
On Monday, a Brazilian court will hear the appeal of U.S. pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino, who survived the midair of their Embraer Legacy 600 with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 over the Amazon in September 2006. After being detained in Brazil for more than two months after the accident, they returned home and, in May 2011, were acquitted in absentia on all but one of six charges.
A Boeing 727 was deliberately crashed and filmed–from both inside and outside–for the premiere episode of Curiosity, which airs Sunday on Discovery Channel. This was done to see what actually happens during an airplane crash and to examine the science behind passengers’ best chances for survival. Crash test dummies as well as sensors throughout the airplane were used to reveal the types of forces unleashed in a typical crash.
According to some statistics, the aviation accident rate in African is nine times worse than anywhere else on earth. But it is improving, partially because of increased focus on the region internationally, but also because of efforts like the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Skies Africa (SSA) program that began in 1998. It is now focusing on increasing the number of African countries that meet international aviation safety standards, and that means training accident investigators.
As an industry, aviation demands unwavering attention to procedure and regulations, and when those procedures are ignored and result in an accident, they garner the attention of NTSB member Robert Sumwalt and his colleagues. Last year pilot and air traffic controller professionalism landed on the Safety Board’s “Most Wanted” list for the first time, following a spate of concluded accident reports that indicated lapses in this area.
Aircraft Performance Group recently added in-flight analysis to its iPreFlight iPad app. Previous versions of the APG app require an Internet connection to perform runway analysis calculations. The advantage of performing a landing-distance assessment while airborne is that conditions at the destination sometimes change, and pilots need to calculate if the destination runway still meets legal and safety parameters.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has updated its investigation of the May 28 midair collision between a Beechcraft Bonanza and a Piper PA-28 over the Washington, D.C. suburb of Summerduck, Va. The TSB is handling the investigation at the request of NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman to avoid any potential conflicts of interest because the two victims aboard the Bonanza were U.S. government employees.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has concluded that ambiguous or confusing ATC phraseology “is a frequent contributor to aircraft accidents and incidents.” In the recently released results of a phraseology study that it conducted, ICAO maintains that “a miscommunication could potentially lead to a dangerous situation without any of the involved stakeholders being aware,” especially in regions where English is not the native language.