The French BEA accident investigation branch determined that the pilot’s failure to de-ice before departure led to the takeoff crash of a Beechcraft Premier in France on March 4 last year that killed the pilot and one passenger. This was one of four Premier accidents last year that took a total of 11 lives.
Aviation accidents and incidents
The number of fatalities from business jet accidents worldwide in this year’s first half has already exceeded the total number for all of last year, according to statistics gathered by AIN. In the first six months of this year, 29 people died in seven crashes of U.S.- and non-U.S.-registered business jets compared with 23 people killed in eight mishaps in all of 2013.
The UK Parliament’s transport committee has released a report on offshore helicopter safety that indicates passenger culture can be intimidating and crash survivors feel uncomfortable about their relationship with investigators. The report touches on “troubling evidence about a macho bullying culture,” with reports that offshore workers concerned about helicopter safety were told they should leave the industry.
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) says it strongly supports the use of deployable flight data recorders or triggered flight data transmission capabilities in addition to the standard cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder already installed on transport aircraft. The FSF believes a deployable flight data recorder should also include an emergency locator transmitter. The International Civil Aviation Organization is considering this option in a proposed amendment to Annex 6.17–Emergency location locator transmitter.
U.S.-registered turbine business airplanes were involved in fewer total accidents in the first half of this year, but corporate jets recorded more fatalities over the first half of this year than in the same period last year. According to preliminary data tabulated by AIN, there were 21 total accidents involving business turboprops and jets in the first six months, compared with 27 in the same period last year.
The NTSB’s preliminary report, issued last week, on the June 18 crash of an Israel Aerospace Industries Westwind II at Huntsville International Airport in Alabama revealed few clues about what caused the aircraft to bank steeply to the right just after takeoff and crash into an open field near the airport.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last week denied a 2013 petition to re-examine the causes of the July 1996 accident in which TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean soon after takeoff from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport. A group called The TWA 800 Project filed the petition, claiming that a “detonation or high-velocity explosion” (possibly a missile) brought down the Boeing 747.
The FAA last month released Safety Info for Operators document 14009 to explain a new data-gathering system on implementation of safety enhancements to Part 121 air carriers. The informational notice says all data gathered is only for the evaluation of industry-wide safety-related issues and is not intended to reflect regulatory compliance.
The FAA published the document as part of its support for the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (Cast), of which the agency is a participant along with air carriers, manufacturers and aviation labor organizations.
President Obama has nominated NTSB vice-chairman Christopher Hart to become chairman of the Board. The position was vacated when former chair Deborah Hersman left the NTSB on April 25, at which time Hart became acting chairman.