Ever notice how everyone becomes an expert accident investigator within seconds of a crash? Without facts, though, most of what the media reports is simply guesswork. That’s what happened after an Asiana Boeing 777 crashed short of Runway 28L at San Francisco International last July. Less than a day later some “really bad animations” started appearing on tv, recalls Jack Suchocki, a forensic animator who runs Boca Raton, Fla.-based litigation support company Eyewitness Animations. “There are many companies that create compelling videos, but they may not be at all accurate,” he said.
Accidents, Safety, Security and Training
News about significant aircraft accidents and information from accident reports; information on safety procedures and concerns; crew, passenger, aircraft and airport security issues; and news about simulators and training procedures.
The EASA is considering increasing the time in which a pilot is expected to respond to engine failure in a single-engine helicopter, to align certification standards with real-world human performance. The new standard, if adopted, would require helicopters to be designed so that the pilot has more time to respond before a decay in rotor rpm takes the machine into hazardous dynamic territory. A study by Dutch aerospace research center NLR shows that this would add weight and cost.
FlightSafety International is upgrading its helicopter simulator graphics with its new Vital 1100 visual system and has already qualified it in several level-D machines and for use in other advanced training devices. Providing sharper resolution and a larger field of view, the new system has five times the computing power of its Vital X predecessor and significantly enhances training by providing realistic mission-specific imagery with improved scene content and greater levels of detail, says the training provider.
Two new full-motion helicopter simulators will soon be coming online at two FlightSafety International learning centers. An Airbus Helicopters EC135 simulator is expected to be up and running at FSI’s Dallas facility, followed by a Sikorsky S-92 level-D device at the company’s São Paulo center in the third quarter.
Enstrom Helicopter unveiled a mockup of a new, low-cost, two-seat, piston-powered trainer on the opening day of Heli-Expo 2014. The TH-180 is a scaled-down version of the company’s popular FX-280 three-seat model. Company officials said the TH-180 should post direct operating costs of $175 per hour and an hourly fuel burn of less than 12 gph. The launch price is $365,000. It will be powered by the 210-hp Lycoming HIO-390 and feature an engine governor and electric clutch switch. First flight is anticipated this summer and certification is targeted for 2015.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued two new safety alerts at Heli-Expo 2014 covering maintenance procedures (SA-032) and simulator training (SA-031).
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) is highlighting its Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) audit program to rotorcraft operators here at Heli-Expo 2014. It was developed to establish a common safety audit standard that could be applied to “on-shore resource sector aviation support activities.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined Asiana Airlines $500,000 for failing to adhere to its family-assistance plan following the July 6 crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport. The fine marks the first such penalty ever issued by the DOT under the Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act of 1997.
HAI president Matt Zuccaro asked his constituents a commonsense question that is at the core of the organization’s new safety program, Land & Live: “We land on mountaintops, buildings, ships, oil platforms….so, why don’t we land the helicopter when an accident chain begins? What is that?”
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) vice chairman Christopher Hart and a panel of industry and government experts shared “lessons learned from helicopter accidents” at a wide-ranging panel discussion at Heli-Expo yesterday. Topics discussed included maintenance, simulation and training and the advantages on-board video and data recorders provide in accident investigations.