The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is redoubling efforts to help African airlines improve the continent’s poor accident rate. “It is no secret that the biggest gap [in airline safety performance] is in Africa,” said IATA director general Tony Tyler at the group’s international operations conference in Vienna on April 15. “Compared with a world rate of 0.20 Western-built jet hull loss accidents per million sectors in 2012, Africa’s rate was 3.71.”
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.
Boeing cleared one of the last hurdles in its campaign to return the 787 to service Friday afternoon, when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced it had approved its design modifications for the airplane’s battery system. The FAA said the changes address risks at the battery cell level, the battery level and the aircraft level.
Boeing moved one step closer toward returning the 787 to service on Friday, when it flew Dreamliner Line Number 86 on a one-hour, 49-minute mission to demonstrate conformity of its battery system modification to U.S. certification authorities. Painted in LOT Polish Airlines livery, LN 86 took off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, at 10:39 a.m.
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) began its annual safety symposium with an attention-grabbing slide. It shows the accident rates for U.S. Part 121 airlines and all Part 135 operations for the years 2007-2011. The accident rate for all Part 135 operations is 0.60 per 100,000 flight hours, approximately four times worse than the airlines’ 0.159 per 100,000 flight hours.
After a “thorough” review, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday approved Boeing’s certification plan for a redesigned battery system for the 787 Dreamliner.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has changed the rules and as of April 25 will allow small blades and sports implements such as golf clubs and lacrosse sticks to be carried on board by airline passengers. The rules would allow passengers to carry knives with blades shorter than 2.36 inches and narrower than half an inch, as long as they don’t have lockable blades. The existing rules prohibit most sharp objects, with the exception of scissors that are four or fewer inches in length, and also sports equipment. The TSA wants the rule change to harmonize U.S. security practices with those of other countries, which would make security screening more efficient. I’m not so sure about that.
The iconic bubble-canopied Bell 47 helicopter is coming back. Scott’s-Bell 47 announced yesterday at Heli-Expo that it will build new Bell 47 helicopters, dubbed the 47-GT6, powered by the Rolls-Royce RR300 engine. The aircraft will be built from scratch, not remanufactured, and will be based on the 47G-3B-2A type design, taking advantage of the 3,200-pound max gross weight with external load that model was originally designed for. Internal useful load will be 1,400 pounds and external load 1,650 pounds.
For the fifth year running, Heli-Expo “appears to be setting records” for attendance and exhibitors, Matthew Zuccaro, president of show organizer Helicopter Association International (HAI) told AIN on the eve of Heli-Expo ‘13 here in Las Vegas. “We anticipate more than 23,000 attendees, we have approximately 750 exhibitors and 60 helicopters on display,” Zuccaro said.
The effort toward returning the Boeing 787 to service enters a new phase this week as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration digests a formal proposal issued last Friday during what the manufacturer characterized as a productive meeting between BCA president and CEO Ray Conner and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Neither Boeing nor the FAA would comment on the substance of the proposal, widely believed to center on a modification of the airplane’s lithium-ion batteries meant to prevent fire from spreading from one cell to another.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has determined that several assumptions used in the Federal Aviation Administration’s application of nine special conditions in the certification of the lithium-ion battery system on the Boeing 787 proved incorrect, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersmann revealed Thursday during a media briefing at the board’s headquarters in Washington,