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.

March 24, 2014 - 2:28pm

Operators of helicopters in the UK sector of the North Sea will soon have to provide extra safety equipment or be forced to carry fewer passengers on each flight. Under new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules taking effect June 1, operators can carry passengers only in seats immediately adjacent to emergency exit windows unless they install extra flotation devices or improved emergency breathing systems (EBS). The UK’s helicopter safety steering group estimates the new rule could reduce North Sea fleet seating capacity by about 40 percent.

March 24, 2014 - 2:25pm

Despite the news that air traffic surveillance group Aireon now has most of the key elements in place to create a functioning ADS-B system, the FAA has still not committed to the project for updating its oceanic air traffic management operations. And according to libertarian think-tank The Reason Foundation, the U.S. government might not view this important commitment as a priority.

March 24, 2014 - 2:21pm

The NTSB has begun trying to learn what caused the pilot of a Eurocopter AS350B2 to lose control of the newsgathering rotorcraft moments after liftoff from a TV station helipad in downtown Seattle on March 18. The pilot and a TV station photographer were killed in the accident.

March 24, 2014 - 2:18pm

Scientists at the University of Florida in Gainesville have developed an airport baggage scanner that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to help uncover explosives in checked airline baggage. The new system compares the specific colors of UV light absorbed as bags pass beneath the scanner along the conveyor belt. The new technology works with existing airport X-ray conveyor belts and, according to its developer, is able to scan 100 percent of luggage for explosives with 95-percent accuracy.

March 24, 2014 - 2:15pm

An update to the FAA’s JO 7110.663 rule means that air traffic controllers who use time-based clearances will soon no longer announce what time standard they are using. Effective April 3, controllers will no longer be required to state whether times are for UTC or coordinated universal time. In this example, “Falcon 372BX, climb to reach one three thousand at two two one five. Time two two one one and one-quarter,” the pilot is expected to be level at 13,000 feet at 22:15 UTC.

March 24, 2014 - 2:13pm

The Flight Safety Foundation’s Business Aviation Safety Summit (BASS) begins April 16 in San Diego, Calif. Confirmed speakers include Sergei Sikorsky, former vice president of Sikorsky Aircraft; and Chuck Aaron, chief helicopter pilot and director of maintenance with Red Bull.

March 24, 2014 - 2:10pm
solar panel mirrors

Two pilots have filed safety reports with NASA’s ASRS system about the recently opened Ivanpah solar energy plant in San Bernardino County, Calif. The pilots said they were nearly blinded by the glare off the energy plant’s expansive mirror system. The Ivanpah plant uses 173,500 large mirrors to reflect sunlight onto boilers atop three 459-foot towers. Ivanpah’s co-owner and operator, NRG Energy, was notified of the “blinding” complaints last week and said it would respond within 10 days.

March 24, 2014 - 2:00pm

After 14 months of research into the design, manufacture and assembly processes behind the Boeing 787, the FAA, working closely with Boeing’s technical experts, has concluded the aircraft was soundly designed and meets its intended safety level. The FAA determined that the manufacturer and the agency had effective processes in place to identify and correct issues that emerged before and after certification.

March 24, 2014 - 1:55pm

An average of 1.2 aircraft go missing each year, according to an illustrated map released last week by Bloomberg News that pinpoints the last known position of 83 aircraft that have gone missing since 1948. The Douglas DC-3 is the aircraft lost more often than any other in the past 65 years. The fact that the number of aircraft lost in the past 20 years has declined dramatically reflects the continual improvements in aviation safety over the past seven decades.

March 20, 2014 - 3:00pm

NTSB investigators are examining the tail-rotor drive assembly following the fatal crash of a 2003 Airbus Helicopters AS350B2–registered as N250FB–that plunged from its sixth-floor helipad to a Seattle street on Tuesday morning. Pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59, and cameraman Bill Strothman, 62, were killed in the crash, and a person on the ground was seriously injured.

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