Citing design issues, on February 11 Russia’s Rosaviatsia aviation authority ordered Aeroflot to ground four of its 10 Superjet 100 airliners. Manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. said the issues related to a service bulletin about aircraft slats and landing gear. On February 15, Sukhoi announced that all four aircraft had been cleared to resume operations.
AINsafety » February 18, 2013
While filming a stunt for the Asian version of the popular TV show “Top Gear” in which a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 races a Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter across a racecourse finish line, the pilot of the Cobra lost control of the aircraft and struck the ground. The pilot escaped with minor injuries but the Cobra was destroyed in the crash. The stunt was planned to duplicate one that ran on the original BBC show in 2008.
Newly issued airworthiness directive AD 2013-03-07 for the Hawker 400A was prompted by a report that the cockpit wiring for the 5-volt direct current (DC) system on the aircraft is undersized and does not have adequate circuit protection for the smaller gauge wire. The directive, which is effective as of March 19, requires installation of an in-line fuse in the 5-volt DC system for each of the five instrument lighting control power supplies.
The Transportation Trades Dept. of the AFL-CIO union group says the clock is ticking toward a March 1 federal “sequestration” deadline the organization says will imperil the U.S. National Airspace System, with $483 million in cuts to the FAA’s operations budget. Sequestration will entail mandatory furloughs among agency employees, including air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors and systems specialists.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general will begin a congressionally mandated audit of the FAA’s air traffic management modernization effort next month. “While the FAA has committed to improve the management of NextGen and its other major modernization programs, key programs continue to experience schedule delays and cost overruns that could compromise the expected benefits from NextGen initiatives,” said DOT assistant inspector general Jeffrey Guzzetti in a February 14 letter.
Two former Carson Helicopter Services executives, Steven Metheny and Levi Phillips, were indicted by a federal grand jury February 1 for “endangering the safety of flight” by falsifying aircraft documents, including weight-and-balance and performance charts on a Sikorsky S-61N helicopter owned and operated by the company. The helicopter crashed in December 2008 while performing firefighting duties for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Nine of 13 people aboard were killed in the crash, while four others received serious injuries.
Israel’s Xsight has developed its new FODetect system to help airport managers keep runways clear during rainstorms or even in the middle of the night. Using a small swiveling radar transmitter and sensor unit installed near the runway’s edge, the FODetect beams sweeps the runway as often as every 30 seconds and, like traditional radar, highlights–both visually and aurally–objects as tiny as a rivet that may have fallen unnoticed from vehicles. The operator watching the FODetect screen will also see a high-resolution image of the object that caused the alarm.
The International Civil Aviation Organization approved a temporary ban on carrying lithium-ion batteries as standard cargo on passenger aircraft last week. An interim amendment approved on February 13 rescinded ICAO’s earlier exemption that allowed lithium-ion batteries weighing up to 35 kg (77 pounds) to be carried. Batteries weighing approximately 66 pounds were responsible for two recent fires aboard the now-grounded Boeing 787 airliner.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is planning to spread the safety recommendations contained in a government/industry rewrite of Part 23 certification rules to next month’s Helicopter Association International (HAI) convention in Las Vegas. “One of the primary focuses that we have had over the past year is to try to look at how we are regulated, and how those regulations just strangle our abilities to get safety-enhancing technologies into the cockpit,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce last week.
“The absence of an accident doesn’t mean your [flight operation] is safe,” new Flight Safety Foundation president and CEO Kevin Hiatt told AIN. Hiatt, who is a former vice president of safety at World Airways as well as a retired Delta Airlines pilot, said the excellent U.S. aviation safety record the past few years has some critics wondering how it could ever be any better. But, according to Hiatt, that’s yesterday’s thinking and is precisely why the foundation initiated a campaign against complacency.