A pair of police helicopters was destroyed late in the afternoon of November 17 during an apparent helipad accident in Pasadena, Calif. The main rotor blades of the Vietnam-era Bell OH-58s collided as one was landing and the other was preparing to take off. One helicopter rolled onto its side. All six aboard both helicopters were treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital and released.
AINsafety » November 26, 2012
The General Accountability Office’s final report on the effectiveness of the FAA’s Federal Contract Tower (FCT) program said that while the program delivers ATC services at a lower cost than FAA-operated facilities, the entire program requires improved oversight.
The FAA has upgraded Israel’s air safety rating to Category 1 from the Category 2 status it held since December 2008. The November 1 upgrade, based on an October 2012 FAA review of Israel’s civil aviation authority, means Israeli air carriers will be allowed to add new service to and from the U.S., and also to code-share with U.S. airlines. The Category 2 rating allowed Israeli air carriers only to maintain existing services in place in 2008.
The FAA is adopting a new Airworthiness Directive (FAA-2011-0518) for Airbus A300/310 airliners to prevent high loading of the vertical stabilizer caused by excessive rudder pedal inputs, which could cause failure of the vertical stabilizer and consequent loss of control. The AD, effective Dec. 14, 2012, applies to A300 B4-600, B4-600R, F4-600R and C4-605R Variant F airplanes (collectively called the A300-600 series), as well as to the A310 series.
A number of recent helicopter accident reviews have identified improper maintenance as a contributing factor, according to FAA’s Alert Notice NOTC4455 issued November 21. Mistakes include items seemingly as simple as improper torque settings, failure to install cotter safety pins and reuse of damaged self-locking nuts. The FAA said the reasons for these problems appear to focus on human factors and failure to follow written procedures.
Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has dismissed a pilot who failed a drug test after reportedly passing out for 13 minutes while in command of a Beechcraft King Air 200 carrying a patient and nurse to Brisbane. The nurse eventually woke the pilot, who subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine. The pilot is believed to be the first RFDS pilot ever dismissed over a drug-related issue.
Two police officers in Atlanta, Ga., were killed November 3 when their Hughes OH-6A helicopter struck wires near the top of a 42-foot power pole and crashed. A post-crash fire destroyed the fuselage and cabin. The helicopter had departed Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in support of a local search for a missing girl in night visual conditions about 20 minutes before the accident.
The FAA updated instructions for taxi and ground movement operations effective Dec. 17, 2012. The new version of Order JO 7110.65, Paragraph 3-7-2 instructs both pilots and controllers that the entrance at the end of the runway need not be included in [ATC-issued] taxi instructions. For example, if the specific taxi route ends at a connecting taxiway with the same identifier (for example, Taxiway “A” connects with Taxiway “A1”) at the approach end of the runway, the connecting taxiway may be omitted from the clearance.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) graduate student Jared Wingo is looking for input for his master’s degree thesis entitled, “Benefits and Drawbacks of Electronic Flight Bags on Pilot Performance.” He’s looking for licensed pilots with EFB experience to take a five-minute survey looking at the differences between EFBs and paper charts. Direct questions can be sent to Wingo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and Montreal-based Advanced Aerospace Solutions (AdvAero) have announced a partnership using “rapid prototyping” to help prove the viability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in U.S. civil airspace. Rapid prototyping is designed to more quickly deliver answers on the viability of research projects.