The NTSB wants the FAA to emphasize the need for pilots, particularly those in single-pilot Part 135 operations, to provide “timely emergency briefings.” The Safety Board’s recommendation follows its investigation into the July 13, 2003, fatal ditching of a scheduled Part 135 Cessna 402 in the water off the Bahamas after one engine failed at 3,500 feet msl.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
Phoenix, Ariz.-based Amsafe Aviation has been selected to provide inflatable restraint systems for the pilot and copilot seats in the Adam A700 twin-engine very light jet currently in initial (non-conforming) flight-test and scheduled for certification next year. The restraints, installed as an integral part of each pilot’s lapbelt, are designed to inflate within milliseconds of a crash to protect against head and upper-body injuries.
Singapore has established a program for pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics and others to report aviation safety incidents confidentially and without fear of prosecution for inadvertent regulatory violations. Called Sincair (for Singapore confidential aviation incident reporting), the program is similar to the NASA-operated Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) in the U.S. and programs operating in the UK, Australia and Canada.
The FAA has given its 2004 Excellence in Aviation Research Award to the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) for publishing a manual on ditching for corporate, fractional, on-demand and commuter operators.
As I prepared to write this column the television and radio news programs were reporting on the recent spate of business aviation accidents. One of the widely reported accidents that caused considerable concern at the NTSB was the November 28 crash of the Challenger 601 in Montrose, Colo. In this accident the NTSB is investigating airplane performance issues, including the possibility of upper-surface wing ice contamination.
Foreign object damage could one day disappear, thanks to technology developed in the UK. A high-precision millimeter wave radar built by researchers at QinetiQ (pronounced ki•ne•tic) has demonstrated its ability to detect objects as small as a two-inch-long steel machine bolt as it lay on a runway surface 1.24 miles from the radar.
As a result of its ongoing investigation into the November 28 fatal takeoff accident of a Challenger 604 in Montrose, Colo., the NTSB has issued a special alert involving the detection and effects of ice accumulation on aircraft wings.
In response to numerous reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft, the FAA last month issued advisory circular (AC) 70-2 requesting all aircrews to report immediately incidents of unauthorized laser illumination to the appropriate ATC facility. The AC also requires air traffic controllers to notify pilots immediately about laser events.
Of 19 fatal accidents involving Part 135 jet operators from 1999 to the end of last year, 13 befell flights flown under FAR Part 91–that is, without paying passengers on board. That’s more than 68 percent. There have been only six fatal jet accidents involving paying passengers in the past six years–including air ambulance operators (but not including EMS helicopters).
FAA airport safety researchers have created a prototype taxiway screen that could help prevent runway incursions at airports with taxiways that pass well beyond the ends of runways. The screens “hide” aircraft on end-around taxiways from the view of pilots preparing to take off on active runways.