A UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s special bulletin [preliminary report] on the January 16 helicopter crash in central London appears to blame the pilot and sole occupant of the Agusta A109E for failure to maintain sufficient forward visibility while flying in congested airspace over the River Thames. The helicopter struck a building crane on the south side of the river killing the pilot and a pedestrian on the ground after the aircraft fell to the street.
Helicopter pilots unexpectedly straying into IFR conditions and losing control of their aircraft has been identified as the cause of the greatest number of rotorcraft fatalities, according to the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST). The group, which is focused on greatly reducing helicopter accidents by 2016, has reported that NTSB figures from 2011 indicate that 45 of 52 such accidents proved fatal to occupants. “That means the chances of surviving an inadvertent encounter with IFR are just 14 percent,” according to IHST.
The U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, have asked the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General to look into the rise in the number of losses of ATC separation that began emerging after the FAA’s 2009 update of its operational error reporting protocols. The IG has received a similar request from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
Libya’s civil aviation authority has said the cause of an Airbus A330 crash on approach to Tripoli in May 2010 was the result of poor communication between the Air Afriqiyah’s captain and the first officer. The accident killed 103 of 104 people aboard. The first officer, the flying pilot, attempted a go-around when, after an autopilot-flown approach, he did not recognize the runway at minimums.
Flight students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus will be able to take advantage this fall of a full-motion level-D simulator that includes the ability to log a portion of the time toward the magic 1,000 hours they’ll need to earn a restricted ATP certificate. The aircraft is configured like a typical regional jet cockpit to offer experience in skills such as advanced decision making.
A twin-turboprop Fokker 50 was destroyed after it crashed on March 4 into a residential area approximately four miles short of the runway at Goma Airport (FZNA) in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The accident killed six of nine people aboard the Compagnie Africaine d’Aviation (CAA) airlines aircraft. CAA is one of dozens of Congolese airlines banned from flying within European Union airspace over safety concerns.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) have inked an agreement that each believes represents a significant step in enhancing a mutual dialogue focused on runway safety. The agreement also means the realization of a shared aviation safety intelligence model, a computer database designed to improve accident analysis.
While regular helicopter pilot training in day-to-day operations is always beneficial, such training is not always safe when conducted in the air. FlightSafety International’s Dallas Learning Center recently offered AIN reporter Mark Huber a look at the vast range of scenario-based training flights available with Vital X graphics and five-projector technology now available on the EC135 that the simulator emulates.
Eighteen of 21 people aboard a tourist balloon ride died in Luxor, Egypt, on February 26 when the aircraft’s gas chamber exploded, sending the balloon falling nearly 1,000 feet to the ground. The crash is believed to have been the deadliest balloon accident in the world over the past 20 years. The local governor of Luxor province banned any further balloon flights until further notice.
A total of 290 air accidents were reported to Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) in 2012. This represented a 13-percent increase from the 2011 total of 257 but was comparable to the 2007-2011 average of 292. There were 42 fatal accidents with 63 fatalities in 2012. Of the 42 fatal accidents, 25 accidents involved fixed-wing airplanes (including 17 private and six commercial), seven fatal accidents involved helicopters (including five commercial) and eight fatal accidents involved ultralights.