Paul Comtois knows why safety is a tough business for some people to comprehend: “Because it’s difficult to prove that what you’ve implemented actually had any effect.” Comtois, a former fighter pilot, is director of advanced pilot training programs at ETC, a Southampton, Pa.-based training company focused on upset prevention and recovery.
An Air France A340-300 nearly crashed while on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on March 13 last year because the crew failed to understand the danger cues the aircraft’s flight systems were showing them. The aircraft was already above the recommended altitude for glideslope intercept–with speedbrakes deployed–as it was being vectored for the Runway 8R Cat III ILS at CDG. On low-visibility approaches at CDG, ATC procedures also require aircraft to be slowed to less than 180 knots within 15 miles.
For years, experts have wondered about the correlation–or the lack of one–between pilots’ flight-time experience and how they perform in the cockpit. Two Australian human-factors researchers–Matthew Thomas and Melanie Todd–have tackled the question.
As thunderstorm season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s worth remembering how weather-radar technology has improved in the past three decades. Southern Airways Flight 242, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashed in Pauling County outside Atlanta on April 4, 1977, after flying directly into a severe thunderstorm, calling attention to the then little understood issue of radar signal attenuation in areas of heavy precipitation.
A TSA inspector at McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Tenn., confiscated a loaded .38-caliber handgun from a woman on March 21 after removing it from her carry-on luggage. The TSA officer noticed the weapon as the bag passed through the X-ray screening machine. The weapon’s owner was carrying an expired gun permit and told officials she had forgotten she was carrying the weapon. The TSA confiscated 16 firearms from people attempting to board aircraft at TYS last year.
Aircare Solutions Group has developed a critical incident response program it plans to offer to the business aviation community at no charge. The company is offering this because it believes mental health-related trauma surrounding catastrophic events, especially those involving loss of life, can significantly reduce a person’s ability to function at work and play if not dealt with quickly.
The FAA will soon begin managing E-STMP slots for IFR aircraft arriving for this year’s U.S. Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., between April 8 and April 15 from 6 a.m. local time through 11 p.m. local time daily for Augusta Regional Airport (AGS), Daniel Field (DNL), Aiken Municipal (AIK) and Thomson-McDuffie County Airport (HQU). Parking reservations are also required at Augusta between April 1 and April 15.
PilotWorkshop.com says its free training app is the number-one download for the iPad and iPhone under “pilot training.” The app features 20 free training videos and audios that include topics such as single-pilot IFR, ATC communications, aviation weather, emergencies and airmanship, all produced in 10 to 15-minute segments.
LouElla Hollingsworth, a veteran air traffic controller with 29 years’ experience, saved the pilot of a Piaggio Avanti when she recognized signs of hypoxia in his radio transmissions on November 16 last year. Thanks to Hollingsworth’s quick thinking as a Fort Worth Center controller in Texas, she convinced the pilot to descend to a lower altitude where the oxygen level was suitable for breathing.
The Piper Cheyenne that crashed shortly after takeoff on March 15 from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) in Florida may have been attempting to return to the airport after encountering an unknown system failure, according to preliminary NTSB data.
The aircraft departed FXE at 4:20 p.m. local time for a short maintenance test flight at the time of the crash. The pilot and two passengers were killed when the aircraft stalled after takeoff from Runway 8, struck the ground and burst into flames.