Gulfstream says its flight-data monitoring/flight operational quality assurance program “is already making a difference in safety to operators.” Introduced last year, the aircraft manufacturer’s flight operations risk management service (Forms) increases operational safety by measuring exposure to known risks, such as unstable approaches, system operating limits and adverse runway operations.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, Amarillo, Texas, Feb. 4, 2010–The Part 135 flight was landing in night visual conditions at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, when the pilot was informed that the runway was covered in snow and ice. After touchdown, the turboprop twin made an abrupt left turn, which the pilot attempted to counter. The airplane then departed the runway and shed its right main landing gear before coming to a stop.
Garfield County Regional Airport in Rifle, Colo., is closed for seven months
Norwood (Mass.) Memorial Airport is closed to all fixed-wing traffic until further notice due to runway and taxiway flooding. Heavy rain this past weekend caused the Neponset River to send floodwater onto the adjacent airport property, flooding both runways–10/28 and 17/35–and several taxiways.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, Elyria, Ohio, Jan. 18, 2010–N80HH was destroyed and all four people on board were killed when the airplane went down short of Lorain County Regional Airport’s Runway 07 while on an instrument approach.
The FAA has approved Vaisala’s AviMet PC-based runway visual range (RVR) system for use by FAA ATC facilities in the U.S. AviMet is automated and uses Vaisala’s optical sensors to determine meteorological optical range and measure ambient light, and these are combined with data from a new light intensity monitor via data processing to deliver a calculated runway visual range. The first airport to implement AviMet
Dassault Falcon 20, Jamestown, N.Y., Dec. 21, 2008–Icy runway conditions prevented the crew from stopping the airplane on landing, according to the NTSB. A contributing factor was the failure of the drag chute to deploy properly. The twinjet was substantially damaged when it overran the runway while landing at Chautauqua County/Jamestown Airport around 1 a.m.
The Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have released a runway excursion risk-reduction tool kit that provides analysis of runway excursion accident data, a compilation of significant risk factors and recommendations for operators, pilots, airports, air traffic management, air traffic controllers and regulators to help address the problem.
The underwear bomber’s abortive attempt to blow up a Northwest/Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit quickly overshadowed aviation’s other lucky break this past Christmas season–American Flight 331 from Miami to Kingston, Jamaica, which slid off a rain-soaked runway, breaking the fuselage in three places and injuring scores of people.
While NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman lauded controllers and pilots for an improving runway incursion rate in the U.S., she took the FAA to task for its dithering over six recommendations on runway safety issued in 2000.