Companies that have long been awaiting European approval for commercial single-engine operations under instrument meteorological conditions (SE-IMC), or at night, clearly face a longer wait. Despite continuing optimism voiced by some operators, it will be almost three more years before such flights can be approved across the region.
Instrument flight rules
The obstacle clearance panel (OCP), a group of experts in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is designing more suitable IFR procedures for helicopters, taking advantage of new navigation equipment. Under the proposed rules, scheduled to take effect in the fall of next year, precision guidance on low-level routes to so-called points in space will become common.
Proponents awaiting European approval for commercial single-engine operations at night or under instrumental meteorological conditions (SE-IMC) should not hold their collective breath. It could be another three years before formal clearance for such
operations–roughly equivalent to U.S. commercial single-engine instrument flight rules–are approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Switzerland’s Federal Bureau of Air Accident Investigation, known as the BFU, identified pilot error as the cause of a Crossair Avro RJ100 accident on Nov. 24, 2001, near Bassersdorf, Switzerland, during an approach to Zurich Airport. However, investigators also pointed to external deficiencies at other levels.
Expert groups at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are designing new rules for helicopter IFR procedures and heliport construction. Developed primarily with Europe in mind, the guidelines are expected to be released sometime next year, according to ICAO officials.
New taxi into position and hold (TIPH) guidance for pilots became effective February 5. It includes new ATC procedures and phraseology to improve runway safety.
Because of “undesirable” events involving TIPH, the FAA convened a safety risk management panel consisting of representatives from the agency’s Air Traffic Service and Flight Standards Service, as well as certain specialists, including experts in aviation human factors.
Online is where it’s at, and FltPlan. com allows corporate, charter and business aircraft users to create IFR flight plans online free of charge. The Web site provides a navigation log, weather data, IFR filing capability, airport information (including diagrams and a list of fields closest to a given city), passenger flight briefing sheets, low- and high-altitude en route charts and customized aircraft performance numbers.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-35, Carolina, Puerto Rico, April 15, 2002–In IFR conditions with no IFR flight plan filed, the pilot of Mitsubishi N45BS experienced a loss of control while orbiting and crashed into an automobile service facility. Destination was Luis Munoz Marin Airport, San Juan. ATC had asked the flight to hold VFR over the “plaza.”
Why, when the safety record of professionally flown turbine twins is so impressive, did four business aircraft experience fatal accidents during a five-week period late last year? Three were fan-powered–a Learjet 35A, a Gulfstream III and a Challenger 601–and one was a King Air 200. There was a highly qualified two-person crew at the controls of each aircraft. Three of the four airplanes were operating in accordance with Part 91.