The first autonomous takeoff and landing of the Sikorsky Autonomous Research Aircraft (Sara)–an S-76 fitted with fly-by-wire controls, sensors and software for unmanned operations–is expected to take place within days, according to program manager Igor Cherepinsky. So far, he told AIN, Sara’s autonomous flights were following a trajectory to and from a hover.
A June 26 NBAA Webinar delivered new insights into the weather international pilots might encounter across the globe. In addition to a refresher on the potential dangers of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), topics covered included monsoons, dust and sand storms, clear air turbulence (CAT), the jet stream and tropical cyclones.
The recent experience of the crew of a Part 121-operated Embraer ERJ-145 underscores the value of returning to the destination in the event of encountering icing. The crew noticed that ice (which they later classified as “severe”) had begun accumulating on the windshield wipers and nose and that the aircraft’s anti-ice system could not be turned on. As they attempted to operate the anti-ice manually, the system came to life but produced a master warning on the Eicas followed by a “bleed air 2 overtemp” warning.
In response to the powerful tornado that ravaged areas of Oklahoma City on Monday, business aviation charity Sky Hope Network has organized a community relief fund to aid several aviation professionals who lost their homes and also the family of an FAA title examiner who was killed in the tornado. In its first day, the campaign raised nearly $10,000, all of which will be distributed directly to the victims. Donations can be made through June 1 via Sky Hope’s website.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) began a month-long test last week aimed at better predicting when and where thunderstorms might tear their way across Colorado’s Front Range and adjacent Great Plains region. The research uses high-altitude aircraft to improve storm lead times, especially in the crucial six- to 24-hour window before storm formation.
A Beechcraft 1900 on an April 7 ferry flight from Namibia is missing and assumed lost in the South Atlantic Ocean near Sao Tome off the southwest corner of Africa. Neither the pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, nor any portions of the airframe have been recovered. Weather at the time of the accident was reported as heavy rain, with lightning and high winds.
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.
Following recent crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa in December last year and this January, the FAA issued a revised Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin covering recommendations for rotorcraft flying into snowy or icy conditions.
Less than two months after two possible weather-related fatal crashes of EMS helicopters in Illinois and Iowa, the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SW-08-03R3) covering recommendations for rotorcraft powered by turboshaft engines flying into snowy or icy conditions. The SAIB describes procedures to reduce the probability of an uncommanded in-flight engine shutdown due to snow and/or ice ingestion and reminds operators that most helicopters are not approved/equipped for flight-into-icing conditions.
Preliminary Report: Regional Jet Destroyed in Crash