As Eclipse Aviation awaits FAA approval of a new-design pitot/angle-of-attack probe to prevent a freezing problem that occurred during three test flights, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive in final form, effective tomorrow. Operators had been able to file an IFR flight plan but had to remain in VMC. The AD further restricts Eclipse 500 operations to day VFR, no IFR flight plans allowed.
Preflight Planning Dispatch Checklist
Using a new Web-based tool, operators who typically fly below Class A airspace can now obtain icing forecasts up to 12 hours in advance of their flight. The FAA tool provides a color weather map and a flight route display of icing potential from 3,000 to 18,000 feet. The user can select forecast times from three-, six-, nine-, and 12-hour intervals to help plan their routes.
Pulling into position for takeoff or passing the final approach fix for landing, especially at a mountain airport, presents many challenges. The accident history of corporate jets indicates an apparent lack of preparation for contingencies, such as engine failure on takeoff, mountain wave turbulence, extreme cold temperature errors in altimeters, technology glitches, changes in IFR clearance and so on.
Rupert, W.Va., June 13, 2004–King Air N200BE departed Summersville (W.Va.) Airport (SXL) VFR, having filed an IFR flight plan, but it struck Big Mountain at 3,475 feet in IMC before the pilots could activate the flight plan. The ATP-rated pilot and commercial copilot were killed and the aircraft was destroyed.
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