A recent Aviation Maintenance Alerts published by the FAA highlights a problem that should never, ever come up in aerospace: a design that allows mechanics to install something opposite the way intended. In this case, according to AC 43-16A No. 407, mechanics installed the elevators on a Piaggio P.180 Avanti upside down. After doing so, the mechanics were even able to rig the elevators according to the aircraft maintenance manual (AMM) instructions. Although installed upside down, the twin-turboprop was able to fly, and it did. According to the FAA’s Alerts, “During flight, this reversed elevator installation greatly influenced elevator trim authority—additionally causing the airplane yoke to be in a noticeably different longitudinal position.” The Alerts goes on to note that Piaggio has added a note to the AMM, warning mechanics about this potential problem. The FAA added, “A very simple way to ensure the correct elevator is installed on the proper side is to verify the location of the static wicks—they must be on the upper surface of the elevator.”
What makes the T-6 series a better trainer than the old airplanes is that it is designed to help new pilots make a faster transition into jets. The PT6 engine has a power management unit (PMU) that makes it respond more like a jet engine than a turboprop; hopefully the only difference is that T-6 pilots still need to step on the right rudder during takeoff, although rudder trim is available and easily accessible on the Hotas. Naturally the HUD helps with the transition to jets, too, as does the modern avionics suite.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found the two pilots of a QantasLink Bombardier Dash 8-300 to be primarily responsible for an unstabilized approach that activated the twin turboprop’s stick shaker on final approach to Runway 16 Left at Sydney Airport [YSSY] in New South Wales in March 2011. The Bureau said both pilots got behind the required checklist duties for configuring the aircraft before commencing the approach.
The FAA this week opened a new website offering a parent toolkit that promotes the idea that kids on airplanes belong buckled into an approved child safety seat, not sitting on their parent’s lap.
Reports about the 2009 Air France Flight 447 accident released last summer by the French safety board (BEA) said the three experienced Airbus A330 pilots were unable to recognize they were operating at a too high angle of attack to sustain flight.
Safe Flight Instrument announced last month that its AutoPower autothrottle has been approved as an STC by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for installation on the Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 900, 850, 800 and 750 jets. AutoPower will also be STCed for Cessna’s Citation X this summer by the Cessna Wichita Citation Service Center and will be offered as a retrofit on all Citation Xs.
Loss of control in flight is now the biggest cause of commercial aviation fatalities, so what can be done to teach pilots how not to lose control? Two 2009 accidents involved stalls–Colgan Air 3407 and Air France 447–yet stalls are an elementary maneuver taught early in pilot training. If stalls are such a big problem, could training later in a pilot’s career using simulators better prepare pilots to get out of a stall or impending stall?
The FAA has issued a proposed advisory circular that would, as a core principle, include “emphasis of ‘reduce angle of attack’ response as the primary response for stall events.” According to the proposed AC, “The primary goal of this proposed advisory circular is to provide training, testing and checking recommenda
Safe Flight Instrument is celebrating its 65th anniversary with several new programs, including a speed-control system for the Cessna 400 and 208, Lancair Evolution, Quest Kodiak and Viking Twin Otter and autothrottles for the Gulfstream G150, Cessna Citation X and Hawker 800 series.
Why some engines fail in flight is the subject of a new NASA research program. “There is a question regarding the effect that moisture has on newer-technology engines.