The International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes (Icatee) published an article this summer in the ICAO Training Report that said, “The number-one cause of commercial jet transport fatalities…[is] loss-of-control-in-flight (LOC-I).” Icatee chairman Sunjoo Advani said, “[The problem] cannot be simply solved through technology or through current pilot training paradigms.” Coincidentally, Boeing’s statistical summary of commercial jet airplane accidents worldwide operations 1959–2011 showed more fatalities caused by LOC-I accidents than by any other.
The FAA released AC 120-109 on August 6 to address its concern about loss of control. The agency said some pilots are reacting incorrectly to aircraft stall indications, as in the case of the 2009 crash of Continental Express 3407 in Buffalo, N.Y. The agency also has concerns about pilots’ failing to recognize the insidious onset of an approach-to-stall during routine operations in both manual and automatic flight.
Diamond Aircraft brought D-Jet prototype S/N 003 to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last week, displaying publicly for the first time the jet’s new upswept wingtips. “At this point the aerodynamic configuration is frozen,” said Diamond president and CEO Peter Maurer. The new wingtips have “a positive effect on the stall speed and roll control, but also the overall aesthetics,” he added.
The final report on the crash of Air France Flight 447 is giving ergonomics specialists food for thought. One area of particular focus has been the stall warning, which the report says the crew ignored.
The National Transportation Safety Board issued four safety recommendations after its investigation into the January 27, 2009 loss-of-control crash of an Empire Airlines ATR 42-320 at Lubbock Airport (LBB), Texas. The NTSB said the flight crew failed to monitor and maintain a safe airspeed during an approach in icing conditions.
In its final report into the loss of an Air France Airbus A330 over the South Atlantic on June 1, 2009, French air accident investigation agency BEA (Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses) has managed to explain most–but not all–of the pitch-up inputs by the pilot who was flying the aircraft at the time of the accident during the last minutes of Air France Flight 447.
France’s aviation accident investigation bureau (BEA) released its final report on the June 1, 2009 Air France Flight 447 Airbus A330 accident today.
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.”